Reading format: Kindle e-book
Content warnings: gore, sex, suggestions of rape, suggestions of torture, death, battle scenes
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Vengeance and love are strong motivators. After Tamlin’s betrayal in Hybern, Feyre returns to the Spring Court to play a game of hide and deceit in plain sight. There she spins Tamlin’s character traits and feelings to her advantage, patiently working to gather information on his plans with Hybern. After gathering the necessary intelligence, Feyre returns to Velaris as High Lady where she’s reunited with Rhysand and her sisters. While trying to help Nesta and Elain cope with their new and unwelcome transformations to High Fae, she must also plan for war against Hybern. As they strategize and form alliances, Feyre finds herself striking bargains with those she least expects in order to save Prythian and the Mortal Lands.
As we saw in A Court of Mist and Fury (ACoMaF), Maas continues to aptly portray trauma, particularly with respect to Nesta and Elain in this book. How they cope falls in line with their already established character traits. Nesta constantly remains on the attack, her concern more about Elain, and keeps her own internal battles private. Gentle Elain closes herself off from the world and floats in a haze of melancholy and depression. I’m no expert, but I feel these are both believable responses to trauma. I’ll echo my sentiment from ACoMaF and say that I’m glad Maas shows the progression of healing from trauma rather than pushing it aside.
We learn more about the High Lords of each court and some of their histories, which I found particularly interesting. I also developed a soft spot for Azriel since we’re blessed with more interactions between the shadowsinger and Feyre. There’s a lot of character growth in this book and learning to trust in yourself and in others. This growth applies to more than only Feyre. The plot surprised me a few times, in a good way, as it progressed. And the ending…well, it may or may not have wrecked me. No spoilers, though!
Lastly, as with A Court of Thorns and Roses and ACoMaF, I have to comment on the writing. I feel that it continued to improve in this third installment. I think this book is less repetitive in terms of word choices. However, I do think it’s odd that the editors chose to leave multiple instances of ellipses in the middle of sentences. The repetitive use of ellipses to show pauses in thought or action was distracting. I also think this book could have been shortened a bit. At times I felt like I wasn’t make much progress; or maybe I just wasn’t as interested in battle preparation as I was in relationship progression in ACoMaF. That said, the parts I enjoyed in A Court of Wings and Ruin far outweigh the mildly stagnant sections.