One Sentence Review: Although this conclusion was definitely a let-down, there were some parts I enjoyed and in the end, it was a relatively good book.
Full Review (SPOILERS FOR ACOTAR/ACOMAF MAY BE AHEAD; HOWEVER, NO SPOILERS FOR ACOWAR ITSELF WILL BE PRESENT)
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places. (Summary from Goodreads)
Gosh I was hoping for more from this book. After the epic journey that was A Court of Mist and Fury (the second book in this series) and the insane anticipation this book built up, I was waiting for a conclusion like no other, something that would blow me away on each and every page. Instead, although I held my breath and cried like I’ve never cried before and didn’t think I’d be able to make it through to the end during the last 100 or so pages, the other 600 were just… Kind of underwhelming.
Maas could’ve done SO much more with this book. Yes, the last section was great, but there were so many scenes that just felt like they were being repeated over and over and over again for the first 80% of this book. That would’ve been fine if everything had been tied together and finished at the end, but there was just so much left hanging. I know there are going to be more books set in Prythian centered on some of the other characters, but it felt like the majority of the loose ends that Maas could’ve tied up in this book were instead left up in the air, leaving me completely dissatisfied by how this book ended.
Another thing that annoyed me constantly throughout this book was the writing. Do Maas’s editors just not pay attention anymore? Because in many instances throughout this novel the wording was awkward, odd phrases were repeated again and again (I get it, Rhys has a feline glare and purrs at people but HE’S NOT A CAT GOSH), and sometimes I even struggled to fully envision some of the locations Maas was describing (which is usually something I actually do pretty well).
Something I did love about this book, though, was witnessing the court politics. Since being introduced to Prythian I had hoped we’d get to see more of the courts and meet more of the High Lords, and Maas absolutely delivered that. I loved getting to see the tensions between the 7 courts and how everything played out in the end, and I can only hope we get to see more of this in the next books.
Another aspect I adored, of course, was the Inner Circle dynamics. Meeting the Inner Circle was one of my absolute favorite parts of ACOMAF, so just hearing from Mor, Azriel, Cassian, and Amren throughout ACOWAR was so much fun.
And then, of course, there’s the last 100 pages. I’m obviously not going to go into detail, but all I’ll say is that these 100 pages represent the kind of action and suspense I had been looking for from the beginning. If only more of the book had been anything like this last section…
When I first finished this book I couldn’t figure out why exactly I didn’t like it close to as much as I did ACOMAF and what exactly had disappointed me. As I was going through various reviews on Goodreads, I found one that described something I hadn’t seen yet that I think is a main reason this book just wasn’t as good (and I totally would’ve linked the review here if I could find it or remember who had written it but alas it seems to have gotten lost in the massive amounts of ACOWAR reviews present on Goodreads). In ACOMAF, Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship was still developing and Feyre still had major doubts about Rhys, meaning alongside the war and craziness happening in Prythian we were seeing the most epic romance to ever exist blossom. In ACOWAR, on the other hand, Feyre and Rhy’s romance had already been developed and was basically assumed, leaving us with nothing but the war to read about. For 700 pages. That’s a whole lot of strategy and battle tactic scenes if you ask me. I feel that ACOWAR would’ve been so, so much better had there been chapters dedicated to other characters’ perspectives. Take Lucien, for example. That one miniscule moment we were in his head was amazing, and I feel like if we had gotten more scenes like that this book would’ve lived up to its predecessor.
Overall, although there were aspects of this book I loved, I was generally pretty disappointed. There were way too many loose ends left at the conclusion, a lot of the scenes in the first 600 pages felt repetitive, and the fact that the relationship this book was centered on was without conflict meant the novel felt singularly focused. I know that the remaining holes will be filled in the next series and novellas, but after having waited for so long I felt we deserved much more than we got.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!