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The House of Binding Thorns

(Dominion of the Fallen #2)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,013 ratings  ·  197 reviews
The multi-award-winning author of The House of Shattered Wings continues her Dominion of the Fallen saga as Paris endures the aftermath of a devastating arcane war....

As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by Fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.

House Silverspires was on
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Gollancz
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  1,013 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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Oct 18, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Not leaving a rating because this is my book, but here's what you can expect: focused on the House of Hawthorn and the dragon kingdom. Like its predecessor, standalone, though characters from the first book will obviously be around!

Major characters: angel essence addict Madeleine, Houseless Annamite Françoise (who wields rather peculiar and powerful Fallen magic), dragon prince Thuan (with a talent for getting into major trouble), and ex-Immortal/exile Philippe on his quest to resurrect his frie
Mogsy (MMOGC)
2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Ultimately, my second foray into the Dominion of the Fallen did not turn out the way I’d hoped, though to be fair, I did have a lot riding on this sequel. It’s true that the first book left me with mixed feelings, but I found the premise intriguing enough that I wanted to see where things would lead, and maybe give this series a another chance to sweep me off my feet. Regrettably, this did not quite happen—despite The Ho
The House of Binding Thorns is the the opposite of second book syndrome.
I really liked The House of Shattered Wings, but this was on a completely other level, and it cemented Dominion of the Fallen's place in my favorite fantasy series.

The House of Binding Thorns is a story about life in a city ruined by angels' greed, with an ugly colonial history, in which the characters have to make terrible bargains to survive. It's a story about compromises that, in a fairer world, wouldn't be necessary; ab
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
Any book that has me struggling not to squeak on public transport and then has me nearly miss my bus stop is going to get a big thumbs-up. I loved Aliette de Bodard’s introduction to her vision of a blasted, magic-torn Paris in The House of Shattered Wings and I delighted in the chance to return to it and peer into one of the darker Fallen Houses.

Madeleine is back in House Hawthorn, terrified of her future and unable to move on from her past. When Asmodeus makes it clear she can choose to die bu
While not a direct sequel to the House of Shattered Wings, this picks up a number of threads from that book, while focusing much of the action on House Hawthorn, and their growing relationship with the Dragon Kingdom.
Hawthorn sends a delegation to the Dragon House, with recovering angel essence addict Madeleine as one of the team.
Ngoc Bich is seeking an alliance for the diminished dragons, and on the surface things seem both fine and badly wrong in the kingdom. Madeleine notes that there seems t
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Fantasy, Paranormal
*Rating* 3.5

*MY Thoughts*

The House of Binding Thorns is the second installment in author Aliette de Bodard's Dominion of the Fallen series. In a Paris that never was, a city of magicians, alchemists and Fallen angels struggles to recover from a devastating magical war that left the city in shambles. The House of Hawthorn, led by a Fallen Angel named Asmodeus, is where this story begins. But, it also includes the Dragon Kingdom, which is an under the S
Reread: Completely worth a second read. Gripping, intense, and beautiful.

Original review: I loved this book so much! The House of Binding Thorns takes all of the things I really enjoyed in The House of Shattered Wings and intensifies them. I like Aliette de Bodard's writing style a lot, and I adore how queer her books are - this one even more than the previous. I think the biggest difference between the two (and probably the thing that raised this above the first for me) was that the plot shift
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A magnificent follow up to House of Shattered Wings, with everything I loved about the first book (fallen angels, House drama, Paris, dragons(!)) amped up to 11. Will absolutely re-read, which is one my favorite ways to praise a wonderful book.
Tim Hicks
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
So, this book is best understood after you have read the "Further Reading" notes at the end.
Y'see, this is an allegory on the early history of French interference in Vietnam, merged with the story of the British running opium into China, but set in Paris (sort of) with dragons and magic.

"Not gonna work," you think, and I fear you are right.

First off, some Parisian places are named, but for all that they are tied to the story we might as well have been in Barsoom or Lyonesse.

Second, there ar
Maja Ingrid
May 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
2021 reread
It’s said to work as a stand-alone. But it doesn’t. Read House of Shattered Wings before reading this one.

