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Did I stay up all night to read A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas the second that I received the book? Yes. Was I in the middle or reading another book before this? Yes. Do I care? No. Am I going to do a normal review? Also no… mostly as my mind is swarming too much to form a formal write up of my thoughts. So, instead I’m just going to share thoughts I had after I finished reading the book.
- Published: February 16, 2021
- Page Count: 768
- Genre: Fantasy, Romance
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.
Be warned there are spoilers ahead for A Court of Silver Flames.
This book takes place a year after the events in the main series where Feyre was the main/only POV. Instead this story jumps back and forth between Cassian and Nesta in the 3rd POV. Not only that, but the overall book tone has switched from Young Adult to Adult with way more emphasis on romance than fantasy.
Up until this point the story and characters we have only really seen from the lens of Feyre with a few additional chapters from A Court of Frost and Starlight dipping into Cassian, Nesta, Rhysand, and Morrigan. So, our filter on these characters have been limited based off Feyre’s interactions with them. This book we get the other side of that: Cassian and Nesta. Someone still in the Inner Circle and considers them family, and Nesta who has completely shut them out following the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin. With Cassian’s POV more to share background to the world and fantasy story arc versus character development which we get from Nesta.
I wasn’t a fan of Nesta until A Court of Wings and Ruin, and understood both sides of the situation. I’ve been both Nesta and Feyre. Doing anything and everything to drown out my depression. And having enough of the bullshit of dealing with someone’s addictions and toxicity. So, even with the shift in POV, I didn’t find myself suddenly against Feyre’s side. I understood both sides to see the overall picture. Feyre tried to let Nesta sort things out, because nothing else she tried had worked. So, yes she made a decision to give Nesta a choice: learn control to help figure your shit out with Cassian’s training and work in a library, or get out of the damn territory to figure it out and how to survive alone.
Of course, Nesta doesn’t initially like being forced to deal with her problem. Like any person forced into rehab not wanting to face their demons or willing to admit they have them. So, it takes Nesta awhile and she lashes out. But eventually she does start training with Cassian, granted at the House of Wind instead of the Illyrian war-camp. Not only that but she offers up Cassian’s training to the priestesses in the library and a female Illyrian from war-camp who has clipped wings. Mostly to help them no longer feel powerless as messed up situations in their lives made them feel. This leads her to making friends of her own outside of the Inner Circle. Ones who understand Nesta in a way that her sisters can’t.
Yes, the Inner Circle all has trauma but there’s a difference there. One they won’t be able to help Nesta with. Feyre, Azriel, Mor, and Rhysand were all locked up, abused and tortured. Nesta wasn’t. Feyre bonds with Cassian over the poverty upbringing, while his bonds with the others are that of family do to being raised together. Of course, that band isn’t going to understand what Nesta is going through. She feels like she failed everyone because she couldn’t do anything to save them. She couldn’t save Feyre from Tamlin or having to hunt to survive. She couldn’t save their father as she was too scared and didn’t know how to use her powers. She couldn’t save Elain from being turned into Fae or from being captured by the cauldron. Who gets that her new friends with Gwyn (a priestess that survived the temple attack in A Court of Mist and Fury) and Emerie (the female Illyrian with clipped wings). Both of those girls know way more about what Nesta went through than anyone in the Inner Circle does, so of course they were never going to be the ones to help her. Anyone expecting that of them or them to understand what Nesta is going through is foolish.
And I’m glad she figured out that the key to getting out of her depression was she had to “let go of the past”. Sure, she made bad calls but they didn’t have to define her forever. She could acknowledge the thoughts then let them go. Which isn’t something she learned from her relationship with Cassian, no that came from Valkyrie teachings Gwyn showed her. Cassian on the other hand was the anchor to be there when she needed someone. Along with the House of Wind… who Nesta makes sentient with her powers. Which I found to be hilarious.
Especially as in the end Rhysand and Feyre give the house to the two of them, since they’ve never used it. The only conditions are the library remains for the Priestesses and the Night Court gets to use it for formal functions. Otherwise, Feyre and Rhysand are content in their new riverside estate that has rooms for everyone including Nesta. Feyre never shut her out of the family. She just didn’t have art up of Nesta as she didn’t have something to paint of her sister to display in the house. But in the end, Feyre adds one of Nesta during the Blood Rite that she had been forced into. One she survived and got almost to stone. She just didn’t finish the hike as she wanted Gwyn and Emerie to complete it, and holds the line against the male Illyrians in the Rite that want them dead. And this is the painting Feyre displays in the estate.
Side note on Feyre’s painting. I’m glad it’s confirmed that Feyre is a good artist. I always thought she was, but TikTok was going on and on about how terrible she was. Making it “canon”. But of course, Feyre isn’t going to mention how good of an artist she is. Most artists think their work isn’t that great. But Cassian and Nesta both support the claim that she’s good. Good to a point where they are moved by her art.
Nesta’s journey of facing her fears and pushing herself is great. A lot of the things she learned as better coping mechanisms are ones that I use. They are healthier, and no they don’t get rid of everything. But they help you get through and pass them. Acknowledging pass failures and letting them go. Breathing and calming the mind. Refocusing your energy into something positive like working out or training. All the while not changing just to fit in some perfect bubble. Again, I like that she got better on her own. She didn’t just change because of Cassian. Yes, he helped her along the way acknowledge and figure that out. But not in a romance way, in a friend way… granted yes, those two had sex A LOT. Like the second they they saw each other A LOT.
