Top critical review
an extended, domestic epilogue that foreshadows more than it delivers
Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2018
I'm going to preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas. Her writing is great. Her stories are intriguing and filled with adventure and danger and secrets and magic and friendship and love. They're highly entertaining, emotional, and grapple with big ideas. Are they without flaw? No. But I never thought I'd give a piece of her writing less than four stars.
But here we are.
I really wanted to love Frost & Starlight with the same boundless vigor that I give the original trilogy. But I just...didn't. To be honest, I'm weirded out. This is new territory for me.
A Court of Frost and Starlight is a novella, clocking in at 229 pages, with a 20 page sneak peek at the next full-length book of the Court series, which has no set publication date at this time. From the beginning, it has been marketed as a bridge between the original trilogy and the spinoff series. Set in the Night Court over the Winter Solstice, it is, according to the jacket copy, a "tale of hope and promise" crammed with character development that will have a "far-reaching impact on the future of [the] court."
I'm aware of this. I know there's only so much a writer can accomplish in 229 pages. I did not expect anything on the same level of her full-length novels. Part of me likes the domestic fanfiction-y vibe a majority of the book embraces. Emotionally-driven characters have been a staple and a strength of this series from the beginning. It's not a bad read.
It's just not...a necessary read.
Are there important plot elements introduced that lay groundwork for the spinoff series? Sure!
Did they require an entire novella to set them up? Nope!
I think my reaction is so lackluster because, to me, there wasn't anything major to react to. The most exciting part was the 20 page sneak peek, which made me shriek and hug things and wonder when the first spinoff novel would actually come out, because I want that book. That book is going to shake me up.
But honestly? I was happy with where A Court of Wings & Ruin left everyone. I don't think I needed Frost & Starlight to hold my hand and lead me towards the next trilogy.
Honestly, Frost & Starlight felt kind of like fan service. It gave us the highly anticipated wall scene (which my asexual ass skimmed through) but other than that?
I acknowledge that there's no way to properly judge the success and relevance of Frost & Starlight as a bridge between series until we have Spinoff #1 in our hands. But I have this feeling that, down the road when both Court trilogies are on my shelf, Frost & Starlight will join Crown of Midnight in the "books that I skip over during rereads" category.
Now, I still respect Sarah J. Maas, madly and wildly. She's a grown-ass writer who can make her own grown-ass choices about what she writes and what she chooses to publish. Am I mad that she published it? No. Am I judging other fans who really loved it? Hell no! It's not policy for me to shame anyone for liking what they like.
But I would be doing myself and my brand a disservice by not reviewing honestly, so here we are.
A Court of Frost & Starlight simmers with promises, but foreshadowed more than it actually delivered.