Title: A Court of Silver Flames
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury USA 2/16/21
Length: 768 Pages
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
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.
I’ll have to be a bit honest at first here and say that I had to wrack my brain to get caught up to where we left off since it’s been quite some time since we’ve last been in this world. The War with King Hybern left a jarring memory in my brain, and remembering what happened to Elain and Nesta at the end of it all made me wonder what the future could hold. Elain, the beautiful perfect and delicate sister was taken against her wishes, put into the couldron and Made into something immortal. Nesta followed after her and took everything that she could from the Coulderon as a way to get her revenge out. What happened after though, you’ll all remember is that Nesta couldn’t deal with her pain, with her guilt and with her hatred of herself and that took her down an awful spiral.
We’re now a year or so past the war and Nesta is no better off. She’s a shell of a person, empty and all she does is spend Feyre’s money on booze and men. She’s rude to everyone who makes an effort to be around her that they are forced to give an ultimatum. either fall in line and train with Cassian, get some structure and figure out how to harness her power, or go back to the human lands where she won’t be accepted. It’s really no choice, so she finds herself training with Cassian in the morning and working in the library for the rest of the day.
It’s interesting to see how long it takes to break Nesta down in this story – frankly, I don’t know that we ever really see her break down her walls, but we see her find some purpose in her life. Figure out what’s a bigger goal and to go there. She makes friends with a priestess in the library named Gwyn who starts to play a big role as well as another Illaryian named Emerie. The notion that she’s able to make ‘friends’ makes everyone have hope that she’s going to come around, but even that is a wish that may never come true.
The undertone throughout this 4th installment is that there’s still unrest in the world. While The King of Hybern is dead, the human queens are not united as they should be ever since one went into the Cauldron and lost her beauty to become eternally old. She’s hungry for the power to get her beauty back and that means that we’re about to see the world turned upside down.
Throughout this book, we learn about things older than anyone, Amren even has a hard time remembering the full history. We’re taught about the Dread Trove, a collection of items that were so dark and evil that they have wards to hide and protect them, they have the ability to raise the dead and make people do their bidding. In the wrong hands, that means that the world that they know will be completely destroyed. The queen who’s looking for her youth wants the Trove as she’s made a deal with one of the oldest evil immortals who has his own motivation as well to get released from his prison.
So, we watch the journey as the one human Queen gets a hold of the Crown which is able to control the minds of anyone who’s within reach. That leave a Mask which is able to raise the dead and a Harp which is able to open wards and pass through time. Nesta’s ability to scry which helped them find the Couldron in the last installment means that she’s ripe for the asking to find the Dread Trove. She’s of course not willing to help anyone, especially seeing how the past turned out when she tried to help and her loved ones died or changed form. She objects strongly, and that means that Elain offers herself to do it. That’s what finally gets Nesta to agree to go on the hunt. She trains to become a warrior, to strengthen her mind body and soul, and at the same time, with her friends, they bring back the Valkryies – a female warrior unit that was stronger than many men back thousands of years ago and died off in a war that was a set up.
In addition to that storyline, we have another where Feyre and Rhys are expecting their first child, just as the Bone Carver told them from his visions. The Challenge here is that she fell pregnant when she was in Illaryian form during the war when she was able to shift her shape (thank all the High Lords who gave her powers when she was about to die in book #1). It’s a blessing and everyone’s beyond happy that she’s pregnant and then they learn that because of the form that she was in, the baby is due to have wings. An exciting time for the Illaryian’s but Feyre is now in her Fae form and her body won’t survive a birth of a child with wings. They keep this from her of course, and we watch the journey throughout the story to see if they’re able to keep Feyre alive.
I’ll admit that the first few chapters were a bit draggy for me – it took me a few minutes to get back into it even though I LOVE this series. The characters all have their deep and interesting stories that lead us on so many crazy adventures that we don’t know necessarily what we’re going to get. Some are older than others, some have other forms that were taken from them in the last war. And some really don’t know what to do with the life that they have now.
Elain has found herself mated to someone that she’s got adverse feelings towards, and we see hints of something perhaps between her and Az. Azriel is one of the main characters that we’d do anything to see happy and when it seemed as though there was something more between them at Winter Solstice. Maybe that will come in the next book since we know that there’s a continuing story here.
We have the battles of good and evil in this forth book. We have the notion that everything is NOT what it seems and you never know who you can trust even if you make allies. We also see that there’s redemption for even the worst offenders. We see that there’s transition in life and when you’ve had some of your greatest horrors take away your very breath, there are people out there who care enough to lift you up, support you and never leave you behind. And there’s love. That’s likely the most important of all and perhaps the one thing that we see carry us through this vicious forth installment.
Now I don’t know about any other reader, but I know for myself that i’d love more than anything to get book five sooner rather than later. It’s been years since we had the last one and I think i’ll scream and wither away if we have to wait that long again. On that note – ENJOY!