Speaking of their relationship, I like how it has that tension almost all the way through the book. My favorite moment has to be when Nesta lost all train of thought at him and described the book she was reading as “It’s a book… about books.” Slow claps… slow claps. She also has that freak out moment with Cassian like Feyre had with Rhysand. That the latter knew about the mating bond, but didn’t say anything to them. Granted, Nesta literally saw the thread appear between them and didn’t recognize what it meant until Cassian mentions it weeks later. About how he took off like immediately after it appeared, so the whole sex crazed thing didn’t happen. Granted, when Cassian goes to see her the next day she was kidnapped and forced into the Blood Rite, which he can’t interfere with. So, they can’t talk about it until afterwards. And they don’t end up doing the bond acceptance as like the Boss she is, Nesta wants a mating bond ceremony. An over-the-top ceremony on Rhysand’s wallet. Granted, he offers it as payback for what Nesta did for him, Feyre, and Nyx.
Also, can we talk about how Feyre and Rhysand finally have their baby boy named Nyx?! So cute! Granted, Feyre almost dies giving birth to Nyx due to the fact that he has wings. And the three of them only live because Nesta makes a bargain with the Cauldron: Feyre (Rhysand by proxy of his bargain with Feyre) and Nyx’s life in exchange for almost all of her power. This also results in Feyre’s and Nesta’s reproductive anatomy being altered from High Fae to Illyrian. So, both of them can have children in the future without anyone almost dying in the process. Also, it’s a bit cruel that everyone kept the secret that Feyre would likely die in child birth from her. She shouldn’t have found out the way she did. And I get why Rhysand reacted the way he did. The dude was already overprotective as it was, keeping a literal shield around Feyre, so no one could touch or smell her. Nesta shouldn’t have spat it at Feyre the way she did. But at the same time, no one was going to tell Feyre that she might die. That her, Rhysand, and Nyx were all screwed. And I love Amren being the always cranky aunt going “Fools. Romantic, idealistic fools… We can discuss the idiocy of this bargain later.”
As for the bonus chapters…
The Feysand one is basically just the two of them having a moment in the study recounting the moment Feyre and Rhysand realize that she’s pregnant, coming up with a baby name (Nyx), and joking over Rhysand’s family name. Granted, we don’t get to know it. I’m really curious what it is. Feyre obviously knows it. Share it with us, come on!
The Azriel one on the other hand is very similar to A Court of Frost and Starlight in a way. Azriel gives Elain a Solstice gift away from everyone (a rose necklace) and almost kisses her, but Rhysand tells him off for going after her when Lucien is around. Azriel takes the necklace back and gives it away to Gwyn without her knowing he gave it to her. His shadows were interested in her, but I think he was only doing it as a nice gesture. Elain and him clearly have mature attraction towards each other and care about one another. Which is why he has been staying away from her, due to the whole she has a mate thing. Honestly, I don’t think Elain is ever going to accept the bond, but doesn’t turn Lucien down because she doesn’t know how. It’s her way of dealing with the world, making everyone see her as innocent and sweet. She’s had sex already before Nesta, and its shown multiple times in multiple books that Elain would rather be with Azriel. He understands her in a way others don’t, and she opens up to him. I’m curious what’s going to happen in the future with these two. It’s been a hinted at thing now for three books. Either it’s going to happen in the next book or it’s not. But Azriel is no longer pining over Mor, that’s for damn sure.
Speaking of Solstice, we finally learn what was in the box from Cassian the previous Solstice. The one he threw into the river. It was a miniature illuminated book that he thought Nesta as a book lover would enjoy. He has such thoughtful gifts for her. The one from this book was a music player with all the songs she liked around Velaris and the songs they danced to at the Night Court. He had the musicians play them for him alone, so he could record the songs for her without any background noise.
There were just so many moments I loved in this book. I could go on for a long time, but realizing how long this post is already getting I’m going to stop it there. As for a quick rating. I’d give it a 4.25 star out of 5. Mostly knocking it for the fantasy plotline, it was good but it gets a bit lost in the background of Nesta’s character development and her relationship with Cassian especially at the end. Still good, but not going to be something I honestly really remember about this book.
Week Later Thoughts (Added 2/27/21)
It’s been over a week since I read the book and I wanted to add a few things since I’ve re-read the book a few times now. And had more time to think. One I’ve lowered the rating slightly from 4.5 to 4.25, and here is my reasoning:
- Ending is hella rushed. All the action happens in the last part of the novel. Yes, it’s a conclusion to everything that it was gearing up for, but it still is very rushed with how everything concludes.
- The enemy is extremely forgettable. I wish there had been more to the plot other than: sex/relationship, training, and Nesta’s mental health. Granted, the later I don’t mind as much. It was needed. But I miss the fantasy plot element to this series. I know it was a romance technically, but I’m a fantasy person first and for-most.
- How the literal heck do Nesta, Emerie, and Gwyn manage to win the Blood Rite with only six months of training, but Feyre who had about the same amount of training couldn’t help during the war? Survive, I could see but win against warriors who have been training for decades? Hell no. Considering most warriors never make it to the mountain in general, how do three under-trained individuals manage it? And don’t say the breathing and mind-stilling techniques. It’s supposed to be insanely difficult to make it to the mountain, and those three manage it with no issues. Yes the human Queen used the Crown to manipulate some things, but that doesn’t change the fact that they shouldn’t have gotten that far with little training.
- I don’t mind that Nesta lost her power. Mostly as it wasn’t her power to begin with. Other characters that Sarah J. Maas took powers from in the end, truly lost their power that was theirs. But Nesta’s was stolen. It didn’t belong to her, so her giving it back was her acknowledging that there are more important things than revenge. Plus the Mother allows her to keep some in the end, because of this. It doesn’t weaken Nesta’s character, in my opinion. Plus, she still has some we just don’t know how much. And the Dread Trove still works for her, when it would kill anyone else. She’s still freaking powerful.
- Also, if Nesta was at the point of passing out going down the stairs… how the hell did she go back up the same amount of stairs immediately afterwards?! No. Not possible.
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