I finally got around to reading House of Earth and Blood, the first book in Sarah J. Maas’ new Crescent City series. And by finally got around to, what I really mean is that I bought it, and read it immediately, and finished it in 4 days. Which I’d like to think is pretty impressive for a 800-page book.
SJM really tried something new and out of her comfort zone here and it was well worth the risk because this book is so compulsively readable. I fell in love with all of the characters, especially Lehabah (who deserves all the shoutouts). If you’ve been a fan of Maas since the beginning, you’ll still love this one.
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 Review 💬
This book, y’all. I’ve loved Sarah J. Maas since I first read Throne of Glass, but this is so far away from that first book! First, I absolutely LOVE how adult it is. There’s a lot of cursing — so beware if you aren’t a big fan of f-words. It’s more suggestive, playful, and serious. She let her writing loose with this one, and it really worked in her favor.
I saw in another review that someone called this a good friendship story over a good love story, and that is the truest statement to ever be heard. Bryce and Hunt flirt and have an obvious attraction, and that’s amazing. But over insta-love, their story focuses on healing together, understanding each other, and really knowing what it means to have a friend that’s there for you through everything. It’s beautiful. I just shed a tear thinking about it.
The one thing I wish was a little better in House of Earth and Blood is the world building. Which is crazy to say because Maas is so good at it. But the first half of the book, I couldn’t really get a solid lay of the land, especially when it came to the distant war the characters mentioned and all of these cities and territories outside of Crescent City. There was a lot of info dumping in the first few chapters, which made it even more difficult to sort through this world and what was going on. It cleared up more as I read it, but it could have been avoided — even with just another map. There wasn’t a full world map outside of the Crescent City one when there definitely should have been.
Despite any flaws this book may have, I read it in 4 days. Which is pretty fast for me, but I know there’s some speed readers who probably read it in 24 hours. I’ve always thought Maas’ books were compulsively readable, but this one takes the trophy. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the friendships, the journey, and OH MY GOD THE ENDING. This ending probably takes the trophy too. Out of all her cliffhangers, and surprise endings, and war stories, this one has honestly got to be one of the most emotional.
You honestly need to prepare yourself for those last 200 pages. I am still a mess. Even though we’ve only known these characters for one book, I cried through the entire last section. That’s how attached I got to all of the people in this story. I already miss them and can’t wait to read the next book (for which there is some great foreshadowing). Until then, I’ll keep re-reading all my other SJM books.