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A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

31900679_1771391786260047_5221924107238506496_nBook: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

“To family old and new.
Let the Solstice festivities begin.”

I don’t even know how to start this review. This was everything I needed and more. A Court of Frost and Starlight was fluffy, it was seeing my favourite characters be domestic, it was the Inner Circle and their constant, hilarious banter, it was about family, love, lose, celebration, and heartbreak and I’m too emotional to know how to take that all in and process it. I didn’t write notes when I was reading so I have no idea what will pour out of me as I try to coherently write down my thoughts.

A Court of Frost and Starlight, which has been explained by Sarah herself as a long novella that acts like a bridge from the trilogy to the spinoff books, is a gift.

The war has ended, but everyone is still working hard to heal themselves and the world around them. There are so many things to right, to rebuild, to ensure. But with Winter Solstice approaching, it opens an opportunity for a well-deserved break. We follow the Inner Circle as they balance preparations being made for their intimate celebration with the call to right the effects of the war and potential poison brewing. And perhaps a broken soul who can barely hold herself together.

I can’t even tell you the amount of times I laughed, squealed, and put down the book to take a breath. My experience reading A Court of Frost and Starlight was truly a joy. I am counting down the days for the next book. The concept of it has me pumped.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

I want to start with the fluffy stuff.

“Dangerous words, Rhysand,” Amren warned, strutting through the door, nearly swallowed up by the enormous white fur coat she wore. Only her chin-length dark hair and solid silver eyes were visible above the collar. She looked— “You look like an angry snowball,” Cassian said.”

The Inner Circle has been, and I believe always will be, the best group of characters that I’ve ever read about. They are so loving and supportive of each other, but most of all, I love their banter. Yes, each one of them was responsible for making me laugh during this read. I’m always craving for more with these characters, and it was so refreshing to be able to read about them not going to war. To be able to read about their normal lives in Velaris was such a beautiful sight, and I’m so happy that Sarah gave us this opportunity to experience it.

One of the most fun parts of this to me was them gift buying and figuring out what to get everyone. I just saw my friends and I and how it’s sometimes a battle to figure out what to get each other. I just loved reading something so relatable.

Now this is the last time we will be reading from Feyre and Rhys point of view. We will of course see them again as side characters, but after reading their story for three book and a novella, this end to their chapter was bittersweet. I don’t have much to say about them that I already haven’t said in the past. But I feel so grateful towards them because they represent such a healthy relationship. It has really opened my eyes in that aspect, which is one of many reasons why Sarah’s books are so important to me. I really wish to see more healthy relationships in future books that I read.

“A memory. Of me on the kitchen table just a few feet away. Of him kneeling before me. My legs wrapped around his head. Cruel, wicked thing. I heard a door slamming somewhere in the house, followed by a distinctly male yelp. Then banging—as if someone was trying to get back inside. Mor’s eyes sparkled. “You got him kicked out, didn’t you?” My answering smile set her roaring.”

I’m sure the whole neighborhood heard me squeal when I turned to chapter three and saw that it was from Cassian’s point of view. As much as I love Feyre and Rhys, my interest has piqued immensely in regards to certain side characters and their journey, not just as background characters to someone else’s story. I think it’s no surprise that those characters, for me, are Cassian and Nesta. Of course I’m all for Nessian and they as a potential romantic couple has turned into my biggest priority, but it’s so much more than that. Them as individual characters, now there’s something complex to analyze. Especially Nesta. Especially after the glimpse we got into her new life and how her journey is about to develop in the next book.

Something that I’ve always appreciated about Sarah J. Maas and her stories is how she showcases and deals with mental illness.

Nesta broke my heart in this book. I was devastated to see her so isolated, unwanted, and hollow. Can I saw I was surprised by her coldness? No. I expected it. But I was surprised by how her loneliness, her PTSD, her depression, her addictions, were enabled, were not helped, were left alone in hopes that it would go away by itself. This was enabled by her own family. I know Nesta is not the easiest to deal with, but it won’t get better if they leave her alone. I mean A Court of Wings and Ruin is proof that it is possible to crack Nesta’s coldness. Unfortunately, the war made her retreat back into herself, perhaps even worse than before, and no one stepped up to help her. And I know first hand that this situation should not be dealt with in isolation. I honestly don’t know what they expected by leaving her alone, but,

“I want you out of Velaris,” Feyre breathed, her voice shaking. Nesta tried—tried and failed—not to feel the blow, the sting of the words. Though she didn’t know why she was surprised by it. There were no paintings of her in this house, they did not invite her to parties or dinners anymore, they certainly didn’t visit— “And where,” Nesta asked, her voice mercifully icy, “am I supposed to go?” Feyre only looked to Cassian. And for once, the Illyrian warrior wasn’t grinning as he said, “You’re coming with me to the Illyrian Mountains.”

