Well, the time has finally come: the conclusion of Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. This one picks up pretty much just where the last one left off: with heroine Feyre acting as a spy in the fae Spring Court, home of her former lover and almost-husband and hero of the first book in the series, Tamlin, who has sold out all of the island of Prythian and the human lands beyond it in order to retrieve Feyre from her new love and fated mate, the High Lord of the Night Court, Rhysand. Are we all caught up? Good.
Then let me just say that a lot happens in this book, despite it being off to a slow start. Much like the second book, I was skeptical going in. It just starts so slowly. Feyre is going around the Spring Court acting so meek and broken while secretly sowing chaos, but honestly, we know there are bigger things afoot, and I wanted them to get on with afooting! Luckily, the first part of the book isn't that long, and things pick up in the second and third parts, as Feyre and her family and allies prepare for war and then eventually go to it.
We have a large cast of supporting characters by this point, but Maas still manages to keep them all separate, distinct, and important, even with the addition of Feyre's sisters as newly-fae residents of the Night Court, and the re-appearance of Lucien as a bigger player, despite him having been absent for most of book two. (At one point, Lucien vanishes for a long time and doesn't appear to have done much while he was gone; Maas has already said that she plans on writing more books about this world, so I'm betting the focus of one of them will be him, another possibly on Tamlin, and one definitely on the Swan Lake-like setup involving another side character.) Two new relationships were kind of promised in this book, and they don't really develop much, which was a bit disappointing. Also disappointing was the amount of info Maas revealed and then didn't expound upon--granted, she's said she'll write more about this world, as I mentioned before, but still. This was the last book in the trilogy so it seemed like maybe not the best place to be leaving loose ends. None of them were major...but still.
She also brings back old characters that I thought we probably wouldn't see again, such as the Bone Carver and the Weaver, and weaves (haha) them more fully into the narrative, which seemed well done. Some big reveals were also reserved for this book--such as what the heck, really, is Amren? Well, we finally find out. Sort of. Enough. Also added in are several characters who are gay or bisexual, which was nice, because one wouldn't necessarily think of fae as being confined to binary sexualities, especially if we measly humans aren't. However, this reveal might throw a wrench in her "mating bonds" trope--do they still have mating bonds if they're not heterosexual, and so won't be producing children? It's said that bonds aren't always about love or even emotional compatibility but sometimes are just more about pairs that would create good offspring. And if that's the case and these characters do find themselves permanently bound to people that they otherwise can't find attractive...well, that kind of sucks.
It's hard to say much about this book without spoilers, and it also doesn't have anything either rant-worthy or rave-worthy in it, at least not to my eye. So, instead of prattling on, I'll just wrap it up and say that I liked this one, but I didn't love it. It didn't pull me in as much as A Court of Mists and Fury did. But it was still enjoyable, and has the added bonus of, I think, giving us a glimpse of what's probably coming up, to some degree, in Maas' other series, the Throne of Glass series, because she paralleled elements of the two very closely. Which probably isn't very masterful writing but definitely makes the wait for the last Throne of Glass novel--not out until 2018!--easier, because this is basically a preview of how it will all be written and wrap up.
4 stars out of 5.