Title: House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: February 15th, 2022
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
Not as good as book one, but still nice!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.
The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.
In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.
MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
“But wherever you’re headed when this life is over, Quinlan, that’s where I want to be, too.”
The first book in this trilogy, House of Earth and Blood, was one of my favorite reads of 2020 and quite possibly of all-time. I even re-read it in preparation of House of Sky and Breath and am happy to report it was just as epic upon a second re-read. So naturally, I was super excited to read the sequel and reunite with Bryce, Hunt, Ruhn and the gang. But… maybe my expectations were just a tad too high because to me, this did not live up to its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong, it was good. Just not as good. But still good enough for 4 stars, though I’m honestly not sure how much of those 4 stars are pure nostalgia for SJM stories. Am I making any sense? Let me try and explain in list format…
What I didn’t enjoy
The chaotic plot
While book one had a clear-cut “quest” for our heroes – a murder to solve and a murderer to find – there was no clear goal, no clear quest in House of Sky and Breath. Sure, it was very action-packed and there was always something happening, but it all felt so very chaotic. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, a revelation here, an explosion there and here we are at the end. This chaos and lack of direction also made the ending feel less epic and just had me feeling a little disappointed overall.
The never-ending Danika secrets
I loved Danika in book one and I loved discovering her secrets. But the girl is gone now and the secrets just keep on coming! Really, how many secrets can one girl have? I love Sarah J. Maas, but this writing felt a bit “lazy” to me. Was there really no other way to introduce all these different plot points to the story other than “OMG, Danika did this and never told anyone, not even her best friend”?
What I did really love
The secondary characters
What I love most about Sarah J. Maas books are the friendships and found family aspect and this is once again super strong in House of Sky and Breath. We have a big cast of characters and yet they’re all so individually well-written and intriguing. There are a few different POV’s in here and I never, not once, was bored reading one of them or wanting to skip ahead. And when all characters are working together, that’s when the magic really happens. The friendships, the bromance… I love it! This is such a lovely found family and I could read about these characters all day long. Talking about day…
While I was invested in every character and side plot (chaotic as it was), the one that intrigued me most in this installment was Ruhn’s. I’ve loved his character and character development since the beginning and he once more stole the spotlight here. There was a mystery to unfold here and I’m happy to say I called it from the beginning (not in a “OMG, this was so predictable” kind of way, but more in a “Wow, this was foreshadowed and set up so nicely” kind of way).
I guess Bryce and Hunt too
With so many amazing characters, I have to admit that I kind of have the least interest in our main characters. But even though they get a little out-shined by all the others, they’re still pretty great on their own. The romance progresses nicely and I love the development of their relationship, as well as both of their characters individually. Bryce still has the best sass and her banter with Hunt is so much fun to read.
The unputdownable pace
While book one was a bit difficult to get into and only got really unputdownable near the second half, this book was pretty much unputdownable right from the start. There is never a dull moment and it goes from action scene to action scene, from revelation to revelation. It’s a massive book, sure, but it feels so much shorter because it’s just so easily readable.
What I’m unsure about
Without spoiling anything, the ending blew my mind. I did not see it coming, gasped out loud when realization hit and immediately read the entire last chapter again. BUT it also has me a little anxious about what’s next because this could become a whole new level of epic, but it’s also a risk and could turn out the opposite. So I’m a little unsure of how I feel about the ending for now, but I can say that I’m super excited for book three already!
While I had some issues with this sequel and didn’t love it as much as the first book, I still give this a solid 4-star rating. If you’re a fan of Sarah J. Maas, I still highly recommend it for the amazing characters and found family vibes and unputdownable plot. I’m eager for book three and until then you’ll probably find me looking up all the Ruhn, Ithan, Tharion and Aidas fanart.
“If you’re looking for How Not to Be an Asshole, it’s shelved between Bye, Loser and Get the Fuck Out.”
“Death is the only victor in war”
“We waste so much time. Maybe it’s our curse as immortals. To see time as a luxury, a never-ending ocean.”