Title: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Genre: Adult – Fantasy
My rating in stars: 5 stars
My rating in words: New all-time favorite
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.
MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):
Look, let me start with saying that while I understand that Sarah J. Maas’s books are not for everybody and while I acknowledge that her writing definitely comes with some issues, I also do think a lot of people are mostly just attacking her because it’s the cool thing to do. If it’s not your thing, don’t read it.
That said, I have loved this newest book as much as I loved her other books. Yes it has some issues, and if you didn’t like her other books, I don’t think this one will convince you otherwise. This book will have people growling and roaring like they are animals (even though some are part animal so…), there is talk of mates (though not overwhelmingly so), she uses the words male and female to describe them, there are smutty scenes, some chosen one-tropes and not a lot of diversity.
BUT! BUT! I still adored this book. It was a roller-coaster ride and I am already anxiously awaiting the sequel (we don’t need the Nesta story, Sarah, just give us Crescent City #2, okay?). While it has it’s issues, I still enjoyed the rest of it so, so much that I’ll happily give it a five-star rating. Because this feeling, the way I feel while I’m reading and in the days that follow, that is to me the deciding factor in my rating process. And this feeling tells me “NEW FAVORITE”.
So let me tell you about all the things that gave me this “NEW FAVORITE” feeling:
Bryce Quinlan. Not your typical party girl.
Okay, I’ll admit that I needed some warming up to Bryce. Especially in the first part of the books, she’s very intense. She likes to party, and does so with a heavy amount of drinking, drugs and random hookups in the bathroom. Which, fine, you do you. But she does not remain a one-dimensional character. Throughout the book, not only does Bryce change and evolve, but we as a reader also learn to see beyond her initial impression. Bryce is smart and snarky and likes to dress to impress. She’s unapologetically herself and does not take shit from anyone. She’s flawed yes, but she’s also fierce and loyal and cares SO MUCH. Her empathy is what I loved most about her.
THE FRIENDSHIP. EXCUSE ME, STILL SOBBING.
Excuse me, but the friendships in this book own my heart, okay? Of course, the most important one is that between Bryce and Danika, which was just so beautiful to read about. They are so loyal to each other, they care so much, and would do ANYTHING for each other. Like, this is the kind of friendship everybody needs in their life. But, though this may be the main friendship, it’s not the only one, and the others are also pretty amazing. There’s Bryce and the Pack of Devils, though I could have used more scenes of them, I already felt the connection with the little bit we had (And it’s crazy how quickly I got attached to Connor but okay). There’s Bryce and Lehabah. Bryce and Syrinx, her pet chimera. Bryce and her half-brother Ruhn. Bryce and Ithan. And of course, Bryce and Hunt. BUT MOSTLY BRYCE AND DANIKA!
The worldbuilding. Intense but so much promise.
Fine, the first few chapters are very information-heavy and got me pretty confused for a bit. The worldbuilding could have been introduced a bit more gradually to make it easier on the readers. Also, a more extensive map could have been included. There was a map of the city itself, but when there was talk about places OUTSIDE of the city, I was confused. I was confused a lot in the beginning. But, this got better as we got further into the story and I got a better grasp on the world and the creatures in it. This really is such a huge world and there is so much left to learn. I’m so excited for the next books to learn more about it.
The romance. Sizzling and heartwarming.
I know this also won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but I LOVED the romance in this story. Though, knowing Sarah, who knows what’ll happen next? But I’m a sucker for romances that start off a little hostile, with mutual dislike, and turn into a friendship before ever becoming romantic. I love when characters help each other through trauma (but it’s not the romance that magically fixes everything, just the characters being there for each other to help them get through it). Yes, this is an adult book, so there are a lot of smutty scenes, but still the feelings, the emotions, the chemistry is so strong.
The secondary characters. You own my heart.
As is typical for Sarah J. Maas, I quickly became intensely attached to the secondary characters. The Pack of Devils. Lehabah. Jesiba. Syrinx. Ithan. Isaiah. I NEED MORE OF THEM!!
To sum it up, this book is not without its issues, but overall it managed to secure its place in my heart. I loved reading this and spent so much time afterwards just thinking about the story and the characters. It was a rollercoaster ride, with a ton of twists and turns I personally did not see coming. The last part especially was ABSOLUTE EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT, SCREAM-AT-YOUR-BOOK, BITE-YOUR-NAILS BRILLIANCE! I can’t wait for the next installment.
murder, violence, gore, drug use
“Through love, all is possible.”
“That’s the point of it, Bryce. Of life. To live, to love, knowing that it might all vanish tomorrow. It makes everything that much more precious.”
“Then let the world know that my first act of freedom was to help my friends.”
“…There’s nothing wrong with a party girl. I don’t get why the world thinks there is…Its easier for me—when people assume the worst about what I am. It lets me see who they really are.”
“Sabine snapped back at him, ‘There are no wolves left for the Old Square!’
But the Prime of the wolves had stirred at last, and pointed an ancient, gnarled finder to the screen. To the feed. And he said, ‘One wolf remains in the Old Square.”