* Spoilers. Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. I originally was going to try writing this review without giving anything big away, but then I realized that I just wanted to talk about ALL THE THINGS *
“Only you can decide what breaks you, Cursebreaker. Only you.”
Feyre has been forced to return to the Tamlin’s manor, but no longer as the fragile girl she was in past times; now, she is a wolf, High Lady of the Night Court, and her mission is to dismantle the Spring Court from the inside. Spurred on not only by the knowledge of Tamlin’s betrayal of Prythian to the King of Hybern, but also by the direct consequences his actions have placed upon her sisters and those she loves most, Feyre’s vicious plans are only beginning to unravel.
Meanwhile, the King of Hybern prepares to use the Spring Court to take down the wall, and worse, to destroy the lower half of Prythian and take back the humans he considered rightful slaves. Should anyone in the Courts stand in his way, he is prepared to take what he wants by force and bloodshed… with Feyre and the Inner Court right in the heart of it all.
Okay, first of all, this review took me two weeks to write because I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that ACOWAR was over. I’ll admit that this book is long. My biggest complaint is that a sad amount of the book felt like filler material, while the real action was… rushed. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every goddamn speck of ink, but ACOMAF still has my heart. I digress.
Maas did such a wonderful job of world-building in the last two books that I thought I didn’t need anymore of it, and then there she goes, bringing in all of these other Courts that we hadn’t really gotten to spend any time with yet, and DAMMIT, Sarah, STOP MAKING ME LOVE EVERYONE.
ALL OF MY LOVELIES ➳➳
• Helion, for fuck’s sake… absolutely adored him. I literally squealed when we found out he was Lucien’s father, and then when it sunk in that Lucien is the rightful heir to the Day Court? Like… what ??? WHAT IS LIFE? I’ve been dying for one of the follow-up books to be a book on Lucien and then SJM just drops that bomb on us and just… I died.
• We got to see Tarquin make up with our lovely little Night Court babies and I could not have been happier because I adored Tarquin and his little band of beautiful summery darlings, and I had been dying to see that bridge rebuilt, so that was just downright thrilling.
• We got to see Tamlin be his usual asshole-ish self, and I know a lot of people were really enraged by the shit that he pulled at the big fancy meeting, but I just laughed my ass off through most of it because Tamlin reached salt levels that could put the fuckin’ Atlantic Ocean to shame. (And on the note of the meeting, can we talk about Feyre’s comebacks and general badassery, and Rhys’s total undying adoration for her sassy self?)
• Feyre was kind of… well, Feyre.
• Cassian and Az. My little bat babies. I just spent so much of the book crying over various things related to these two, right from the moment they showed up. I have never sobbed tears of joy over a book like I did when Feyre first saw those Illyrian blades.
• LUCIEN GOT TO REDEEM HIMSELF AND BE OUR LITTLE FOX BABY AGAIN and all is right in the world. ❤
• Jurian – I didn’t see that plot twist coming – and we finally got to meet Miryam and Drakon (I screamed a little), and we got to spend more time with my lovely Suri (sobbing still) and Bone Carver (also sobbing), and then there was the fantastic Bryaxis, and Feyre’s dad… I could honestly type a million paragraphs for you guys about how much I loved the array of characters in this book and how much time we got to spend with my faves. I’m seriously having to hold back just to keep this thing from becoming entirely unmanageable.
