A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys, and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated—scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.
*warning: this review contains spoilers for the entire ACOTAR series*
It’s always a surreal experience when I pick up an SJM book. From the very first page, I’m transported back to this world she’s created that has grown to mean so much to me. This book brought me so much joy—no other world and no other characters have made me feel the way these ones do. Coming back to these characters, to Velaris…it’s like coming home.
So this novella picks up a few months after the events of ACOWAR, and everyone is in the process of healing and rebuilding after the war, though the scars it left are still evident. And though overall this story is definitely more lighthearted (which I LOVED, by the way), it was well-balanced with more serious and hard-hitting topics like grief, depression, and PTSD.
One thing I was really excited about that I wasn’t expecting was the povs from Cassian and Mor! The first thing I noticed about their chapters was that they were written in third person as opposed to Feyre’s and Rhys’ first person povs. I thought it was a little strange at first, but I really love how Sarah writes in third person and I’m assuming that the spin-off novels will be written in third person as well, but more on those later.
Being back with the Inner Circle with all their banter was the BEST THING EVER. Their group dynamic is so perfect and hilarious. Their interactions always make me laugh out loud and just make my heart swell with happiness. And the snowball fight between the three Illyrians—where else would you ever read about centuries-old warriors having a snowball fight? Nowhere. (one of the many reasons I love SJM and her characters)
All of it was vital; all of it was good, satisfying work. And yet…there was more. There was more that I could do to help. Personally. I just hadn’t figured it out yet.
My love for Feyre was reawakened in this book because she is quite possibly the most compassionate mc ever. It was always apparent in the previous books in the way she cared for her sisters, and when she gave her jewels to the water nixie (is that what it was?) at the Tithe in the Spring Court and everything with the Suriel—the list could go on and on—but I felt like it was so prominent in this book. Basically, all she wanted to do was help the people of Velaris rebuild, and helping her people was always her mind, even when she allowed herself to take a couple days to enjoy the much-deserved holiday. I think Feyre is such an admirable character in that she always puts herself last among those she cares for.
I also really love the way she kind of rediscovers the healing power of art and creating, and then is able to find a way to spread that to others by the end of the book. That theme is reinforced throughout the novel, and one of the most powerful scenes to me was the one with the weaver who lost her husband.
I have to create, or it was all for nothing. I have to create, or I will crumple up with despair and never leave my bed. I have to create because I have no other way of voicing this.
Needless to say, this scene had me crying like a baby. I was also crying at the end of the book when Feyre and Ressina open their studio. I loved how it came full circle, and something about it all was so hopeful and pure.
At this point what else is there to say about Rhysand? He’s perfect. I loved reading his pov and getting a little more insight into how he thinks and some of the insecurities he has, like being scared that he’s shackling Feyre down at such a young age. Which is utterly ridiculous, of course, but it’s nice to know that his arrogant exterior doesn’t reach all the way down to who he is on the inside, lol.
And Rhysand and Feyre together. Oh man there’s so much I could say, and so much to gush about. I love EVERYTHING about them, from their banter to their tender moments to the more steamy ones (lol), but I think one of the most important things is that they still give each other space.
If I wanted to talk, he’d listen. If I didn’t want to, he would let it go. It had been our unspoken bargain from the start—to listen when the other needed, and give space when it was required.
And then obviously there’s the matter of FEYRE AND RHYSAND HAVING A BABY. There had been tiny hints here and there throughout the book, but I wasn’t letting myself hope until Feyre showed Rhys the vision the Bone Carver showed her of their boy. The moment was SO SWEET and had me crying and if Feyre isn’t at least pregnant at some point during the spin-offs I am going to be very angry. I also think it’s so sweet and fitting considering Sarah is having a baby boy in just a few weeks!
I was really happy we got a pov from Mor, and even though they were short they were pretty powerful. When she went to the Hewn City and had the flashback to what was done to her by her father and Eris… it was horrific. And it’s heartbreaking to see Mor, who is so strong and confident, who overcame the horrors of her past, still made so vulnerable in the presence of those two men. All I want for her is to find the strength to rise above those monsters once and for all, and to no longer let the shadows of what they did to her stamp out her light.
As for the proposition Rhys offered her, to travel to faraway kingdoms and work on their relationships, I think that would be so good for Mor, but I also hope it’s not a way of writing her out of the story temporarily. I think it’d be really fun to follow her on an adventure like that, and hopefully see her find the inner strength let go of the hold her father has on her.
Azriel (and Elain)
I absolutely love Azriel and all that he is. I really wish there was more of him in this book 🙁 All I want is for him to be happy. Which also means all I want is for Mor to FINALLY JUST TALK TO HIM ALREADY. Mor shouldn’t be leading him on, and they both deserve to be able to move on and find love. Azriel and Elain can’t be together if Az is still pining after Mor, and Mor can’t be with whoever she wants to be with if she’s still guilty about Az. I understand that after so long of hiding it, revealing her bisexuality is an extremely hard thing to do, but I think at this point she really needs to do it, if only to just Az.
But anyway, the more Az and Elain interact, the more I NEED them to end up together. They’re the perfect fit. Both quiet and reserved, Elain sweet, Az caring…and they have a special relationship, even if it’s not romantic yet. When Elain gave Az the special powder for all the headaches everyone gives him…I was loling so hard.
And as for Elain, I really want her to be happy, too. Lucien, even though he’s her mate, does not and probably will not ever make her happy. I do think she should at least talk to him because I feel bad for him at this point, but my love for his character kind of faded away after he backed Tamlin in ACOMAF.
Nesta (and Cassian)
Okay, I have to say Nesta was really pissing me off in this book. I get she’s in a really bad place, but Feyre doesn’t deserve all the crap, and Elain certainly doesn’t deserve it. I hate how self-destructive she’s being, and how she REFUSES to acknowledge Cassian. By the end of ACOWAR, I was shipping them so hard, but now it’s like nothing ever happened. Her character is so complex—she has a lot of layers to her, most of them her harsh, icy exterior, and in that regard, I really love her character. I want to see those layers unraveled. But I also just want her to stop being a bitch.
That being said though, the small pov of hers we have is so raw, and if you read Sarah’s newsletter, she had to write this at a time when her own father was close to dying…so it was a lot (thankfully he’s healthy now!). I feel like Nesta’s character has regressed at this point, which sucks right now, but means that there’s going to be A LOT of growth in the future books which I’m really excited to see. So even though Nesta makes me mad right now, I can’t wait to see what happens with her and Cassian in the spin-offs because I know the story will be really powerful. And Nesta facing down Illyrians in a war-camp—yes, please.
I would also just like to quickly mention how much I LOVED reading about the Inner Circle celebrating Solstice and Feyre’s birthday. When Elain brought in the cake that had the flowers, the fire and the stars as decorations I started crying…a lot. It was another full-circle moment and the whole celebration was just so sweet and cozy and fulfilling. My love for these characters is unending and more than I can coherently put into words, so I think I’m going to end this review here. If you made it this far, then thank you so much for reading and putting up with all my gushing and rambling!
Thank you so much for reading! Tell me in the comments: what were your thoughts on ACOFAS? Did you love it as much as I did? Did you cry as much as I did?? How excited are you for the Cassian/Nesta Spinoff???