The acotar characters as Aida songs:
The valkyries: fortune favours the brave
Nothing is an accident//we are free to have it all//we are what we want to be//it’s in ourselves to rise or fall
Mor: my strongest suit
I believe in looking//like my time on earth is cooking
With some glamour guaranteeing//every fibre of my being//is displayed to quite remarkable effect
I would rather wear a barrel//than conservative apparel//for a dress has always been my strongest suit
Feysand (acotar): enchantment passing through
And why? Did I tell her this//a stranger I’ve just met//a woman who I hardly know at all and should forget?//a moment we can only dream of//an enchantment passing through//and all I’ve done is tell her this//and she already knows
Nessian and Rhys: not me
And who’d have thought that confidence could die//not me, not me//that all I took for granted was a lie//not me, not me//and who’d have guessed I’d throw my world away//to be with someone I’m afraid to say will say//not me, not me
And who’d have thought that love could be so good//not me, not me//and show me things I never understood//not me, not me
Elriel/gwynriel/elucien (@ the fandom): elaborate lives
We all live in extravagant times//playing games we can’t all win//unintended emotional crimes//take some out, others in
Too many choices tear us apart//I don’t want to live like that//too many choices tear us apart//I don’t want to love like this//I just want to touch your heart//may this confession be the start
Lucien (end of acomaf): a step too far
I’m in every kind of trouble//can’t you tell just look at me//half ecstatic half dejected//all in all I’m all at sea//easy terms I thought I wanted//fill me now with chilling dread//you could never know the chaos//of a life turned on it’s head
Elain (@graysen): Easy as life
All I have to do is forget how much I love him//all I have to do is put my longing to one side//tell myself that loves an ever changing situation//passion would have died and all the magic would have died
Éris: like father like son
Don’t assume your vices//got handed down the line//that a parent’s blood suffices//to condemn a child’s design//I’ve done wrong I can’t deny//but at least I know I shouldn’t blame that on my stock
Nessian (acowar): written in the stars
Is it written in the stars//are we paying for some crime//is that all that we are good for//just some stretch of mortal time//or some gods experiment//in which we have no say//in which we’re given paradise//but only for a day
Aelin: dance of the robe
It’s knowing what they want of me//that scares me//it’s knowing having followed//now must lead//it’s knowing that each person there compares me//to those in my past whom I now succeed//but how can whatever I do for them now//be enough
All we ask of you//is a lifetime of service, wisdom, courage//to ask more would be selfish//but nothing less will do
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"Why are you awake?"
Morrigan x Reader
The reader wakes up to see that their wife, Morrigan, isn’t in bed. They get up to see what’s keeping her.
For the second night in a row, you woke up to see that your wife, Morrigan, was not in bed beside you as she normally was.
In fact, the bed was still made, with not a single sign that Mor had even touched it, least of all laid down. All the lights were turned off, leaving the only light in the room from the stars and light pollution from Velaris down below.
Yesterday, when you had woken up to see that Mor wasn't, you had been slightly concerned but hadn't thought much of it before lapsing back into sleep. Sometimes she stayed up late to finish work or have time alone. However, she had never done that before. At least not when you two weren't having an argument, which, to your knowledge, you weren't.
So, despite the sleep that pulled on your mind, you dragged yourself out of bed, pulled on a warm robe, and ventured into the hall.
It didn't take long to figure out where she was, as some light was spilling out from underneath the door to her office. You approached slowly and pushed open the door to see Mor sitting at her desk, papers lying strewn all over the surface, looking at you with her eyebrows raised in surprise.
Morrigan asked, "Why are you awake?"
You raised your eyebrows as you stepped into the office, closing the door behind you. "Why are you awake?"
She gestured to the papers. "Work."
You walked across the room to stand at Mor's desk. Even though her work has, at times, interested you, you had absolutely no inclination to look down at it.
"Work will be there in the morning," you said, walking around the desk to place your hand on her shoulder. She looked up at you. "You need to sleep."
"I can sleep later," she tried to explain, though you could tell by the tone of her voice that she was starting to give in. "I need to get this done."
"You can wake up early." You moved to stand behind her and placed your other hand on her arm. You leaned in and brushed your lips against her ear. Mor relaxed into the touch, sighing contently as she did so. "Come to bed, please." You added, just for good measure, "I miss you."
That caused Mor to let out a breath. You pressed a light kiss on her neck, right where her ear and jaw connected. It seemed like that was enough because she slowly detached from your hold and stood up.
She wrapped her arms around you, and you melted into her hold, breathing in her lovely scent. She kissed your forehead, smiling into your hair.
"I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Perish, most likely," you said and Mor let out a breathy laugh. She let go of you, though her hand stayed on the small of your back.
"Probably," she agreed.
