On goodreads, I gave the latest book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series four stars though, in reality, it probably deserves 4.5 stars. This review will have spoilers.
I read A Court of Thorns and Roses in the summer of 2019, knowing only that it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I didn’t know how popular the series was or the twists and turns the original trilogy would take me on. Still, I fell in love with the books, the fae, and the world of Prythian so naturally, I had to get this book. Especially with Cassian being my favorite character.
A Court of Silver Flames switches point of views between Nesta and Cassian as Nesta embarks on a journey of recovery from the trauma she encountered in the war with Hybern as well as what she went through in the Cauldron. The book also shows the growth of Cassian and Nesta’s relationship as well as an ever-growing threat of war from the Queen Briallyn, who turned into a crone by the cauldron after Nesta took powers from it. Ever since, not only had Briallyn wanted to rule everyone, but has had a personal vendetta against Nesta.
It took me about three weeks to read this novel but not for lack of enthusiasm or interest. It was just so big–over seven hundred pages–and I can be a slow reader who takes breaks to scroll through my phone. There were some parts in the book, though, that were way more interesting than others. The last two hundred pages I read in a day, as it had me captivated.
When I first picked up the book, I was wary. I never liked Nesta; she always seemed selfish and vindictive and in the beginning of the book, she was exactly that. I thought it was going to be hard for me to gain sympathy for her. However, I am a sucker for a redemption arc and Nesta’s growth throughout the book really did get me feeling for her. By the end, her sacrifice for her friends and family meant everything. It was the only way she could redeem herself. That being said, I think Nesta’s sacrifice on Mount Ramiel was sufficient. She proved she was willing to live and die for her friends. The succeeding chapters in which Nesta relinquished her power to save Feyre may have been necessary for future plots Maas has planned, but I don’t think it was necessary for Nesta’s story. Nor was the pregnancy subplot at all. The minute Feyre announced she was pregnant, I lost interest in her and Rhys. I know it’s necessary that they produce an heir, but there is something about pregnancy plots that just make me lose interest.
Once I started to sympathize with Nesta, there were a lot of characters that began to annoy me, whom I loved before. Rhys seemed to act haughty the whole time, which could make sense coming from Nesta’s perspective. However, Rhys trying to keep a secret from Feyre that she might die in childbirth did seem out of character. Then, there was Amren. For someone that used to be best friends with Nesta, Amren seemed to be so evil in this book. I know her character is nonchalant and to-the-point but I never realized how biting her remarks and attitude were. I don’t understand how people like her.
That being said, I loved the introduction of two new characters: Gwyn and Emerie. They seemed so sweet. The friendship that blossomed between them and Nesta was my favorite part of the whole book. It seemed more than the smut and the training, the plot of the book was Nesta learning to be a friend and how to be vulnerable with others and she learned more from these two than from anyone else.
Speaking of smut, though, I could’ve done without half the sex scenes in the book. It was exciting to read at first, sure, but after a while, it just got old. I wanted to just skim over these chapters and get back to the plot. Though I knew the book would be smutty, it’s not labeled as erotica. I was here for the fantasy and the action (not that kind of action).
The training and becoming of Valkyries with the females, however, was a nice touch. Especially as Maas detailed how each character was recovering from their own trauma. This is partly why I love the series so much. Maas deals with trauma and mental health in a realistic way and shows that each character recovers and reacts differently. So maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on Nesta even in the beginning of the book…
All in all, I loved getting a chance to see the world through a perspective that was not Feyre or Rhys. It provided something new and exiting while the story of the world and potential wars carried on. If only now we could get an Azriel perspective….