First time I read this book I had very little memories of Shattered Wings, which kinda hurt my reading experience a little. This second time around I’m reading this with Shattered Wings fresh in my mind (after also having reread that one). Did it help the reading experience? Well, it at least helped me understand it better because I knew who all the characters were.

BUT. I hardly
Kate Elliott
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book works as a standalone and also as a companion novel to The House of Shattered Wings. The House of Shattered Wings

Bodard writes with an intricate and intense style and is able to explore the way conflicts both within the heart and those of external politics collide with and influence each other. Vivid and emotional. Recommended.
Dark Faerie Tales
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A powerful conspiracy aimed not only at the houses but the dragon kingdom threatens to destroy them all.

Opening Sentence: In the House of Hawthorn all the days blurred and merged into one another, like teardrops sliding down a pane of glass.

The Review:

Madeline has finally been detoxed from the angel essence, but no one is really sure she will survive since no one has successfully broken and essence addiction before. However, when Asmodeus gives
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The House of Shattered Wings is a beautifully written book set in a fascinating world, but I was on the fence about reading the standalone sequel since it was also bogged down by so much narrative introspection that didn't add much to the story or characterization. However, I decided to continue after discovering The House of Binding Thorns had more Asmodeus--and I'm so glad I did because it's a far superior novel with more Asmodeus and more of the dragon kingdom!

Like its predecessor, the charac
More like 2.5 stars

I struggled a lot with this one and I feel that's due to two main things: one was a reading slump the likes of which I've never really experienced (I don't think I've ever really felt this much of a slump, to the point of near indifference); the other was the fact that for the vast majority of the book, the main POV character is Madeleine and hers was the perspective that really dragged down my overall enjoyment of The House of Shattered Wings , so I would be lying if I did
Danie Ware
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer
Managed to weave evocative with sinister and beautiful in a wonderful way. Political stories aren’t usually my thing, but this had plenty of tension and magic - plus Asmodeus. So a definite win!
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a marked improvement over its predecessor, The House of Shattered Wings. Shattered Wings had a somewhat confusing plot, and only a handful of its characters really interested me, but it had such a great setting that it elevated it to 4/5 stars. Not that the characters and plot were BAD, they just didn't really grab me. The House of Binding Thorns improves on both, and the setting managed to be even better.

So Binding Thorns is a semi-standalone sequel. It follows after the events of Shat
After finishing the first book in the series yesterday, I decided I was gonna binge this trilogy because why not. It’s been a while since I’ve done it and it’s always fun, just like this sequel turned out to be.

I can’t believe that I’m saying it but this series is turning out to be one where I don’t always understand what is happening, but it doesn’t bother me much and I’m still enjoying the experience. This plot is truly full of political machinations and intrigue where every word spoken is a
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
...I generally enjoy De Bodard's work, both stylistically and because of the themes she uses, and this novel is no exception. I thought the plot of this novel flowed a bit more smoothly than that of the House of Shattered Wings. It is dark and desperate, full of characters overreaching in an effort to prevent what little they have managed to salvage from destruction slipping from their grasp. It tackles some of the problems of today's society with a touch of Victor Hugo and a bit of magic. It bl ...more
Claudie Arseneault
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt
HOUSE OF BINDING THORNS was every I wanted it to be, and even more. What a perfect choice for my first foray into audiobooks. Political fantasy is always my jam, and this being in Paris is icing on the already delicious cake. Madeleine and Philippe were my two favourite characters from the first book, so you can imagine just how thrilled I was to find them here. And Asmodeus. Oh, the level of burning hatred I had for him during most of the first only equals the level of absolute love I have now. ...more
Melanie Haynes
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing in context and plot line. I love the way it lets you know how everyone fits in without giving too much away so that you can predict the ending. I would not use as a tutorial for my younger kids that I tutor but would recommend for 8th grade to adults. This is mostly because of the complexity of the writing. There is no vulgarity which makes it a good read for higher level school kids.
Tom Lloyd
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A subtle, breath-of-fresh-air novel capable of being elegant and nasty in the same breath. The pervading sense of decay and threat is a looming presence as we step a little further out of the Houses and onto the streets/in the river of Paris. Its very different to most fantasies I read and all the better for that, with none of the markers that would make me avoid an angel-urban fantasy novels. Having read book 1 I found this all just clicked much more easily into place in my brain, though there ...more
Shan( Shans_Shelves) 💜
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Just like with the first book, I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, this is a fascinating, unique world with cutthroat politics and diverse people groups, and that's fun to read. On the other hand, I still can't bring myself to care about the characters, which seriously dampens the thrill factor. I wanted to like this much more than I actually did. ...more
I know that I've fallen for a fantasy series when I find myself ensnared by the second book.