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Assasin Reader Falls In Love With Their Target
Morrigan x Female Reader
After being assigned to spy on and assassinate the Night Court's Third, Morrigan, you fall in love with her.
You never expected to like Morrigan. You never expected to care for her. You never expected to find yourself falling for her.
You never expected you'd sit close to her, just to listen to her breathe and to hear her heartbeat to make sure that she wasn't dead. You never expect to bathe in her laughs and her smiles, holding them close to your chest, knowing that they're the most precious thing to ever exist.
Every day it became harder and harder to keep collecting information. And when the person who hired you contacted you for that information, you feigned incompetence. Said that Morrigan was just too hard to get close to. That she was far too guarded for any sort of effective information-gathering or assassination attempts.
That wasn't exactly wrong, but it certainly wasn't true. For the first few months of your and Mor's friendship, Azriel--the Night Court's spymaster--followed you around. Stalked you. He was a persistent little bastard and didn't leave you alone until he knew that you weren't there to harm Morrigan. Honestly, you felt kind of bad. He was a fair man and clearly worked hard to keep his friends and family safe.
After those first few months, though, he and everyone else left you and Morrigan alone, deeming you safe. They let you and her become close, companionable friends. They even encouraged it.
You and Morrigan would go out to musicals together, go for long walks through the city, drink champagne on the beach as you watched the sunset, travel across the Court and visit little out of the way towns and hiking trails. It was wonderful and peaceful and what you thought the eternal lands of the afterlife was like.
Yet, every few days, you'd remember what you were there for. To kill Morrigan and destabilize the Night Court so that it was open to foreign attack.
Killing Morrigan was one thing, but doing so to ruin the home she loved so much was physically painful. You had nightmares of it every night. It haunted your every step and your every breath. Not one thought passed through your mind without it being followed by the overwhelming pain of knowing what you'd have to do.
You'd tried, many times, to find a way out of it. You could leave the Night Court and disappear so that the members of your former guild couldn't find you and punish you. You could simply refuse to carry out the job, but that was essentially signing your death warrant. You'd be dead within the week by some other, better trained assassin skilled in dispatching disobeying spies and assassins. Then there was the option of coming clean and putting yourself at the mercy of the Night Court.
Really, no matter what happened, you'd be dead. You would murder your love, your very heart and soul, get executed for your crimes, or be forced to start a new life under a new name in another part of the world.
In any case, you weren't ready to face the consequences. Not yet. You had only been on the job for two years. You weren't expected to make any more progress until the five-year mark, at least.
But Morrigan confronting you about all your mysterious behaviour was enough to make you deal with the truth.
Morrigan stood in front of you, leaning against your desk, her arms crossed. She looked at you, her eyebrows raised. The second she opened her mouth, you knew by the tone of her voice that it wasn't good.
"Who do you keep sending letters to?" Morrigan asked. You tilted your head slightly, feigning confusion.
"My friends," you said. "I've told you that."
Morrigan nodded and glanced to the desk, her eyes roving over all the office supplies scattered around. She sighed and looked back at you. "Yes. But you've been sending them to a different person every time, in different countries, in different parts of the world."
You nodded slowly. "Yeah. I have a lot of friends that I've made throughout my travels. I like to keep in contact with them."
"Why don't they ever send anything back, then?"
Oh, shit. There was one thread that Morrigan could've pulled to unravel the whole charade and, of course, she found it. She was a genius. If only she wasn't using her smarts on you.
You shrugged. "I guess I'm not that interesting," you said, trying your best to hold onto the cover story. The least you could do was try before everything crumbled around you.
Morrigan's expression softened for a moment. "You're very interesting and even if you weren't, with the number of letters you have sent, at least one person would've sent one back, just out of courtesy. So what are the letters for?"
You weighed the options in your mind. Telling her the truth, or trying to find a way to wiggle out of the confrontation. You knew that you wouldn't be able to get out of this conversation unless Morrigan wanted you to and it didn't look like she had any intentions of letting it drop.
Taking in a deep breath, you crossed your arms and sat down on the bed, looking down on the floor.
Things were going to complete shit. You were going to lose your job, your best friend, and your life. If your employer found out that you had fallen for your target... you were dead. Not to mention your thoughts about revealing everything to her.
No matter what you did, this was the end.
So you took in a deep breath, steadied your nerves, and admitted, "They're updates."
Morrigan took absolutely no time grabbing onto that tidbit of a lead. "On what?"
"You." You squeezed your eyes closed, sickness turning in your gut. This was truly a nightmare.
"And who are you sending these updates to?" Morrigan's voice sounded tense now. Like she was choking on her emotions. Really, you had no idea and you weren't quite ready to look up yet.
"I got a list--"
"Please," Morrigan interrupted, pleading. "Stop dancing around it. I just want to know the truth."
