All the stars
Fair warning: I have tried three times to write this review so it might feel less thah stellar as I had so many thoughts to share! But no spoilers I promise!
I never thought one day that Nesta would become my favorite Archeron sister yet, here we are! I don’t know why I doubted Sarah J Maas, she truly amazed me.
That book was fabulous!
Second, let me say that THIS IS NOT YA!!
You read in the synopsis that “temper is not the only thing that Cassian ignites in Nesta” and for those who wanted the heat in SJM books, you got it and aplenty!
If the sex scenes were worthy of the best romance writer specializing in HOT/erotic books, ironically, I could have done with less sex scenes. It was good seeing their attraction come to fruition but I wanted to focus more on Nesta’s growth and on the story-arc. Nesta’s journey was honestly the best part of this book.
Third, that book is a formidable testimony to resilience and rebirth.
Sarah J Maas dug deep into Nesta’s psyche, her past, her trauma.
She and several other side characters suffered from PTSD.
Seeing her and her friends climbing back, step by step, to an improved, stronger version or herself felt like a privilege.
It was meaningful. It was truly inspiring.
There were two scenes in particular, one in a forge, one on a training field where you could feel Nesta clawing her way back to sanity and strength. NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN!
These words resonated deep in my soul and I was crying while walking on the street, listening to the audiobook.
That’s when I realized all the hurt Nesta had to endure.
She endured her mother’s lack of love. Then she was nearly raped in her first life. She was also plagued by the immense guilt of failing her sisters, letting her younger sister, Feyre, feed them and get caught by Tamlin when she should have been the one to help.
Yet Sarah J Maas made me understand why Nesta didn’t help.
She wanted her father to care for them. To get out of his head and grief and finally be a father, a protector. And she RAGED as he didn’t. She HATED that he didn’t “man up.
Then, when he sailed to rescue his daughters and died from it, he told her “I have loved you from the moment you were born.” Can you imagine the GUILT she carried?
Nesta has lived battles. She has beheaded the King. She saw Cassian nearly die in the war.
When you add all her childhood trauma, of becoming poor, of not having her mother’s affection, of having an absent dad… I couldn’t help but feel sorrow for her.
That Feyre remained loving and sweet when she lived through it all was a miracle.
But Nesta was not made from the same cloth. Nesta was a wolf!
And so she bit. And clawed. And I understood. Truly.
All this long preamble to say that Nesta will begin this story at the bottom of a pit, loathing herself, and that she will have an incredible growth throughout the book.
The friendship she will form with equally hurt women will help her and her friends overcome their past trauma.
Their motto could be “stronger together”.
These women could bring warrior to their knees and rival with the bests by the end of the story.
That’s something that I adore in Sarah J Maas ‘s books: her cast of side characters is always stellar. I would never mind for them to be the main characters in spin off stories!
So we have PTSD, self-growth, friendship and love of course.
Fourth: I fell even more in love with Cassian in this book.
He is not only a hot body and jokester. He is a formidable warrior, but we knew it already, but he also has empathy for Nesta’s trauma.
When Rhys or Amren want to push Nesta, to ask her to “forget her trauma and get on with it already”, Cassian is the voice of reason.
HE knows what it means to go through something horrific. HE knows what it means to grieve while bearing an immense guilt. HE knows there is no set time to end mourning.
And he will be the one to have Nesta’s back all along. To have faith in her. To push her, taunt her and support her.
Cassian was just admirable.
Last but not least, you have an imminent war, again, and a quest to prevent said war plus another one to help to save lives (not telling more).
Also add some ancient contest to choose warriors that will end up with absolutely EPIC scenes, Nesta at their center, and you have a memorable book!
As with Crescent City, the last 10% of the book were packed with action and so many twists, acts of valor and hopeless scenes that I was left out of breath, as if I had run a marathon.
Sarah J Maas is simply brilliant!
Thanks for reading!