A Court of Thorns and Roses #4
I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy A Court of Silver Flames as much as the first three books in the series, but ultimately my trust in Sarah J. Maas’ ability to redeem flawed characters made me realize there was no way I wouldn’t enjoy it! For those who don’t know, this is very much an adult book and the entire series has been rebranded by the publisher as an adult series.
From the publisher marketing:
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.
I wasn’t entirely sure how much I was going to enjoy this particular installment in the series. Of all the characters in Prythian, I felt most similar to Nesta personally, so I was actually a little afraid to read more of her story. But, as I told my friends who weren’t huge Nesta fans when they asked if they should still read A Court of Silver Flames, yes, they should read it because I have faith in Sarah J. Maas’ ability to redeem disliked characters convincingly and authentically. Though whether Tamlin should ever be redeemed is still a matter of debate.
A note on structure – I was so glad Sarah wrote A Court of Silver Flames in third person. As a reader I’m very much over first person unless it is exceptionally well done. In writing in third person, we were able to see not only into Nesta and Cassian’s perspectives, but also a bit into some of Nesta’s new friends which was amazing.
While the original cast from the first three (and a half) books were relegated to the background for the most part with the slight exception of Azriel, we’re introduced to two new and wonderful characters, Gwyn, a young priestess who works in the library at the House of Wind, and Emerie, an Illyrian woman from Windhaven, one of the Illyrian camps in the mountains.
While, spoiler alert, Nesta may be Cassian’s mate and her relationship with him certainly evolves over the course of the book, neither he, nor Rhys and Feyre’s court, are really the people that Nesta wants to spend all of her time with. There’s a reason we have family, and then we have friends. Our family, who we often love, can often drive us crazy. Typically they know us best, which is sometimes a terrifying thought. You don’t always want to spend all your time with the people who have known you forever, who know every bad and stupid thing you’ve ever done in your life. A person needs friends, needs a chosen family to relax with, to get to know, to spend time with, etc.
With Gwyn and Emerie, we get to see Nesta become Nesta, not just Feyre’s sister, Rhys’ antagonist, Cassian’s love interest, Amren’s student, etc. She finally gets the chance to be her own person, to figure out what she wants her life to be, defined and lived on her own terms. All three women have been hurt in some way, each has lost friends and family, AND THEY DON’T JUST TALK ABOUT MEN! It’s so refreshing to read what is, in essence, a romance novel, and have so many wonderful female characters. Sarah’s books always have great characters with tremendous depth, but in those depths, are sometimes dark and terrifying secrets that can reflect back on us a bit more clearly than we would sometimes like.
Rating: 9 out of 10