A Court of Frost and Starlight
by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury
Novella in A Court of Thorns and Roses Series
Hope warms the coldest night.
Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.
Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated--scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy High-Fantasy Bittersweet
First of all, HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas is a novella set after the third A Court of Thorns and Roses book, and centers around Feyre, Rhysand, Cassian, and Morrigan preparing for the Winter Solstice celebration, as well as trying to continue peace treaties after the way, and rebuild.
A part of me ALMOST posted this along with the other Crown of Thorns and Roses reviews, but the Winter Solstice celebration is so much like Christmas, I decided to wait till December to post it. A Court of Frost and Starlight was enjoyable, but a bit bland compared to the novels in the series. This could be attributed to it being a novella, of course. I found some parts a bit boring and predictable. I found other parts wonderful. There were some instances I literally laughed out loud. For a novella, it did it's job well. It gave us an update on our favorite characters after the war, and set up the future of the series by reminding us of conflict that has yet to be resolved, and giving us some new material to ponder over. I am literally bursting with excitement for the next book (A Court of Silver Flames), so yes, this little novella certainly did its job.
In A Court of Frost and Starlight, we get four characters POV's, and a very brief POV from Nesta. Let's start with our main characters, Feyre and Rhys. Both are incredibly busy with rebuilding, running their Court, and trying to work out peace treaties between the different Courts and between the Fae and humans. Their duties have been getting in the way of them spending a lot of time together, so during the Solstice, they make it a priority. I wasn't expecting a whole lot from them in this novella in terms of character building,and what we did get was predictable, BUT because I love Rhys and Feyre together, I enjoyed it.
Cassian's POV was probably the MOST interesting to me in this novella, as it was setting up the next book, which will be focusing on Nesta/Cassian. It's fascinating how much has changed from book to this novella between him and Nesta, and I am all kinds of excited to continue their story. Nesta is a huge pain in the ass to read, but I am hoping Cassian can break down those walls sooner rather than later to make her tolerable. It seems there will be some major issues with the Illyrian army, as well as hearing from the human queens again, so there will be some interesting conflict coming up for sure.
Also ... anyone else just absolutely in love with Cassian? I'm hoping we eventually find out what was in that little box ...
I'm not really sure why Mor had a POV in this, to be honest, other than to remind us of her issues with her family and sexuality, and that things she saw in the woods. I suspect whatever was watching her will be a major player in the next book(s). I'm hoping Mor's role doesn't become more prominent in the series, unless her character makes some serious changes. Her stringing alone Azriel, giving him hope, is just cruel. If she were a true friend, she would tell him the truth. She knows he wouldn't judge her for her sexuality. Her admission of being scared that their friendship would change is what turned me off from her. It's selfish, and Azriel is such a great character, who deserves happiness.
Okay. Rant over.
We also get a little bit of Lucien, Elain, and Tamlin in this novella. I feel bad for Lucien. He is a bit of a lone wolf right now, and because of his, he seems to have made his home with others who have also have been out-casted. I feel bad for him, because I actually think he would be good for Elain if given the chance. My only hope, is that Lucien and Elain agree that the mating bond isn't right, and they have it removed, so Lucien can move on with the human queen Vesta he seems very fond of, and Elain and Azriel (once Mor tells him the truth) can be together. As for Tamlin ... I feel bad for the guy. I recognize that him and Feyre did not have a healthy relationship, and was abusive. Feyre has moved on. Is mated with the wonderful Rhys, and is High Lady, and I am so happy for her character. My hope is that Tamlin moves on, and finds happiness, especially now that he recognizes what he did wrong. I have hope for a fairy tale ending I guess, where he changes his ways, and finds another to love, while fixing the wrongs he did to the Spring Court.
If Rhys is able to put aside his rage with him, and at least try to help him protect his borders, and at least eat, then I think readers can too.
A Court of Frost and Starlight was packed full of set up for the series, while fleshing out a bit more of Rhys and Feyre's story. I liked that this was a Christmas story that wasn't Christmas, and it wasn't a perfect holiday. This is a family, and families are not perfect. It's a great little addition to the series.
Feyre and Rhys fussing over one another
Rhys and Tamlin arguing
Feyre and Cassian getting drunk on wine, and trying to decorate for Solstice, and Azriel fixing it.
