A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

【 A COURT OF SILVER FLAMES】

Book #4 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This was a hot, steaming pile of a mess.

Genre: Fantasy, Erotica
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: February 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 768 (paperback)

deep, tired sigh

I have many thoughts about this book, but I think I’ll start by saying how disappointed I am. I’ve been a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas’s books since Throne of Glass was a baby. I loved the first three ACOTAR books and was so many levels of excited about A Court of Silver Flames. But the attempt that has been made here to raise this up to be targeted towards a more mature audience, has failed.

This book felt like Maas had gone through some serious and important mental health battles, and felt the need to use her next book as a vehicle to offer support to readers. I think this might be what brought the book’s downfall for me. The over-emphasis on addressing these mental battles that Nesta experience caused the book to feel over-written and trying way too hard. It was peppered with clichés that distracted me more often than not. And it was repetitive.

All of that meant I couldn’t immerse myself in the story and was constantly aware of the effort I was making to get through each page.

And let’s talk about the blatant, distasteful erotica sex. This was not good. If Maas wanted to write an erotica (and clearly she did, ‘hold onto the headboard’ will be forever burned in my memory) then all power to her and I’d be all for it – but in a new series, not midway through one (even if it’s technically split into two trilogies). The whiplash change in branding to go from a few delightfully naughty sex scenes in the previous three books, to every other chapter being a 6-page, full-blown, pornographic coital scene was just unpalatable.

I found it massively inappropriate – and boring. The sex was cringe a lot of the time and didn’t explore the connection between the two characters in any meaningful way. And speaking of meaningful, it didn’t progress the plot either. I could happily have read pages 1-200, and pages 600–750 and been satisfied. The sex dragged out the plot like a dirty and unwilling child being taken to a bath.

Hark, did I say plot? Honestly there wasn’t much of it. The last 150 pages were exciting, and even good (gasp) – I even shed a tear in chapter 77. But overall, what happened in this book could have been streamlined to 200 pages and made way for a wholllleeee lot more to come after. One emotional chapter does not redeem the uphill marathon this book was. I’m pleased to report that despite the plot being MIA for 80% of the book, I did in fact restrain from clawing my eyeballs out.

Sigh. Sigh, sigh, sigh. And if I even read ‘Licked it’ or ‘wholly wet’ or ‘hissed’ in a sexy scene again, I may climb Mount Ramiel myself just to throw myself off the top.

I’ve been let down, what can I say. This fell in a heap compared to what Maas has written before. It tries to be too many things – is it a fantasy adventure? Is it an erotica? Is it a mental health self-help book? We will never know. The disharmonious clashing of these elements really ruined this book for me. I think I’ll need a week to recover from my shock that I’ve rated a Maas so lowly.

This felt like if Lori Gottlieb, Brigid Kemmerer and E. L. James decided to co-write a book. I’m speechless (obviously I mean that metaphorically, this review is longer than Cassian’s ****).

Is it worth reading? Honestly, that’s up to you (so helpful, I know). Personally, I don’t feel this was worth 750+ pages of reading and time spent in the world, but I bet you’re like me and regardless of how good or bad you felt the book was, you want to know what happens next in this world/story. So buckle up and brace yourself, I guess? I’ll probably read the next book out of some naïve hope that Sarah J. Maas got whatever the heck it was out of her system in ACOSF and that we’ll be onto safer waters next. I’m sure I’ll regret that decision.

And finally, I feel this review needs its own Acknowledgements, where I thank my friends and boyfriend for putting up with my incessant raving about how flabbergastedly shocked I was when this book went downhill, and continued to do so. You were my lifeboats in this sea of untangleable bedsheets.

Grab a copy!

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