This series will go on forever won’t it?: Court of Wings and Ruin

Well, this was another really solid installment in Sarah J. Maas’ series A Court of Thorns and Roses. I definitely enjoyed it (wasn’t quite as surprising as Court of Mist and Fury), although I have some quibbles. I guess spoiler warning, pretty much for the rest of this post.

1. I was super into the first part with Feyre being manipulative in the Spring Court. Yes, I can work with that.

2. TOTALLY not mad that Elain wasn’t really interested in Lucien. Am mad that by the end she seemed to be coming around to this whole ~~mates~~ thing, because girl no, take some time for yourself and cultivate that friendship with Azriel.

3.  LOVE Nesta. LOVE HER. Please let me read 800 pages of her being bitter and emotionally repressed and badass and willing to cut EVERYONE for Elain. I’m so here for it. But . . .

4. WHY MUST EVERYONE PAIR UP? Like, Nesta and Cassian doesn’t make me angry in and of itself, I just hate the trend it further entrenches. But, yay, at least Nesta doesn’t start the book being open to relationships and it takes all 600 goddamn  pages for things to really get started on that front. I am glad, too, that it puts a nail in the coffin of the sad love triangle of Azriel-Mor-Cassian. So, lots to appreciate with Nesta and Cassian, but single people are not the devil, alright? (Also, add another tally to the heterosexual column, which brings me to my next point…)

5. Mor being bi/gay was a nice surprise, although I wasn’t expecting it to have about the same weight as the implied xenophobia of this series. But, I guess they really push the reproduction angle in this society? Like, as long as you push out a kid, fuck whoever else you want? IDK. Just wanna say, though: Thank GOD Mor wasn’t immediately given a girlfriend after telling Feyre. Fingers crossed the next book is less aggressively heterosexual.

6. Rhys dies? And all the high lords brought him back? OH, WHY DOES THAT SOUND SO FAMILIAR??? Like, come on, Maas. You already did that and whatever symmetry/parallelism you were going for wasn’t necessary.

7. I guess I could talk about some plot points, but eh. Lots happened and Feyre feels pretty infallible, as she collects a mirror that drives everyone else mad and makes successful bargains with old gods that terrify people. I’m sure that winning streak is going to start feeling old sooner rather than later.

8. Somehow there’s more to this series and I’m already exhausted.

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OK, well, I cried for this book.

I picked We Are Okay by Nina LaCour for my pool read yesterday because it was on the shorter side, but I wasn’t really expecting the emotional weight of it. This was such a beautiful, quiet book about grief and sadness. More emotion driven than plot driven, this feel light, effortless, even as Marin is drowning. I don’t want to give away any emotional reveals, but this book is so much more than the grief of losing a family member.

And can I gush about the book design for a moment? The cover is GORGEOUS. The  printed endsheets are a campus scene and are stunning. The title page art is also perfect. I just, this is such a beautiful book, both text and design.

Y’all this wasn’t great either.

I didn’t really love The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, so picking up the sequel wasn’t high on my list. But then I read so many mediocre books by white people that I wanted to get back on the diverse reading train. And, well, The Rose & The Dagger seemed light enough to not feel daunting, even at 400+ pages. But, well, I ended up giving it two stars on Goodreads, which seems a bit cruel, but apparently that stands for “this was OK,” and that is really how I feel about this book.

TBH I don’t really remember the first book all that well. I had to check out a recap on bookseriesrecaps.com and even then I was like, Ugh. I never really connected with the characters or felt super invested in ANY of the relationships. And the characterization felt all over the place. Shahrzad felt even more volatile? Unstable? Aggressively suspicious and angry? I don’t know. Just, she had a lot of emotions that were frequently too hair trigger to be enjoyable, bearable, or really believable. Rahim shows up just to give Irsa some page time and then, well, <spoiler>dies</spoiler>, so that seems pretty useless. He was barely there long enough for me to care about, which just is sloppy. Jalal is barely in it, which might actually be a crime.

Really, for how long this book is, the plot was hideously rushed in places. Tension is introduced and resolved within pages. Nothing seems to last. Like, remember that curse? That Khalid has been suffering under? And we go through all this shit because of some curse? And how does that get resolved? By stabbing a book in a scene that lasts, what, three pages? AND THEN IS NEVER ADDRESSED AGAIN? Yeah, OK. And apparently all the citizens of Rey are cool now that Khalid isn’t going around killing his wives. The epilogue just jumps over all the trust (and city!) rebuilding that had to happen and gives us a happy ending that is barely more palatable than the Harry Potter series epilogue.

I was kind of impressed that Ahdieh decided to kill Khalid, and then two paragraphs later she undoes all that good will by having Jahandar FINALLY see the light and “redeem” himself by using all the ~~dark magicks~~ to trade his life so Khalid can live. (Cue aggressive eye-rolling.)

I’m glad I finished this series, but this isn’t going on my reread shelf.