Discussions, Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

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

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Synopsis:

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.


2.5 🍁s

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT

Okay… So I would like to preface this review by saying that I am not jumping on the Sarah J. Maas or ACOSF hate train. This review is coming from someone who has been a SJM fan for five years and has been dying for Nessian’s book for four of those. This review comes from a place of genuine disappointment. All of my opinions were formed from reading the book itself and I didn’t have any outside influences affecting that.

Now that that is out of the way… this book was disappointing. Very disappointing. The plot lacked Sarah’s usual twists and flair, the romance felt rushed and lacked development, but probably the most disappointing of all… The characters were utter shells of themselves. Some of their actions were completely out of character and some of the things that endeared them to me were missing from this book entirely. This book felt like a fan fiction of ACOTAR. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that none of this book felt like Sarah’s writing at all.

Maybe my feelings of this book are all tied to waiting so long for it. Maybe it’s because I went in expecting this to be as great as ACOMAF… The bottom line is that it didn’t cut it. And it’s not like Sarah hasn’t made a masterpiece in the past. The elements were all there for the making of a great book… A hate-to-love romance, characters with traumas and dark pasts, a complex world filled with different creatures and politics, an interesting villain… Yet somehow, this book turned all of those things into the worst forms of themselves.

Cassian and Nesta’s development, separately and together, was an utter disaster. And I’m sorry, after witnessing what Sarah did in ACOMAF, I know she can write a damn good romance with two characters healing from their past traumas. Nesta’s trauma, we barely scratched the surface on. Yeah she addressed her feelings on her dad… But what about those thousand Illyrians whose deaths she blames herself for? It was mentioned but she didn’t come to terms with it. What about her mother’s clearly abusive behavior? Never acknowledged. What about the fact that she was sexually assaulted? Brushed over and used when it was convenient. And Cassian’s traumas? Not in the picture at all. He spoke about them a couple times to make Nesta feel better, sure, but did he work on them or grow from them at all? Absolutely not.

The Nessian relationship itself was so utterly disappointing, that I honestly think I preferred them hating each other and the insults they threw at each other in ACOMAF, ACOWAR, and ACOFAS. Where was the pining? The accidental touches? The stolen glances? The pushing and pulling each other away? The slowly coming to terms with the fact that they have feelings for each other? They were practically non-existent. These two went from hurling insults and not standing to be near each other to jumping each other’s bones in practically 6.9 seconds (yes pun intended there). Instead of talking to each other and developing, they had sex instead. I love me some smut, don’t get me wrong. But there is a level of being there to grow the characters, and then there is just plain unnecessary. It’s a balancing act and Sarah didn’t even seem to try to balance the scales.

Well, what about the world? What about Nesta’s powers and the Cauldron? Yeah we barely got to see any of it. The things we did felt thrown together with no evidence from the past books. Like, I’m sorry, but the Trove felt cheap and completely out of left field. Yeah, Sarah tried to explain it away… But it’s not like she hasn’t set plot points up many books ahead before? Uhhh does anyone recall the plot twist of Crown of Midnight linking to Empire of Storms’s major point at the end? I sure do. So Sarah could have planted seeds if she had wanted to.

Now Nesta’s powers? Those were incredibly interesting. I loved how she Made things and was something we had never seen before! Yet, somehow, those were taken away in the end too… And I honestly don’t get why. It’s not like Sarah wanted to take away her powers to make her normal like the other characters. No, Rhys and Feyre are practically Gods with their powers so there is no reason why Nesta has to be normal. Is three all powerful characters too much now? Well it’s not like they would have been put to use anyway when that villain was dealt with in such a convenient way with a sweet bow on top! Yeah because that had to be a major let down too. Bryallin was dealt with so quickly I had to stop and reread the scene to make sure I was understanding correctly. You’re telling me that with all the power of the Crown she somehow lasted two books less than the wimpy Fae King of Hybern? REEALLLY?

All of that aside… I thought I’d at minimum be able to comfort myself with my love of the other characters. And while I enjoyed Rhys and Feyre having a baby, let’s be frank… That felt convenient too. Fae pregnancies are supposed to be rare, yet Feyre AND Vivian are pregnant by this book? Yeah Sarah I think you need to re-examine your own rules for your worlds. That aside, Feyre felt like a patronizing hypocrite this entire book and Rhys… *Sighs* Rhys is (Was?) my favorite male character of all time. I loved him from the moment he stepped on the page on ACOTAR… Yet he came off like an utter asshole during this book. It breaks my heart. It truly does, to say that. At one point in my life, I worshipped the ground he walked on. Yet this book didn’t have my Rhys. The things I loved and aspired to see in my own choice of partner were gone in this book. He was unrecognizable. I honestly don’t have the words to convey how much that hurts to say. It makes me wish I hadn’t read this book, if I’m being honest. Just so that my memories wouldn’t be tainted.

