Title: A Court of Silver Flames
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series? A Court of Thorns and Roses (#4)
My Rating: ★★★★★
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Fiction
Age Range: New Adult
Publication: 16 February 2021 (Bloomsbury)
CW: assault, sex, death, mentions of abuse, mentions of rape, mentions of miscarriage, mentions of suicidal thoughts (For all warnings, check here)
Welcome back to Velaris, dear reader.
Returning to this magical world and the characters within it feels like a security blanket. As I dove into A Court of Silver Flames, I was admittedly mildly concerned about drifting away from Feyre’s narrative. It was something so familiar and comforting. However, I fell into Nesta’s story almost immediately. I genuinely believe this is one of the best A Court of Thorns and Roses books to date.
Following the events of the novella A Court of Frost and Starlight, A Court of Silver Flames follows Nesta and Cassian up to the House of Wind where Nesta is sequestered for bad behaviour in Velaris. Subjected to days of training with Cassian and working in the depths of the library, Nesta is forced to come to terms with the darker parts of herself—and learn how to live with grief and trauma.
After the novella, I was a bit apprehensive going into this book.
If you don’t remember my review of A Court of Frost and Starlight—or if you haven’t read it yet—you can get a quick refresher here. In that review, I talked about the controversial depiction of Nesta which effectively reversed her original character development. At that point, I wondered if Sarah J. Maas’s decision to turn Nesta into a colder, crueller version of herself was to set the scene for the events in A Court of Silver Flames. Thankfully, I was right. Nesta’s character development is at the centre of this novel.
This book deviated quite a bit from A Court of Thorns and Roses and its sequels, but in a good way. I didn’t want to replicate Feyre’s journey; I wanted something fresh and new, set in the same world I fell in love with. That’s exactly what A Court of Silver Flames delivered. There is a hint of similarity in Feyre’s struggles with mental health, but Nesta’s trauma is far more pervasive and dark. Her story felt deeply personal and Sarah J. Maas even alluded to the fact that she pulled from her own experiences to craft Nesta’s journey.
Nesta’s story is an important, but difficult one to read.
The primary difference between A Court of Silver Flames and A Court of Frost and Starlight is that in the novella, you weren’t given much of a reason to sympathize with Nesta. She acted out for reasons that weren’t really disclosed to the reader. After three books of adoring Feyre, Rhys and the gang, we were left to grapple with Nesta shitting on them for no perceivable reason.
Enter: A Court of Silver Flames. Hearing Nesta’s perspective on the story, her traumatic thoughts revolving around the war and the self-hatred that she allowed to consume her, was devastating. Nesta’s PTSD felt so real that I often forgot I was reading fiction. What made Nesta’s story so irrevocably different from Feyre’s was that Nesta still clung to her humanity in a way that Feyre did not.
Can we take a moment to appreciate—and rave about—Cassian?
I feel Nesta’s character development is so strong that it sometimes overshadows Cassian. But Cassian’s story is no less potent or captivating. I was intrigued when I hear that A Court of SIlver Flames would be a dual perspective between Nesta and Cassian because this was new territory for this series.
The most important criteria for me in a dual perspective novel are: 1) distinct voices for each character and 2) value from both perspectives. If you give a character a point of view that provides nothing to the plot, it’s not worthwhile to me. However, we got Nesta’s mental health journey, her interactions with new characters outside of the Inner Circle, and her personal and physical growth, along with Cassian’s experiences with the Inner Circle—who don’t often interact with Nesta— as well as his role as courtier and his backstory.
As an aside, it’s worth mentioning that this book teeters far more to the “adult” side than “young adult”. In other words, it’s a lot spicier than the original trilogy and novella. I would advise against recommending this book to young adults/pre-teens without fully knowing what you’re getting into!
While I missed Feyre and Rhys in this book, I love this world and I would love to see different storylines opened up for other characters.
Synopsis: 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.
Are you a fan of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series? Let me know in the comments!
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