For a lover of Sarah J. Maas and a fan of many years, I did however find myself taking a bit longer to reach for her latest release — A Court of Silver Flames.
I am a massive fan of the ACOTAR series, and have re-read it more than another other series I own. The relationship and personal development of Rhysand and Feyre as characters are one of the best I have ever read, and I am very much a lover of the entire cast. However, a book dedicated to Cassian and Nesta, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.
First it was strange to have the same story continued, and yet not have it from Feyre’s perspective. Saying that, I do love Cassian’s character, and unlike fans that I know, I never disliked Nesta. I know she was a bit unliked with her treatment towards Feyre and her attitude, but I never found myself loathing her, however, she is very different from Feyre and from having seen the tale so far played out in her eyes, it was interesting to take it in another turn.
Saying all this, I had heard that many fans who disliked Nesta changed their attitude completely whilst reading this, so after a few weeks after it’s release, I decided to go ahead and buy it.
Starting off with Nesta broken and beaten. It’s a few months after the events of the last book, and Nesta is even more destroyed and closed in on herself. It is revealed that herself and Amren had a falling out and Nesta refuses to see anyone. She has isolated herself and instead chooses to indulge herself in alcohol and sex. Cassian is still licking his wounds from the way Nesta treated him after the war and it’s quite refreshing to have the mention that he hasn’t had any sexual pleasure since before Feyre broke the curse. It’s almost like Maas decided to swap what other authors normally do and have the woman as the one seeking comfort through sex rather than the male and proves that it is not a typical male thing — flipping the stereotype.
But what I do love about the opening is that it goes straight into it. You have Nesta being summoned by the inner circle and saying that she needs to get out of this rut and will train with Cassian for the possible war that is looming and will be kept in the House of Wind so she can no longer indulge herself. To me, the fact that she would be stuck with Cassian meant that something was going to happen. But perhaps Maas knows her reader’s aren’t stupid and didn’t feel the need to hide a possible ‘will they won’t they’ within the beginning.
I’m going to quickly mention that yes, sex comes into it, and yes I did quite like the nod to the fact that Feyre and Rhys’ relationship started with her thinking she just needed sex and nothing else, and it went further with Cassian and Nesta, but it was the growing interaction I loved. You could clearly see that it wasn’t just the sex but Cassian’s presence that was helping Nesta recover from her trauma. But what I loved most of all was the fact that it was the friendships. That Nesta was calling him her friend.
The whole book is about self-development, something that Maas has always shined onto her novels. And even though you also have Cassian’s perspective, to me, reading this, it was shining on Nesta. To hear and see what had gone through her mind. To get more of an incite to her and Feyre and Elain’s childhood. Feyre was so young when they went into poverty, so to discover more about their mother and the riches they once had, it perhaps shines more on Nesta’s personality. Anyone, if they had been brought up to seek a high status marriage, to secure a high profile for their family, they would feel the pressure to keep that façade. But to get more insight to the fact that Nesta simply did nothing those years after her family lost their wealth and their mother died because she wanted to punish her father… well, to me it made more sense. I’m still with Rhys, I don’t think I will get over the fact that Feyre was forced to be the only source of food for many years, that she was almost the black sheep of the family. And saying that, I did love the juxtaposition that Nesta is seen as the black sheep at the night court. I did however wish that we did get more of an insight to what their mother said to Nesta. We get a snippet how Nesta wanted to punish a girl who was mean to Elain and Nesta used those skills she had been taught to steal a prince away. But I do wish we got more examples and found out a bit more about Nesta’s lessons.
Saying this, I do love the way Maas does friendships. Of course, this book is sold as being the story between Cassian and Nesta, but the new blooming friendships Nesta creates has you as gripped and as heart warming as her relationship with Cassian. First the house, something that I have never read about before. You would have thought this element would have been used for Feyre since she was to become the very first High Lady, and yet, it is Nesta’s story that has this. I loved the way that it continued throughout the entire book and it wasn’t until near the end that you realised it was a reflection of Nesta herself. That the darkness within was there to show that it reflected the darkness within Nesta. It just proved that you can be accepted in whatever shape you are in.
Then not to mention the girl power between Nesta, Gywn and Emerie where they each reflect on their troubles and support one another, all leading to them taking part in the Blood Rite and rebirthing the Valkyrie. It just proved that it was friendships and not just a romantic relationship that helped shape Nesta and in fact helped all three traumatic characters come to terms with their demons from within.
The last thing I did love was the use of the stairs throughout the entire book. It reflected how well Nesta was battling with her depression and the use of seeing how close she was getting to the end. It was a nice way to reflect it, rather than simply telling the reader that she was progressing.
Overall, this book is something to cherish. There is a slight jarring affect seeing as the series has always followed Feyre and Rhysand and then to suddenly hardly have them in the book did feel strange at times. And did almost have me wishing I could get more snippets, but the use of language, the use of analogy’s and comparisons of these characters who are fighting their inner demons is so beautifully done. To see the development that someone can make no matter what they go through will help prove to anyone that if they are struggling, it’s ok.