I didn’t read any reviews because I didn’t want to be influenced before writing this post and it will be a long one with spoilers! So, please stop reading if you didn’t read ACOSF and you still want to read it.
A Court of Silver Flames was a rollercoaster. I was very entertained while reading Nesta and Cassian’s story. These two were so hot together! After reading ACOFAS, we all knew their story would be a tough journey. Nesta wasn’t making it easy for anyone, she isolated herself and she was lashing out repeatedly. I didn’t expect a smooth journey. It wasn’t. The mental health struggles that Nesta was going through in ACOSF, and before, were hard to read, which only means it was well done. As a reader, and loving Cassian like I already did, it was sometimes hard to not be annoyed with Nesta. She hurt Cassian repeatedly, she lashed at him again and again and sometimes I was annoyed at her because of that. It was also hard not to be annoyed when Nesta dismissed Feyre, Cassian and Rhy’s traumas. I get that it was her own self loathing and the fact that she was spiraling, drowning in her own grief and depression talking. But it was even harder when she kept repeating the cycle. However, that’s just the thing with mental health, it’s different for everyone, it has lots of ups and downs, a good day and then three awful days and/or vice versa. Nesta was definitely stuck in a depressive, self destructive pattern. Her struggles with mental health, the messages to keep going, Amren telling Cassian to keep reaching out his hand, the mind-stilling technique, her growth and her healing were really well done. In my opinion SJM did great regarding the mental health rep.
There were a lot of great moments in this book. I loved Nesta’s found family: Emerie and Gwyn. These two were amazing characters, the way they bonded with Nesta, the way all three of them opened up to each other: PERFECTION. Valkyries, yeeees! I loved that aspect of the story and cheered when Gwyn finally cut the ribbon. I enjoyed their moments together and I hope we get more of their bond in the next books in the series. I also loved the House, the fact that Nesta wished for a friend and the House fulfilled her wish by becoming her friend was so good! The romance novels love was amazing too. The inner circle moments, even though Mor wasn’t in much of the story, felt special. The Blood Rite had stunning, fierce scenes, particularly the scene where they share their fears and the traumas they went through, it was very emotional and so well written. Emerie carrying a sleeping, unwilling to leave Nesta alone, Gwyn to victory and Nesta holding the line was one of the most stunning impactful scenes that definitely stayed with me.
I enjoyed the plot in this book too. The Trove and its history, the quest to find the made objects was enthralling. Nesta’s scenes with the kelpie were amazing and it actually scared me when she was pulled underwater. Beron and the Autumn Court involvement with Briallyn kept me invested in the story and I kept second guessing if Eris was playing Rhys and Cassian and was involved in Briallyn’s plans as well.
There were some things that annoyed me: Rhys withholding from Feyre that she and the baby can die when she gives birth was awful and I hated that he did that; Nesta telling Feyre about that in anger was nasty; the dying not dying part that apparently is a recurring thing in ACOTAR’s books annoyed me too. I enjoyed how Nesta ended up saving Feyre and telling her, finally!, she loved her but it could have been done differently. Especially considering that Nesta gave away all her power to save Feyre which is just repetitive again (because it’s similar to what Amren did in ACOWAR). Additionally, that mating bond reaction… I think it was unnecessary and it only served the purpose of pushing Cassian off scene and snatching Nesta, Emerie and Gwyn together for the Blood Rite. However, my main issue with ACOSF is a issue that I’ve also had with ACOMAF and ACOWAR: everything was solved so easily. I enjoyed the prison visit but the fact that Lanthys was killed like that felt anticlimactic and the battle between Nesta and Briallyn went the same way, it was over in a blink of an eye.
Overall, I really enjoyed ACOSF. There were beautifully written scenes and it was very entertaining, with great banter, lots of steamy moments and powerful, emotional connections. I was captivated by the story, had trouble putting the book down and I absolutely love this addictive world. On the other hand, like I said there were things that annoyed me and the major one was how easily somethings were solved to the point it felt anticlimatic.
1. What’s the deal with so much Eris in ACOSF? There was so much about him and his reasons for leaving Mor at the Autumn Court border. He also hinted Mor knows the truth. I’m very suspicious about this. Did he left her there to protect her from his father? Even if it was to protect her from Beron, I still think it’s not a good enough reason to forgive Eris. I really enjoyed Cassian’s last words to Eris;
2. Emerie and Mor??? Yeeees, please. I would love them together. I loved how Emerie was so hypnotized by Moor. I thought Mor’s book was going to be next but considering there was a bonus chapter from Azriel’s POV, I’m guessing it makes sense that his book will be next;
Now, this is not a sidenote, this is pratically an entire post: Azriel/Lucien/Gwynn/Elaine. I’m afraid Sarah J. Maas may have gone too far in this. The situation is already so messy with Lucien being Elaine’s mate, I don’t quite get why Sarah needed to add Gwyn to this explosive mix. So here are some points that I think could be important in the future.