Despite all of that, there were some things I enjoyed… Nesta’s relationships with Gwen and Emerie were a high point for me. Female friendships are something that I would consider Sarah really got at, which we got in this book. The House was also a great part. It reminded me of feelings I had for Abraxos. The House was a friend who wanted nothing but to help Nesta, which I loved. Helion, for the brief moments he was in this book, was a shining star. He consistently made me smile. Eris and his mysteries were intriguing and I have been dying to learn more about him since ACOWAR so I loved seeing him in this book. I also highly enjoyed the ballroom scene and the Winter Solstice. Those were some bright moments where I felt my old friend ACOMAF shine through. And finally, Nesta herself. Her trauma and growth weren’t there, but I saw the core of her shine through. When she ripped into Tamlin, I felt so much joy and vindication of three books in the making. I don’t care what people say, he deserved that and Nesta gave it to him better than anyone else.

In conclusion, I had a lot of problems with this book. I honestly can’t even begin to say how much that hurts. I never thought in a million years I would feel this way. I’m being as open and raw as I can be when I say that it will take time for me to get over this. I’d love to say I will be continuing the series, but I think I need to step away for a while. Luckily, Sarah has been writing slower so I will probably get that time. To all of you out there that are disappointed, I am so sorry and I hope this didn’t taint your love for the series. For those that enjoyed this book, I am so glad for you! I wish I could share your joy. Thank you to everyone who made it to the end and for reading my little corner of feelings. It’s appreciated more than you know ❤

Discussions

Life Update and Real Talk

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Hi Everyone. Let me start off by thanking each and every one of you for sticking with me and staying subscribed to me over these last few months. I haven’t posted on here and a while and, honestly, I can’t blame the people that left.

I’m going to be 1000% honest in this post. Many of you know but some might not, but my mom passed away in May of 2019. It was undoubtedly the most horrible experience I’ve ever gone through. I took a break from all social media for a while, but eventually, I felt so much guilt for not being as active as I was that I went back. And looking back now, it was much earlier than it should have been. I rushed back into things so quickly and my posts, the amount of them, and the lack of effort I put into them shows.

Eventually, I just stopped caring about my posts in general and just put them up to be there. And then I even stopped caring about that. I stopped putting out all content except for reviews on Goodreads. Then, I took a much-needed break and when I was finally ready to come back, my dad passed away.

No matter what relationship you have with your parents, losing both of them in less than a year is an experience that no one should have to go through and other people can’t possibly understand. It’s so hard to put into words… To lose people that have been a part of your life since the very beginning. You honestly feel like a part of you is gone and that your life ended with theirs. You look back at your past with those people and it feels like another life.

I wasn’t ready to come back to my blog or Instagram after losing my parents. But I’m finally at a place in my life now where I feel okay. I’m ready to come back and talk with people and share my love books again. Because trust me, there is NO way I could have made it through this year without books.

I don’t think I’ll ever get back to posting one-two times a day like I used to, but that’s because that portion of my life is over and I’m a different person than I was a year ago when I started this blog. With all of that being said, I love you all and I am so happy to get back into the swing of things! I look forward to all of your comments and messages! Thank you for your continued support.

~𝒜𝓊𝓉𝓊𝓂𝓃 💕

Discussions

Discussion: Binge Reading + Waiting on Every Book To Be Out Before Reading the Series

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Hello Lovelies! I have never done a discussion post before so wish me luck!

What I wanted to talk about today was binge reading. For those that don’t know, I am a big binge reader and I typically wait for every book in a series to be out before I start to read it. I wanted this discussion to be about if that is a good strategy to have and if you guys think I should change my ways. And if you are someone that reads books as they are released, I want to get your take on your experience.


Pros To Waiting:

∴ You don’t spend months/year(s) of waiting on the next book ~ This is probably the best part of waiting for all of the books to be out. Every book in the series is right there at your finger tips!

∴ You don’t get left with a nasty cliffhanger ~ They suck! We all hate them and you are left feeling an overwhelming need to find out what happens next… Only you can’t because the next book is a year or more away. If all of the other books in the series are all ready out, you don’t have to worry about that. The next book is right there on your shelf!