Azriel telling everyone to wait for Elain to come back to the table before eating
Amren complaining about having to relieve herself
Mor showing Feyre the boys tradition of an epic snowball fight on the winter solstice
Cass and Az throwing Rhys out of the steam hut after Feyre turned him on with her thoughts
Gift giving, especially Elain's gift to Azriel
Rhys telling Feyre that all her favorite dresses were made by his mother
Rhys fulfilling his promise of a wall in the cabin .. wowsa
Feyre's gift to Rhys
Rhys's gift to Feyre
Where to Buy
Rhys: I'm at Devlon's camp.
Feyre: It took you this long to respond?
A sensual huff of laughter
Rhys: Cassian was ranting. He didn't take a breath.
Feyre: My poor Illyrian baby. We certainly do torment you, don't we?
Because this Solstice ... it was her birthday. Twenty-one years old.
It hit me for a moment, how small that number was.
My beautiful, strong, fierce mate, shackled to me -
Cassian: "I know what that look means, you bastard, and it's bullshit. She loves you - in a way I've never see anybody love anyone."
Rhys: "It's hard sometimes to remember that she picked it. Picked me."
He put a dramatic hand over his heart
Rhys: "Your concern warms me more than any winter fire, my love."
Rhys sat, folding his wings behind him before reaching to pull me into his lap, but I dodged his hands and kept a healthy distance away.
Feyre: "Eat the food first."
Rhys: "Then I'll eat you after."
Rhys: "I was busy."
He set down his fork, his mouth twitching toward a smile.
I crossed my arms
Feyre: "No one is too busy to eat."
Rhys: "You're fussing."
Feyre: "It's my job to fuss. And besides, you fuss plenty. Over far more trivial things."
Rhys: "Your cycle isn't trivial."
Feyre: "I was in a little bit of pain -"
Rhys: "You were thrashing on the bed as if someone had gutted you."
Feyre: "And you were acting like an overbearing mother hen."
Rhys: "I didn't see you screaming at Cassian, Mor, or Az when they expressed concern for you."
Feyre: "They didn't try to spoon-feed me like an invalid!"
Rhys chuckled, finishing off his food.
Rhys: "I'll eat regular meals if you allow me to turn into an overbearing mother hen twice a year."
Rhys: "Will Lucien be joining us for the Solstice?"
Feyre: "Is it bad if he does?"
Rhys: "I can stomach being around him."
Feyre: "I'm sure he'd love to hear that thrilling endorsement."
Rhys: "You were born on the longest night of the year. You were meant to be at my side from the very beginning."
He pressed a kiss to my stomach, right over my navel.
Rhys: "Have I told you about that first time you winnowed and tackled me into the snow?"
I smacked his shoulder
Feyre: "That's your thought for a thought?"
He smiled against my stomach, his fingers still exploring, coaxing.
Rhys: "You tackled me like an Illyrian. Perfect form, a direct hit. But then you lay on top of me, panting. All I wanted to do was get us both naked."
Feyre: "Why am I not surprised?"
Yet I threaded my fingers through his hair.
The fabric of my dressing gown was barely more than cobwebs between us as he huffed a laugh onto my belly. I hadn't bothered putting on anything beneath.
Rhys: "You drove me out of my mind. All those months. I still don't quite believe I get to have this. Have you."
Feyre: "I wanted you, even Under the Mountain. I chalked it up to those horrible circumstances, but after we killed her, when I couldn't tell anyone how I felt - about how truly bad things were, I still told you. I've always been able to talk to you. I think my heart knew you were mine long before I ever realized it."
His eyes gleamed, and he buried his face between my breasts again, hands caressing my back.
Rhys: "I love you. More than life, more than my territory, more than my crown."
Rhys: "A week. A week to have you in this bed. That's all I want for Solstice."
I laughed breathlessly
Rhys: "You think I'm joking."
Feyre: "We're strong for High Fae, but a week straight of sex? I don't think I'd be able to walk. Or you'd be able to function, at least with your favorite part."
Rhys: "Then you'll just have to kiss my favorite part and make it better."
Feyre: I don't know if I can do this.
Rhys: Do you want me to come with you?
Feyre: To paint?
Rhys: I'd be an excellent nude model.
Feyre: You'll forgive me if I don't feel like sharing the glory that is you with anyone else.
Rhys: Perhaps I'll model for you later, then.
Rhys: "What's this I hear about you not enforcing your borders?"
Tamlin: "Do you see any sentries around to do it?"
Even they had abandoned him. Interesting.
Rhys: "Feyre did her work thoroughly, didn't she?"
A flash of white teeth, a glimmer of light in his eyes
Tamlin; "With your coaching, I have no doubt."
Rhys: "Oh, no. That was all her. Clever, isn't she?"
Rhys: "You brought every bit of this upon yourself."
