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Crescent City #1

House of Earth and Blood

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Goodreads Choice Award
Winner for Best Fantasy (2020)
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.

803 pages, Hardcover

First published March 3, 2020

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About the author

Sarah J. Maas

99 books308k followers
Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Crescent City, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and the Throne of Glass series. Her books have sold more than twelve million copies and are published in thirty-seven languages. A New York native, Sarah lives in Philadelphia with her husband, son, and dog. To find out more, visit sarahjmaas.com or follow @therealsjmaas on Instagram.

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Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,650 followers
May 7, 2021
Excuse me while I borrow a phrase from Fynn to convey my very sophisticated language while reading this monster of a book: what the fucking fuck.

Memento Mori.
Remember that you will die.

Reading HoEaB is like listening to rock (maybe goth, punk, or alternative) mixed with trap: slightly jarring and odd with a hard edge, dark vibe, and pacing that goes from low to explosions and thunder. Which is something I love but you might not. No, this was not perfect. And yes, it fell shorter than the revolutionary it could’ve been. Nonetheless, it was a unique masterpiece to me because, of all of SJM’s works, this is the most surreal yet real, casual yet grand, the grittiest and most intriguing.

With a more mature storytelling and a painstakingly-crafted, cruel world in defiance of the fairytal-ish-ness of ACoTaR, House of Earth and Blood sets itself apart from her earlier works, bringing in a detailed urban/high fantasy and noir atmosphere of mystery, drugs, sex, war, and epicness all in one book, with a refreshing twist on the Chosen One trope while exploring the power of sacrifice and unflinching trust in love.

Light it up, bitch.

To be frank with you, this sagacious mammoth of a book is more like an entire series, taking you through a journey so long and eventually satisfying with so much character development that one might say it is too long. And perhaps I first agreed until I realised that I wouldn’t give up a single syllable and lose the characters and world.

Yes, it’s very slow for the first half but, when slow is interesting, it ends up paying off even better than fast paced as all those tied up threads snap in the longest, most exquisite climax to have graced my book shelves. HoEaB has about 200 pages of reveals and beautiful, glorious, touching battles, which is probably 4 times as many as any book. I think it deserves a break for having only twice as much a slow paced trying-to-unravel-a-baffling-murder-mystery tale.

Through love, all is possible.

In the end, for someone who doesn’t believe in love and will in all likelihood never be capable of feeling it towards any human being, Crescent City had me weeping and laughing and clapping and being filled with sheer blinding dread while sobbing at the above quote, all within mere paragraphs of one another. Yes, it’s cheesy, but it’s brave and iconic and I appreciated it?

I have one very vital question tho: if this was the 1st book, WHAT CRUSHING EPIC HEL IS GONNA BE THE REST? (look for my playlist at the end of the review to enhance your reading experience even more!)

CW ➯ explicit language, drug use, graphic mature content, slavery, abuse, gore, violence, mutilation, speciesism (magical species over mortals), death, loss of loved ones, depression, suicide attempt (mentioned)

⋆☽ Storyline ☾⋆

Three realms make up the capital of the Valbara territory: the mer in the river, the Reapers and the dead upon the misty shores of the Bone Quarter, and the residents of Lunathion proper—all ruled by the seven Heads of the Crescent City aka seven powerful rulers from different species except, ofc, humans, because you bet humans have no power. Which would explain the Ophion rebellion of humans now armed with guns and bombs, currently creating scenes of massacre in the planet’s capital.

“Magic and machines. Never a good mix.”

Bryce Quinlan, a powerless and completely ordinary half-breed shunned from both sides of society and content to lose herself in her high-on-drugs-and-sex-and-youth lifestyle as a sorceress’s assistant, wants nothing to do with their antics.

Until the leader of the rebels in the city gets released, and then...you know how it goes: people Bryce loves die, the government quickly apprehends the bastard, and all is good.

Fast forward two years, the city rebels have shut the Hel up but people are, again, dying in precisely the same gruesome way—chopped into pieces. Could it be that the rebels were not responsible for the deaths two years ago? Then, could someone please explain to me, what the shit is going on?

Thankfully, that’s exactly what Bryce, with the help of Hunt Athalar—a once-upon-a-time rebel angel enslaved to the very regime he hoped to overthrow 200 years ago—is assigned to find out. And you bet your arse nothing is as it seems.

