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House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

SERIES: Crescent City (#1)
PUBLISHED: March 3, 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing
PAGES: 816
GENRE: Fantasy, New Adult

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The Blurb

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.


The Review

ALSO REVIEWED AT: Goodreads

Through love, all is possible.

House of Earth and Blood, book one in the Crescent City series, is a provocative and crushing tale of loss, grief, and sincere requited love. It’s about finding strength in the most unexpected places during the darkest of times, and never giving up when all hope seems lost, regardless of how grim things may seem. With a sprawling cast of characters, a world richly portrayed, and a serpentine mystery laced throughout, it’s far too easy to lose yourself in the pages of this considerable story. An alluring start to a brand new series, I’m excited to begin another excursion into the fantastical worlds of Sarah J. Maas.

This story’s primary focus is on the transformation of its characters and their diverging journeys of discovery. The narrative is led by two main POV characters, Bryce and Hunt, each suffering from a past of pain with no faith in a brighter future. Bryce, a headstrong half-breed heroine who veils what she is and what she’s capable of, crippled by guilt and grief. Hunt, the signature brooding, tortured love interest; a shell of the majestic angel he once was, terrified to open his heart to anyone or anything. Both are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect the ones they care for or what they believe in the depths of their soul. Layered characterization allows for readers to learn truths as the story unfurls and eye-opening revelations come to light.

In addition to Bryce and Hunt, the story is fleshed out with a huge, diverse supporting cast from all walks of life, some more memorable than others. I’d like to personally thank Maas for Lehabah and Syrinx, both of whom I greatly enjoyed spending time with. While many of those introduced add depth to this lengthy book, I often found myself trying to place a name to a face, especially when many of them converged in one place – just complete saturation. There were also several enigmatic characters along the way that will surely play a crucial role in the future of the series, something I’m very much looking forward to.

So living, and living well–it’s the greatest fuck you that you could ever give them.

The rich setting of Midgard is filled with angels, fae, witches, shifters, merfolk, humans, half-breeds, monsters, and more – each bound to one of the several established Houses. It bleeds history and political maneuverings, all centered around myths, legends, and prophecies brought to life. Complex social structures, polytheistic religions, a people peppered with the scars of war, there’s something new to learn about the world Maas has crafted with every turn of the page, a new surprise around each corner. However, the narrative itself suffers from quite a bit of information overload. At times readers are presented with aspects that seem to bear no effect on the plot, while at other times there isn’t enough information for crucial plot points. It feels imbalanced, and I unfortunately found myself skimming more than I’d liked.

Maas’ writing is exactly what I expected it to be–simple, straightforward prose injected with immense, gut-wrenching emotion that packs a punch. In case you’re wondering, yes, I cried. Twice. She has a way of dragging her readers down in the deepest pits of hopelessness, just to violently heave them towards the light, an epic journey in itself. With many moments of delicious tension, she takes us on a winding investigation with an abundance of twists and turns, building excitement as we make our way to an explosive pinnacle. And what a pinnacle it is…edge-of-your-seat action that keeps those pages turning at the speed of light. However, the plot is disrupted by a bit of meandering and a few inconsistencies, both of which pulled me from the story.

House of Earth and Blood was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and while it has its issues, I find myself, unsurprisingly, craving more. I read through this hulking doorstopper in three days, it’s just completely consuming. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Will I read the next? Absolutely. This story is much darker than I expected, which is something I’ll never complain about, but expect deception, betrayal, and a torrent of blood. But also anticipate the ascent from the depths. I definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a thrilling New Adult Fantasy read that’s sharp around the edges.


The Author

Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel,is available now.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

WEBSITE: https://sarahjmaas.com/

Justine Bergman

Web developer by trade, ravenous reader, excited reviewer, dark fantasy enthusiast, mother of pups, drinker of strong coffee, and player of games. I'm also a contributor over at Fantasy Book Critic and The Fantasy Hive, and I love sharing the love.

2 COMMENTS

  • Alex

    Hi. You write the best reviews. I love how you broke down what you liked and didn’t like while still giving the reader the encouragement to pick the book up.

    • Justine Bergman
      AUTHOR

      Thanks so much, Alex. I try to be as objective as possible when I send my thoughts out into the void, and every book deserves a chance to find an audience that loves it. I actually really liked this book, or I wouldn’t have pushed my way through! If you pick it up, I hope you love it!

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