House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas


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Content/Trigger Warnings: Drug use, alcoholism, blood depictions, graphic injuries, gore, grief, loss of a loved ones, loss of a parent (in the past), death, murder, scenes of emesis, PTSD/trauma, slut-shaming, death of a child (pg 255), talk of war, war crimes, bombings, talk of torture, talk of slavery, graphic execution, brief mentions of suicidal ideation & attempted suicide recounted, human experimentation, violence, sex scenes, swearing, abusive relationships, depictions of anxiety & panic attacks

“Through love, all is possible.”

Honestly, this is a long overdue review. This book is the literal reason why I didn’t read a single book for a whole month and it took me that whole month to realize I was in a reading slump because of it. Whew, it has been a wild ride with this book. And if I’m being honest, I don’t know what more I can add into the review pool on this book. Although some feelings have changed, shifted, and after all this time my thoughts still drift back to moments of this book.

When a brutal massacre claims the lives of people close to her, Bryce Quinlan spends two years trying to return her life to normalcy. Until… bodies begin showing up again and the Archangel of Crescent City is knocking on her work’s door. Forced to work with the Archangel’s personal assassin, The Umbra Mortis, they’re time is limited as the next summit is on the horizon and bodies begin piling up.

It’s rare when I say this, but I would ride or die for Bryce Quinlan. Out of all the characters, I was instantly locked into her perspective and I felt very connected to her character. A lot of the ways Bryce carries herself hit really close to home for me especially when it comes to the people she cares about, and yes, that includes the scar. I’m very much one in the same with a lot of it and Bryce is just going to forever hold a special place in my heart. Plus, I feel like no one talks about this, but Bryce is plus-sized and it just makes me love Bryce even more. On the other hand, we also get the perspective of Hunter and I just wasn’t as connected to him as I was with Bryce. However, his perspective was still captivating and even more so as we get towards the end of the book. It was a really interesting perspective to be in and I’m curious to see if we’ll continue with the duel perspective in the next book. And put these two characters together, the banter is delightful, the chemistry is so good, and I really enjoyed how the two of them together aren’t perfect, but somehow suit each other really well. They just click.

“You’re the person I don’t need to explain myself to – not when it matters. You see everything I am, and you don’t run away from it.”

Speaking of characters, Maas has this habit of writing so many side characters that you end up falling in love with and oh, I fell so hard for so many of them. I loved Bryce’s boss and I adored the demon cat (if ya know, ya know), but there is one character aside from Bryce that caused me to sob relentlessly and that was Lehabah, a fire sprite and coworker/friend to Bryce. Lehabah was such a spark during this whole book and even though we don’t see her that much, I absolutely loved her. She captivated my heart and I had to mention her. There are many, many characters to love in this book, both main and side characters, but Lehabah was a blessing and I adored her. I wish we got to see more of her.

“I am a descendant of Ranthia Drahl, Queen of Embers. She is with me now and I am not afraid. My friends are behind me, and I will protect them.”

And while I’m talking about side characters, let me tell you, there are so many villains in this book and every one of those characters who are displayed as a terrible person, are truly terrible! When I say I had my book in a choke hold every time one of these buttmunchers decided to be a little butt… my book almost got chucked across the room a few times. This is actual high praise because only a very small handful of books (3 to be exact) have actually caused me to throw them. This has now been added to that list. The end game had so many good scenes of these villains getting their butts served on a platter to them, which was delightful. However, I’m a little hopeful that we’ll see a little bit of redemption for potentially some of them, but if something tragic happens to them, well… I ain’t crying for them.

Storyline wise, it was interesting. Every time I read high fantasy or high sci-fi (basically heavily detailed books), it takes me a hot minute to get into it, but once I’m in it, I’m in it. And that’s how it was for this book. As I’ll mention below, the details of this book didn’t really impact me the way I saw it impacting a lot of readers. There were so many scenes that I felt like I was there, witnessing what was happening. I was pulled into the storyline really easily with this book and it hooked me. There’s also a lot of foreshadowing sprinkled throughout the storyline as well and it kept adding fuel to the flames that just kept me going, wanting to know more.

“That’s the point of it, Bryce. Of life. To live, to love, knowing that it might all vanish tomorrow. It makes everything that much more precious.”

Despite all the things I loved this book there were a few things that just didn’t work for me. My biggest issue was that three of the major “twists” in this book were easily predicted for me. While I did still enjoy the scenes, I feel like I would have loved them more if it didn’t feel obvious with the way the author was going in the storyline. This won’t be the issue for everyone, but for me, it was easily predicted. This also ties in with the ending and I feel like the ending of this book would have hit twice as hard if some of the things revealed didn’t feel obvious in the direction certain things were going to go. My other really issue I can’t really talk about without spoiling anything, but this character soured my taste from the beginning, knew they were horrendously suspicious, and it ties in with one of the big twists. This was so painfully obvious and I was just really irked by how obvious it all was.

With all of that being said, I do want to put in here a little section to emphasize that this reads and feels like a high fantasy book. There’s a lot, I mean A LOT, of details that go into the first chunk of this book to build of the world, give details about the different quarters and the hierarchy, and even give backstory of the war situation. It’s a lot friends, it’s a lot and you should know that considering this is an 800 page book. While this didn’t bother me personally, if you’re not a typical avid reader of high fantasy and sci-fi books then this book may feel like a challenge to trudge through. It may also put you in a reading slump if you’re not a big lover of heavy details. The author does this for all of her books, laced with great detail to make you feel like you’re in the world or at least like you’re vividly experiencing it. So just something to keep in mind if you’ve been feeling a little intimidated by this book.

Overall, I had a really fantastic time reading this book. If you can’t tell in the picture of this review, there’s so many tabs and I took so many notes. This book made me order more tabs because I ended up running out. I was so captivated and enthralled by the story, the characters, and the world that I couldn’t stop reading. I just got caught up in all the details and that’s the case with every book I read from this author. I truly am trash for Maas and I’m not ashamed of this. I don’t think this book will be for everyone, but I recommend this book to anyone who loves this author’s work and loves high fantasy.

Buddy Read with Destiny & Caro


4 thoughts on “House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

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