Fantasy, New Adult Romance

My Review: A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4): by Sarah J. Maas

Publish Date: February 16th, 2021
Number of Pages: 757 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre(s): Fantasy, New Adult Romance

***Warning!!! This review contains spoilers including from the previous books in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!!!***

To see my review of book #1 – A Court of Thorns and Roses – Click HERE

To see my review of book #2 – A Court of Mist and Fury – Click HERE

To see my review of book #3 – A Court of Wings and Ruin – Click HERE

To see my review of book #3.5 – A Court of Frost and Starlight – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast of the series so far – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

It was one hell of a reunion for this book!

After a two year wait, I was extremely excited to get back into this world that SJM created here—there really was no way it was only ever going to be a trilogy with all the potential side-plots popping up left and right—and this latest installment into the Court of Thorns and Roses is the catalyst of this series finally getting the final push into the adult fantasy section that has been such a controversial topic in YA Fantasy.

There is a definite shift in this series as it’s now considered adult, be that in both the newly designed covers that re-released over the summer of 2020, but also just the overall tone of the story. SJM has obviously matured as an author and while her books are still considered some of the best YA Fantasy series in recent memory, it’s obvious that she’s been fighting along the edge of the line of YA meets NA/A with her more mature themes and sexual content later on in her books. I’m personally all for it and think I’ve grown as a reader alongside her books, plus I think the more mature content in her romance storylines only enhances the story and makes it even better. That’s definitely the case her with A Court of Silver Flame.

Upon reading this book literally the day it came out onto shelves, I did notice that the storyline was at a slower pace than what people might expect, but it made sense in multiple ways: it’s the first book of the second phase of this series, a new big boss villain needs time to become established, and this story in particular is much more character driven than plot due to one of the biggest conflicts is Nesta and her inner turmoil.

Oh man is Nesta an interesting character in these books…She is such a controversial character and it’s something else to see how truly torn the fandom feels about her. There’s the side that writes her off as just a cold, nasty bitch who doesn’t deserve anything, that she ruins all the relationships of those who are closest to her, she’s toxic, and that someone like the Illyrian War General, Cassian, deserves someone WAY better than her! I will admit, I’ve had moments reading this series where I’ve had similar thoughts, but as someone who has been through the mental wringer and has dealt with issues with anxiety and depression over the years, it’s safe to say I take the topic of mental health incredibly seriously. I’m on the side of the fandom that totally understands where she comes from as a character, and remembers that there is no right way to grieve, and that her behaviors are actually quite valid. Not everyone deals with grief and pain the same way, and while her behavior like getting blackout drunk, sleeping with strangers, and lashing out at her loved ones is seen as less than stellar in some people’s eyes, it’s still a rather realistic take on how some people try to deal with low points in their life. I think a lot of people forget all that when they simply write Nesta off as a bitch, and it really shows a lack in maturity to those who said they’re skipping this book simply because they don’t like her.

Plain and simple: Nesta has been through a lot. I don’t need to go into really specific detail, but her anger and self loathing is such an incredible realistic take on someone who suffers from mental health issues. Her relationship with her mentally absent father growing up was incredibly strained, her and Feyre didn’t get along, she was kidnapped and forced into the cauldron to transform into god knows what, and she blames herself for her father’s death after he finally stands up and expresses his love only to witness the King of Hybern snap his neck right in front of her. Plus, obviously with this book and the blurb already hinting at this, she has conflicting feelings for Cassian that she doesn’t exactly know how to deal with it, plus there’s probably more than what I’ve mentioned. I guess I should say that those other readers that write her off and express their strong dislike for her is valid in their own right, but I really do shake my head at when they say they refuse to read this book and not see the complexity of her character finally written on page. I probably have more to say on the matter, but for now I’m good with all that has already been said (feel free to message me and I’ll gladly talk to anyone interested in discussing further!) I sincerely hope this book changes the minds of a lot of those specific readers.

It was also great to see all the other characters make a return after the time spent away from this story: Rhys and Feyre are still in love as ever as what some would call one of the greatest loves in modern day literature; if you’ve read Kingdom of Ash and caught the easter egg SJM threw in with Aelin jumping between worlds, you’ll already know a big reveal they have in store for the inner circle and soon everyone else! Azriel and Mor are more or less the same as the last time we saw them: Az is moody and broody while Mor is still figuring out how to come out to her found family.

Cassian I guess is similar too, he’s still in a mood with everything going on with Nesta and her downward spiral, which is totally fair. He’s also dealing with his own issues of self worth and that gets explored much more heavily in this book.

Amren continues to be underutilized and lovey dovey with her loverboy, Varian from the Summer Court. I wish there was more to report on her, but sadly this is mostly the extent of her existence in this book besides a small handful of scenes as she explains history/lore when needed (like usual).