∴ You don’t have to reread all of the books to remember what happened in the previous installments ~ Have you ever sat down to read the next book in a series after months of waiting, only to start reading the first few chapters and be totally lost because you forgot what happened in the last book? Well, you have some options: You either continue on and hope you remember. Or you have to reread the previous book(s) in the series over to refresh yourself. This can be a pain if this is like the fifth installment and you have to reread the first four books in the series. Then, you spend weeks of extra time and don’t get to read the book you were so excited for in the first place. When all of the books are out and you binge read them, this is not an issue.

∴ You can binge read all of the books and stay in the mindset of the world ~ There have been times when I waited for the next installment and read it as soon as it was released, to only realize that all that waiting made me lose interest in the story and/or I stopped having strong feelings about the characters. Binge reading helps with that. I am deeply rooted in the story line and my love for the characters is right at the forefront of my mind.

∴ You get to read non-spoilery reviews and see if the series goes downhill or gets better with every book ~ Sometimes, I’m just not sure about a series. Maybe the first book had a lot of negative reviews or maybe the synopsis didn’t quite sell me. But because I wait, I get to see reviews for the next books and some of my friends who I trust can tell me if I will enjoy the series. The first book might have had a lot of negative reviews, but the second and third can have glowing ones. I get to see that beforehand instead of waiting years, reading it for myself, and getting disappointed.

∴ You get to read a lot of backlist titles ~ During all of that waiting for all of the books to be out in a series, I get to read a lot of backlist titles. Some people spend so much time reading new books, that they don’t get to give older ones a try. A lot of my favorite series are backlist titles and I wouldn’t have found them otherwise.


Cons To Waiting:

∴ You miss out on a bunch of new releases and debut authors ~ There are so many times when I see a new series that I want to read or a debut author’s book that I want to support, only I have to wait years for all of the books to be out first.

∴ You have to dodge spoilers like your life depends on it ~ This one is probably the hardest!! Do you know how many times I have been spoiled for The Cruel Prince?!?! Fan art or head-cannon posts are literally everywhere and dodging spoilers is almost impossible. I am really worried that they are going to change my reading experience of the book.

∴ You might really want to read a book but end up waiting years for it (and sometimes you already have the book on your shelf and it stares at you all the time) ~ This part of binge reading is really challenging. There are SOO many newer releases that I want to read and (like The Cruel Prince) are just sitting on my shelf staring at me all the time. I am just itching to pick them up and I have to continuously remind myself that the series aren’t finished yet.

∴ You miss out on getting to talk to people about them/ you miss out on all the hype surrounding the book if it is a popular release ~ I’m constantly blog hopping and there are a lot of posts that I have to skip over because it is about a newer release that I haven’t read yet. It makes me feel bad and I’m constantly missing out on the hype train over a new release.

∴ ARCs from authors/publishers/Netgalley/Edelweiss don’t mean as much because you can’t read them ~ This is one that I didn’t really realize was a problem until I was scrolling through Netgalley. I see so many books on there that sound interesting and part of me wants to request them, but I either haven’t read the previous installment or it is the first book and I know I will have to wait a while for the series to be finished.

You spend years waiting, only to find that you don’t like the series ~ There have been a couple times that I waited years for all of the books to be out and read the first book, only to dislike it and I spent years waiting for nothing. That sucks and, even though it rarely happens to me, I get this feeling of despair every time it happens.


There are good arguments to both sides and I am probably even forgetting some more that could be added on there.

I personally get a lot of enjoyment out of binge reading. All of the books are right at my finger tips and I get to immerse myself in a world without it being interrupted. I hate cliffhangers/waiting and, a lot of the time, I am happy with waiting for all of the books to be out so that I can binge.

Have you ever heard the saying “Absents makes the heart grow fonder”? Well, I think that there is some weight to that. EVERY series that I have not waited for and read as they came out, were ones that I absolutely loved. Most of them are my favorite series of all time. I think that a part of me is like, “If I didn’t love this series, I wouldn’t spend months/years waiting for the next book”.

That got me thinking and, in the last few months, I have been debating on changing. I want to read more new releases and be able to talk about them with people. I also realized that I will spend every year anticipating more books and I can fill that gap of waiting for the next installment, with other new releases.

I’m just really scared to make that leap. I’ve been a binge reader for a long time and changing that can be daunting. I don’t know if I am going to be okay with waiting in between books and being left on cliffhangers when I’ve gone without that for so long.


This post was long winded and I hope it made some semblance of sense to you. I would really appreciate your thoughts and feelings on this subject. Should I change and is it worth it? Do you read installments as they come out or do you wait? How do you feel about your own strategy and does it work for you? Do you have any advice for me? ~𝒜𝓊𝓉𝓊𝓂𝓃 💕