Tamlin: "You won. You got your mate. Is that not enough?"
Rhys: "No. You nearly destroyed her. In every way possible."
Tamlin bared his teeth. I bared mine back, temper be damned.
Rhys: "She survived it, though. Survived you. And you still felt the need to humiliate her, belittle her. If you meant to win her back, old friend, that wasn't the wisest route."
Tamlin: "Get out."
Rhys: "You deserve everything that has befallen you. You deserve this pathetic, empty house, your ravaged lands. I don't care if you offered that kernel of life to save me, I don't care if you still love my mate. I don't care that you saved her from Hybern, or a thousand enemies before that. I hope you live the rest of your miserable life alone here. It's a far more satisfying end than slaughtering you."
Tamlin's green eyes went feral.
Tamlin: "Get out."
I blinked, the only sign of my surprise.
Rhys: "Not in the mood for a brawl, Tamlin?"
He didn't both to look at me again.
Tamlin: "Get out."
Cassian was on me in a second, hoisting me off the ground to twirl me until I was going to be sick. I beat at his chest, cursing at him.
Cassian set me down at last.
Cassian: "What'd you get me for Solstice?"
I smacked his arm
Feyre: "I heaping pile of shut the hell up."
He laughed again, and I winked at him.
Feyre: "Hot cocoa or wine?"
Cassian curved a wing around me, turning us toward the cellar door.
Cassian: "How many good bottles does little Rhysie have left?"
Cassian: "Az, relax for a minute. Have some win. Cookies."
Feyre: "Take off your coat."
Azriel straightened a sagging section of garland over the windowsill.
Azriel: "It's almost like you two tried to make it as ugly as possible."
Cassian clutched at his heart.
Cassian: "We take offense to that."
Azriel sighed at the ceiling.
Feyre: "Poor As. Wine will make you feel better."
He glared at me, then the bottle, then Cassian ... and finally stormed across the room, took the bottle from my hand, and chugged the rest. Cassian grinning with delight.
Rhys: "Well, at least now I know who's drinking all my good wine. Want another one, A?"
Azriel nearly spewed the wine into the fire, but made himself swallow and turn, red-faced, to Rhys
Azriel: "I would like to explain -"
Rhys: "Five centuries, and you think I don't know that if my wine's gone, Cassian's usually behind it?"
Cassian raised his glass in a salute.
Rhys surveyed the room and chuckled
Rhys: "I can tell exactly which ones you two did, and which ones Azriel tried to fix before I got here. I expected better from an artist."
I stuck my tongue out at him.
Rhys: Save that tongue for later. I have ideas for it.
My toes curled in their thick, high socks.
Mor: "It's cold as hell! And who the hell let Cassian and Feyre decorate?"
Azriel choked on what I could have sworn was a laugh.
Cassian: "You look like an angry snowball."
Cassian: "Are you just going to hold that chicken all night?"
Scowling, I stomped toward him, plunking the platter onto the wooden surface.
Feyre: "I spat in it."
Cassian: "Makes it all the more delicious."
Rhys snickered, drinking deeply from his wine.
Mor gaped wide enough that I was certain the half chewed green beans in her mouth were going to tumble onto her plate. Amren smirked over the rim of her wineglass.
Cassian gawked at him.
Cassian: "Wait for what? Gravy?"
Azriel: "Wait until everyone is seated before eating."
Amren: "Blood tastes better."
Mor and Cassian choked.
Amren: "And it didn't take so much time to consume. And then there are the other unpleasant results of eating."
Azriel and Cassian swapped a glance, then both seemed to find their plates very interesting. Even as smiled tugged on their faces.
Elain: "What sort of results?"
Rhys: "Don't answer that."
Amren hissed at him
Amren: "Do you know what an inconvenience it is to need to find a place to relieve myself everywhere I go?"
A fizzing noise came from Cassian's side of the table, but I clamped my lips together. Mor gripped my knee beneath the table, her body shaking with the effort of keeping her laugh reined in.
Rhys: "Shall we start building public toilets for you throughout Velaris, Amren?"
Amren: "I mean it, Rhysand."
I didn't dare meet Mor's stare. Or Cassian's. One look and I'd completely dissolve.
Amren: "I should have selected a male form. At least you can whip it out and go wherever you like without having to worry about spilling on -"
Cassian lost it. Then Mor. Then me. And even Az, chuckling faintly.
Mor: "You really don't know how to pee? After all this time?"
Amren: "I've seen animals -"
Cassian: "Tell me you know how a toilet words. Tell me you know that much."
