A Court of Silver Flames is the fourth full-length book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas. This book takes place after A Court of Frost and Starlight, the novella in the series which bridges the original series to the upcoming later books. A Court of Silver Flames follows Nesta Archeron, Feyre’s sister, who has grown distant and cold after the events of the war. To stop Nesta from self-destructing, Feyre orders Nesta to live in the House of the Wind with Cassian where she will train and work in the building’s library. Meanwhile, one of the queens from the mainland wants revenge on the Cauldron. Nesta, who stole something for herself from the Cauldron, may be the only one to stop her.
A Court of Silver Flames was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and when I started reading it, I knew it would quickly become one of my favorite reads of the year. Many readers were upset that the next installment of the series follows Nesta, as she isn’t typically considered one of the favorites among the main characters for her harsh personality. However, I think many readers, even those who don’t consider themselves fans of her character, will be rooting on Nesta throughout the book. One of the strengths of this author is writing complex characters who experience a lot of character development throughout a book or series and this is certainly true in A Court of Silver Flames. In fact, A Court of Silver Flames may be my new favorite book in the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
The greatest strength of this book would have to be Nesta’s character development. I think many readers will relate to Nesta and how she views her situation and herself. Nesta harbors a lot of guilt regarding the events that took place in the war. In turn, she often reacts harshly and closes herself off from others, as she doesn’t want or doesn’t feel that she deserves their kindness. Throughout the book, Nesta begins to make friends, develops a meaningful relationship, and regains the control that she lost in a healthy way. In previous books, readers only see Nesta how the other members of the inner circle view her, which is not favorably. I enjoyed seeing Nesta’s commentary on the members of the inner circle and seeing the depth of her character that the inner circles often misses.
Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the pacing. Typically in books by Sarah J. Maas, there is a lot of info dumping at the beginning of the book and it takes a good hundred pages (or more) for the action to kick off. While this book does a little summary of the events in the novella at the beginning, there aren’t large info dumps at the beginning of this book as readers of this series are now very familiar with this world. As a result, readers can jump right in to the action of this novel. Within this book, there are four sections and I found each section equally interesting and engaging. A Court of Silver Flames is almost 800 pages long, but I couldn’t put it down and at no part of the book did I find that I was just pushing myself to finish.
A Court of Silver Flames also brings a lot of promising side characters and plot for future books in the series. Within this book, we are introduced to a couple new interesting and complex side characters who I feel will have a major impact on the remaining books of this series. Additionally, some old characters, such as Eris, have new information brought to light that could possibly change the directory of their individual storylines in the future. While A court of Silver Flames has a definite end for the main characters of the story, there are many promising new developments and loose ends that leave readers with a lot of questions. I think many readers may be concerned that new books just may drag out the series rather than add to it, but after seeing some new plot lines in this book, I do not think that will be the case.
One aspect of the book that some readers may not enjoy is the physical villain of the story. Briallyn, the queen who is trying to enact her revenge on the Cauldron, actually does not appear much in the story, which may irritate some readers. For me, this didn’t bother me much because I didn’t see Briallyn as much of a villain as I saw her as a foil for Nesta. Both went into the Cauldron and were changed dramatically. Both are extremely angry by their circumstances, but one chooses to use the change for good and the other tries to use the change for bad. For me, the “villain” of the story was more Nesta versus herself as she grappled with all of her recent trauma, her newfound abilities, and her self-worth. To me, that was the more powerful struggle present in the book, and since I enjoyed that aspect of the story more than the whole aspect with Briallyn, I was satisfied with the conflict in the story.
Overall, A Court of Silver Flames was a highly enjoyable read for me. For my personal tastes, it contained the right amount of character development, romance, and action to keep me engaged throughout the entire book. From the first page, I knew this book would be a five star read for me. It is going to be difficult for another book to top this one in 2021. I give A Court of Silver Flames four out of five stars.