House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Crescent City #1
Science Fiction/Contemporary Fantasy
March 3, 2020 by Bloomsbury
Through love, all is possible.
This book y’all. 800 pages of brilliant worldbuilding, fascinating characters, and an intricate, twisty-turny plot that kept me turning pages. Unfortunately, I had to sleep, eat, and work on occasion, which meant it took me most of last week to get through this debut to the Crescent City series. But, what a lovely week it was.
As a fan of this author and her other series’ I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. I found the blurb intriguing and the cover absolutely gorgeous. Honestly? I would have probably read this book even if I had never heard of Sarah J. Maas, the cover is that appealing to me.
One thing you should know before you start this journey into Crescent City with Bryce and Hunt is that the worldbuilding has depth and breadth and is extremely complex. I was almost overwhelmed when I first started reading because there is just so much information to wade through. The contemporary aspects to this new fantasy world lent a different feel from this author’s other works. More new world than old. I’m not even going to try to explain all the intricate ins and outs of gates and houses and all the different species’ living together in a power structure based on strength and control. You’ll be confused and it really is something you should reason out on your own.
This world has all manner of beings from angels to demons, shifters to the fae, witches and wraiths and merpeople. I love this kind of diversity in my fantasy and I was not disappointed. The first group of characters readers meet are Bryce Quinlan, a half human/half fae woman, her bff Danika, and Danika’s pack. I have to tell you, I fell in love right away. I really did. They are bright and beautiful and just a bit broken and the almost frantic, without a care, out loud way they live appealed to me. You get the sense right away that it’s not going to last and dark, dark things are coming. (And you’d be right.)
Hunt Athalar is a fallen angel, once a commander under an Archangel, leading a rebellion. Now he is a slave to the city and kills on request in order to pay off his debt and try to earn his freedom. He meets Bryce after a demon attack and sees her at the very worst moment in her life. Two years later they meet again when the most powerful being in the city tasks them with finding a murderer. Bryce appears to be just a party girl who happens to work as an assistant for a powerful sorceress, low in magic and not yet embracing her immortality. But little by little he realizes she is so, so much more.
These two are amazing together. It’s the little things in a romance that get to me. The getting to know you. The subtle flirting. The small, yet powerful, ways two people slowly build trust and start to care. Pictures on phones, cooking breakfast, Hunt curling his wing around Bryce, and Bryce linking their hands. This author builds their relationship so well that I couldn’t wait to for them to realize how deep their love for each other had gotten.
The other thing this author does really well is creating a support system for her main protagonists. These secondary characters don’t really feel secondary at all. It’s so easy to embrace them and fall in love and fear for their well being during life or death scenes. I grieved along with Bryce at certain losses and silently hoped and prayed toward the end to keep loved ones safe. There are too many favorites to name, but I have a nice list in my head of people I can’t wait to see again in the future.
The plot and story arc are sophisticated and just when you think you know what’s happening, you realize you really don’t. The climax is almost breathtaking in its intensity. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t turn pages fast enough. I was left just a bit surprised and hopeful for the next book in the series… And then there’s the epilogue and what it might mean in the future. Whew.
House of Earth and Blood is a fantastic start to a new series and I can not wait to find out what this author has in store for her readers next.