Book Review: A Court of Silver Flame by Sarah J Maas
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 already read this book and reviewed it when it first came out. However, I've been in a bit of a hole lately with my reading and I wanted to read something that would fill me warmth and happiness.
I said many things back in February that I didn't like about this novel: Rhys's behavior, the Az bonus chapter, how it felt like Sarah was intentionally writing Mor out of the story because she didn't want to address the LGBTQ+ representation after all of the flack she's gotten on lack of diversity. Those things are all still true.
But... that doesn't change that this is still my favorite book in the entire ACOTAR series.
Don't get me wrong. I still love Feyre and Rhysand. Their story is iconic and timeless, but there is something about Nesta and Cassian's relationship that's just *chef's kiss*. While I acknowledge the majority of the book was fae smut and not actual plot, I still loved every word of it.
One thing that Sarah has always done well is mental health representation. It doesn't negate her shortcomings in other areas at all. I am so glad that she decided to explore Nesta's journey from both she and Cassian's points of view. I'm so glad that she showed how deep trauma and self-loathing go. I love that the constant message here was "keep reaching out your hand." This is something that I will always, always try to do when the people I care about are struggling. It's important to reach out, but also to realize that sometimes people don't always take that hand.
While this is one of my personal favorites, it's not something that I would tell people OMG you have to read it NOW, unless you've already read the rest of the series. Absolutely explore the first three novels and novella prior to jumping into this one.
I think my favorite thing about the ACOTAR series is that every time I reread it, I discover something new that I absolutely love. The first time I read the series, it was for Feyre's journey. The second time, I actually fell in love with Nesta and Cassian. I mean, the scene in ACOWAR with the line about wishing for more time? Ugh! Break my heart, SJM, just break it!
I can't remember if I wrote this in my original review, but I want to point out one issue that I did have with this.
Nesta's entire narrative is that she didn't have a choice in the things that happened to her. While I adore she and Cassian more than anything, I would have liked for them to not be mated. Because: 1. ACOTAR established that mates were rare, but all three Archeron sisters have them? Nah. And, 2. It would have been so much sweeter because Nesta chose Cassian, and some primal bond didn't make that choice. While she came around to it in the end, I still would have liked to see that not be a thing.
There's nothing I love more than when a character chooses their love interest.
Another thing I'd like to note is that as ACOTAR has gotten more popular, the fanbase has become a little hard to swallow. When the ACOTAR series was announced, a large portion of the fanbase bullied an actress because she followed SJM on social media by saying she wasn't skinny enough to be Feyre (which is a joke, that woman is GORGEOUS!). I'm so concerned that the fanbase is going to ruin the show for everyone. I really hope they cast lesser known actors to play the inner circle, like Netflix did with Shadow & Bone.
I can't wait to see what happens next in the ACOTAR series.
And... my little heart would love to see a redemption arc for Tamlin. Okay byeeee.