I clapped a hand over my mouth, as if it would push the laugh back in. Across the table, Rhys's eyes were brighter than stars, his mouth a quivering line as he tried and failed to remain serious.
Amren: "I know how to sit on a toilet."
Cassian: "Pick on someone your own size."
Azriel: "I'd feel bad for the mice."
I could wait. I'd wait here all damn night.
Nesta settled back in her chair, inclined to do the same.
Rhys: My money's on your sister.
Rhys: I'm getting cold out here.
Feyre: Illyrian baby.
It was an effort to leash every raging instinct at that particular view. At the curves and hollows of my mate, the color of her - so vibrant, even in this room of so many personalities. Her midnight-blue velvet gown hugged her perfectly, leaving little to the imagination before it pooled to the floor. She'd left her hair down, curling slightly at the ends - hair I knew I later wanted to plunge my hands into, scattering the silver combs pinning up the sides. And then I'd peel off that dress. Slowly.
Amren: "You'll make me vomit. Rein in that scent of yours, boy."
Azriel and Cassian, having crept up on cat-soft feet, were also wearing their Illyrian leathers.
And from their shit-eating grins, I knew this would not end well.
They moved before Rhys could, and only a flare of his power kept the teapot from falling onto the table before they hauled him out of his seat. And aimed right for the front door.
I only bit into my pastry.
Feyre: "Please bring him back in one piece."
Cassian: "We'll take good care of him."
Even Azriel was still grinning.
Azriel: "If he can keep up."
Mor: "Another tradition. An Illyrian custom, actually - the heated sheds. The birchin. A bunch of naked warriors, sitting together in the steam, sweating."
I blinked again.
Mor's lips twitched
Mor: "About the only good custom the Illyrians ever came up with, to be honest.
Feyre: "So the three of them are just in there. Naked. Sweating."
Rhys: Interested in taking a look?
Feyre: Lech. Go back to your sweating.
Rhys: There's room for one more in here.
Feyre: I thought mates were territorial.
Rhys: I'm always eager to learn what sparks your interest, Feyre darling.
I surveyed the cabin around me, the surfaces I painted nearly a year ago.
Feyre: I was promised a wall, Rhys.
A pause. A long pause.
Rhys: I've taken you against a wall before.
Feyre: These walls.
Another long, long pause.
Rhys: It's bad form to be at attention while in the birchin.
My lips curved as I sent him an imagine. A memory.
Of me on the kitchen table just a few feet away. Of him kneeling before me. My legs wrapped around his head.
Rhys: Cruel, wicked thing.
I heard a door slamming somewhere in the house, followed by a distinctly male yelp. Then banging - as if someone was trying to get back inside.
Mor's eyes sparkled.
Mor: "You got him kicked out, didn't you?"
My answered smile set her roaring.
I lifted my brows
Feyre: "Everyone gave you their gifts?"
Mor: "He's the only one who can be trusted not to snoop."
I looked toward Azriel
Amren: "Even him."
Azriel gave me a guilty cringe
Azriel: "Spymaster, remember?"
Mor: "We started doing it two centuries ago. After Rhys caught Amren literally shaking a box to figure out what was inside."
Amren: "What they didn't see was Cassian down here ten minutes earlier, sniffing each box."
Cassian: "I wasn't the one who got caught."
I turned to Rhys
Feyre: "And somehow you're the most trustworthy one?"
Rhys looked outright offended
Rhys: "I am a High Lord, Feyre darling. Unwavering honor is built into my bones."
Mor and I snorted.
Mor: "Thank you, darling."
Cassian: "I know what you like."
Mor held up -
I choked. Azriel did, too, whirling on Cassian as he did.
Cassian only winked at him as the barely there red negligee swayed between Mor's hands.
Mor: "Don't let him fool you: he couldn't think of a damn thing to get me, so he gave u and asked me outright. I gave him precise orders. For once in his life, he obeyed them."
Rhys: "The perfect warrior, through and through."
Cassian: "Don't worry, Rhysie. I got one for you, too."
Rhys: "Shall I model it for you?"
Amren: "Don't take her to the wine - take her to the food. I can see her bony ass even through that dress."
Rhys: You are beautiful.
Feyre: So are you.
Rhys: I know.
I laughed, pulling away.
Mor: "Az, this one's for you."
The shadowsinger's brows lifted, but his scarred hand extended to take the present.
Elain: "Oh, that's from me."
Azriel's face didn't so much as shift at the words. Not even a smile as he opened the present and revealed -
Elain: "I had Madja make it for me. It's a power to mix in with any drink."
Elain bit her lip and then smiled sheepishly.
