[A quick note: I was NOT supposed to read this book this month. Only the second one. BUT after finishing the second, I was so consumed, that I HAD to dive straight into this one. I was under the weather/sick so I ended up laying in bed for two days reading it...devouring it. New favorite series, right here!]
(5/5⭐️) “My rage had become a living thing inside my chest, an echoing heartbeat that soothed me to sleep and stirred me to waking.” —Sarah J Maas
Feyre is ready to fight in this final installment of the ACOTAR trilogy (not counting the novella). Having failed to damage the cauldron in ACOMAF, Feyre is taken into the Spring Court under the guise of having been brainwashed. Tamlin believes her leaving him was all Rhysand’s doing. She encourages this misbelief, determined to rip apart Tamlin’s court from the inside. Meanwhile, the King of Hybern is done staging his troops for war. He’s ready to bring Prythian to its knees. He plans to strike hard at the wall, then sweep across the land and take all the courts. The only way to stop him is to unite all the High Lords, and even then it might not be enough. It will take something short of a miracle to bring him down. But the world has some unexpected allies in the form of monsters. It also has Feyre, Amren, Nesta and Elain. These strong women are unlike others for more than one reason, but especially because they are “made.” They just might have what it takes to save everyone, even if it kills them.
Crying!!!! I’m CRYING. Or I was. I don’t remember the last time I cried so much in a book. Happy tears. Sad tears. Sometimes I was just crying because of how emotional this book made me. Like Rhysand’s little circle up before the final battle (which reminded me a lot of the final battle in LOTR btw). Rhysand’s words to all his friends. This might be the last time they are all together. That was all I could think as tears washed down my face. As a sense of foreboding and fear settled over me. Deep down I was thinking, SJM wouldn’t DARE kill ANY of them...right?!...right?!
“I believe everything happens for a reason. Whether it is decided by the Mother, or the Cauldron, or some sort of tapestry of Fate, I don't know. I don't really care. But I am grateful for it, whatever it is. Grateful that it brought you all into my life. If it hadn't... I might have become as awful as that prick we're going to face today.”
The plot in this book was faster paced than ACOMAF. A lot faster. Everything happens in rapid succession. There’s NO time to catch your breath. Feyre is in Spring Court for the first part, bringing it down, and then running for her life, and there’s the meeting of the High Lords—which was OMG, tense—and the attack at the library, all the battles. You get the picture. It’s GO GO GO.
In terms of world building, SJM really tied things off nicely. I loved her introduction of some of the monsters, giving us an even deeper glimpse into Prythian. Like the use of the Weaver, the Bone Carver, and the creature from the depths of the library for the war. We got to see all the High Lords together. We got to see more magic. Everything was brought to a nice close in that regard.
There was still PLENTY of romance, and hints of new romance to come, like Cassian and Nesta (SO excited for their upcoming novella), and Elain and Lucian...? If that ever happens.
“Nesta looked at the king with death twining around his hands, then down at Cassian. And covered Cassian’s body with her own. Cassian went still - then his hand slid over her back. Together. They’d go together.”
I really liked the way Rhysand and Feyre’s relationship strengthened, too. That he trusted her with things as dangerous as sneaking in to the King of Hybern’s camp to rescue her sister spoke VOLUMES:
“You do not fear. You do not falter. You do not yield. You go in, you get her, and you come out again.”
WOW. That quote though. Those two are my favorite bookish couple of ALL TIME. Hands down. He could have insisted on doing it himself. Or even sending someone else. But he trusted Feyre because she was confident that she could succeed.
In terms of character development, where the last book was Feyre healing, I felt this book was her coming into her own. She really learned how to take matters into her own hands, how to be strong, how to make her own decisions. She definitely did some growing, with Rhysand’s encouragement no less. She looked into the mirror and saw who she really was, and she accepted that.
The other character arc that stood out to me was Tamlin’s, even though it happened mostly in the background. He went from feeling he owned Feyre, to finally accepting that she wasn’t his, but even more: he saved her life. That, in my eyes, fully redeemed him. I still find fault with him, and he’s not my favorite, BUT he saved her life.
The ending was a little surprising but very satisfying for me. I really didn’t expect Amarin to come back, but she did and I’m happier for it. I liked that she came back changed. And...Rhysand dying? That was...I’m not sure. At first I thought it was unnecessary, but the more I think about it, I think it was necessary BECAUSE we needed Tamlin to be the final say in the matter. We needed that final acorn of life from him. We NEEDED to see that Tamlin had FINALLY accepted Feyre’s choice. That he would rather see Feyre happy, even if it meant he couldn’t have her. That, to me, tied off his character arc nicely.
This series has become my absolute favorite. I say that about a lot of books, but there’s no question here. I recommend it to everyone who loves darker fantasy, political intrigue, strong female leads, sexy fae...you name it! I am glad there are two novellas for me to read soon. One I have and will get to soon, the other coming in January (YESSS). So...go read this series!