As hard as this is, I see hope for her future. I see her gaining a purpose. And I’m beyond excited to read about it.

A concept in this that I thought was beyond beautiful and really impacted me in a way I can’t describe is the idea of creating.

“I have to create, or it was all for nothing. I have to create, or I will crumple up with despair and never leave my bed. I have to create because I have no other way of voicing this.”

It’s as if this is voicing something in the back of my mind that has never fully formed on the surface. I’m in a point in my life where I am desperate to keep busy and I’m scared if I stop. Because I don’t know what will happen, who I will be if I let nothing consume my life. I just really wanted to bring it up because I thought it was a good reminder of that.

I want to end this review with a highlight. The line that had be roaring with laughter. The line that forced me to put down the book and take a breath.

“Cassian had named about two dozen poses for Nesta at this point. Ranging from “I will eat your eyes for breakfast” to “I don’t want Cassian to know I’m reading smut.”

This was everything and more. Nesta reads smut and she tries to hide that from Cassian. This is the stuff I live for. Maybe Cassian and Nesta can have a romance book club in the Illyrian Mountains. I need the next book already.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

acowar

Book: A Court of Wings and Ruin

 Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3

Genre: High Fantasy

 My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“Night Triumphant – and the Stars Eternal. If he was the sweet, terrifying darkness, I was the glittering light that only his shadows could make clear.”

 A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, my most highly anticipated book of the year, is the third instalment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. It’s the last book in Feyre’s point of view but not the last book in this series/world. My thoughts and feelings are all over the place so I’m going to try to explain everything in coherent sentences.

It was such a surreal moment when I got this beauty in my possession. I am glad that it took me a few weeks to finish reading because I wanted to savour every moment considering the wait for its release lasted a year.

A Court of Wings and Ruin follows the events of the previous book and Feyre is surrounded by enemies in order to discover their plans and break them apart from the inside out. She soon reunites with the wonderful inner circle and her sisters. There is a lot to prepare for the upcoming war and because of this we are introduced to so many new characters, such as all the high lords, as they are essential allies.

I loved this book, I love these characters with everything I am, and this series will always be special to me, but despite loving ACOWAR I wasn’t as in love with it as I was with ACOMAF. I am fiercely protective and fiercely in love with ACOMAF and it’s just one of those books that has touched my soul and given me hope. I know that the two books have different purposes but I think the problem was all the plotting and planning for the inevitable war. I understand that every single part of the war talk were puzzle pieces slowly coming together to lead up to a hopeful victory, but as a result I found the pacing of the book to be hard to get through at times. The last couple hundred pages actually helped with the pacing because I was so invested in what was going on, but alas my rating for ACOWAR is 4.5 Stars.

*Spoilers Ahead*

 I think something that really surprised me is that the first 120 pages, where Feyre was not yet reunited with her family, were not as boring as I was expecting. I didn’t exactly enjoy reading it because of the circumstances but what really saved it for me was Lucien. I obviously wasn’t a fan of Lucien in the previous book but I did believe that he was going to change and have that redemption arc. Throughout the first 120 pages his efforts to be that friend that Feyre desperately needed in book two was finally shining through. The friendship from Feyre’s side was unclear though because we knew she was undercover, pretending to have good intentions and feelings toward Tamlin and his court, so there were definitely times where I was confused about how genuine she was with Lucien. For example when Feyre pretended to have a nightmare and went to Lucien for comfort and Tamlin caught them, she knew about Tamlin’s wrath and how he was going to take it out on Lucien yet she still involved him. I mean what she did in order to prevent Tamlin from going to her room was clever. I just didn’t like how she put Lucien in that situation.

My heart broke when Lucien explained what he had to go through in terms of being forced to be with Ianthe and I was cheering Feyre on when she decided to stay and help Lucien from another one of Ianthe’s unwanted pursuits. Feyre didn’t think twice about all the precise plans and actions she thought out and executed on the people who hurt and threatened her family. We later see that Feyre genuinely is Lucien’s friend and I love how Feyre pulled a Rhys and took him to Velaris. Where he was expecting torture, suffering, and death, he was just as surprised as Feyre was that the reality was in fact the complete opposite from what he was expecting.

 “There are children laughing in the street. … He said it with such… quiet surprise. As if he hadn’t heard the sound in a long, long time.”

I don’t think I’ve ever fangirled as hard as I did when Feyre was reunited with the inner circle. Cassian and Azriel swooped in and saved Feyre and Lucien in the Winter Court and immediately I was relieved that Cassian’s wings were intact and Azriel was healed from his injuries. I had to stop reading to regain my ability to take deep breaths and settle my emotions when Rhys walked on the page. When Feyre fell to her knees when she first saw him my first thought was: Did she just faint? Because same.