Elain: "It's for the headaches everyone always gives you. Since you rub your temples so often."
Then Azriel tipped his head back and laughed.
I'd never heard such a sound, deep and joyous. Cassian and Rhys joined him, the former grabbing the glass bottle from Azriel's hand and examining it.
Elain smiled again, ducking her head.
Azriel mastered himself enough to say
Azriel: "Thank you."
I'd never seen his hazel eyes so bright, the hues of green amid the brown and gray like veins of emerald.
Azriel: "This will be invaluable."
Feyre: "You never told me where you got it - where you got all my favorite dresses."
Rhys: "You never figured it out?"
I shook my head.
For a moment, he said nothing, his head dipped to study the dress.
Rhys: "My mother made them."
I went still.
Rhys smiled sadly at the shimmering gown.
Rhys: "She was a seamstress, back at the camp where she'd been raised. SHe didn't just do the work because she loved it. And when she mated my father, she continued."
Feyre: "I - I had no idea."
Rhys: "Long ago, when I was still a boy, she made them - all your gowns. A trousseau for my future bride. Every piece ... Every piece I have ever given you to wear, she made them. For you."
My eyes stung as I breathed,
Feyre: "Why didn't you tell me?"
He shrugged one shoulder
Rhys: "I thought you might be ... disturbed to wear gowns made by a female who died centuries ago.
I put a hand over my heart.
Feyre: "I am honored, Rhys. Beyond words."
His mouth trembled a bit
Rhys: "She would have loved you."
I leaned down until our brows touched.
Feyre: I would have loved her.
Rhys: "Every time. Every time, you feel exquisite."
I clenched my teeth, panting through my nose. He worked his way in, thrusting in small movements, letting me adjust to each thick inch of him.
And when he was seated inside me, when his hand tightened on my hip, he just ... stopped.
I moved my hips, desperate for any friction. He shifted with me, denying it.
Rhys licked his way up my throat.
Rhys: "I think about you, about this, every damn hour. About the way you taste."
Another slight withdrawal - then a plunge in. I panted and panted, leaning my head into the hard wall behind me.
Rhys let out an approving sound, and withdrew slightly. Then pushed back in. Hard.
Rhys: "But mostly I think about this. How you feel around me, Feyre. How you taste on my tongue. How even if we have a thousand years together, I will never tire of this."
Rhys: "Do you like watching? Watching me move in you?"
In answer, beyond words, I shot my mind down the bridge between us, brushing against his adamant shields.
He let me in instantly, mind-to-mind and soul-to-soul, and then I was looking through his eyes - looking down at me as he gripped my hip and thrust.
Rhys: Look at how I fuck you, Feyre.
Rhys: Look at how perfectly we fit. So you see why I can't stop thinking of this - of you?
I lifted my eyes o his again and found stars and darkness waiting. Found home waiting.
Never enough. Not to paint him, know him. Eons would never be enough for all I wanted to do, see with him. For all I wanted to love him.
Rhys: "We have no space at the town house. You and I can barely fit everything in the bedroom. And no one wants to be at the House of Wind. So build a house for us, Feyre. Dream as wildly as you want. It's yours."
Feyre: "It - the cost -"
Rhys: "Don't worry about the cost."
Feyre: "But ... Rhys - it's too much."
Rhys: "Not for you. Never for you. Build a house with a painting studio. Build a house with an office for you, and one for me. Build a house with a bathtub big enough for two - and for wings. Build a house with rooms for all our family. Build a house with a garden for Elain, a training ring for the Illyrian babies, a library for Amren, and an enormous dressing room for Mor."
I choked on a laugh at that. But Rhys silenced it with a kiss to my mouth, lingering and sweet.
Rhys: "Build a house with a nursery, Feyre."
Feyre: "I will."
Tamlin: "Do you think she will forgive me?"
Rhys: "Do you want her to?"
His green eyes were empty
Tamlin: "Do I deserve it?"
Tamlin: "Do you forgive me - for your mother and sister?"
Rhys: "I don't recall ever hearing an apology."
Tamlin: "I don't think one will make a difference, anyway. For either of you."
Feyre: You make me so very happy. My life is happy, and I will never stop being grateful that you are in it.
Rhys: "I will never stop being grateful to have you in my life, either, Feyre darling. And no matter what lied ahead we will face it together. Enjoy every moment of it together."
Feyre: I love you.
Rhys: What's not to love?
Before I could elbow him, Rhys kissed me again, breathless and swift.
Rhys: To the stars who listen, Feyre.
Feyre: To the dreams that are answered, Rhys.
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