Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Frost and Starlight is a fantastic bridge to a larger universe


The newest entry in Sarah J. Maas’ best-selling A Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Frost and Starlight gives our favorite characters some peace while setting up a whole new story.

A Court of Frost and Starlight is Sarah J. Maas’ latest entry in her A Court of Thorns and Roses series. And it’s really more of an extended epilogue to A Court of Wings and Ruin than its own standalone story.

The novella only clocks in at a little over 200 pages, which regular Maas readers will know is pretty darn brief for any tale in either of her universes. (Insert my standard plea to read Throne of Glass if you haven’t yet here.) Technically, the novel tells the story of Feyre’s first Winter Solstice at the Night Court, a celebration of the longest night of the year, which is basically like Christmas but with more presents and several days of parties.

However, this story is really about giving us an almost fanfiction-style update on our favorite characters. We learn where they are and how they’re feeling in the wake of the war that devastated Prythian and closed out the original ACOTAR trilogy. That isn’t an insult, by the way.

Given how quickly everything had to wrap up at the end of A Court of Wings and Ruin, and how much changed in the world at large, it’s nice to check back in with this universe. (Particularly in a largely fluffy and heartwarming way.) This novella also deftly sets up a brand new direction for this universe, without having to disturb the hard-won happiness of the original trilogy’s main characters.

A Court of Frost and Starlight must serve two masters. It has to wrap up one story while launching another. It must leave us feeling satisfied, while still wanting to see more. This is a difficult mix to achieve, but Maas handles it deftly. The story gives us just enough hope and happiness to balance out the sense of danger that still looms in the background. Because there’s definitely still a lot happening in Velaris, and in Prythian at large, from ongoing rebuilding to civil unrest.

Interestingly enough, Maas chooses this moment to deploy the rotating POV format that’s so common in other YA literature today. The ACOTAR series is told from Feyre’s perspective because it is Feyre’s story. Or at least, it was. That’s no longer exclusively the case, so the story adapts accordingly, letting us hear from Rhys, Mor, Cassian and (very briefly) Nesta.

This is probably a smart move, as it’s obvious throughout this story that the ACOTAR series is going to move on to other stories and consequently will likely be told from different points of view than Feyre’s. Also, it’s nice to actually see her and Rhys through someone else’s eyes for the first time. (It’s just a shame that former immortal god-figure turned jewelry hoarder Amren doesn’t get a POV chapter, because that would be amazing.)

One of the greatest strengths of Maas’ writing has always been her ability to craft relationships that have real weight. (Particularly and especially outside of her main romances.) As Feyre’s story concludes, other narrative arcs open up. Maas has already done such a phenomenal job making us care about Nesta, Elaine, Lucien, Cassian and Mor. We’re just as invested in these secondary stories as we were in hers.

A Court of Frost and Starlight acts as both a bridge to the next set of ACOTAR novels — which ostensibly won’t focus on Feyre and Rhys, but several figures from the trilogy’s supporting cast instead — and as a satisfying conclusion to what has come before. So much has happened by the end of A Court of Wings and Ruin that readers may feel as shell-shocked as the series’ characters do. This novella gives us all space to breathe. More than that, it gives us a satisfying post-war conclusion to Feyre and Rhys’ story. Part of the reason it feels as though its time to move on to other characters within this universe is that they get an ending that is both deserved and satisfying.

It seems unlikely that we’ll see much of the High Lord and Lady of the Night Court after this story. (Though I do expect we’ll probably hear about them in passing.) And at this point, that’s fine, because A Court of Frost and Starlight reassures us they’re going to be okay, before setting us off on new adventures with other people.

The bonus chapter included at the novella’s conclusion indicates that the next ACOTAR story will focus on Cassian and Nesta. This probably won’t surprise anyone. They certainly had the story that felt most unfinished at the end of the original ACOTAR trilogy, and this novella only heightens that sense. Yet, the possibilities are still exciting, particularly when contrasted against Feyre and Rhys’ story, which largely feels finished. Nesta the self-destructive drunk and Cassian the emotionally closed-off stoic is a story I definitely want to read … even if I apparently have to wait another year to do so.

Next: Royals is the perfect way to start off a summer

A Court of Frost and Starlight is in bookstores now.