A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1)
By: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: May 1st, 2018
Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends 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.
As many readers of this blog probably know already, I’m quite a fan of Sarah J Maas’ work–especially her court of Thorns and Roses series (although Aelin is a magnificent badass). That being said, as much as I loved the first two in this series, I was less impressed with the third one–Em and I both agreed it was a little too large and somewhat clumsy in how it presented the story. At the time I thought it was just the editing, but now having read ACOFAS (yes, I’m lazy), I’m wondering if there were other things.
ACOFAS is an easy, lighthearted, Solstice (Christmas) novella set in between the two halves of the series, and it feels as if its main role is to act as a bridge between them. It was fun to revisit all of the characters again–Feyre and Rhysand, their whole group–and see how everyone was dealing with a rare period of non-war (presumably before the next major conflict rises up). But so many characters felt cumbersome–it had multiple POVs, which I am usually OK with but here felt annoyingly jumpy. And there wasn’t much difference in voice, so if I wasn’t paying attention when I started a chapter it was easy to get confused and lost. Also just keeping track of everyone was a challenge–I mean, there are what, ten people in the core group of characters?
In addition, most of the plot points veered between silly and inconsequential (oh no, whatever will I get my friends for Christmas?) and far too large to be anything but an introduction to the next series-half (possible army uprising). They weren’t tied together particularly well, and it didn’t feel like the author tried too hard. But I’ll blame that to the odd placement of this book: simultaneous feel-good Christmas novella and setup for the next major book series. I will say, though, that I did like where I think the focus is shifting on the next book–Nesta and Cassian were set up as main players, which I think could be really cool.
But, since I’ve complained for a while, I’ll talk about the things I liked: the description was lovely. When I was reading this on the side of the road next to a broken down car in 90 degree weather, it seemed like the best choice to be reading about snow falling on a dark, chilly evening. Although I cringed a little at how sappy the book was, I thought it was just appropriately sappy for a Solstice *cough, Christmas, cough* novella and didn’t veer into surypy. I did briefly wonder why this wasn’t published in December, but maybe there was a tight publishing schedule or something. I also thought, in light of the postscript Maas added about her own life while writing this, that some of the sappiness was understandable (I don’t WANT to spoil this, but if you know about SJ Maas’ upcoming life event, Feyre and Rhysand’s arc makes some sense).
But still, this novella felt a little clumsy, and more of a bridge/introduction to the next series half than anything else. If you’re a major Sarah J Maas fan/desperate for any hint of the next book, this might be worth reading. If neither apply to you, I’d say you can probably skip this and just wait for book 4.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.