Fantasy Fiction

Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Reading format: Hardback

Content warnings: Sex, kidnapping, gore, discussion of rape, discussion of cultural body mutilation, fighting, sexism

Rating: 4/5

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The war is over, for now, and Feyre and her inner circle have settled into a general sense of ease. That is, except for Nesta who continues to grapple with the horrors she faced in the war. She struggles to find a place for herself in the Fae world, a world the Cauldron forced her to join. Stubborn and self-loathing, Nesta turns frequently to drink and sharing her bed with Fae men to dull her pain. After months of letting Nesta try to help herself, her family intervenes and sends her to the House of Wind. There she must train with Cassian, who gets under her skin, and help the priestesses in the library. By doing these tasks, Nesta’s family hopes she’ll find a sense of self, purpose, and healing.

Meanwhile, the Night Court continues to gather intelligence on the human queen Briallyn, who remains intent on seeking revenge against Nesta; keep an eye on Beron; and forge alliances with more distant Fae lands. As Nesta settles in to her new routine, she discovers that she may be the only one capable of stopping Briallyn’s treachery. To do so she must learn to conquer her inner fears, regrets, and love herself.

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t as excited about this book because it’s through Nesta’s (and Cassian’s) point of view. Nesta is a piece of work and is not my favorite character in the series. And, admittedly, the first 100 pages or so are slow. They also contain a lot of Maas’s classic overuse of ellipses and incomplete sentences to impart drama or show that someone is thinking. I found this so distracting in the first 100 pages that I had to put the book down for a few days and read something else. I’ve mentioned in my other reviews of this series (ACoTaR, ACoMaF, ACoWaR, ACoFaS) that I think the writing needs improvement, but apparently it’s her style because it obviously got published.

Anyway, once I pushed through the first seventh of the book (yes, it’s over 700 pages long), I started to enjoy it more. A Court of Silver Flames is ultimately about self-acceptance and self-love. It’s about facing events that you have no control over and taking responsibility for those you do. It’s about healing and accepting what has happened to you and letting it roll over you so that you can find inner peace. This book is also about allowing yourself to be vulnerable and learning to trust others while also maintaining your independence.

I enjoyed all of the themes of this book. And even though I think Nesta is a trying character, I grew to appreciate her more as the story progressed. She experiences a lot of character growth and becomes a better person for it.

This next bit is a bit spoiler-y, but I love that there’s a quest to find three magical objects: the mask, the harp, and the crown. I won’t go into detail, but I think the concept behind each object, or what they can do, is so interesting. The harp interests me the most, particularly because Nesta seemed to be able to sense some of the history behind it.

Which leads me to my next point–I am a big fan of the continuous world-building of the Fae world and its history. There are more history lessons in this book for the reader and I hope to learn more. At least, I assume in the future we will; this book is primarily about Nesta’s and Briallyn’s vengeance and doesn’t resolve the looming threat of another war.

After reading it I learned from one of my book club friends that there’s a bonus chapter; it’s specific to the Barnes & Noble edition. I still haven’t read it yet, but this is a “for your information” announcement that it’s out there!

What were your thoughts? I’m always eager to discuss this series with others!

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