I read a paperback edition of House of Earth and Blood. This is the first book in the Crescent City series.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Originally published: March 3rd, 2020
Pages: 816 (paperback)
Synopsis by the publisher:
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.
I loved The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas and devoured those, and I did enjoy the first book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (even though I haven’t gotten around to the next books in the series yet), so when I heard that Maas was writing a series for an adult audience I was very intrigued.
I heard mixed things about the books before going into it, and it seemed like it was either a love or hate relationship for most readers.
House of Earth and Blood is a chunker of a book (it seems like I’m quite into big books these days), coming in at a little over 800 pages.
What I think Maas does so well in previous books is making these really interesting and fantastical worlds come to life with a more subtle way of introducing the world she builds so that it doesn’t become super confusing.
In this one, however, I felt a bit lost for a while at the beginning. There were names and lifeforms thrown left and right, and I found myself feeling a little confused. This also took away my ability to connect with the characters early on in the story. That being said, the world-building that Sarah J. Maas has done in this series (and others before that) is impressive! After a little while, I did feel less confused and managed to just focus on the story and the characters.
When it comes to the characters I like that there are so many different beings and fantastical elements to them. It makes for an interesting cast of characters with endless possibilities. When it came to Bryce and Hunt I struggled to feel a connection with them. I was curious to see where the story would take them and found that part very exciting and interesting, but I did not get fully invested in the characters. It got better along the way though, but I didn’t find myself even close to being as invested in them as I’ve been with her other characters in previous books.
I also had some issues with the sexual tension throughout this book. For those of you who’ve stuck around for a while, you know that I have no problem with some steamy content in literature! But for some reason, it felt like all the sexual tension between Bryce and Hunt (and there’s a lot of it) felt like it was a part of the story just for the sake of having a lot of adult/sexual content. In some ways, it just felt a bit forced at times. I can’t really put my finger on exactly what it was that made it feel that way, but for whatever reason it just didn’t work as well for me as it did for a lot of other readers. I’m not saying that I would’ve wanted zero sexual tension between the characters, that wouldn’t have felt natural either, but I think it was more the amount of it being thrown into the story at all times that just made it less enjoyable for me.
That being said, this is a page-turner of a book! It did not feel like reading an 800+ pages book at all, and I flew through it pretty quickly. Maas writes action and drama so well and that’s one of the many reasons why Maas is on the list as one of my favorite authors. She also writes brilliant female characters that are really strong, but in no way perfect. So, even though she writes stories that are out of this world, a lot of the character, drama, and conflict feels relatable.
So all in all it was a very enjoyable, action-packed and interesting read with a lot of interesting characters, but unfortunately I didn’t manage to get as invested in them as I would have liked to.
If you’re a fan of other books by Maas then I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one as well, but it is going to be a little bit of a different reading experience even though her writing style definitely shines through.
This story has potential to get very interesting, and I will pick up the next book in the series because I’m curious to see what happens next.
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