“Through love, all is possible.”
House of Earth and Blood (I kept calling it Crescent City for the longest) follows Bryce Quinlan through her seemingly perfect life in Lunathion. She works hard during the day and spends her nights being the quintessential party girl. When her closest friends are violently dismembered and murdered, Bryce is left utterly devastated. Two years later, with the supposed murderer behind bars, multiple citizens are murdered in the same way as her friends, placing Bryce at the heart of the investigation, doing whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
In comes Hunt Athalar, a notorious Fallen angel now enslaved to the very Archangels he sought to overthrow 200 years ago. With his incredible demon-killing skills, Hunt makes a bargain he can’t refuse: help Bryce find the murderer and his freedom will be at his fingertips.
Together, Bryce and Hunt investigate the depths of Crescent City, only to uncover a threat far more than what they expected. It’s up to them and the help of a few friends to save everyone they love and all who inhabit Crescent City.
Let me start by saying that Sarah J. Maas is one of my favorite authors. So it was obvious that I would read House of Earth and Blood, especially with it being her first adult-themed book. However, the sheer size of this book was intimidating. At about 800 pages, this is SJM’s second-longest book right after Kingdom of Ash which sits at close to 1000 pages. But I sat down, finished it, and loved it. The writing is great. The best thing about this book is the world-building. This is where SJM shines; she has never disappointed when it comes to description. She depicts the world of Crescent City so well; I could picture every street, every block, every building. It was like a movie was playing in my head with every word I read.
I loved the theme of loyalty, friendship, and love throughout the book. Bryce is fiercely loyal to her friends and family. She would do ANYTHING for them and you can see that in everything that she does. The friendship between her and her best friend Danika is one of the best I’ve read. Their relationship was so strong and real, which made me invested in both characters.
And speaking of characters, I had a few favorites. Dare I say that Bryce might be my favorite female main character that SJM has written? When it came to Aelin and Feyre, it took me a while to warm up to them, but I loved Bryce the moment she stepped onto the page. She is a total badass who gives absolutely no fucks about what anyone thinks of her. She is strong, loyal, and sassy with a softer inside that no one sees. I see a lot of myself in her and I was rooting for her since chapter one.
Hunt is the typical male character that SJM usually writes: tall, brooding, attractive, and powerful. I liked him but wanted more of him. I loved the banter between him and Bryce, and their budding romance is fiery. I though there would be more steamy scenes between them. I though SJM would take advantage of the adult theme and go crazy! But maybe she’s saving it for the sequels.
The minor characters were amazingly written. Ruhn, the Fae Prince was easy to like. I absolutely adored him and would not mind a novella focused on him. Lehabah was my favorite secondary character. The fiery sprite is the best work friend anyone could have.
Ok. So there’s not a lot that I didn’t like about this book, which is good. I felt that House of Earth and Blood was too long. For everything that happened in this book, I feel like it could’ve been condensed. I will say that one reason for the length is description and information. Like I said before, SJM is really good with description. But there are moments, pages of detail and information to set up a scene, before any dialogue is spoken.
SJM plants A LOT, and I mean A LOT of information in the first couple hundred pages. We’re being introduced to a whole new world with different species, classes, and territory. There is history, powers and abilities, hierarchies, and politics that we have to learn to understand what’s to come. This makes for a slow, s l o w, build. I couldn’t read this book as fast as I wanted because there were so many new names of people, places, and things that I didn’t want to miss not one thing in fear of being confused later on. Other than that, there was nothing else that bothered me too much.
The last 250 pages were AMAZING! I. COULD NOT. PUT. THIS. BOOK. DOWN. That’s how hooked I was. Despite all the information and the slowness in the beginning, SJM planted every single seed for a reason. Every detail, every person, every action and reaction came together in the end seamlessly, like the most perfect jigsaw puzzle. I was reading so quickly that I had to slow myself down. I laughed, I shouted, I CRIED. CRIED! Like boo-hoo-tears-snot-fogged-up-glasses CRIED. Very, VERY few books have made me cry like that. The twist towards the end set up something good, something great to come in the sequel. And the epilogue! It was short but left me with a dozen questions with answers that I’ll have to wait ages for.
Sarah J. Maas delivered yet another great read. I am excited and hungry for the sequel. If you love SJM, READ THIS BOOK. Yes, it’s long, but it’s worth it. SO WORTH IT.
The publication date for Crescent City #2 has not been released yet, but if it’s one thing that SJM knows how to do, it’s sequels, and I highly doubt that she’ll disappoint.
MY RATING: 4 STARS