As you might have guessed from the title, this isn't going to be a proper book review. There's a lot to unpack in these three books, more than I'm prepared to do. To be totally honest, these books chewed me up and spit me out, which I love, but it's really draining too. I'll get to that later, though. It's probably best if I start at something like the beginning.
Overall, I really enjoyed these. ACOTAR started out as a pretty typical Beauty and the Beast retelling, but man! Did it take a sharp left turn into badassery or what?! I can't say I'm a super fan or that I would buy merchandise specifically themed after this series, though. Of course I've done the quiz. Winter Court, according to the official one by Bloomsbury, but I fancy myself as an autumn kind of girl. Still, I can dig the fuzzy sweaters and boots and crackling fires ❄️. And snow! Okay, fine, Winter Court it is. I found the writing to be heavier on action than character development. Not to say it wasn't there, because it definitely was, but I think plot is what has drawn so many people to this series. Also, did anyone notice Maas' propensity to use dashes? Man, there were so many of these: —.
The romance was on point, though. Whew! *fans self* With both Tam (at first) and then Rhys. I found the continued physical relationship with Tam even after the end of ACOTAR really annoying, though. Much as I enjoyed the romance - Chapter 55 of ACOMAF, you guys! - I feel like this series put way too much focus on the physical element of relationships. Granted, this is a known sore spot for me because I feel like that's already an issue in our society on the whole. There are more important things in a relationship than sex. Just saying.
Moving onto characters. Okay, first, Feyre's sisters...um, was anyone else super pissed at them the entire time? They took Feyre for granted from page one. Without her, they would be dead, and the thank-you she got was way too little, way too late. Not a fan. Loved me the different members of the Night Court, though. Mor is my favorite! And I would totes hang out with Az, like, all the time. Okay, both Mor and Az are my favorite. You know who else I love? Lucien. I know he was a total prat for a while there, but there's a lot to be said for owning your mistakes and stepping up to do what's right. Plus, I always love a good smart ass.
That brings me to my next point, and it probably won't be a popular one. I think Lucien is a better written character than Rhysand. Let me explain. I really appreciate the different issues this book tackles: classism, prejudice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, etc. I don't think they're terribly well spread out, though. Pretty much only the Night Court believes in a lot of these basic equality issues. Granted, the Winter Court is close, but the Night Court inner circle are far and above the "best" (for lack of a better word) people in the book. My biggest issue here, though...Rhysand is too perfect. Don't get me wrong, he's brilliant. I love him as a character, but I think Rhys being soooooo perfect undermines the strength of Maas' message in addressing the aforementioned issues. I feel like a flawed character (like Lucien) standing up for what's right is more powerful than a perfect character doing it. And I know Lucien doesn't measure up perfectly when compared to Rhys, not by a longshot, but he's fighting against old ideas and trying to be better. Yes, Rhys had to do terrible, unthinkable things while under Amarantha's reign, but it was the lesser of two evils. It served a greater good. It doesn't minimize Rhys' pain. It doesn't blot out the absolute hell he endured under her. Please don't think I'm forgetting that, but Rhys made so few straight up bad decisions, it sort of set him up on a pedestal. I like to think that young women who read these books will use Rhys as a standard when choosing who to date and marry because he's a really good bar. But I also worry that, with him being so perfect, he'll be seen as unrealistic.
Right, enough about that. So the end...wow! A lot happened in the last 10% of ACOWAR. I was exhausted! I honestly don't know how I feel about more coming out. I was really happy about finishing the series. It was an emotional marathon, and I'm tired just thinking about getting back into it. There's more to resolve, though. I get that. I'll probably read them...after I've had a good long rest. Good thing the next one isn't scheduled until 2018.
Whew! Thanks for working through this stuff with me. If you have thoughts/responses to anything I've said here, leave a comment below or on my social media - @danafraedrich on IG, Twitter, and Tumblr. @wordsbydana on Facebook. Thanks for reading!