A dark slow burning urban fantasy feat. queer fallen angels and a queer Vietnamese dragon prince with magic and rival houses in post-apocalyptic Paris. Thuan is my new favourite dragon prince and character, so I need the next book asap.

Full review to come.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You're just having the time of your life, aren't you?" –My sister, who was in the same room as me while I was reading this book and therefore got to hear a lot of yelling about fallen angels, Vietnamese dragons, beautiful cities ruined by magical wars, decaying underwater kingdoms, human sacrifice, gay arrange marriages feat. stabbing, and lots of complex, morally gray characters. I am DEEPLY excited to get my hands on the conclusion of this series now. ...more
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blimey, its a long time since you put anything up here, you lazy git...

I've been having a bit of a reading slump recently. Two very active holidays in quick succession, a new job, frustration with my own writing. And maybe not fully enjoying what I've been reading. But on Thursday night though, up late after watching the Pittsburgh Penguins rob the Islanders in overtime, I decided I'd stay up a little later to finish The House of Binding Thorns.

Because I had to.

Had to?

I needed to know how it fin
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010s, fantasy, angels
The House of Binding Thorns is the sequel to The House of Shattered Wings. I will fully admit I forgot most of the plot of the first book, even characters that I noted I liked I couldn't quite remember their actions.

I think you could read this as a standalone, since I managed to make it through really only remembering Phillip's background. If you're interested in the world and characters, then you can go back and read book one.

I read the first book about two years prior. I didn't realize it wa
Stephen Richter
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, dead-tree
In the follow up to The House of Shattered Wings Aliette de Bodard adds to the series with a focus on the House Hawthorne and its attempt to gain allies in the aftermath of the war between the Houses. Set in 1900s style Paris, multiple POVs tells the tale of House Hawthorne attempt to draw in the Dragon Empire that lay beneath the Seine River . Took notice of the series as two reviewers from put this book in the "Best of 2017 So far." Plus Aliette was at World Con 75 and could not have b ...more
Wrong Train, Right Time
I read this because, well, I read the first book in this series and I loved it. I was especially drawn by the promise of focusing on Madeleine, one of the protagonists of the first book, who I found particularly intriguing.

Now, looking back at it... It's strange, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say about it. It was good, obviously. I tore through it in a single night and cheerfully paid the price of the lack of sleep that engendered. Still... I can't think of anything coherent to
my entire reaction to this book at this point is :|||||| ... it took me ages to finish bc I was continually confused at how the pacing usually overthrew the plot (two people talking to each other: it can happen without 75% internal dialogue) and I didn't understand the plot until the very end.

anyone who's read house of shattered wings and wants to read this should know a) it's a STANDALONE SEQUEL, which I did not understand and b) paraphrased from her own notes at the end, the relations b/t the
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Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris. She has won three Nebula Awards, an Ignyte Award, a Locus Award, a British Fantasy Award and four British Science Fiction Association Awards, and was a double Hugo finalist for 2019 (Best Series and Best Novella).

Her most recent book is Fireheart Tiger (, a sapphic romantic fantasy inspired by pre colonial Vietnam, where a diplomat princess must

Other books in the series

Dominion of the Fallen (3 books)
  • The House of Shattered Wings (Dominion of the Fallen, #1)
  • The House of Sundering Flames (Dominion of the Fallen, #3)

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