A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
Published Date: February 16, 2021
Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.
Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.
Oh boy, oh boy. I don’t even know where to begin with this. Granted the book is huge and it’s hard to break down reviews sometimes in a way that’s helpful with such big titles.
I know A Court of Silver Flames was a huge release this year for the SJM/ACOTAR reading community. It’s been long awaited and with Corona Virus still keeping us mostly at home, this was a huge escape we were looking for. So with that, let’s begin… I guess. SPOILERS AHEAD – This might have to be separated into theme/topic sections
NESTA’S TRAUMA / DEALING WITH NESTA : This book follows Nesta, Feyre’s sister who was cauldron made, not long after the events of A Court of Frost and Starlight. So we know Nesta is dealing with the aftermath of the war with Hybern, losing her father, the trauma of it all, and she’s very much in some sort of depression, and can’t move on from what has happened. I feel like the representation of her coping mechanisms and her trauma was pretty well done. Some things triggering her, distancing herself from the inner circle, feeling inadequate compared to the others etc. I think that was pretty good, but I think it was a bit overdone within the book. We got a good chunk or glimpse of it in A Court of Frost and Starlight, I didn’t feel as though it needed to be constantly tossed at me again.
So, apparently Nesta digs herself in such a deep hole of depression that Netsa basically puts herself in such a bad spot with Rhys and Feyre that they choose to kick her out of the apartment she lives in to go to House of Wind, where she can’t leave unless someone comes to fly her out, or she has to walk the 10k stairs down to get out. Basically exile. With the condition she train with Cassian and work in the Library. Now, this rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t necessarily believe the correct way to deal with someone who clearly has trauma and depression is to rip everything away from them and force them into something they don’t want to do. There were ways to approach this without being so extreme, and threatening banishment essentially. And I wish we got some more insight in the attempts the inner circle made at the beginning of the book rather than the reiteration that Nesta is a complete mess. It actually shows that they’ve tried to put a good step forward and really help and be there for Nesta, not just let her dig herself into this hole and then one day BAM, WE NEED TO FIX NESTA. Also just the whole way the inner circle carried themselves and just dealt with the whole situation really bothered me. Except for Cassian and Azriel, I could do without them. Like they all love and just adore Elain and Feyre and it’s like…why not Nesta? Yes, she’s different, she has her problems and all the inner circle when through some TRAUMATIC times, why can’t they understand?
**Would like to mention, I understand stories need catalysts and events that move the storyline forward so please don’t think I’m just going into a hard roast of this book.**
FEMALE FRIENDSHIP: This was done so amazingly. Like I big BIG round of applause to SJM for her portrayal for female friendship and the bonds amazing friends make together. Gwyn and Emerie were like *chef’s kiss* to me. From the second Gwyn and Netsa met in the library, I was like YES YES YES THIS IS PERFECT. I thought between Clotho and Gwyn, the library was going to be the main source of healing for Nesta, but it didn’t turn out that way (that’s fine) but I was super excited for these new characters and they did not disappoint! I loved the idea of the Valkyries, and brining back a like Valkyrie 2.0 type of force to help the Illyrians. That was such an amazing idea!
QUEEN BRIALLYN: Why WHY DID THIS HAVE TO BE AN EVIL QUEEN BOOK? I felt like that was such a easy villain to bring to life, I was much more interested in Koschei. That would have been so amazing if it ended up being like a death god battle royale! Like COME ON. It was just asking to be done, but nooooo we had to just get a stupid old crone who needed three treasures to be defeated. It felt like it was lacking such substance, and the final face-off was so anti-climactic. Like if this was really like the evil queen seeking revenge on Nesta, this plot line should have been much more developed and the Queen interjecting herself into the Illyrian trials was like a big question mark for me. It just didn’t add up. I wish this was really ironed out a bit more, it felt rushed.
CASSIAN & NESTA : Oooohhh lordy. Do I have to write more? They’re intimate scenes were hella spicy, and well…they’ve got a lot of compatibility. I loved the relationship growth in this, and I loved the way Cassian just is himself but…different with Nesta. And the way she comes to fearlessly love him back it’s awesome. This was definitely more my style of romance. Don’t get me wrong, I loved ACOMAF and ACOWAR in terms of Rhys and Feyre, but this was so different and just so genuinely Cassian and Nesta that I enjoyed it.
“She would not be mastered by anything again. She was the master of herself.”
I mean…that right there, it says it all. Nesta had just such amazing growth throughout this whole book it was phenomenal. She never stopped pushing and never stopped growing it was just an amazing story about personal triumph. Especially growing into herself around Emerie and Gwyn. Those were such amazing moments and they felt like so relatable at times. I find some of myself in Nesta, before and after her growth so I really enjoyed seeing a bit of myself in her personal journey.
SIDE PLOTS : Oh boy. How I WISH two subplots were further explored. CASSIAN AS A COURTIER AND NESTA WITH ERIS AT THE BALL. This would have been AMAZING content for this book, absolutely so much fun because Nesta being head to head with Eris would have been phenomenal. And just developing Cassian outside of just the “war brute” name would have been amazing too! I’m so mad that this wasn’t explored further. And putting Nesta into a covert mission for the inner circle could’ve been something that made her feel more included and part of the group.
TAMLIN – OMG THE TAMLIN SUBPLOT. SOMEONE HELP. You can’t just have Tamlin be this huge part of books 1 and 2. Start making him less important then just sprinkle him into this book. PLEASE for the love of god, why was Tamtam brought into this? I don’t understand. I get that they were using the spring court as like a neutral zone and there was some sensitivity about the baby (don’t even get me started on that) and what not but yeesh, talk about unnecessary.
Feyre/Nyx – oh….don’t think I wasn’t going to bring up this whole pregnancy and birth thing we had going on. WAY TO STEAL THE SPOTLIGHT AWAY FROM NESTA. I get it, Fae birth is a big deal, it’s tough, it’s rare and what not but making it just a big chunk of the end book, I feel like took so much away from Nesta. Yes it was a big experience especially giving herself in terms of what the cauldron gave her back to spare Feyre and Nyx. But that whole chapter was so long and in depth with the delivery etc. It could have been a bit shorter like maybe Nesta gets there when the baby is already delivered and Feyre is almost dead and it triggers memories of her mother and then Nesta gives everything back to the cauldron or something. I don’t know, I just felt like it focused so much on forcing this redemption arc between Nesta, Feyre and Rhys that it was hard for me to appreciate.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, was I entertained? Yes. Would I re-read? Probably! I by no means am saying that this is just a 700 page paperweight, but I feel like there really were some flaws in this that I didn’t really see in the other books. But my love for Nesta and the development she got throughout this book is pretty much the saving grace, and well, the spicy scenes don’t disappoint either. I wish I could say that this was absolutely stunning like the first three were, I know a lot of people will probably want to put my head on a stick after reading this review, and I’m sorry if you feel that way, but opinions are opinions, and this book is still getting a good rating, don’t get me wrong. I just feel like this needed to be a little more baked or reviewed a few more times before publishing.