• Finally… our little baby bat. Rhysand… I have seen so manypeople complaining that his spark was gone in this installment, and that he wasn’t his usual sarcastic, goofy self, and I want to address that for a hot second. From practically the moment that Feyre is reunited with Rhys, we’re given this insight into his sad, self-sacrificing little brain that he expects this whole shebang to end in death: probably his own. In fact, I think the entire reason we were given his POV for the prologue of the book was to accentuate how devastated Rhys is by war, and how absolutely wrecked he is by the thought of losing any of his loved ones. I don’t think he had lost his spark, so much as it is that he was immensely stressed out and downright fucking terrified that he was going to lose his family. He’d already spent 50 years without them, thinking he’d never see them again, and now things are finally happy and everyone’s safe, and BAM – hell breaks loose. Speaking of Rhysand…
PAGE 666 ➳➳
The entire book, in regards to Rhysand’s attitude, was hardcore foreshadowing for the ending. When Rhysand died, it had already been spoiled for me that he was coming back, and it was one of those rare times where I was so happy to have been spoiled, because I might have chucked that beautiful BAM edition across the damn room. Feyre’s grief tore through me, and y’all, I am not ashamed to admit that I was sobbing no matter how assured I had been that he would be coming back. And when Tamlin gave his little chunk o’ soul and told her to be happy? Lost my shit. LOST IT. DONE. DONE-ZO. KAPUT. I was a mess.
MATES ‘N STUFF ➳➳
It was so cute to watch Az and Elain interact, or watching sweet Cassian drool over Nesta (can that mating bond pleasefall into place already?). Tamlin even showed the fuck up a few times to prove that I guess he had some kind of feelings for Feyre, what with his showing up to help save Elain and such (which didn’t redeem him, but it was nifty).
WHAT I DISLIKED ➳➳
• The relationship between Feyre and Rhysand. I expected more along the likes of ACOMAF: lots of smut, but sweet, steamy scenes. Instead, it’s like SJM decided to write way less of it, in much cheesier formatting, and that was just…ugh. I personally believe that smut can further a plot and relationship development (as it did in chapter 55 of ACOMAF, for example). This book just lacked so much in that aspect for me.
• The development of Elain, who felt essentially like some background prop until suddenly, oh, she’s useful! She’s a seer and she can help us do stuff! … except we don’t know how to interpret what the fuck she’s saying even though it’s super obvious! Sigh. I honestly would’ve been just as content if Elain had just been killed off in the Cauldron scene of ACOMAF.
• Uhhh that’s about it.
I have to touch on the problematic aspects that I’ve seen discussed (over, and over, and over…). As far as the acephobic remark goes: I genuinely don’t believe SJM intended it as such. I think it was more incest-phobic, if anything, and while it’s none of my business what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom, I don’t think many people will argue that there’s nothing outrageous with being perturbed by the idea of sibling-sex. I’m not saying you can’t be offended. I’m just saying I’m tired of attributing malice where it doesn’t belong.
I’ve also seen a lot of people call Mor “bad lesbian rep”, because of a few things she says, and to those people: you’re absolutely right. Mor is a horrible lesbian rep character… because she isn’t a fucking lesbian. She’s bisexual. Yes, the direct quote is, “I prefer females” – and from a bisexual woman reviewing this, that’s a perfectly normal thing for a bisexual woman to say (as it would be equally normal to say “I prefer males”), because sexuality is fluid. In the same fucking conversation, Mor explains that she does enjoy the company of both genders; she just prefers females. I’m genuinely stunned that some people – especially those who aren’t even in the LGBTQ+ community – want to argue with bisexuals about this, when we are literally relating to the things that she’s saying. Now, as far as the problem of her leading Az on for 500 fucking years, well, yeah, that’s shit, but it doesn’t make her bad bi rep.
I also have seen a lot of people pitching a fit about Helion being “bad bi rep”, and to be frank, those comments sound incredibly polyphobic, because Helion is pretty fucking clearly representing a bisexual, polyamorous individual, and to take that away from him by insisting that all bisexuals be represented as monogamous people is unfair and, to be frank, unrealistic. There are a great deal of poly people in the bisexual community, and they deserve representation, too.
FINAL VERDICT ➳➳
Now that I’ve gotten my few little rants out of my system: I loved this book, I felt like SJM gave us a fabulous ending as well as a bridge to future books (which I cannot wait for!), and while it wasn’t ACOMAF-level magnificence, it was still a damn good read. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys high fantasy, romance, or any mix thereof. ‘Til 2018! ❤