You licked your lips and raised your eyes, your heart dropping to the pit of your stomach when you saw the tears running down Morrigan's cheeks. She looked strong, holding onto that inner strength and that steel running through her veins, despite her red eyes and the tears.
"I'm sending them to contacts, who then hand them over to my employer."
Morrigan nodded and brushed away a tear, looking up as if she were trying to stop them. "And what are you employed to do?"
Well, it was now or never. At least if you died here, you'd be able to do so while looking upon the love of your life.
"Gather information and then, once I'm close enough, kill you."
Morrigan swallowed and let out a hollow laugh. She shook her head and her tears fell faster, the sight of it breaking your heart. Tears stung in the back of your throat, threatening to fall. But you wouldn't let them. If this was your death, you'd face it stoically.
"So it was all a lie then?" Morrigan snarled, leaning toward you. "I thought you were my friend."
"I am," you said, your voice shaking. You blinked away your tears. "I promise. I've been trying to get out of it. I've been trying to detach myself from my employer in hopes that, maybe, I don't have to complete the job." At this point, tears were running down your cheeks uncontrollably. "I can't do it. I can't kill you. I can't betray you. It hurts me. Send me away to be punished. Kill me. Anything so I don't have to go through with this job."
Morrigan shook her head and stepped away from the desking, putting her back to you.
"I don't know what to do with you," she said, her voice clogged with tears.
"Turn me in. Have Azriel torture me. Send me home to get me put down for revealing myself."
"No," Morrigan said, and turned to face you.
"Why not?" you asked, raising your voice. You stood up and threw your arms wide. "I just admitted to spying on you plotting to murder you. I deserve whatever punishment you throw my way."
"I know," she snarled, taking a step forward, matching her voice with yours. "You don't think I know? I was always warned about people like you. Perfect and lovable. Sneaks right under your skin, just to turn around and stab you in the back. I should kill you for all you've done."
"Do it," you dared.
Morrigan screamed, "I can't! I love you." Her rage softened, but you could still see the fiery pain in her eyes. "I love you, okay? I just don't know if I have the strength to send you to your death."
"Then don't," you said, her words pulling painfully on your heart. "Leave me be. Someone will come collect me within six months. I'll be gone, and you'll have nothing to do with it."
Morrigan pressed her lips together as tears streamed down her face. "I can't," she breathed, all fight draining out of her.
"I'll go then. Make it easy for you," you said and walked up to your desk. You pulled the drawer open and lifted up the false bottom, grabbing onto the stacks of money there. But before you could gather all of them, Morrigan grabbed onto your wrist.
"Stay," she whispered, holding on tight to your wrist. "We'll figure this out." The calm tone of her voice had your tears slowing and your nerves soothing. For a moment, you dared to believe her.
"How?" you asked, voice weak. You still didn't let go of the money.
"When do you have to... finish the job?"
"I don't know," you said. "Ten years. Maybe more, maybe less. It all depends on when I get an opening and how temperamental my employer is."
"Ten years," Morrigan echoed. "I think we can work with that."
You looked over to see her smiling sadly, a single tear on her cheek. She pushed the money from your hand and said, "I'm sure that if you give Rhys and Azriel enough information on this network, they'd forgive you."
"And if they don't?"
"I'll help you run."
She sounded so sure that you let yourself believe her. You let yourself think that all would be well. That everything would work out. One way or another, you wouldn't have to kill the love of your life. It might end in your death but... it might not.
You nodded and took in a shaking breath, giving Morrigan a small smile. Morrigan responded with a larger, sadder smile.
Maybe they'd make it. Maybe it would be okay.
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Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
"She turned her head so slowly it was like watching a puppet move. Her eyes met his.
Death watched him.
But Death had walked beside him every day of his life. So Cassian stroked his thumb along her palm and said, 'Hello, Nes.'"
This review is FULL OF SPOILERS so I've hidden the entire, VERY SPOILERY review below the cut!
Don't get me wrong- I love Rhysand. ACOTAR and ACOMAF Rhys is one of my faves, ever. So could someone please draw me a map to where the hell he went because that Rhys was NOT IN THIS BOOK?!?!?
Rhysand in ACOSF was every bit the territorial fae bastard in this book that Tamlin was in ACOMAF. He lied to Feyre about something HUGE. Nesta shouldn't have told her like that, but someone needed to tell her. And Feyre was every bit the pretty bride who blushed and had lots of sex and had a male who shielded her from what was really going on (you know, her impending death?) that she accused Tamlin of wanting to make her into. What the fuck was happening with them in this book? It's great to make Feyre a High Lady, but then she should be treated like one, not lied to. It's fine to make her more domestic, she deserves peace and happiness, but not at the expense of her autonomy.
