Court of the Undying Seasons / A.M. Strickland / Book Review

The last thing Fin wants is to live among the vampires. But she would rather it be her than Silvea, the girl she secretly loves. So Fin does what she must at the annual Finding: she volunteers to go in Silvea's place. 

Life at Castle Courtsheart is hard and cold, meant to mold the strong into vampires. The weak, those who don't pass the vampiric tests at the end of their first year, will be relegated to thrall servants when their year of training is done. That, Fin is sure, is a fate worse than death. Becoming a vampire is no better, not for someone like Fin who wants to see them all destroyed. But the vampires themselves are the only ones who know how to kill a vampire. If Fin is leaving this world, she wants to take as many vampires with her... even if that means staying alive at Courtsheart longer than she would like.

But there's more happening here than even Fin could imagine. And when the first of her human "classmates" falls victim, Fin knows something sinister is afoot. Something worse than the vampires themselves. 


Is this book in the running for best read of the year? No, not really. But I had a lot of fun while reading it. Sure, I wanted more than I got, but I'm not going to complain at the end of the day. 


  • Atmosphere: The first thing that Strickland nails here is the atmosphere. The cold Nordic nights, the impoverished fishing village, and the rumbling vampire carriages that open up this novel play stark contrast to the flashy vampire fashions in their gilded court. The aesthetics are classic and fun. It's the perfect type of vampire landscape to get lost in.
  • Sorting Hat Book: Though a staple in YA, there's always something so fun about characters being sorted into "houses" or "courts" or "factions." Each court here has its unique alure, its talents, its skills. Sure, this has been done before, and it will be done again. But it's still fun to read, and it's been a bit since I've read a book like these. These "undying" houses have their mottos, their colors, and their communal personalities, and that's great. It's always nice to have a new magic school to latch onto. 
  • Beasts of the Night: There are no vegetarian vampires here. The last few YA vampires I've read didn't have much bite, which is unfortunate. Bite is a big part of vampires, after all. But these vampires don't hold back. Sure, they're (usually) cordial to one another, but they're particularly anti-human. Humans are beneath them. Humans are food. And that sentiment doesn't change by the end. They don't "learn better." They use humans as cattle. They rip and tear without remorse. They do as vampires should. And I appreciated that. 


  • Clunky Mechanics: I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book, so this very well might be fixed before the final version hits the shelves. It did affect my reading experience, however. A lot of the sentences felt less-than-polished. Wording was repetitive. Information was repeated. The sentence structure would be clunky, pulling me out of the story while I puzzled over what might have been meant. This is a fiddly critique, but it was still a detractor for me. 
  • Vengeful Waif: Fin is a very archetypical character. Not that character archetypes are a bad thing. They exist for a reason. But this book definitely gives off A Court of Thorns and Roses vibes (in a bad way). Strickland builds on this character in new and different ways, sure, but Fin still channels many of her YA predecessors in a stereotypical and generic way. Which is also unfortunate. 
  • Mercurial Emotions: Character relationships shift so, so quickly. Romantic entanglements happen fast. Admiration becomes something more in the blink of an eye. And vice versa: any hint of betrayal ("betrayal" being a rather melodramatic term here) means that romantic attachment disappears. Death threats are imminent. I get it, to some extent. They're vampires or soon-to-be vampires. Things work differently for them, and I definitely don't need a slow burn. But the ups-and-downs, twists-and-turns here were so sudden and sharp that it was exhausting. 



Fans of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy will enjoy this fresh take on vampire schooling. Those who enjoyed Elissa Sussman's Stray will love the dark entanglements of this court intrigue. 


Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date: May 16, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley and Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. While this is not a genre I normally read, I really enjoyed your review.

  2. I love vampires - so many fun stories about them. Sounds like this book has real potential if the author can sort the mechanics out.

    Corinne x

  3. Vampires and a sorting hat - not read any vampire school books before but I like the sound of this one, even if it has its downsides.

  4. I haven't heard of this book before but it sounds good! Thanks for sharing you review!


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