Book review: ‘A Court of Silver Flames’ | Community | bgdailynews.com – Bowling Green Daily News

“A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses Book 4)” by Sarah J. Maas. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021. 768 pages, $28 (hardcover).

This book arrived for me to review, and I was hesitant because I hadn’t read any of the previous three books or the companion story in the series. However, I found summaries of the previous books and read those. I started this book and went back and read the summaries two or three more times as there are a lot of plot points and characters to wrap your head around. That said, I got enough from the summaries to understand most of the book from then on, but I do not recommend trying to start this series from the middle, or book four. Start at the beginning like a normal person. I’m going to go back and read “A Court of Thorns and Roses” now, even if I know everything that happens because the fourth book was really good.

With that knowledge, let’s delve into “A Court of Silver Flames.” Unlike in the previous books of this series, this one centers on Nesta Archeron, Feyre’s sister. Nesta has struggled with finding a place for herself in this new world since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae. She’s struggling with the past, the horrors that haunt her and the memories she has from the war with Hybern and all she lost in it. Cassian makes her angrier than anyone else, but because of his position in her sister’s court, he is always around her. That, however, isn’t the only problem, because Nesta is attracted to Cassian like no one she has met before, and when they are forced into close quarters with each other, the problem ignites. As Nesta trains, the world moves on. As the human queens forge a new alliance and the fragile peace is threatened, chaos threatens. Cassian and Nesta may have to face their past to find the key to keep that peace in place and halt the next war before it starts.

I am a sucker for a good fantasy world, and this one certainly delivers the world building. With High Fae, creatures of all sorts, legends that go back 15,000 years, walls that have fallen that divided humans from fairies and all manner of small details here and there, I loved learning all the little details that were sprinkled in throughout the book. I never felt like I had to wade through pages of information dump to learn about something, and the world that I was shown was magical. It probably now ranks on my top 10 list of worlds I would want to visit (and please give me wings!).

Learning about the world differed depending on what character we were seeing it through, and mostly that was Cassian and Nesta. Originally, Nesta was hard for me to like. She is selfish, overbearing, quite often cruel and seems rather uncaring. Without a ton of backstory or understanding to go on, I am perhaps less inclined to cut her slack than readers of the series would be. As bits and pieces of her story unfolded, I grew to like Nesta, but I really fell in love with her when she decided to help the women of the library. The Valkyrie Trio is the best part of this entire novel. I don’t want to spoil anything past that, but I will say that this plot line is my absolute favorite of the entire novel.

My favorite character of the book would be the house. I know that sounds a little crazy, but you have to read it to understand. The characterization of the house and every scene with it is just wonderful. Plus, it adds to the fun and magic of the world building. This is a great way to explore how magic can shape the world around us in ways for which we are unprepared.

As a warning, while this book is labeled as young adult, there is quite a bit of sex and it is graphic. I personally was not expecting it at all, and while it did not bother me (I read the romance genre of books, after all), I was just generally unprepared for that level of romance within a novel at this level. There is also quite a lot of it once it starts – not quite too much to take away from the story itself, but close for a book that I would say did not need it. Cassian and Nesta’s romance certainly blows hot and cold, and they need to work on the art of communication. That said, I did enjoy their relationship and journey together.

Certainly, one of the main themes of this novel is mental health. While I think there are some issues on how it is addressed, I do appreciate seeing it brought out. Nesta is battling depression and handling it very badly – her loved ones finally step in (albeit not in the best way), and she is given the help she needs. Gwyn and Emerie are wonderful characters, and their friendship with Nesta is the best plotline of the book (I cannot wait for more of them in the future).

This is clearly a continuing series, and I can tell there will probably be several more. So, if you don’t like long series, which some people do not, I would avoid it. It also appears it takes a while for the next one to come out, so some of you may want to wait until the whole thing is finished to start it. I am looking forward to starting the whole series from the beginning, even if I do have to wait a while for the next great installment of the story.

Maas first wrote the “Throne of Glass” series when she was only 16 years old, and it now sells in more than 35 languages (never give up on your dreams!). Sarah graduated from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in creative writing and a minor in religious studies. You can find information at sarah jmaas.com and on Instagram @therealsjmaas.

– Reviewed by Fallon Willoughby, first-year experience instructor, Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College.