Book Rant: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Hardcore SJM fans need not engage, kindly move along without reading this review.

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Summary: The Winter Solstice. In a week. I was still new enough to being High Lady that I had no idea what my formal role was to be. If we’d have a High Priestess do some odious ceremony, as lanthe had done the year before. A year. Gods, nearly a year since Rhys had called in his bargain, desperate to get me away from the poison of the Spring Court to save me from my despair. Had he been only a minute later, the Mother knew what would have happened. Where I’d now be. Snow swirled and eddied in the garden, catching in the brown fibers of the burlap covering the shrubs* My mate who had worked so hard and so selflessly, all without hope that I would ever be with him We had both fought for that love, bled for it. Rhys had died for it.

*why is this book so bad starting from the blurb

book review - pink

★✩✩✩

Me after finishing the book:

IM FREEEEEE!!!!!!!! WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY FUCKING LIFE

So let’s start by saying this book was almost entirely useless.Things this book has:

• lots of walking around Velaris
• shopping for presents
• lots of bad innuendos
• me physically rolling my eyes every two pages
• way too much internal monologue about who had fucked whom, where and in which position
• one really long and really cringy sex scene
• somehow galaxies were involved in the sex scene and that’s not even the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in a sjm sex scene
• mate mate mate mate mate m a t e ma te ma t e mat e m ate mAtE mATe MATE matE M a te
• “gentlemales”
• I repeat: g e n t l e m a l e s
• a few cute moments
• a few funny moments
• a tiny bit of actual fucking foundation for the next books

Basically Feyre and Rhys need to retire and let secondary characters finally have the spotlight.* The only POVs I genuinely enjoyed were Cassian’s and Nesta’s, which, surprise surprise, will be the focus of the next book. Fucking finally.
*except SJM has a talent for ruining main characters so what happens when secondary characters become the main ones? Uhhh we shall find out I guess.

Speaking more generally, this book was just mostly bad. I’m not only talking about the writing, which needed a lot of editing, but the general feeling surrounding it all. Starting from the blurb, which is just a few sentences from the first chapter copypasted together. People, the blurb doesn’t even make sense. That extra sentence about snow? It shouldn’t be there. They obviously needed one more sentence to make the blurb longer and didn’t know what else to pick. It’s just bad. Whoever did that did a very poor job. And that makes me angry.

Authors, even big ones, still have to fight hard to see their books picked up by publishers, be sold, and then be read and hyped by readers. But apparently that rule doesn’t apply to SJM. The publisher doesn’t even put any effort in pre-release things like writing a decent blurb, because they know her books are going to sell anyway. And I mean, I’m here writing this review because I’ve read this book despite swearing that I was done with this series after ACOWAR, because she has a talent for making you want to know what happens to the characters, even if (especially if) they’re not the main ones.

But the least the author and the publisher could do is put some fucking effort and deliver a product that’s better than this. Instead, it feels like either SJM is a rare case of writer who gets worse every book she writes, or the publisher has decided that she’s still going to sell regardless how many rounds of editing her books get, so they might as well never edit them, thus never delivering a polished book.

Because, folks, we might have started making fun of the word m*te for shits and giggles, but it’s become a big fucking problem, especially in this book. You know the writing advice that says to just use someone’s name when talking about them, instead of saying, idk, “the French girl,” or “the red-haired boy”? SJM has never heard of it. Think about your own internal monologue. Do you think of your spouse as “my spouse” all the time? Or do you simply think about them with their name?

Cassian and my mate’s sister did not speak to each other at all.


This sentence just does not flow. And it’s just one of about 70 times the word m*te was used (and keep in mind this is a 200 pages book). I wonder how many creative writing students failed their assignments for doing exactly what the most hyped YA fantasy author these days does constantly.

Do we also want to have The Talk about the weird connotations and implications that this word has? Oh boy, this conversation is about three years late, but I absolutely Do Not like all this animalistic shit, starting with m*te, moving on to how many times people purr, referring to people as males and females (ah, the good ol’ binary) (YES I FUCKING KNOW SHE CAN’T CALL THEM MEN AND WOMEN BUT JFC JUST STOP), to the weird possessiveness that the whole m*ting system entails. Also!!! Toxic masculinity!!!!!!! Weird unchallenged sexist comments!!!!! Trying to make Rhys sound soooo feminist when apparently his job is being horny 24/7!!!!!! Have Rhys (a literal sexual abuse victim) talk about how he can’t stand to be next to his m*te without, and I quote, BEING BURIED INSIDE HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ohhhh now you’ve done it, you got me mad. If you read a SJM book it seems like thinking/talking/having sex for most part of your day is the normalcy. Which it can be!!!! But guess what! Ace people exist!!!! People with low sexual drive exist!!!!!!!!!! That’s normal too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh no I’m using too many exclamation points let me hire an editor. When every single character you portray acts the same exact way towards something like sex, you’re telling your readers (mostly teens) that that’s what’s expected of them, that that’s how everyone is like. It’s no secret that diversity doesn’t exist in SJM’s world, and that involves how people view sex and romantic relationships too.

