A Court of Silver Flame, by Sarah J. Maas

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 move past the horrors of the war. 


The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites.

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.

Trigger Warnings:

Trauma, Mental Health, Alcohol Dependency, Violence, Blood, and Scenes of a Sexual Nature. 

Furthermore: this is part of a series which was initially a YA Fantasy. However, whilst this novel has YA themes and pacing, it is NOT a YA Book. 

‘I am the rock on which the surf crashes. Nothing can break me.’

Sarah J. Maas. A Court of Silver Flames

This time last year, I’d not read any Sarah J. Maas. Not a single book. And now, I’m knee deep into three series. A Court of Silver Flame is the 4th (5th if you include Court of Frost and Starlight, but I’ve been warned not to bother) in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, a YA Beauty and the Beast Retelling, and THE fantasy romance. High Queen etc, etc. I’ve also read House of Earth and Blood: Crescent City – the urban fantasy/murder mystery and VERY ADULT novel which came out last year (it’s also the first SJM book I ever read) and I’m a couple of books into the Throne of Glass series, SJM’s Debut Series (which I’m not enjoying as much, for a couple of reasons. Mainly, the best bits she’s used again in these later novels, and also because these novels are just lighter/more fun. Like SJM enjoyed writing them more, you know?) 

This review is for those who haven’t read the series yet, so if I seem overly vague – that’s why. But I wanted to include a blog about this book because, honestly, each book (bar one) of this series just gets better and better. So long as you enjoy 700 page books about horny fae with internalised trauma and a short temper. Which I do. If you grew up reading Divergent, The Selection, Throne of Glass, Shadow and Bone, Cinder, Poison Study or any of those other fantasy romance/adventure stories: Crescent City and ACOSF is for you and your adult self (the one who won’t settle for ‘just kissing’). 

And if you’re wondering if they’re any good, rather than just ‘popular’, Sarah J Maas is an award winning best seller, and the hardback for ACOSF sold out so quickly, it’s already out for reprint. (The book came out on the 16th of Feb, and there STILL aren’t any copies available for independents.) 

‘Let him hate her. It was better that way.’

Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Silver Flames

There’s a split perspective between Cassian, my new favourite character- roguish, funny, compassionate and erm… hung like the proverbial, apparently; and Nesta. Whilst the initial ACOTAR trilogy saw Feyre fighting for love, ACOSF is about Nesta fighting to return to herself. She’s been torn from her home, changed into a ‘monster’ and she’s feels to blame for the death of someone she cares about a lot, even if she won’t admit it to herself.  

The pacing of the MANY short chapters does create a great balance between Nesta’s swirling mental spiral of doom, and her forceful actions. She stands up for everyone around her, and learns through out this book how to stand up for herself, without hurting those she cares about. There’s always been something fascinating about Nesta. She has a very ‘Queen Cersei’ air about her, but without the child murder and general cruelty. She’s interesting and the total opposite of her sisters (who we meet in the first three books, and understand their motives, whilst she keeps her own to herself). 

When a character is confronted with a situation or world they don’t like, don’t wish to be a part of, but must fight for, it’s creates this really intriguing conflict and there’s a LOT of that in this book.

But mainly there are graphic sex scenes. Like. Really graphic. So graphic, I’m kinda worried that SJM has said Crescent City 2 is going to be even more graphic. This book would be 500 pages shorter without the sex scenes, so I appreciate that if you’re into High/Epic Fantasies rather than internalised, reflective narratives with sword fights and sex scenes to break them up, this book is probably not for you. 

Me, however, I gave it 5 stars. Because, whilst this book isn’t going to win the Booker – it’s so much fun.

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