Elain seems to be getting more back to normal, but I’m so over how much of a bitch she is to Lucien, who is one of the least deserving characters in this whole series. I really think Lucien is someone who deserves better; at least he tries to be cordial and polite and patient with her and even gets her a gift every year for their version of Christmas, all while she wants nothing to do with him, hardly looks his way, and never gets him anything in return. I feel like I’m missing something here with it, because at least in my memory, Lucien has done nothing to deserve to be treated this way, and I really want him to be happy after everything he’s endured with his family, Tamlin, Ianthe, and even the inner circle to a degree.

I was somewhat disappointed we didn’t really get much of a journey with Tamlin in this book. It’s obvious he’s getting some sort of redemption arc based off what happens with him in Wings and Ruin and Frost and Starlight, but that was not apparent in this book at all. We’ll probably get it in later books, but that’s still a big maybe, and while I’m not high on him as a character at all, I’m still curious to see whether SJM would be successful in giving him a redemption arc of some sort.

Eris has become a much more interesting character in this book with the unknown behind where his loyalties truly lie. He gives me some heavy Littlefinger vibes from Game of Thrones; he’s loving all the courtly intrigue he’s a part of, he obviously views it as one big game of chess, and you as the reader are constantly questioning what side he’s on. Plus, there’s hints that there’s more than what we know with the history between him and Mor, and I can’t wait to see what gets revealed later on!

What It’s About:

A Court of Silver Flames is about Nesta Archeron, and that alone has caused quite a stir within the SJM fandom since its initial announcement. It seems it’s the hottest debate amongst all her fans; whether one likes Nesta and if they deem it worth their time to even give a whole book about her a chance, BUT I’ve already done enough on that topic! This book is more about her inner journey past all her past traumas, like with witnessing her father killed by the King of Hybern right before her eyes among other things.

There’s also Cassian, the Illyrian war general who invokes so many emotions within her that she doesn’t know how to handle, so maybe it’s easier to just keep him at arms length or even further than that, save him the misery of her and her life. Too bad he’s not on the same page; it’s obvious he hasn’t given up on her, and when Nesta goes too far in her downward spiral, both Feyre and Rhysand agree to have him put her back on the straight and narrow. Soon, neither can deny the passion that still burns between them as they’re forced into close quarters with each other while they both work through both their inner turmoil.

Besides the sexual tension that’s about the same size as a forest fire, it seems like there’s more evil at work past the King of Hybern’s death: the human queens have risen again and have found a new alliance with an ancient evil force, once again putting the peace and safety of the realm at high risk. A dark shadow of myth that even Amren can’t fully remember, this danger is more prominent, much more diabolical, and the fragile world that they all care about is at much bigger risk.

What I Liked:

  1. The Handling of Mental Health/Recovery! There are many opinions of SJM and her writing, but one thing she absolutely excels at everytime is her handling of such heavy topics. She’s done with all her main female characters, and everytime it’s such a joy to see all the inner workings of her character’s minds and how they’ve faced the traumas they’ve experienced. It makes them so personable and so relatable, I hope it’s helped other readers feel like they’re understood and not so alone, because those are some of the biggest things with people with mental health issues. Nesta is an extremely controversial character in this series, and not everyone has been able to pick up on her particular way of handling all that she’s endured, so now that this book revolves around her will help those relate more to her.
  2. Romance Between Cassian and Nesta! Scorching, absolutely scorching!! I was always a fan of Cassian and his swagger leading up to this book, but now with SJM’s more mature handling with sexual content only makes Cassian a better character! The tension that rose between him and Nesta continues to be so much fun to read, and finally we get more than just a kiss on the battlefield, a WHOLE lot more. The descriptive sex scenes is another controversial topic amongst readers, but even though I’m asexual (aegosexual to be exact), I say bring on the smut! If it enhances the story, I’m all for it and almost always get more excited if a story has it even if I hardly have those feelings in my actual life.
  3. New Friendships! Before this book, Amren was Nesta’s only friend in the books. Sure, she had Feyre and Elain, but Amren was the only one whom Nesta ever felt the need to open up to. With her downward spiral in the beginning, Nesta definitely took advantage of her friendship, and it caused some major backlash for it. In her journey towards self-acceptance, she meets two new characters: An Illyrian female shopkeeper named Emerie and Gwyn, a Priestess who works at the Ancient Library. As the three of them grow closer, they all help each other overcome their inner traumas and help each other learn that our past mistakes don’t define us as people.
  4. Shifting Alliances and Unknown Enemies! This is more apparent with Eric, Lucien’s older brother and heir to the Autumn Court’s throne. While I still don’t like him as a person, there’s no doubt I like characters like him who keep you guessing until the very end. Who’s side is he on? How true is the information he shares? Is he going to betray them all? He’s a very morally grey character, but those make for very interesting stories.
  5. What Is Nesta’s Power? What exactly did she take from the Cauldron when she was dumped into it? I loved the exploration of her abilities and what they truly were through a slow-burn of a reveal. I mean, if even people like Amren and Rhys are somewhat nervous around her and her abilities, that certainly makes her a game changer and absolute enigma.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Amren and Rhys are Antagonists…While it makes sense that they’d be against her with everything that’s happened, I wasn’t liking seeing Rhys and Amren cast into the roles of the antagonists for a large chunk of the book. Now remember that antagonist doesn’t mean they’re the villains, it simply refers to them as characters who oppose the protagonist of the story, who is obviously Nesta. Sure, Nesta brought it on herself with her past behavior and actions, but these are immortal fae who are 500+ years old! I almost expect them to be better than they are.
  2. The Inner Circle’s Lack of Understanding…This kind of tags off my #1, but for a group of fae who have all had their own tragedies and traumatic pasts, it irks me to see how they so easily shun Nesta, who’s not nearly as old as any of them and how she handles everything that’s put her in a low point in her life. I just found it really hypocritical of them, and thought they’d be much more understanding about her. Like, I’d even go as far as to say some of them (Rhys and Mor mostly) maybe even should’ve apologized to her at some point. Rhys was definitely the worst with it, but I get where he was coming from too, especially with the situation him and Feyre are in with this story. There’s many layers to it all, and no one is entirely innocent, but that also adds into how it’s a much more complex story when it’s not all black and white like some of us want to believe.
  3. Where’s Mor?…I was disappointed in how little we see of Mor. For so much of the book, she’s off to Vallahan in order to negotiate peace treaties with other clans, but that also means she doesn’t appear as much as I’d have liked. I’m still waiting for her to come out to everyone, because only Feyre still knows she’s gay. I feel like SJM is waiting for this because she wants to do it the right way, and it’s a tricky subject that she needs to handle with much care in a very fragile way so that it doesn’t backfire on her unintentionally. I don’t want that for her, but with the argument of her writing and diversity already on rocky grounds, she’s got a big mountain to climb with this storyline. Also side note, I caught a one-line possible potential female love interest for her in her future book that I’d be happy to see!

