I don't usually like to review sequels because then the review can't truly be spoiler free (which is a huge bummer). BUT I had to make an exception since the third and final (??????) book in the ACOTAR series came out this month.
Since this is the third book, this won't be a spoiler-free review. If you haven't read all three books then please leave if you don't want to be spoiled. If you don't really care about spoilers then...
|Let me take a minute to get myself together I CaN'T STOP LaugHIng aT tHIS GIF *DEEP BREATHS*|
Before we get into the actual review let's have a bit of a ~story time~ shall we?
I don't think I've ever been so hyped for a book. ACOMAF is pretty much my favorite book of all time.
*Has definitely NOT fallen asleep with ACOMAF in my arms multiple times*
I haven't been this obsessed with a book since I read Clockwork Princess back in 2013; and boy was I OBSESSED. It didn't actually begin to occur to me that maybe, just maybe, ACOWAR wouldn't be as good as ACOMAF until a few days before I received my copy.
Once I received said copy, I put off reading ACOWAR for as long as I could *cough* approximately 10 minutes *cough*. I sat down and devoured 100 pages, put the book down, and later picked it up and devoured another 500 pages in one sitting. Needless to say, I looked up from the book and my vision wasn't that good but YA KNOW WHAT ToTaLLy WoRTH iT. I then read the last 100 pages in my 65 minute class (which I didn't even know was humanly possible for me as a reader...?) Have you ever tried reading while playing the viola because, that morning, I did. How is that even possible? I don't know, my friends. I do not know.
So I'm sitting in class and I immediately go to Goodreads to give ACOWAR a rating. (My original rating is 4.2/5 stars). A few days later I lower my rating to 3.5 stars... and then I think about the book EVEN MORE and my rating goes down to a 3 stars.
So... what was the problem with what I thought to be my new favorite read of 2017?
(Keep in mind there wasn't one thing in particular that killed the book for me. It was more of an amalgamation of smaller things.)
(This section title sounds so intense ahaha)
I felt like we were going to see a lot more of Feyre in the spring court. I don't know about anyone else, but the synopsis gave me the vibe that a good chunk of the book would be about Feyre infiltrating Tamlin and his cronies. However, about 100 out of the 700 pages actually contained Feyre in the spring court. While this definitely wasn't my biggest problem with the book, I would have liked to have seen a little bit more.
It makes sense that Feyre couldn't be away from her mate for too long because how could we possibly fit all of the sex in otherwise? Y'all have to understand something about moi. I am a lover of trashy romance. The Feysand scenes in ACOMAF are MY FAVORITE. The Feysand scenes in ACOWAR... meeeeeh. The first time Feyre and Rhysand see each other again I was actually screaming. I could barely stop screaming long enough to actually read the book. (The fangirl in me reared it's slightly crazy looking glitter-filled head). The second time Feysand had sex I was still living off of my fangirl high and I was just rolling with it.
But there's a point when the sex started to feel... cringey and forced. I would read 5 chapters and 3 out of those 5 chapters would contain sex scenes. It got to a point where I was like, "Okay SJM you got anything else?"
There's also a particular scene where Feyre tells Rhysand:
"'I don't think--I don't think I can have sex here. With him [Tamlin] so close." Rhys remained quiet. "I'm sorry if--'"
Something about that was just kind of... weird to me.
It insinuates that they have to have sex every night and that just didn't mesh well with me.
Trust me when I say this. I love Feysand SO. FREAKING. MUCH. But their relationship in ACOWAR wasn't doing it for me. Rhys was a fuckboy 98% of the time. (This kind of aligns with the last section.) The sex to emotional moments of amazingness ratio was probably 10:1.
I also felt like Rhys was... trying too hard. (HoLD uP let me explain). There were a ton of instances where Rhys would jump in and say something along the lines of "FEYRE CAN MAKE HER OWN DECISIONS. FEYRE IS AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN." It's great that he feels that way, don't get me wrong, but it felt really forced and awkward.
Overall, I just really didn't care for the portrayal of their relationship.
Sarah J Maas tried to add diversity into ACOWAR but it... didn't go well. We're first introduced to Helion who is bi. How do we know he's bi? He LOOOOVES threesomes!!! It's really ignorant and audacious to assume that, since so and so is bi, they must love threesomes. We also later find out that Mor is bi. (Bi because she's attracted to both men and women she just doesn't have emotional ties to men.) While I don't think Mor was represented poorly, I do have a hard time believing that she hasn't come out to her friends after 500 years. 500 YEARS. Let that sink in.
The ending wasn't really an ending. It wasn't Requiem level bad (y'all know what I'm talking about if you've read the Delirium trilogy) but it definitely didn't feel like an ending. (Just to be clear I'm talking about the last chapter not the entirety of the ending). I know there are more books but still. Shouldn't the conflict from this trilogy be resolved in this trilogy? The ending overall felt lacking and haphazard.
... I think that about covers my problems with the book! I disliked A LOT about ACOWAR; but I didn't dislike everything.
I loved that we got to venture into different courts! The scenes where Lucien and Feyre are fighting their way through the Autumn Court are probably some of my favorite scenes from the entirety of the trilogy.
I also loooved when the Inner circle took a trip to the Dawn Court. The banter between the high lords is honestly my favorite. (Can't you just picture all of the courts being stuck in the Big Brother house together? xD) Tamlin walks in like:
I can't lie. The last 100 pages had me feeling all of the feels.
Actual footage of me in the back of my class when I read chapter 76/77:
In conclusion, ACOWAR felt like fan fiction to me. I expected a lot and it didn't deliver; but it also wasn't terrible. Maybe the ACOTAR books Sarah releases in 2018 will redeem this series as a whole...?
"Only you can decide what breaks you, Cursebreaker. Only you."
Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!