Azriel has had feelings for Mor for 500 years but he thought he didn’t deserve her so he never acted on his feelings for her;
He acts protective toward Elaine, he is kind to her and seems to gravitate toward her;
His shadows disappear when he’s with Elain;
He shows discomfort when Lucien is around, he can scent their mating bond but he thinks Lucien doesn’t deserve her;
Azriel acts on his feelings for Elaine and tries to kiss her, there’s clearly a sexual attraction between them;
He also thinks when he’s touching her that “it is wrong” twice, nonetheless he’s very attracted to her;
Azriel implies to Rhys that since Elain’s two sisters are with his two brothers, Elain should be with him, he doesn’t state his feelings for her (there is a mention of fantasies, again he shows he’s really attracted to Elain);
Rhys ordering Nesta to treat Gwyn with kindness and respect, telling Azriel to stay away from Elain and even threatening Az, which seems completely out of character by the way (even if it means losing alliances), implying that it’s only lust between Az and Elain, makes me think it’s possible that Rhys knows something (somehow?) about Azriel/Mor/Gwyn/Elain/Lucien and that’s why he’s behaving out of character;
Elain is Lucien’s mate, so that probably means she can’t be Azriel’s mate. Lucien can possibly die (I wouldn’t enjoy it) but even then it wouldn’t make much sense to somehow make Azriel and Elain mates. With all the self loathe that Az struggles with, it would be meaningful for his character to have someone who belongs with him and to whom he truly belongs: a mate. Unless SJM finds a very clever way to make this all work and still make sense, it’s tricky between Az and Elaine in this aspect;
There are a few hints about how Elain would love the Spring Court and how she doesn’t look good in black, it feels like SJM is hinting that Elain doesn’t belong in the Night Court (this can also generate crazy theories about Elain/Lucien/Tamlin);
Gwyn is a quarter nymph – her grandmother was a river nymph and she seduced a high fae male from the Autumn Court -she and her twin sister were the result of a sacred union between her mother and a male stranger in the Great Rite (she’s connected with the Autumn Court – red hair – and we don’t know who her father is…);
Gwyn was saved from a very traumatic situation by Azriel;
Gwyn’s distraction during training when Azriel shows up to train other priestesses and the way she teases him with her competitiveness while they’re training;
Azriel listens in to Cassian, Nesta, Emerie and Gwyn while they’re training and talking after hearing Gwyn’s excited high-pitched noise;
It’s implied Gwyn and Azriel are training together behind the scenes (also, it was probably Azriel that helped Gwyn with the wood beam that was used to place the ribbon);
Az seems at ease with Gwyn after being furious and upset after Elain/Rhys situation, he smiles and even laughs with her;
His shadows peer up at Gwyn, dart out to dance with her breath, calm down and sing in answer to her singing;
When he goes to the library, something sparks in his chest in reaction to Clotho saying the necklace will bring Gwyn joy and he pictures Gwyn’s eyes when she sees the necklace;
His shadows deepen and his blue siphon flares when Cassian mentions that a lot can happen to Nesta, Emerie and Gwyn in the Blood Rite.
Honestly, I think this could go in multiple directions. Sarah J. Maas can do anything with all of this. Even if some theories seem to make more sense after ACOSF than others, she will probably work around the loopholes and tie it all together.
I think Gwyn will definitely have a huge role in the next books in the series. She has some kind of connection with Azriel. I don’t know if she’ll be Azriel’s mate, if she’ll be a Shadowsinger like him or have some sort of similar power, but all of these facts and her backstory (grandmother + Autumn Court male High fae + child of the Great Rite + doesn’t know her father) will definitely impact the overall story/plot somehow. SJM may also be preparing to pair Gwyn with someone other than Az.
I think Azriel’s backstory can also impact and explain his behavior towards Mor, Elain and Gwyn, regardless of his endgame pairing. I don’t think he’ll end up with Mor, obviously, but there’s things about their relationship that can probably be explained by his backstory and can even impact on what will happen with him, Lucien, Elain and Gwyn. I hope none of them are hurt in this messy situation, I’m not looking forward to a love triangle/rectangle and I like all of these characters. Yes, even Lucien.
Right now only Sarah J. Maas knows how Azriel/Lucien/Gwyn/Elain’s pairing is going to play out and I can’t wait to find out!
P.S.: I’m so sorry this is so, so long. I just needed to share some thoughts and opinions, I’ll probably edit some of this when I’m not so tired. Thank you if you read all of this. 💕