Reading format: Kindle e-book
Content warnings: sex, violence
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Hybern and his legions have been defeated. The wall is no more and both fae and humans alike are learning to navigate this new way of living. In a post-war world, Feyre, Rhysand, and their inner circle are rebuilding the Night Court, maintaining new alliances, and remaining alert for whispers of discontentment. With so many tasks to attend to, time for each other is scarce. But the Winter Solstice is near and with it comes a reprieve.
At its essence, A Court of Frost and Starlight is about healing. It’s about slowing down and spending time with those dearest to you. It’s about helping others, giving them grace, and allowing them to grieve. Unlike the first three books in this series, there is no overarching quest in this novella. It’s an interlude, a glimpse into a short time period of the lives of the characters with whom we’ve laughed and cried.
There were times when I thought the story moved a little slowly. On the whole, though, I thought it was a sweet glimpse into the lives of Feyre, Rhysand, Cassian, and Morrigan as they readjust to daily life without war looming, despite the invisible scars they harbor. The story oscillates from the points of view of these four characters. The changing perspectives work well for gleaning insight into each character’s past and feelings. It also made me feel like Sarah J. Maas might be starting to transition to a story told from someone else’s point of view. (This was made more evident since the publication of A Court of Silver Flame, which is mostly about Nesta and Cassian.)
As with this series as a whole, I feel the writing needs improvement. There are a lot of incomplete sentences, more so than in the first three books of the series. I assume Maas did this to show a stream of consciousness for the characters. It doesn’t bother me if the author throws in incomplete sentences here and there. In fact, I find that it can add drama when used more sparingly. But at some points I felt like whole paragraphs were littered with incomplete sentences. As someone who appreciates lyrical writing in a novel (such as in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue), I found this stylistic choice mildly distracting.
Despite the gentle pacing of the story and the writing style, reading this felt like breathing a sigh of relief. I felt like these characters deserved a break after everything they endured in the first three books. I was glad to see them reconnecting and enjoying each others’ company without the ever-looming threat of death. (Semi-spoiler: I was hoping we’d learn more about Bryaxis here, but the focus is mostly on Feyre, Rhysand, and their friends and family.)