Review: Intense plot, strong character development in Sarah J. Maas' newest fantasy series book

“A Court of Wings and Ruin,” the third book in Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series, was released on Tuesday, May 2. From the first page in the prologue, I was not able to put it down.

In this installment of the series, which will contain three more books and two novellas, Maas jumps straight into the plot of the book, and immediately the action picks up right where the second book left off. Set in the world of Prythian, where seven different courts of Fae rule, the protagonist, Feyre, fights for her land and the territory of the humans against a threat that wants to consume them all.

One of the great things about this series, which begins with the novel “A Court of Thorns and Roses” and is especially highlighted in “A Court of Wings and Ruin,” is how strong the characters are. I loved how they exemplified various types of strength--of knowing when to speak or be silent; of being independent or dependent; and of showing restraint or taking action.

A great skill I have found in Sarah J. Maas’ writing is the development of her characters. In this book, there were so many different times I found myself pleasantly surprised or completely horrified by a character’s actions. While these moments were unexpected, they were woven into the thread of those characters’ personalities perfectly that it did not upset me or seem out of place.

This book also saw the introduction of many new characters, something that can be a risk this late in a series and this close to the end of a plot line. Yet, Maas has such a great handle on her characters that even these new minor ones are expertly tied into the story and are instantly brought to life. There’s no way to read this book and not develop opinions about and attachments to the characters.

If the first two books were setting up the structure of the world, then this is the book where the characters really get to mess around. We get to see Maas manipulate and pull the threads of the reality she has created. She knows the rules of the world; she has told the readers the rules of the world and she completely uses it to her advantage.

Maas doesn’t just strategically combine all of the elements from this book; instead, she ties together so many details from the other books, details which seemed irrelevant at the time, but now make a world of a difference.

My one wish is for more strong and memorable lines like there were in the previous books. There are some, but it just didn’t seem like there were many. Despite this, the quotes in the book are phenomenal.

This is the first series Sarah J. Maas has ever “finished,” although there will be more books set in this world. There is little enough information released about them to infer they may be a continuation of plot with these characters.

However, the way Maas ended this book was absolutely heart-wrenching. It was completely beautiful and appropriate to the situation of the book, but as tears were running down my face, I realized Maas is not afraid to hold back punches for the sake of the reader. If something needs to happen, no matter how horrible and sorrowful it might be, she will do it. On the one hand, it makes me want to scream, but on the other, it gives me total respect for her to be able to do this.

“A Court of Wings and Ruin” is not only an expertly written story, but a testament of Maas’ writing skills and capabilities. The next book is currently set to come out next year, and I cannot wait to see what Maas has planned next for the world of Prythian.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.

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