Conclusion:

A Court of Silver Flames was an incredibly ambitious and deeply moving character driven storyline about self-acceptance and self-love starring two characters like Nesta and Cassian who absolutely shined in having the spotlight on them! Their eventual confrontations and confessions of their true feelings was something many have been aching for for such a long time now, and the added sexiness of this book makes it all the more fun to read! The higher than average amount of smut was a major plus, but SJM’s handling of mental health and self recovery is what truly shined in this book as two characters who’ve both dealt with so much inner trauma are finally able to face it all with the help of each other.

Christina Lauren says it best on their Goodreads review of this book: Sarah J. Maas transcends her particular genre of fiction, much like other authors like Nora Roberts, Rick Riordan, and Stephen King; making her an absolute fan favorite and a foundation for many reader’s bookshelves.

Despite the slower paced plot that might bore some readers by the midpoint, this book has just about every factor that makes readers love her stories, and once again I hope that some of the more cynical readers who don’t believe that Nesta is worth giving a chance to know on a much deeper and meaningful level to PLEASE reconsider and give this book a chance. She may not still be your favorite character, but with how deep into her psych that SJM gets, you certainly understand her more and realize that the road to self-acceptance and self-love is so different for each and every one of us.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

New Adult, New Adult Romance, YA Fantasy

My Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.5): by Sarah J. Maas

Publish Date: May 1st, 2018

Number of Pages: 229 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Genre(s): YA Fantasy, New Adult Romance

***Warning!!! This review contains spoilers from the previous books in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!!!***

To see my review for book #1 – A Court of Thorns and Roses – Click HERE

To see my review for book #2 – A Court of Mist and Fury – Click HERE

To see my review for book #3 – A Court of Wings and Ruin – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast for the series so far – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 3 Stars

I am so torn on this novella (a shorter version of a regular, full length novel); part of me loved to once again read about this amazing cast of characters and see that their stories are not actually over and are still going on, but not nearly enough happens in this story to make it feel all that satisfying of a read.

It’s Prythian’s winter solstice after the war against the King of Hybern and this story is all about the after effects of war: the PTSD, the grief over losing loved ones, and just the struggle some have more than others to go back to having a “normal” life in Velaris…well, as normal as someone’s life can actually be in a Sarah J. Maas novel. Like before, some characters get more attention that others, but this novella does one thing in particular for the first time in the series: having someone other than Feyre’s perspective. Sure it’s Rhysand, but with this small gateway, it provides us the the opportunity to see the story begin to focus on other characters…

…but I just wish this book went further with it, so it would’ve been beneficial to make it a full length novel. However, there are several more books being added to this series, so maybe us SJM fans just need to be patient and savor what we are given at the time!

Stars flickered around us, sweet darkness sweeping in. As if we were the only souls in a galaxy.”

– Sarah J. Maas, “A Court of Frost and Starlight”

What It’s About:

The Official 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.