And while we're on it, I kind of hated Feyre's pregnancy storyline. The thing about writing immortal characters is that you have so many chances to play with time. There is no reason that 500+ year old Rhys and 21 year old Feyre who were together for like one year?!?!? needed to have a pregnancy story here. They are IMMORTAL. Why can't they have time together, just the two of them, before introducing a pregnancy? What's the rush? They are immortal High Fae who will be alive for CENTURIES to come. Forget years, give yourselves a few decades together first! Your whole relationship so far has been 50% trauma-recovery and 50% saving the world/trying not to die!!!! Feyre's pregnancy felt like the author showing through and overshadowing the characterization—I have to think some of this is SJM becoming a mother in the last few years and wanting to write that into their story, but still.
If it's so well-known that Illyrian baby delivery is basically a death sentence for High Fae females, why would Rhys not be like 'omg Feyre, yes, let's have a baby, but let's not have sex while you're in that form which is optional for you' like is he this the most cunning high lord or not?! (Also they wouldn't even have Feyre try shifting her body to give her Illyrian hips when otherwise she would FOR SURE DIE?! All that magic and no one's invented the cesarean?!)
On a separate pregnancy note, y'all realize the Kingdom of Ash scene where Aelin falls through the worlds and sees a 'heavily pregnant' fae whose mate throws his night-like power towards her to slow her fall might have happened during the timeline of this book, right?!? Unless Feyre gets pregnant with a future child, but still. Wild.
Anyway, onto the actual main character of this book...I love Nesta. I love her fire. I love her arc. I've loved her this whole time, but her coming to terms with herself was great. Her finding peace was great. I was already in the she doesn't need a redemption arc, she needs a therapist and time to herself away from her sisters camp before reading ACOSF, and I only feel more strongly after reading this book.
I honestly think time away from her sisters and Rhys, and being with people who weren't constantly judging her (Cassian, Azriel, Gwyn, Emerie, Clotho, the House) was just as healthy and necessary for Nesta's healing arc as giving up some of her more harmful vices like nonstop drinking and complete isolation was.
At the end of the day, the Inner Circle (except Cassian/Azriel) bothered me with their treatment of Nesta, even the intervention at the beginning. Was Nesta in need of help? Yes. Were they kind about it? No, especially not Rhys/Amren. Elain was just as traumatized/self-destructive for a while. She hardly ate, she spoke to no one, she lay in bed all day, Nesta checks that the high windows don't open because she thinks Elain is suicidal, etc. Nesta is also traumatized, but her trauma presented more angrily, less beautiful/sad woman lies around being beautifully sad (like Elain in ACOWAR or Feyre in ACOMAF), and she's entirely condemned by the IC for it (and by a lot of this fandom, let's be real).
I loved Cassian. Loved him. Loooooved him. He stood up to Rhys for Nesta, defended her, was honest with her, accepted her, forgave her for what she actually did wrong (belittling him for his background/hurting him on purpose), but told her she herself was not wrong or broken (@ Rhys, Amren, Feyre, & Mor, are y'all taking notes? Cassian and I said she was not broken. Not in need of fixing or redemption.) He kept reaching out his hand.
I may really be in the minority here, but I did not like that Cassian and Nesta are mates. Tamlin tells Feyre in ACOTAR that it's rare for people to have mates at all. And honestly, I see why accepting the mating bond was so hard for Nesta as someone who didn't want to be fae in the first place, and I do not think she needed Cassian to be her mate to choose him forever. I wish they had CHOSEN each other and not been mates. I think it would have been just as strong, and healthier for Nesta. (And also...if not everyone is mates, why can't they just fall in love? He won her heart, she chose him. I was fine before they were mates. I also think that would have nicely set up Elain rejecting the mating bond later, which she clearly wants to do/has basically done (did y'all read the Azriel extra chapter?! Anyway.)
There was so much sex. Like as one of my friends put it, 'this book is filthy, y'all!' It was kind of overkill, like I was already sold on their relationship, but sure, why not. But if nearly all those scenes cut away instead of getting super descriptive, I would have liked this book just as much. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The part with the Mask and the kelpie was so good, it was crazy, and creepy, and her rising up with this army of the dead was so great. Also when they went to the prison for the Harp!!!
I also loved that Nesta/Gwyn/Emerie ended up doing the Rite! That twist surprised me in a good way. Devlon and any other Illyrians who doubted them can suck it. VALKYRIES!!!
And finally, I LOVED the Nesta/Gwyn/Emerie friendship. It made the book (it Made it, y'all. Pun intended). I loved reading about Nessian and I love Cassian, but these three and their friendship was my favorite part of the book, hands down. So great. I love female friendship - it's so underrated as a concept - and this one was amazing, and I'm glad it was such a focus of the story.
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