I was holding on to every single interaction between the inner circle, Feyre and Rhys, and even Elain and Nesta. It was just so exciting to be able to read canon plots, dialogues, and interactions because I waited so long for their story to continue. Of course when it comes to Sarah J. Maas’s main group of characters, they are written so well that’s it’s hard not to fall in love with all of them. The back and forth between the inner circle (including Nesta) was my favourite thing ever. All the banter was hilarious.

“Scared?”

“Why should I be scared of an oversized bat who likes to throw temper tantrums?”

I need to talk about Feyre and Rhys because obviously they are my favorites and the ultimate ship of this series. In ACOMAF I lived for their relationship development, how they weren’t technically together but it was the best slow burn romance I have ever read. Reading about them falling in love will never cease to make me emotional and give me all the feels. In ACOWAR however, they are together, they are a power couple, they are in love, and despite loving this I wasn’t feeling that enthralled in their relationship as I was in the previous book. But don’t get me wrong, they are still my favourite ship and there were still a lot of steamy, beautiful, and heartbreaking moments. My honest thoughts were “I love them, they’re together. Now I want Nesta and Cassian together.”

First of all I need to establish that Nesta is one my favourite characters from ACOWAR. I loved how present Nesta and Elain were in this book, Nesta especially. Of course there were moments in the beginning where Nesta was being vicious, and I don’t think she will ever lose that about her, but her development throughout this book made me want to sob. She agreed to work with Amren to mend the wall, her relationship with Feyre began to improve, and she became the emissary to the human world for Rhys. When Nesta agreed to attend that meeting with the High Lords and tell her story, something she vowed to never do at the beginning of the book, was really the turning point in which I knew she was my favourite. I kept predicting that she was going to change her mind, and she did.

And of course there was the tension filled relationship between Nesta and Cassian that I was rooting for. I was living for the small mentions of Feyre observing the looks and body language between Nesta and Cassian. We didn’t get a chance to get their point of view, but Feyre kindly informed the readers what was going on. Nesta is a closed off person, she always puts on this uncaring mask, but anytime Cassian was in any sort of trouble, specifically when he was fighting in all the battles, Nesta’s mask came right off and her genuine fear of Cassian’s safety was displayed. But what absolutely broke me, despite it being one of the highlights of the book for me, was when Nesta couldn’t leave Cassian’s side when he was badly wounded and was about to be killed by the King of Hybern so instead she shielded his body with her own and was prepared to die with him.

“I have no regrets in my life, but this. That we did not have time. That I did not have time with you, Nesta. I will find you in the next world – the next life. And we will have that time. I promise.”

“Together. They’d go together.”

So how could I not be absolutely devoted to these two after that scene?

As for Elain, I was expecting her to end up with Lucien before I started reading the book and now having finished it, I can’t decide if I want her to end up with Azriel or Lucien. Honestly I wouldn’t mind either way but I find it interesting how a mating bond can be rejected. I’m not entirely convinced of either choice just yet but hopefully one of the next books will expand on their relationships.  

I’ve mentioned before that the pacing of this book was slow at times, mostly because of war talk, but with the war talk it allowed us to meet all the High Lords. I’ve taken the court quiz and I’m officially part of the Day Court, so being able to meet Helion was amazing. I didn’t have a high opinion of him during the meeting but we later find out that he was acting in a way that wasn’t truly him. We also find out that Helion is Lucien’s biological father, and being a big fan of Lucien throughout this book, I was really happy about this twist.

I don’t think I’ve ever been as stressed out when reading than when I was reading the last hundred pages of this book because I was convinced that either Azriel or Cassian was going to die. I was thankfully wrong, but of course Sarah J. Maas didn’t let her main characters go off easy because she decided to kill off Rhys… which truthfully I wasn’t really affected by because I just knew that there was going to be some way to bring him back. What really got me though was Feyre’s reaction to his death, it absolutely crushed my soul. Just how she described the bond going blank was really heartbreaking. All the High Lords, including Tamlin, and Feyre brought him back, which is really interesting because the most powerful High Lord in history now possesses even more power from every High Lord and High Lady.

Something that I wasn’t expecting was Amren’s return. After she turned into her true form and ended the war Rhys gave her the opportunity to come back, and she took it. Now her true form is officially Fae.

The ending was definitely satisfying, especially because everyone in the inner circle made it out alive, but there are still so many stories that were not concluded. I know they will be the topics of the next books though. Personally, I’m really hoping that the next book follows Nesta and Cassian because I’m absolutely obsessed.