What I Liked:

  1. The Themes of Dealing with Grief and Recovery! While this novella isn’t the most exciting or action packed out of SJM’s books, it does address these complex emotions with how her characters are dealing with the fallout from all that happened with the war against the King of Hybern. Everyone deals with grief in different ways, and I think SJM does a great job of showing different ways in which her characters are dealing with everything; it’s not an easy path to go down, but it felt so real to look into their heads and see the different methods of recovery they chose, plus it helps lead me into my next point!
  2. The Potential for More! With the themes of what I just pointed out, also in this short story is that there are some potential easter eggs discovered to bridge the trilogy to the next phase of these books! While the King of Hybern is defeated and there’s no big threat like him (at the moment at least), there’s still a lot that has to be addressed within the cast of characters!
  3. Rhysand and Feyre’s Romance! These two and their relationship are still the forefront of these books, and this book is the first where the storyline doesn’t focus solely on Feyre’s POV; Rhysand takes center stage for a few chapters too! While some readers are sick of it by now, I personally didn’t mind at how these two seem to only have sex on the mind whenever they’re around each other! I mean think about it, they’re still kind of newlyweds who don’t have war or the safety of their world to worry about finally; they can just be a normal couple and slow down and breathe a little easier with their everyday lives. I think it still made sense, but I do agree that the word “mate” could’ve been said a lot less! We get it….they’re mated, but husband and wife can still refer to each other by their actual names and not have them simply be referred to as “my mate.” they’re too big of characters to be reduced to that! There’s lots of fluff between them for the hopeless romantics out there!
  4. Nesta’s Development! Nesta is an incredibly complex character, and the fandom is really torn on her character. Some despise and call her the “stone-cold bitch,” others think she’s a total badass who’s going to unleash a whirlwind of hell with her fae abilities. I’m not the biggest fan of her, but I can get where she comes from, especially with her reluctance to remain close to the “inner circle” that she’s obviously not a part of. She gets a really interested exploration of her character because she’s not handling the death of her father a well as she’d like the others to believe. She’s going down a dark path, and making some questionable choices, plus there’s the whole thing with Cassian too! She may piss off a lot of you when you read this story, but I can appreciate how SJM sheds so much light on a minor character and reveals so many complex things going on beneath the surface!
  5. “The Wall Scene!” Small victory for those who enjoy the smuttier side of this series, but we finally get the scene that Rhysand brought to our attention all the way back in Mist and Fury! Hey, I say take a victory like that whenever you can!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. It’s Only a Novella…With how the “trilogy” ended with us having so many more questions, plus leaving certain story aspects up in the air, this book hardly gives us any answers, and that’s simply because it’s a shortened version of a novel: a novella. It was simply supposed to be a bridge/teaser into the next phase of the whole Court of Thorns and Roses series, and while it certainly gives us easter eggs for some conflicts to come later on, it wasn’t really enough to fully consider it a satisfying read. Maybe if it was longer and just had more going on, it would be much more successful, but even with it being two years later as this review is being published in 2020, with this long of a gap between the books, it would’ve been nice to get more! Not trying to knock SJM for that, because I know she’s had a lot going on in her personal life since this book released, so I don’t want to sound whiny/bratty about all of this!
  2. Mor’s Situation Isn’t Explored…I guess you could say this kind of continues off the last point made, but Mor gave us a big confession of being queer in Wings and Ruin! She confessed that she doesn’t know how to break it to Azriel, who’s been following her around like a broody, lovestruck puppy for 500+ years, and I was really hoping this whole storyline would’ve been addressed, and it was…but it didn’t develop any further than Mor admitting she’s waiting for the right time to tell others….okay, I’m already not exactly thrilled at how this is how to break in a queer character, but Mor holding off like this is making me like her less and less, and I can say I’m justified in this reasoning considering I’m queer myself…I know it’s hard to come out and that everyone should have the freedom to do it when they choose, but c’mon….he’s one of your best friends who you’ve been stringing along for 500+ years and you still can’t just break it to him? It just doesn’t sit right with me…
  3. Redemption Arc for Tamlin?…So the scene with Rhysand and Tamlin was probably the most interesting scene in the whole book for me! I got the impression that Tamlin is going to potentially get a redemption arc of some sort, and to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about that. Some redemption arcs are absolutely amazing–Prince Zuko, anyone?–but the thing about them is all about how it develops! If it’s done the right way, it can be amazing, but that also means it depends on the character themselves too. While Tamlin showed he’s not completely on the dark side with how he helped Feyre escape the King’s camp in Wings and Ruin, I’m still skeptical if he can truly redeem himself at this point unless he makes some major life sacrifice, which is usually the way these storylines end. I don’t know, I guess we’ll have to see how this is addressed in the future books!

Conclusion:

Overall, this novella is merely a tease that hits at more, but doesn’t really give enough to make it fully satisfying. There are some good things to come out of it: mainly at the hints of what’s to come later on in the later books and how well SJM deals with grief and characters with poor mental health and the choices they make to either save themselves or further dig themselves deeper down the dark hole of depression and further alienation.

