A Court of Silver Flames
by Sarah J. Maas
Let me start off by saying that Mrs. Maas and I have quite the history, as reader and author. A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of my favorite fantasy series ever written. Throne of Glass has some of my favorite and least favorite books ever written. And the infamous Crescent City was one of the worst books I have ever read. I don’t say any of that to disparage Mrs. Maas (as I came to call her in my reading vlog of this experience), but to set the tone for all the possible outcomes reading this novel could have had.
As it turns out this book fell solidly in the middle, and might on a reread come out closer to the top of my Maas book list.
This story follows characters from the first A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. We get to pick up where all their misadventures left off just a few years post the war. Right off the bat, this book set itself apart by giving us dual points of view, both male and female.
I realized pretty quickly that Cassian may have only been my favorite character when I saw him through Feyre’s point of view. The Cassian we meet in this story, while he remains true to his character in the previous novels, was a little more sexual than I recall. This could also be stemming from the fact that in this novel we’re in his head, so to speak, and there is no denying that he is very, very male.
All of his redeeming qualities that made me fall in love with him are still represented, but towards the beginning some of his thoughts rubbed me the wrong way. A lot of times when it came to Nesta, Cassian’s inner monologue would respond to her physical attributes first (and I don’t mean remarks about her looking tired or too thin), before exploring her emotional well being or state of mind.
With my favorite male character ever written teetering on the edge of his pedestal, it was up to Nesta to fill in the gaps. When this story begins I could not have cared less what Nesta did, who she hurt, or how she behaved. It wasn’t until Nesta began having conversations with other women, and exploring her own trauma that I finally began to see her personality instead of the facade created to survive.
I could not wait to see Nesta’s powers get explored in this book. I fully expected us to finish this novel not knowing the full scope of her abilities, but was happily surprised when chapter by chapter the magic she stole from the cauldron was unraveled.
Let’s talk about who my favorite character in this novel turned out to be. Did you guess sentient house? Because neither did I! I absolutely fell in love with Nesta’s interactions with the house, and by extension the library(s) throughout. Through the house, and Nesta’s subsequent grounding within its walls, we got to meet more characters who helped Nesta come out of her shell. I loved the women who supported one another, and encouraged themselves to do the hard things, including reviving a long lost, all female, fighting battalion.
As always, Mrs. Maas never fails to center these stories around art. Feyre is a Painter. Elaine is a gardener, and Nesta is a dancer. Music and dancing filled too few pages of this novel. I could have read chapters upon chapters of Nesta describing music or dancing lessons, or how she captivated everyone in a room by her dancing alone. I fell in love with these scenes, and how they literally transported Nesta to another place when she was in the presence of music.
My only gripe with this novel was the plot. There just wasn’t enough. I wish I had gone in expecting a fantasy romance, heavy on the romance. It felt like Mrs. Maas had heard her audience’s pleass for more smut after the conclusion of the first trilogy, and put everything she could think of into this one book. It was well written and serves its purpose, but it was a little too much for me (did we really need this to be 800 pages? I’m just wondering).
I wanted more suspense, more rogue magic, and more fighting evil fae. My favorite scenes are the ones where there is a sense of danger, scenes that forced me to scan ahead a few pages to make sure everyone made it out alive, or left me questioning everything that had just happened.
Overall I was thrilled to be back in Velaris, and back with our bat boys. If you are on the fence of giving this book a chance, I say go for it. I cannot wait to read this again, especially after some of the revelations towards the end (honestly I cannot believe I didn’t see that coming). Right now this book gets four stars from me, but I have a feeling that on a reread this could easily become a solid five stars.