I’m not the biggest consumer of fantasy novels, especially YA fantasy, but since no one in the book world could shut up about these books, I finally picked it up. I read the first two books, A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury, over Christmas Break, and patiently waited until May for the third book to be released. Nearly a month later, I finally got around to reading ACOWAR, and I was certainly not disappointed.
One of my biggest complaints about the previous two books was the insane amount of unrealistic sex scenes and the repeated use of “sheathed” as a verb to describe penetration. Thank the Calderon, but this book toned it down a bit! I get it, people have sex, and people in love and “mating” have a lot of sex, and maybe it’s great sex, but I don’t need detailed descriptions every time he touches the “apex of her thighs.” If I wanted to read a romance novel, I’d read a romance novel. This book does a much better job of tying the sex scenes into the chapters and letting them be a background or an ending thought instead of the entire focus. It was much appreciated.
I thought the battle scenes were well dispersed throughout the book and I wasn’t allowed to grow bored while at home or exhausted in battle, which I appreciate in a book that is just under 700 pages! The pacing was great! This book traveled around much more than the previous two books, but I didn’t mind. Sure, I felt like some of the shorter chapters were a bit unrealistic, and we totally just skipped the Ouroboros scene that would have been interesting to see play out fully, but it was still 700 pages, so I guess I can’t complain.
I get that having a gay character is “hip” and “trendy” now and makes a book feel inclusive, and I’m totally fine with that, if it feels organic, but when the coming out scene happens in this novel, it feels a little inorganic and as if Maas made it up in the middle of the third book to explain things she hadn’t been able to deal with previously and didn’t feel like tying up. I have no problem with that character being gay, but it didn’t feel real. It felt like a cop-out for that character’s relationships that had been a significant focus of the rest of the series.
On a darker not, the whole “resurrection” trend for characters needs to end. Sometimes people are just dead. That’s life. I get it, you want them to live happily ever after, but if you’re telling a story about a war, people are going to die. They might even be people you know and love! I’m not going to say who Maas chooses to knock off and resurrect pages later, but it was a little much.Yeah, I teared up because it was well written, but I was also rolling my eyes at the same time.
I really enjoy books that leave you wondering if your enemy is your friend or your friend your enemy, and this book was full of those twists and turns! I won’t reveal who is who and how it shakes out, but it’s a pleasant surprise for some and a moment of shock for another (which is eventually righted, I promise!)
I’m going to give this book a solid four, four a half stars. I don’t LOVE fantasy novels, and this didn’t really inspire me to become a fantasy lover, but it is a well-built world and an interesting story. I’m actually looking forward to the next books Maas will write in the universe because while I didn’t like Feyre that much, I really liked the side characters, especially Cassian, and hope that the future books will explore more…likeable..characters and parts of the universe.