It’s just such a brief bridge from the original trilogy and into the next phase of this series, which all I can for sure say is A Court of Silver Flames, coming out February 16th, 2021 and it will star Cassian and Nesta, who had the most development within this novella and had the most potential for an interesting story moving forward based off Frost and Starlight alone! I seriously can’t wait for the next installment; SJM has confirmed it will be her smuttiest book yet and my body is READY for it!!

I want you out of Velaris,’ Feyre breathed, her voice shaking.

Nesta tried—tried and failed—not to feel the blow, the sting of the words. Though she didn’t know why she was surprised by it. There were no paintings of her in this house, they did not invite her to parties or dinners anymore, they certainly didn’t visit—

‘And where,’ Nesta asked, her voice mercifully icy, ‘am I supposed to go?’

Feyre only looked to Cassian. And for once, the Illyrian warrior wasn’t grinning as he said, ‘You’re coming with me to the Illyrian Mountains.‘”

– Sarah J. Maas, “A Court of Frost and Starlight”

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult, New Adult Romance, YA Fantasy

My Review: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2): by Sarah J. Maas

Publish Date: May 3rd, 2016
Number of Pages: 626 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

***Warning!! This review contains spoilers from the previous book in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review for book #1 – A Court of Thorns and Roses – Click HERE

To see my Fancast/Dreamcast for the series – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.75 Stars

I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

— Sarah J. Maas, “A Court of Mist and Fury

So, I don’t care what anyone else says…this book is the greatest book ever written by Sarah J. Maas — fight me if you disagree! It seriously has it all in what makes an amazing fantasy novel: a vast and intriguing world, a plethora of memorable characters, exciting adventure, rich character development for the both protagonist and others, lots of twists and turns, and a scorching romance. This book is thiccc with all of that, and yes, it’s a thiccc book in general, but it’s truly a masterwork I’m sure no one expected after reading the previous book.

I personally wasn’t as thrilled with A Court of Thorns and Roses as other readers had been: for me, it was a much slower paced story than what I’d become accustomed to with SJMaas as an author, and romance was more centric to the overall plot of the book than usual. I could tell the author had spent more time in creating the world it takes place in, and it did have a lot of aspects of which I’d loved from her Throne of Glass series — one of my all time favorites! — but it’d felt like something was missing.

This book changed all that.

This book made me fall deeply in love with the characters, the world, and is an excellent example of reasons why I love to read. There was so much character development, there was a whirlwind romance, there was witty banter and a found family group dynamic, there were dark secrets revealed along with some twists with the secrets revealing to be a huge lie!

The book had almost done a complete 180, and had completely changed where I’d thought the story was headed. A lot of what happens in this book was not foreseen from Thorns and Roses — except for one action at the very end — and seemed like the previous title had seemingly barely set the scene for the overall series. While part of me is frustrated and thinking to myself “great…now if I ever want to read this series again, I have to get over the hump that is the first book,” but I also understand that you need to read it to understand Feyre more: what she’d gone through to get to where she was, her relationship with Tamlin, and Rhysand to gain the overall background knowledge that would in fact still come into play, maybe just not the way you’d expected it to.

What It’s About:

To the stars who listen — and the dreams that are answered.”

— Sarah J. Maas, “A Court of Mist and Fury”

Mist and Fury takes place at about three months past the climactic events of Thorns and Roses: Feyre had (sort of) survived the horrors she’d faced under the mountain — except not really: she’d been murdered, but brought back to life by all the High Lords of the Fae courts and made Fae herself — Queen Amarantha was slain, peace was brought back to the realm, and so Feyre could have her happily ever after with Tamlin!…

Oh honey, it’s actually funny how wrong that sentence was…

Feyre is back with Tamlin in the Spring Court, engaged to be maried, but she has been suffering from severe PTSD that gives her nightmares and makes her physically ill. Tamlin pretends to not notice, but keeps her by his side on a short leash. He also refuses to train her and help her learn the ways of her new abilities she’d gotten with her resurrection; he just wants to protect her and keep her safe, but also reveals she will never become a High Lady of the Spring Court — such things are just not done, so Feyre really starts to question what future she has there, and why haven’t they’d gone through the Fae mating bond yet.

Ianthe, one of the 12 High Priestesses of Prythian, comes to their Chateau to help plan the wedding and act as Tamlin’s personal assistant and create an alliance with the Spring Court. On the day of the wedding, Feyre makes the startling realization she’s not ready — at least not in that moment — and panics at trying to figure out a way to get out of it.

Cue being saved by the bell…or in this case, the High Lord of the Night Court, Rhysand.

Rhysand interrupts the wedding and decides then and there to whisk Feyre away with him to the Night Court, as per the bargain they’d struck back under the mountain in order for him to help her.

From then on, the real adventure begins!

