Today I will be reviewing a novella which forms part of the infamous ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ series, and one that I found did not live up to the hype of its predecessors. However, there are a few things that I would like to discuss about this book that I did enjoy, as well as some of the things that I did not, and why. There is not much tea to be spilled, but overall, the book felt like an opportunity that wasn’t executed to its fullest extent, but was very nostalgic.
Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: May 1st, 2018
Genre: Fantasy (New Adult)
Blurb: Hope warms the coldest night.
Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.
Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.
So, this book was shorter than what I was used to, but there was an interesting mix of things that I either liked or did not. After finding out a few months prior that there would be more books in this series from Cassian and Nesta’s points of view, I began to see this book as an experiment of things to come.
To summarize the plot, we are brought into the world of Pyrthia about a year after the war ended, and we see how our dear characters are all dealing with the repercussions. Tensions are still up, and is some places growing, and the Night Court must work together to keep the peace. Feyre is also settling into her role as High Lady but is struggling with her own feelings of guilt and not doing enough for her people.
We see snippets of how the others in her circle are faring, and not all is well for everyone. Some are struggling more than others, particularly Nesta and Cassian. I was happy to note that this book does not try to hide the realities of war, and their effects. All characters are trying to deal with the war in their own ways, but not all days are good days, and recovery takes time. We also see some political effects of the war, such as unrest between Night Court soldiers and the Court members, which forebodes more unrest to come.
“To the blessed darkness from which we are born, and to which we return.”
To contrast this, there is softness and tenderness between the members of the inner circle as they celebrate the holidays and remind each other of the importance of family. There were also some heart-breaking moments too, such as between Nesta and Feyre, and Tamlin and Rhys. Rhys and Feyre also have one of the best relationships I have ever read about. They are so adorable, and their scenes together made me feel all warm and squishy inside.
There was not much smut to read this time either, but there was an intimate scene towards the end of the book that read quite odd, however amusing. It felt very out of place, and I can understand what she was going for, but some events placed the way they were had a vastly different effect.
Not that much happens in terms of plot, but it is a good bridge between the old books and the new one coming out early next year. I was a bit disappointed that the novella was so short, though. Since it was more character-based, it felt a little bit fragmented.
“And in the end, though, we’d saved each other. All of us had.”
I would, however, like to highlight the importance and complexity of mental health that Sarah J. Maas brings into her work. Her words are soulful and filled with hope. Her characters experience hell and still manage to look forward and be optimistic about their futures. Mental health and trauma are never straightforward, and there is no definite way to heal from it. We see Nesta going one way, sinking herself deeper into her own misery and cutting everyone she knows out of her life; whilst Feyre goes another, finding support in Rhys and her found family. What was very heart-warming to me was the fact that a remedy from grief seems to be being engulfed by art and creation. Feyre really comes into her own and uses her artistic abilities to help understand herself, and then uses that to help others find themselves in their own art.
“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.”
There were five points of view, being Feyre, Rhys, Cassian, Mor, and Nesta. Reading Feyre’s sections felt like having a cup of tea with an old friend; the other POVs, however, were a bit… interesting.
There were moments of Rhys’ sections where his alignment with and his advocation of the feminist agenda seemed very overstated. It felt like a repetition of what we already knew, rather than bringing something new to the table of Rhys’ character. His thoughts and decisions seem very built around that, particularly when it comes to Feyre. His possessiveness and machismo also have not really changed, especially with regards to his feelings towards Tamlin. Rhys’ reactions to hearing Tamlin’s name and his conversations with him make it noticeably clear that their tattered relationship will remain so for some time. But to bring peace, amends must be made.
I enjoyed reading Nesta’s POV the most after Feyre’s. I appreciated getting to understand her emotions and struggles more, especially since she did not used to be viewed in the best light. It was enlightening in a way that it lets us see the vulnerable woman underneath the strong and cold façade.
“She hadn’t felt anything in months. Had days when she didn’t really know where she was or what she’d done. They passed swiftly and yet dripped by. So did the months. She’d blinked, and winter had fallen. Blinked, and her body had turned too thin. As hollow as she felt.”
All-in-all, there was something about the book that just did not make it a favourite. Maybe it was its lack of length and plot or just missing that special something which made the series a great read. I would, however, recommend it to anyone who is looking for something quick to read. Some parts of the book were more engaging then others, and it’s best to see this novella as something very different from the original trilogy, like a short catch-up from an old friend.
That’s it from me for today! What are your thoughts on this book? Are you looking forward to the next installment? Let me know in the comments below!
Written by: Alexia DeBono
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