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‘A Court of Frost and Starlight’, and why it doesn’t need to exist

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ series.

Picture this: you have just run a marathon. A marathon that took you weeks, and you’re running and running and running until you reach the finish line. You’re tired, but proud of yourself, because this was a huge achievement over a really long amount of time. You grow thirstier and thirster as you approach the end.

You see it! The finish line is in sight! You use the last little bit of your energy to make it to the end. You cross that line. But what’s this? The finish line is in a desert, and you just really need a drink of water.

This was the journey I went on reading A Court of Frost and Starlight, the fourth book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series written by Sarah J. Maas.

The four books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

With 448 pages, the first book A Court of Thorns and Roses appeared to be scraping the line of being slightly too long. But the following books A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin trump that, with 656 and 736 pages respectively.

Why am I bringing up page numbers, you may ask? Well, dear reader, some books can afford a large amount of pages, and the three first books in the series absolutely used them all correctly. With battles, character development, descriptions and scenes that kept me hooked- I smashed through these huge books in a matter of days.

A Court of Frost and Starlight is a completely different story (pun intended). It’s 233 pages are about 200 too many, and despite the fact that the number is starkly different to the others, the main thing that makes this book different to its predecessors is that it that it’s a bit… crap.

It really does NOT need to exist, and I’m about to tell you why.

The first book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

The series starts with Feyre, a human girl living in a small village in a world also filled with magical beings. I know what you’re thinking, fantasy is cool right? But before you go and judge, stick around. Listen to the story line.

Feyre is the youngest of three sisters, and the main breadwinner for the family. Facing a cold winter ahead, she goes out to hunt for food to keep her family fed. Stumbling across a wolf, she tries her luck, eventually making a successful kill to bring home. As the family plan how to make the most of the kill, a tall, dark and handsome High Fae called Tamlin comes to the door, kidnapping Feyre as payment for killing his friend.

Aren’t you hooked? I certainly was! Without giving too much away, Feyre and Tamlin fall in love, she eventually saves him and all the other Fae from tyrannical queen Amarantha, and turns into a High Fae herself. And it doesn’t even end there!

The second book in the A Court of Mist and Fury series.

A Court of Mist and Fury

During Feyre’s time scheming and fighting for High Fae freedom, she meets Rhysand, another tall, dark and handsome man from a different part of the magical land. The second book sees Feyre getting to know Rhysand AND Tamlin better, which results in her falling in love with Rhysand instead, and discovering that Tamlin is actually kind of a jerk. We love a plot twist!

The third book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

A Court of Wings and Ruin

In the third book in the series – and the final good one – Feyre, Rhysand and Rhysand’s extended family and friends all fight the King of Hybern as he plans to break down a wall that separates the humans and the Fae, to slaughter and enslave them. This is the 736 page book is basically the characters figuring out how to win the coming war, with twists and turns that eventually lead to a grim success over the King. This book FELT like the perfect finale to the series, but was missing how the characters were faring in the days and years after it. And this is where A Court of Frost and Starlight comes in.

A Court of Frost and Starlight

Reading this book felt similar to climbing to the top of a really tall mountain on a cloudy day. The whole time, you are excited to get to the top to see the view, but you can’t, because the clouds are in the way. It was 233 pages of characters walking around the castle and city they lived in, crying every now and then, with not a lot else sprinkled on top. It was not at all worth the climb.

Even 223 pages was too long for this book. The fact that it stood in such contrast to the length of the other books should have been enough of a sign that its existence wasn’t necessary. The book would have been better, in my opinion, as an extra 30 or so pages at the end of the last book. It was already long enough, so why not add a little bit extra?

A Court of Thorns and Roses‘ 233 pages, that could have been reduced to 30 pages at the end of the third book.

The book switches between the main characters in the series, as they move forward from the big finale-feeling battle that ended the last book. Each character has about 5 to 6 chapters each, but I believe, with the extremely small amount of things that actually happen in the final book, all could have been reduced to one chapter with all of them in it at the end of the third one. The only reason I finished this book was because I felt obliged too, having spent so much of my life on its significantly better forerunners.

In a rather disappointing ended to a great series, A Court of Frost and Starlight equated to about 3 days of my life I will never get back, without a whole lot of reward. I feel it is important to say here that I absolutely recommend and don’t regret reading the other books within the series, but stop after the third! A Court of Frost and Starlight feels a bit like a money making exercise in a series that was fine without it. 1.5/5 stars.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Photos by Sara Garrity