Feyre is opened up to more of the world of Prythian, meets many new and interesting faces who’ll become friends and enemies, learns about a sinister plot being carried out by the King of Hybern, a vicious High Fae ruler who plans to reclaim the lands of the humans, kill them all off, and reclaim it for him and the other High Fae, and plans to collect several magical items that have been lost in time that would help him carry out his plans.

As Feyre carries out Rhysand’s bargain, she learns she may be the key to stopping the king, so she’ll need to quickly master her new abilities and overcome the trauma that’s fractured her soul, and put her trust in unexpected allies. All of that is required in order to keep the world she’s come to love from being torn apart!

What I Liked:

  1. The Worldbuilding! In Thorn and Roses, you only got to see the Spring Court and under the Mountain, which by themselves were full of opportunity for a great setting, but Mist and Fury ups the world-building ante by, like, 5000x. There are so so so so so many additions to the world the author had created: We see Velaris and the Night Court (which is not at all what we expected it to be), the Summer Court, The Court of Nightmares, The Prison, The House of the Weaver of the Woods, The Illyrian War Camp, and even the King’s castle in Hybern. SO many different locations! The author has shown us how deep the world she’d created could go, and that she can create something truly spectacular.
  2. The Slow-Burn Romance! To be completely honest, there was actually a lot less romance in this book compared to the previous one. Oh don’t worry there was plenty of romance, Oh my god, was there lusty, sexual, flirtatious, slowly built romance, but it wasn’t a central part of the whole story this time around because there are so many more things going on now that a bigger plot becomes revealed. There was so much tension that kept building up between Feyre and Rhysand, and a certain iconic scene in the Court of Nightmares literally spills gasoline on the flames, until it’s unavoidable and the two of them need to talk it out and sort out certain secrets that get revealed.
  3. So Many New Characters! There’s literally a list of new characters that you meet in this next installment: there’s Ianthe, who’s one of the 12 High Priestess who’s working alongside Tamlin, There’s Tarquin who’s the Lord of the Summer Court and his sister Cresseida, there’s the Bone Carver: some shapeshifting creature in a magical prison who Feyre and Rhysand seek out for answers, There’s the Weaver of the Woods: a monster who prey’s on anyone who dare ventures into her lonely cottage, and the major villain of the book: The King of Hybern. More importantly, you meet Rhysand’s inner circle back in Velaris. Feyre meets Morrigan, Rhysand’s cousin, who is second in command of the Night Court. There’s Cassian: Rhysand’s general to his army. There’s Azriel: Rhysand’s master of secrets and spy. Lastly, there’s Amren, a being not of their world with a mysterious past, and piercing silver eyes with a thirst for blood. Like I said, there are so many new characters introduced, some who become such a major factors in how beloved this series is to so many readers! I especially loved the dynamic between Rhysand and his friends, and how they’ve all come from tragic backgrounds, found each other and consider themselves their family.
  4. Feyre’s Character Development! Feyre really grows up in this book; she’s a completely different version of herself coming into this book…literally. After the traumatizing events from Amarantha and under the Mountain, Feyre realizes she doesn’t want the world she’d thought she did. She could no longer just settle for just being Tamlin’s wife and nothing more, and learns that her needs have changed as she has changed. Tamlin refuses to accept her for anything other than the dainty, fragile human she’d been when she’d entered into his life, and holds her back — he refuses to train her to learn her new abilities as a Fae, keeps secrets from her, and even traps her within the Spring Court Chateau with a spell. She no longer needs a strong protector, she needs freedom to be who she aspires to be.
  5. Rhysand’s Character Development! Like Feyre, Rhysand has some major changes happen to his overall character in this title. In Thorns and Roses, he was Amarantha’s right hand man, her whore, and a dark & dangerous High Lord of the Night Court. As him and Feyre meet up and figure out what’s going on, you’re not necessarily given a new side of him, you uncover hidden depths of who he really is and what truly matters in his life and drives him. I’m not giving too much away, but let me just say there’s a reason why Rhysand is considered top of the top of the Leading Males in Fantasy.
  6. The Suriel! Continuing his reputation of a drama-loving queen continues to give Feyre the tea, once again makes a short but meaningful appearance and reveals a huge secret that actually flips Feyre’s world upside down!
  7. The Ending! Now, how this book ends is a perfect example for authors to do it in a way that’s not a cheap cliffhanger, leaves us readers satisfied, but is somehow still so cruel and invokes so many emotions and of course: makes us want to get our hands on the next book ASAP! I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, but whoah boy!
  8. That Scene in the Court of Nightmares! Everything about it was just so great, so sexy, so iconic!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. How It’s Still Considered “Children’s Lit”…So Sarah J. Maas is a YA Fantasy author, that’s nothing new there, but I do find it strange how this title specifically was on the NY Times Bestseller List under “Children’s Literature.” Anyone who’s read this book can probably agree that maybe it doesn’t belong on there, NOT because it’s not a great book, but because the subject matter may be a little mature for younger readers. I’m not trying to be a conservative prude, but there’s some pretty graphic sexual scenes within the book, maybe not the best reading material for that 10 year old who’d just finished Percy Jackson, BUT that’s just me… This may be considered YA, but it’s more on the New Adult (NA) reading level, and it’s a big jump from other YA titles that are more innocent in tone.

