After a year of anticipation, A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas had some incredibly high standards to meet. To be fair, I’m reviewing this book with my love for the previous trilogy and my excitement for the next trilogy in mind. As a novella, I think the standards are a bit different; you can’t expect a complex novel-type plot from a book with half the pages.
Honestly, I haven’t decided on a rating for ACOFAS yet. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and am even more ready now to get my hands on the next installment. As a part of the ACOTAR series, this was easily a five star read, but if I were evaluating it on its own merit, I’m not sure if that would hold. I’m also not sure if it’s fair to evaluate it as an individual book because its purpose is to bridge two series. I digress.
So let’s get to it.
Feyre and Rhysand
I already disclosed my overwhelming bias for this series, so perhaps this is an appropriate time to also note that Feysand is my all time favorite ship. A Court of Mist and Fury was the most beautiful beginning to their relationship, and SJM continues to deliver. A lot of YA authors struggle with writing a compelling romance after the initial drama has been resolved; they just throw in unnecessary obstacles to keep things interesting. Maas, on the other hand, delivers a relationship that matures beautifully and organically without all the “I love him—but do I really—we need a break—just kidding we were soulmates all along”.
Maybe my only hesitation with their relationship is the disparity in age and experience between Feyre and Rhys. I really appreciated that in the infamous cabin scene in ACOMAF, it was established that Feyre wanted to get to live as a newly made immortal with Rhys before she started a family. Because let’s face it: she’s still sooooo young. But in ACOFAS she decided that she no longer wanted to wait; she wanted a family with Rhys as soon as possible.
Of course, it was a beautiful moment when she told Rhys, and as a reader I cannot wait to see how the foreshadowing with the Bone Carver works out. Despite how exciting it was, I just kept getting caught on the fact that she’s only 21 in a highly uncertain world. Yes, the stories about the weaver’s husband dying at war before they could start a family was compelling, but I felt like I was being manipulated into forgetting all the logical reasons it doesn’t make sense for Feyre and Rhys to have a child.
Also, I would like to make a note on the interesting debate over which genre ACOTAR belongs in: YA or NA. With a protagonist turning 21 and considering starting a family, it only makes sense to market this as NA; however, from a marketing perspective, I completely understand why they keep trying to stretch this into YA. The NA reading pool is just not as well explored at this point, and if they had sold this book as NA, I’m not sure if I would have found this series because I read almost exclusively YA.
Nesta and Cassian
I should warn you that as much as I love Feysand, I dislike Nesta Archeron. I understand somewhat why she is such a…well, bitch. But nonetheless, I find it incredibly challenging to like her or even sympathize with her. From the very beginning when Nesta treated Feyre horribly and did nothing productive, to her harsh judgments on the fae and her horrific behavior and inability to work with anyone, she really is just a difficult character to like.
In ACOFAS, Nesta might even set new records for nastiness. Yes, she is working through some horrible experiences and having trouble adjusting to a life she never asked for, but the way she treats her family, her constant self pitying and her refusal to improve her situation is just inexcusable. Still, I’m holding out hope that she is just a misunderstood character that Maas is waiting to fully unravel in later novels.
Cassian is as entertaining as always, and I love getting a taste of his point of view. I’m loving that Sarah is switching to third person for Nesta and Cass; from her other series, Throne of Glass, we all know that her third person writing is superb. I was a little disappointed by how little page time we got with Cass and Nesta together but the next installment is certain to tackle that problem. Overall, I feel there’s a ton of potential here and am excited to dive into this storyline next.
ACOFAS has been getting hit very hard for its lack of plot—but it’s a novella. Even though it’s unusually long, a novella typically only covers a few scenes. Let’s face it. It’s not a book so we can’t expect it to have some incredibly complex plot like the series’ previous books. Even with that in mind, I really enjoyed the mini plot we got.
It showed so much growth for Feyre and introduced some really complicated problems that will bridge into the next trilogy. Will there be a civil war in the Night Court? What will come of Tamlin? Will other fey territories invade human lands? Will Vassa be forced to return to the mysterious lord who cursed her? Will Feyre and Rhys start a family and will Nesta recover from the effects of war? I have so many more questions after reading this book than I did before, so I would call it a success for a bridge book.
I loved it. I’m not sure Sarah could create a book with these characters that I wouldn’t love. I had a few hesitations, but more importantly, it got me so excited for the next series. The narrative is as beautiful as ever; the dialogue entertaining and convincing. Sarah tackles huge issues in this series and every time, I feel she comes out on top. It’s a must read.
PS how cute is this dedication??