I think you’ll find some of this scattered about in the ‘feysand’ and ‘sarah reads acowar’ tags, but I can kind of sum it up here.
Ultimately, I started ACOWAR with Feysand as my OTP, and finished it with that no longer being true. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint why that is–perhaps part of it is simply me moving on as a person, but a lot of it had to do with how their relationship unfolded in ACOWAR.
There were a lot of little moments between them that I loved: Rhys checking on her over the bond, their first moment of seeing each other again, and some of their really good flirting moments. However, this was sadly overshadowed by some parts of their dynamic that I found troubling. I’ll try to sum it up, because it’s mostly centered on one thing.
There was no conflict between them. These two have such strong personalities, and as we saw in ACOTAR and ACOMAF, they don’t always mesh. I feel like, somehow, the mating bond was an excuse to get rid of that. Besides one moment when Feyre is mad at Rhys for criticizing Nesta, there’s next to no conflict between them. They’re constantly validating each other, even when one of them is making shitty decisions. This is such a tonal shift from ACOMAF, when virtually all Feyre and Rhys did was call each other out on their bullshit. That was almost totally absent here, and I really missed that dynamic. It also sends a poor message that once they’re “married”/mated, the conflict ends and everything’s all happy. That’s not how real relationships work.
Also, the use of the term “unified front” really rubbed me the wrong way, because those are the words that Tamlin used as a weapon against Feyre. It seemed like a really poor narrative decision to use them in regard to Feysand.
I agree with you that I liked both characters as individuals less in ACOWAR, and this affected my perception of their relationship. Rhys’s character, even his shitty decisions, would have been fine if Feyre had stood up to him and called him out, and if he’d had to face consequences for his actions. But he never really did. And Feyre became diminished, somehow, whenever she was around Rhys. This isn’t to say she had no personality or no flaws or anything, but she seemed to revolve around Rhys more than she had in the past, and I noticed this. Again, their individual flaws would be good character traits if they dynamic between them had remained as strong and ripe for conflict as it was in ACOMAF, but again, they were just letting each other get away with everything. It didn’t seem in-character for them.
Finally, the death bargain. This is so completely out of character for both of them, I can’t even. Other bloggers have written it so much more clearly, but basically, Rhys is the sort of person who has plans on plans on plans, and he would never leave his court’s future up to chance. He wouldn’t imperil his court for the sake of a dangerous romantic gesture, no matter how much he loves Feyre. And I don’t think it’s in character for Feyre to ask that of him. It’s almost exactly the opposite of how I expected them to behave, and given that this was in the very last chapter, it really ruined the appeal of Feysand for me.
I don’t hate Feysand by any stretch of the imagination. I still enjoy the fics I’ve written for them, as well as their dynamic in ACOMAF. But they’re no longer my OTP, and I no longer feel driven to write fic for them. I’m a little sad about this, but that’s the way things go sometimes.