Conclusion:

Probably one of the biggest game-changers you’ll ever read in literature, this book was an unexpected mind blowing gem of a book that I had not expected from the previous book! Gone is the loose retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” and welcome in its place is a thrilling , epic fantasy that is rich in all aspects of what we readers consider to be great escapist literature.

I recommend this title to those that love high fantasy filled to the brim with world-building, found family group dynamics, slow burn romance, and plenty of twists and turns to leave you guessing even after you’ve put the book down!

Thanks For Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fancasts/Dreamcasts

My Fancast/Dreamcast: A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas

Image courtesy of Instagram profile: @courtofmaas

In Sarah J. Maas’s second bestselling series, a mortal young woman named Feyre Archeron is thrust into the world of the High Fae: a world full of mystique, beauty, political intrigue, and danger. the shadow of War is brewing upon the horizon, and with her newly found allies and inner circle, she must defeat a powerful enemy in order to save the world she already knows comes to love…

This has been such a popular series amongst SJM fans, it seems to be more popular than even her first series, Throne of Glass! I personally prefer TOG, but that doesn’t detract from ACOTAR; I still consider A Court of Mist and Fury to be the author’s best book to date!

Below, I’ve included an image of the main cast created by the extraordinary artist, Charlie Bowater! Her work is simply breathtaking and she is some of my all time favorite digital artists!

To see my book review for book #1 – A Court of Thorns and Roses – Click HERE!

To see my book review for book #2 – A Court of Mist and Fury – Click HERE!

To see my book review for book #3 – A Court of Wings and Ruin – Click HERE!

To see my review of book #3.5 – A Court of Frost and Starlight – Click HERE!

To see my review of book #4 – A Court of Silver Flames – Click HERE!

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Here is my official Fancast/Dreamcast:

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Feyre Archeron: Barbara Palvin, or Josephine Skriver

One thing that grinds my gears with a lot of the other fancasts/fanart I’ve seen is that they make Feyre out to be blonde….um nope, that’s cancelled because she’s brunette! Both of these models have delicate & feminine features, gorgeous smiles, and have a particular look that I believe is the essence of our heroine of this whole series!

Elaine Archeron: Minka Kelly

Minka Kelly has such a soft voice, similar to Vanessa Hudgens’ but much less annoying. You may remember her from Friday Night Lights, the TV Show and the college thriller flick, The Roommate.

Nesta Archeron: Bar Refaeli

Nesta was a hard character to cast, but I believe this supermodel has a look that’s very similar to the cold, intimidating, and oldest Archeron sister. She’s not an actress, but has been on the cover of the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated magazine, and dated Leo DiCaprio!

High Lord Tamlin: Kellan Lutz, or Luke Bracey

Anyone remember Kellan from, like, nine years ago? It felt like he was everywhere thanks to his fame found with being involved in the Twilight movies as Emmett Cullen, but he’s been on the down low ever since he got married. Luke Bracey is another name to add; he was in the Nicholas Sparks movie, The Best of Me.

Lucien Vanserra: Tom Busson

A lot of other fans say that Outlander male lead, Sam Heughan, is their choice for Lucien. I had him too for quite some time too, but now I believe he’d be just too old to play the part. Maybe he’d be better suited for Eris or his father Lord Beron, but I believe this Instagram model has a look much more suited to our beloved Lucien Vanserra!

Alis: Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer is just so adorable! She’s cute as a button, but can also go into a serious mom mode in her characters, and I thought she’d be perfect to play the part of Alis, the attendant who looks after Feyre when she’s brought to the Spring Court. It also makes sense considering Alis is from the Summer Court, and if we’re going to talk about Representation, the people from there are typically of African descent!

High Lord Rhysand: Ian Somerhalder, or Sahib Faber

One’s an actor while the other is a model, but both could so easily play the coveted role of the High Lord of the Night Court. If anyone has watched The Vampire Diaries, Ian portraying Damon Salvatore is a dead ringer for Rhysand: same personality, same swagger, same inner turmoil hidden by smirks and wisecracks, and of course the same devilish good looks. Sahib is a more unknown choice, but why not have some more choices? Plus…just look at him! Would you just look at him? Just look at him!

Amarantha: Eva Green, or Deborah Ann Woll

I admit both actresses have such different looks when compared to each other, so as for who might be a better choice? I guess it depends on who you ask…Eva has such a nefarious, villainess look to her, but Deborah matches a lot of the fanart I’ve seen of Amarantha, so either choice works for me!

