Are we surprised that this was my first 5-star read of the year? A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas is the start to the continuation/spin-off series of A Court of Thorns and Roses, but focusing on Nesta and Cassian rather than Feyre and Rhysand. Ever since those two met, I've been dying for a story based solely on them, and it was absolutely worth the wait.
|Pub Date: 2-16-21|
New Adult - Fantasy
As a human, Nesta Archeron was a force to be reckoned with, able to cut a person down with only a look and a cutting remark. Now, after being Made into High Fae against her will, she can make whole courts tremble with just a wisp of the power she tore from the Cauldron she was thrown in. She used that power to aid her family in the war with Hybern, which was so disastrous they barely made it out alive, and the cost they all had to pay for victory was something that haunts Nesta to this very day. Nesta has never grown accustomed to her new Fae abilities or understood fully the dark, writhing power that strums through her very being. She knows everyone is afraid of her--as they should be-- but the only person who has never once backed down from her is Cassian, the warrior General of Feyre and Rhysand's Night Court.
Cassian has fought in more battles than he can count, has walked side-by-side with Death throughout his entire life, and has never been one to shy away from a challenge. And that's exactly what Nesta is. The pair have always been able to push one another's buttons and neither can deny the heat between. When Nesta's self-destructing ways finally catch up to her, the pair are forced into living and training together and to confront all their feelings head-on. Meanwhile, the threat from the human Queen's still lingers as rumblings of their new alliance with an even darker force come to light. With the realms once again at stake, Nesta and Cassian both are forced to face their haunted pasts if there's any hope of forging a lasting future.
Honestly, this book left me so speechless I don't even know if I have the words to say how much I loved it, but I'm going to try. This was just everything I could've hoped for and so much more. The character development? Phenomenal. The depth of emotions that both Nesta and Cassian go through? Beautiful. They truly are two sides of the same coin: both are hot-headed and abrasive, but also fiercely loyal and protective. They would do whatever it takes to keep their loved ones safe with zero hesitation. I've always enjoyed watching them throw verbal jabs at one another because they each aren't afraid to give as well as they get, but watching them be vulnerable and open up was amazing. The emotional journey they both went through to heal from their respective wounds was heartbreaking but made them stronger both as individuals and mates. And oh my god, how I squealed when the mating bond finally clicked into place!
Aside from the swoon-inducing romance aspect, Maas also did a fantastic job with the plot itself. Despite how chunky this book is, no part ever felt slow or dragging. I was fully invested in the training (I wish I were a Valkyrie) and watching Nesta develop into an even more formidable badass. I loved how she developed a sisterhood with Gwyn and Emerie and the lengths that they would go to for one another, especially when they were thrown into the brutality of the Illyrian Blood Rite. I found the Dread Trove items and Koschei really fascinating and I'm intrigued to see how he'll play a role in the coming books. Of course, I loved seeing the glimpses of the rest of the Night Court, especially Feyre and Rhysand (that was another aspect that made me squeal with delight), but I appreciated how they took a backseat to Nesta and Cassian. Overall, there wasn't anything about this that I didn't love or at least really enjoy. I wasn't even halfway through before I wanted to re-read it all over again. It made me run the gamut of emotions: I was happy, I was frustrated, I was stressed, I was angry, I was hopeful, it made me feel everything. I'm constantly in awe of the way Maas builds her worlds and characters in such a way that just cuts straight through you. This was hands down my favorite of the series, and one I know I'll come back to again and again, and it makes me so excited to see where else we'll go from here.