My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Almost two weeks after finishing A Court of Silver Flames, the time has finally come for me to share my thoughts on Sarah J. Maas’s latest release. As I draft this review, I’m jumping from idea to idea to try to capture everything I want to say about the fourth installment in the ACOTAR series – I’m getting major flashbacks to my House of Earth & Blood review last March. It’s just a given now that my Sarah J. Maas book reviews are triple the size of my normal book reviews, which is fair being that I break my habit of reading 250-350 page contemporary & romance books to immerse myself in her 700+ page fantasy beasts.
There will be no spoilers for ACOSF within this review, but there will be spoilers for the first three books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
I don’t think people have necessarily complained about it, but a few of my bookish friends & reviewers that I follow have pointed out that ACOSF is likely the most character-driven book out of all SJM’s novels. For a fantasy read, the plot definitely takes a back seat to Nesta’s personal journey and her relationship with Cassian. I think that ACOSF acts a little bit of a ACOTAR world reset for the upcoming books in the series, in that the world building & plot sets the stage for the rest of the series.
However, you likely know this about me if you’ve caught on to my reading tastes, but the combination of character growth and plot in ACOSF was the PEFECT blend of relationships meets plot for me. Honestly, I’ve read less and less fantasy over the past two years because I’ve realized that I care way more about character development and relationships in most of my fantasy reads than I do plot and trying to navigate between action and connecting the plot points. My love for ACOSF and SJM’s books as a whole really results from the fact that while there are complicated magic systems & plots involved, she just makes it so digestible and easy to understand.
You likely know this from my reading tastes too, but it’s no surprise that my favorite part of ACOSF was Nesta and Cassian’s relationship…and yes that includes all the romance. I was putting books on hold from the library a few nights ago and was curious to see how many people had put ACOSF on hold – side note that I bought my own copy of the Barnes & Noble edition and that all 10 county library copies were either checked out or being transferred to patrons – and I was shocked to see that ACOSF is listed still as YA. As a side note, ACOTAR and ACOSF are now being marketed as adult fantasy, which has been made helped the book’s cover changes. As per usual with some of SJM’s covers, I like ACOSF’s cover a lot more in person and it makes sense given the plot in the book, but it’s still not necessarily a favorite book cover of mine and leaves me wanting something more? I think in general even the first three ACOTAR books shouldn’t be considered YA (hellooooooo chapter 55 of ACOMAF), but ACOSF IS NOT YA because of the romance scenes.
But again, let’s be clear: I loved the romance scenes and honestly any scene involving Cassian and Nesta! Their sarcasm and ease with one another was so fun to read, alongside their more serious moments involving some conflicts. I really think that SJM has really nailed the balance between romance and relationship development between ACOSF and House of Earth and Blood alone. This balance is definitely seen in the first 3 ACOTAR books and the Throne of Glass series as well, but SJM’s latest two releases have a more mature take. Read More »