It’s amazing that YA books have sex positivity. But books need to also acknowledge that ace people exist too. Protagonists and love interests that aren’t some sort of sex gods need to be there too. Thin boys, fat boys, trans boys need to be there too. If after >10 books a writer can’t get out of her own self-insert fantasies about what type of men she likes, maybe she isn’t a great writer after all. Maybe she needs to listen to the (still too small) part of her readers that demand More, that demand Better.

I went on a HUGE tangent and I don’t even fucking care. There were parts of the book that I liked. I even enjoyed most of its central part. I enjoyed Nesta’s PTSD portrayal and she’s the only reason I’m going to read the next book because parts of her trauma and her way of dealing with it have the potential to mean so fucking much to me. But I’m going to lower my rating to 1 star because I’m tired of all the things I mentioned above, I’m tired of being treated like shit by an author and her team because they expect me to worship her when she doesn’t even try anymore. My 1 star isn’t even gonna change anything because everyone’s giving this the usual five stars, but I don’t care. I’m here and as a reader I demand better, I demand the bare fucking minimum, and I don’t think this book even tried.

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18 thoughts on “Book Rant: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

  1. I love SJM and both her series (what I’ve read so far, I’m like a book behind in each) and I’m still definitely reading this…. but that Cassian/my mate sentence just left me confused. Like… why? I think we’ve driven the “he’s my mate” thing in and we dont have to use it that randomly. I totally see where that would be annoying and weird because it hate it when any book does that. I can’t speak to the rest of it since I haven’t read this one yet but I’m still hoping I’ll enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I feel like you still haven’t read the worst of her books, but yeah… language-wise her books are sort of very different from the first ones, and I personally found her writing style to have become worse. I mean, I’m only here because I used to be a fan of both series (especially TOG) and I’m so utterly disappointed with the way she’s treating her readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Silvia god bless you. I knew I made the right decision when I decided to only finish up the 3rd book of this series (because I have that) and not read more by her. Literally the things you wrote that are in this book, the overly pressured sex in it just made me gag a little. I mean, yes sure it’s nice to have sex positivity in YA but to go overboard like that is just plain ridiculous. Also… she writes terrible sex scenes. I don’t know how people think it’s good.. I just don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The sex is just purely awful. I’m not even gonna talk about the fact that I don’t think YA books should have such graphic sex scenes, even if this was an Adult series these scenes would still be bad. Just suuuper bad. And on top of everything the scenes leading up to it are full of unnecessary comments about sex that just…..no.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m kind of appalled this is marketed as YA. I have friends who teach middle school, and their sixth graders frequently read YA. I can’t imagine them picking this off the shelf. I think they would be traumatized and their parents would be horrified. I know a lot of adults (me!) read and love YA, but it’s used as shorthand for “PG-13” by teachers, librarians, booksellers, etc., and having such graphic sex scenes seems like a betrayal of that. This is book is adult, in my opinion. (And, yeah, her sex scenes are ridiculous, but that’s a different issue.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think they *formally* market the second series as New Adult, but in reality the name SJM just gets bundled together in the YA section all the time. It’s disturbing to see this series in the “Children and teens” shelves on online bookstores :/

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  3. I haven’t read it yet. But as a fan of Sarah’s I knew from the day she announced this book it was going to be shit. I’m not for writer’s going in being like I’m writing a trilogy then later decide to make more in that same storyline. I’m not sure when I will actually pick it up. I know I will one day but we’ll see. I’m still mourning over how bad ACOWAR was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always feel a little uncomfortable calling out authors for “milking the cow” because I understand that the creative process can be funny that way and you as an author might genuinely want to explore more of a certain world, but if the books are good I’m perfectly okay with it. The problem is she just……doesn’t listen. She probably has no idea about people’s complaints on ACOWAR and she just doesn’t care. I feel treated like shit as a reader and as a (now former) fan.

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  4. I noped out of here just after reading the quotation at the start. How many sentence fragments can you use in one paragraph? And how many books does one have to write before one stops relying on sentence fragments to create “dramatic” prose? That’s something I did trying to do creative writing in high school. :/

    I enjoyed the first three books, though I don’t think they’re quality art. But I don’t think I can keep reading this stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read any of these books, but from this review, I feel like they’re full of stuff I really don’t need or want to read about, and aren’t even well-written at that! I think this is a series that can happily stay off my TBR list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only good thing about these books are the world building and the characters (before she ruins them) sooo yeah probably best to stay away :/

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  6. Story time: I read these books, and I liked them and the hype around these books took over and then realisation hit me in the face like a tonne of bricks a while later that all they do is have conversations and have sex and,,, urgh to possessiveness!! The stereotypes are in unreal multitudes and omg I want to smack myself in the face for not realising it before, and that’s why I chose not to continue reading the series.

    But honestly,, reading your review makes me want to continue reading her books even LESS, or maybe read it just so that I can rant about the stereotypical themes and attitudes represented.

    I’m sorry that this book was such a… piece of shit,,, for you! Definitely fed up with these books too, and I think the only worth while aspect is the world building and the secondary characters that actually represent something of a personality!!

    Great reviewwww 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I went through exactly the same! I liked the first two and I’ve never reread them so I can’t say for sure but I think it’s both a matter of my tastes changing AND SJM’s writing getting worse. Anyway I’ll stop here before going on another major rant 😀
      thank you for your comment!

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