(Goodreads summary here.)
Look, guys, I wanted to love this. I absolutely devoured the original trilogy last summer and loved it. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest Sarah J. Maas fan out there, but I definitely like her work (despite all its problems). The basis of why I didn’t like this as much as I wanted to reflects what a lot of people seem to be saying about it: it really doesn’t feel like a necessary addition to the series.
I am 100% here for transitions between storylines in spin-offs. I want to know what’s changed, why we should be invested in the new story. But this isn’t that. A Court of Frost and Starlight just seems like a little fluffy novella that doesn’t hold any actual plotlines or details that will contribute to future story arcs. The one thing that is made out to be a big deal and may influence the direction of future novels is the contention in the Illyrian camps. This is an interesting concept that I want to see explored, since the Illyrians have every right to feel underappreciated, however, all of that could have easily been established in 20 pages in a future novel. It also didn’t take up a significant enough portion to be worth anything in the context of the novella.
I wasn’t really rooting or waiting on the edge of my seat for anything to happen because there is nothing to look forward to. There is essentially no drama apart from the tension between the Inner Circle and Nesta, and even that wasn’t intriguing to me. Ok, great, there having a little holiday from the turmoil of the Night Court. Cool. I would’ve been fine with a single chapter in a future novel doing the same thing. If I wanted to go out of my way to read pure Feyre+Rhys fluff, I could hop on tumblr and find a fanfic in about 2 seconds flat. The thing is, I have never felt the need to. I really thought the whole novella felt forced, not only in terms of the plot (or lack thereof) but forced upon the readers as well. I can’t confidently say that you could skip reading A Court of Frost and Starlight and then pick up the next novel and not have missed anything (because obviously there is no next novel yet), but I feel like that will probably be the case, and that’s annoying as heck to me. I don’t want to read 250 pages of plotless fanservice only to get to the end and realize that there is nothing that hints at what will happen next in the series. I read this novella because I felt like I had to, because there might be some clues or Easter eggs about what comes next, and I was wrong on both fronts. I’m still holding out hope that this wasn’t a complete waste of time and that it ends up playing a major role in the coming novels (although I’m not terribly optimistic).
Also: what the heck is up with the language? I’ve seen someone mention it, but all throughout this series they make a huge point about the fae being males and females, not men and women, and then all of a sudden the Illyrians refer to the younger females as girls? How does that make any sense? It seemed like really lazy writing, where instead of saying like “the youngest females” or “the females under 20,” SJM was just like, “screw it, everyone understands what a girl is,” even though it doesn’t fit the canon she had established in 3 other books? I’m not buying it.
There is one thing I have seen in a handful of reviews for this novella that I don’t agree with. Numerous people seem to be saying that Feyre is completely shirking her High Lady duties throughout the novella with the implication that she hasn’t been doing them at all. I don’t see that. At each turn, we see Feyre feeling guilty for taking time for herself and her family for the holiday. She keeps coming back to this idea that others are suffering, so why should she be happy and relaxing? It is completely in character for her to try to put others ahead of herself, and I think we get to see that from a different light in the novella, which I enjoyed. Sure, would I have liked to see more of what it means to be a High Lord or Lady? Yeah, but I’m not going to hold it against any of the characters that they weren’t always doing their jobs given the context of the story. I mean, give these guys a break, gosh darn it. They’ve all nearly died (some have literally died) within the past year, so I think they deserve it.
I guess overall, it was kind of nice to see these characters in a different setting. We’ve never seen them not preparing for or at war, so it was refreshing to see what they were like outside of all that. Still, was I a little disappointed in the lack of a storyline? Yes. Do I think it is an unnecessary addition to the series? Yes. Do I disagree with people who think Feyre and Rhys were being lazy and not doing their jobs? Yes. A Court of Frost and Starlight has its merits in some arenas, but plot development is not one of them. Unlike a lot people, I wasn’t really dying to get back into this world and these characters, so I think I could have passed on this one and been perfectly content.
What did you think of A Court of Frost and Starlight? Do you feel like it adds anything to the series as a whole?