Morrigan: Maryse Ouellet-Mizanin

Mor was another hard choice! Everyone seems to be going for Margot Robbie for some reason, but there’s two things wrong with that casting: she’s too old for the part, and she doesn’t even have brown eyes. That may sound picky, but whatevs…it’s my fancast, so get over it. I personally envisioned this former WWE Women’s competitor who is undeniably gorgeous and physically fits the description of Mor much more effectively!

Azriel: Nick Bateman, or Shiloh Fernandez

Both of these male actors are tall, lanky and can pull off the moody, brooding look: so for me, both of them could be excellent choices for our Lord of Shadows, Azriel! Nick does small acting jobs but is mostly an Instagram model, but Shiloh starred alongside Amanda Seyfried in Red Riding Hood.

Amren: Jamie Chung

Jamie is a fan favorite among others who’ve shared their fancast for this series, and I agree with it! She’s given her voice acting chops for Big Hero 6, and was also a wonderful Mulan in the show, Once Upon A Time, and if I don’t have you convinced yet, check out this image of her below with total Amren eyes:

Cassian: Santiago Loker

This guy is probably unknown to a lot of you, but oh my goodness, is he easy on the eyes! He’s an Instagram model, and looks great with a manbun which was a must to play our favorite charming, cocky general for the Night Court’s army.

High Lord Tarquin: Michael Ealy

I loved this man in Think Like A Man, and seriously…look at those eyes! They’re so hypnotic and I could so easily get lost in them for days! He never does anything even remotely close to Fantasy-genre, so it’d be cool to see him broaden his horizons and play the High Lord of the Summer Court!

Ianthe: Laura Vandervoort

Ianthe needs to be played by an actress who’s obviously attractive, but also looks like she could have a stick up her ass the entire time, and Laura looks the part 😂…She was in the show Bitten and was even Supergirl back when Smallville was still a thing!

King of Hybern: Jason Isaacs

I mean…Do I really need to justify casting the man who magnificently played the evil and elitist Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies? Nope, I didn’t think so either!

High Lord Beron: Mads Mikkelsen

He’s so great at playing villains! I’ve known this ever since he starred opposite Daniel Craig in 007: Casino Royale, and the guy played Hannibal Lector too! He’d also be another great choice to play the part of Big Boss Villain, the King of Hybern…It’s funny how Maas literally has her villainous kings just named “King of _______” from her books.

High Lord Helion: @rathekendoll

Another harder one to cast; most of the actors that would be eligible—or were fancasted by many others—were either too old or too young. Someone posted a video of this gorgeous specimen speaking on a Facebook group page for the ToG books, and “Holy Mufasa, Batman!” His voice is so deep and full of bass, I instantly thought of him playing the High Lord of the Day Court. Don’t know what his actual name is, just going off his Instagram profile username, FYI!

High Lord Kallias: Heath Hutchins

Kallias, High Lord of the Winter Court, is a character I liked but him and and his mate, Vivianne, were barely in the dang books! I wished we got to see more of the other high lords, but maybe that’ll happen in later books; according to Goodreads, there are supposed to be, like, three more titles for the series!

High Lord Thesan: Hamid Fadaei

He’s an actor and model, even if I haven’t seen him in anything. He’s a pretty gorgeous Persian man, so I thought he was an excellent choice for playing the role of the High Lord of the Dawn Court!

Eris Vanserra: Ryan Cooper

He’s an actor who’s actually played a corpse in Rough Night, starring Scarlett Johansson, but also starred in a Colleen Hoover novel-turned-movie Confess. Dye his hair red, and with that wicked gleam in his eye, he could definitely be an option to play Lucien’s devious older brother!

Prince Varian: Jesse Williams

This man is in Grey’s Anatomy while it goes into its 15000th season, and I like casting him in Fantasy roles, so I’d like it if he played Lord Tarquin’s younger brother and subtle love-interest to Amren.

Princess Cresseida: Logan Browning

She has the similar features of other actors I’ve casted for the Summer Court’s royal family. She’s got gorgeous darker skin and mesmerizing eyes, so she’d look great playing the young princess!

Jurian: Taylor Kitsch

I’ve been a fan of his since he played Tim Riggins on the TV Show, Friday Night Lights, and he was decent in Vince Flynn’s movie adaptation of American Assassin, so he’d be my pick to play the interesting role of Jurian!

Priestess Gwyn: Emma Stone

Image courtesy of the actress’s IMDB profile

Now some people may think of someone younger like…Lily Collins to play this character (even though they’re both close in age but whatevs…), but this is my fancast and as soon as I read that Gwyn had red hair, for some reason I just really pictured Emma Stone! She’s an amazing actress and would portray Gwyn amazingly

Emerie: Lindsey Morgan

Image courtesy of superstarsbio.com

I don’t know much about this actress, but she’s in the CW show “The 100” and that seems really popular, so her face popped up and I thought she looked like what I imagined the Illyrian shop-owner turned Valkyrie!

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HERES THE LINK TO MY FANCAST OF THRONE OF GLASS, SJMAAS’S FIRST YA FANTASY SERIES

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell