To the blessed darkness from which we are born. And to which we return.Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Frost and Starlight
Spoiler Warning: This is a review of a continuation in a series and so if you have not read the series, I would highly recommend not reading this review so that nothing is spoiled for you!
In the aftermath of the war between Hybern’s forces and the faeries, Feyre and Rhys are helping all of Prythian rebuild. But, it’s not just their lands that need rebuilding, it’s themselves. As Feyre struggles with her identity after the war, she finds that she is drawn back to a hobby that she once had. Rhys is struggling to find his footing after revealing his true nature to the rest of Prythian and figuring a way to keep Feyre and the rest of his court happy. The rest of the group struggles with finding their place in the court, while dealing with the aftermaths of war, something that they’re all accustomed to doing. While these struggles bubble under the surface, new political tensions are beginning to arise and it’s up to Feyre and her court to help calm the churning waters.
This is one of those books that I wish I never read. It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoyed the first two novels of this series and was more than thrilled to read the last two books she’s released, but with the disappointment that was A Court of Wings and Ruin, I should’ve stopped there and not bothered with this book. This book has been marketed as a “filler” novel to bridge to the two halves of this series (the first trilogy and any upcoming books that Maas will write). While I can appreciate the need for readers to know something before the next book in a series is released, there was no information in this book that couldn’t have been the first three hundred pages of her next novel. For the most part, it was just watching all the characters run mindless errands as they interacted with each other. If this was truly meant to be a novella, it should have been much shorter than it was. I just found myself skimming pages because there was no substance to this story.
I’ve always appreciated Maas’s prose and her character development, but there was something severely lacking in this novel. The point of the novel, in terms of character development, was to demonstrate the horrors of war on a person’s mental health. While I normally would find this a wonderful goal for any YA book that involves some kind of battle (because usually the main characters are left unscathed), I felt that it was completely repetitive, in Feyre’s case, of A Court of Mist and Fury. She was like a broken record, constantly repeating the same lines and phrases to the point where the reader almost wanted to shake her. It felt like Maas just copied and pasted lines from her other novels so that she could churn out this one. There were also several times where the point of view shifted to different characters, which is so completely different from the primarily first person POV in the rest of her novels. I thought it would be a welcome change to get the perspective of the other characters, but it only muddled the book further. I truly didn’t understand why there were so many little chapters about mindless things that didn’t further the plot or add any enjoyment to the book.
As this is supposed to be a filler novella, there were references to some political uprisings in Prythian but I’m not sure what this was for. Maas just repeated the same lines about the political turmoil and then never did anything about it. What’s the point in attempting to create a fascinating plot if you’re not going to continue through with it? It was just filler pages in a filler novella and truly made readability plummet. I can understand if the novella was meant to be a cute read about characters that we’ve come to enjoy, but then the length is a major criticism because not many people want to read a fantasy story about people running errands. That’s what realism is for. Also, the political information just wasn’t necessary then. It’s like even Maas can’t decide what this story is supposed to be about.
Overall, I would say that this book is just an unnecessary read. I’m confused as to why this was a necessary publication and it just feels like there was no rhyme or reason to the story. It was written at a quality much lower than her other novels and that ruined the story. In terms of continuing this series, I’m not sure that it’s one that I will be continuing, unless I hear rave reviews for whatever comes next (which I’m not actually sure what that is).