Monday, October 4, 2021

All Things Halloween Review - A Court of Silver Flames

A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 4)

By: Sarah J Maas

Publication: February 16th 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing

648 pages

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Fae

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

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Goodreads description--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.

There are two things that Sarah J Maas truly excels at writing in my opinion. (Okay, she's pretty stinking good at more than just these two things, but for me these are unique abilities that not all authors are good at.) One of those is characters that have suffered and have to work to overcome trauma to reach their peak potential, and the other is romantic relationships that transition from one character to another more fitting character. A Court of Silver Flames only had one of these so don't go freaking out on me at the mention of a relationship transition.

When we start A Court of Silver Flames, Nesta is in quite a bad mental space. She's suffering from PTSD over the war with Hybern, her transition from human to high fae, her being thrown into the cauldron against her will, having new unknown powers, and guilt over her father's death as well as the deaths of the Illyrian warriors she didn't save in order to save Cassian. That's a lot of weight on one's shoulders. And a lot of mental things to work through. Feyre and Rhys cut off her cash flow and give her an ultimatum: train with Cassian and work in the library under the House of Wind or be dumped in the human world where she will never be accepted or find peace. She really has no choice. Reluctantly she begins training and finds that doing so helps her.

When I truly sit down to list out the changes that occur in Nesta over the course of this book, I'm blown away at all Sarah J Maas worked in and accomplished. She learns about balance, breathing, mind stilling and meditation. She pushes her body and builds strength. She finds friends and sees that others could benefit from the same training that she's doing to overcome their own trauma. She helps others. She finds purpose and her determination goes beyond what anyone would expect. And really this is only scratching the surface.

Cassian is truly the perfect match for Nesta. His character balances her so much. He's cocky and arrogant at times, but he has reason to be since he can mostly back it up with action. He pushes Nesta to grow outside of her comfort zone. He never judges her even during the times when she makes him angry. He keeps offering his hand to help lift her up. He is the only one I believe truly capable of reaching her in this deep pit that she's in. Yet even though he helps her out a ton, the work has to be hers. She's responsible fo her emotions and her recovery from her trauma. His patience with Nesta rivals Rhys's, which makes their story beautiful.

I will say that the graphic content seemed to be taken up a notch in A Court of Silver Flames. There for a while, it felt like there was some very descriptive sexual scene every time you turn around. I have more to say about the nature of the content, but I think that gets into too personal territory here for this family-friendly blog. I do think in some ways this was done to show a contrast between where the characters are in their relationship during the earlier parts of the book versus as the storyline moves along how things change between them. Plus it seems to fit the characters' personalities. But for me, it was a bit much.

I didn't highlight much, only two times really. But I'll only share one of them with you.

-“That’s the key, isn’t it? To know the darkness will always remain, but how you choose to face it, handle it… that’s the important part. To not let it consume. To focus upon the good, the things that fill you with wonder.” She gestured to the stars zooming past. “The struggle with that darkness is worth it, just to see such things.”

So, so much happens in A Court of Silver Flames. The big bad hasn't been defeated, but I feel like Nesta and Cassian moved forward enough as characters that another major book from their POVs isn't necessary. I imagine we will be swapping main characters for the next book. I'm personally hoping for Az. This book was so complex that Sarah J Maas is truly a master of weaving it all together. I can't wait to move forward with any other future books. A Court of Silver Flames gets 4.5 Stars from me. (I deducted .5 Stars due to the graphic content.) Have you read A Court of Silver Flames? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

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