⋆☽ Storytelling ☾⋆

Allow me to introduce you to Sarah’s best writing wrapped up in one book.

I could tell you about the devouring, addictive atmosphere building that captures the urban fantasy mashed up with high fantasy and noir world brilliantly, making use of modernised naming, casual expression-and-slang-filled conversations, deftly written descriptions of drug-addled minds, and generally diving into real and gritty notes on the world—from flashing banners to the inane TV shows.

Or, I could tell you about her no-nonsense storytelling that as usual doesn’t shy away from any part of life—be it a female’s cramps or sex or annoying behaviours in the bedroom or depression or cursing (which you’ll never hear me complaining about) and how considerate she is of everything including qualifications of medical experimentations.

I could even tell you about her easy way with words that paints images straightforward while bursting with the occasional apt turn of phrase, staying more mature than her previous works without any overly poetic and dramatic passages constantly popping up yet still expertly trapping yours and the characters’ emotions to do with them as she wishes.

But I won’t.

⋆☽ Characters ☾⋆

“Everyone, General, is for sale. You just have to figure out the asking price.”

Bryce is one of the most unlikely MCs, starting from a place of abandon and looking to find her worth, having a real chip on her shoulder when it comes to males and getting riled up rather quickly (while sometimes even unprovoked) about feministic matters, being denied a dancing career because of her body type, this curvy party girl brings a more ignored type of characters into the spotlight. With her, SJM comfortably shoulders themes like casual sex and drugs, handling them with such rare ease.

“I was told my half-human body was too clunky. I was also told that my boobs were too big, and my ass could be used as an aerialport landing pad.”

What surprises me most is that, despite her being a self sacrificing idiot, I grew to adore her. She’s not the stereotypical bore of a brave hero, she’s smart, real, tangible, messed up, and full of flaws. I realise this is Sarah’s preference in leading characters, as is dealing with loss and trauma, apparently. But I’m not complaining because her exploration of these subjects grows with each series, adding something different, something similar—all complementing eachother.

“No one gets a medal for suffering the most, you know,”

Hunt the Haunted Boy bore such utter loss and loneliness that I couldn’t not like him. I appreciate that he respected her despite being an occasional idiot yet loyal puppy, but he lacked a certain solidity to his character that all of Maas’s other male characters still had. Such a shame.

“I have no idea what to do.”
“I’m two hundred thirty-three years old, and I’m still figuring it out.”

Danika, reckless, wild, loyal unto death, awe-inspiring alpha with a life forced upon her and the usual choice for lead; Ruhn, my precious defiant crown prince and Chosen One of the Fae, but a brother above all else; contained and messed up Fury ; unwavering June; unforgettable and priceless Lele; Flynn and his reflection of the responsibility-fleeing youth; charming Tharion; humble Isaiah; and mysterious and dark Aidas I need more of...all own a piece of my heart now.

“You told me not to let them see me cry. I took the advice to heart.”

⋆☽ Relationships ☾⋆

Friendship: Danika and Bryce’s bond is probably one of the most beautiful things SJM has written. The sisterly support, the unwavering loyalty, the faith...it just leaps out of the page and grabs you by the throat until you are choking and crying begging for it to stop. I have no words as I’m still choking on those ruthless sobs.

Truth be told, Sarah’s focus on the significance of friendship (even in a romance) above all else and her masterful tackling of its muddy waters is the best thing about all her works.

“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.”

Romance: What I love most about this facet of the story is its focus on everything NOT toxic masculinity, and while I disagree that her previous works dwelled in this area (as the focal point of all her endgame romances have been friendship, equality, and mutual understanding and respect) we have had characters who’ve been tolerant of the much more animalistic instincts of the Fae as well as ones who battled those instincts and all but declared that it’s important to respect your partner’s wishes rather than act possessively; here, she takes the last step to declare it and shows that she can write different dynamics with adding Bryce, who isn��t tolerant of it.

Yes, Bryce and Hunt might not be my fave ship, might not be a heartthrob, but not every ship has to own my heart. What matters is how they fit and how precious their bond is. Though TBH I prefer it as friendship.

Mother-Daughter: A gem of pure strength. My icy heart melted.

Brother-Sister: Having to deal with two older brothers who I can’t call overbearing or annoying as, honestly, I’m the unbearable one they have to bear with, I always crave these relationships in books (and hate how uncommon they are in works of fantasy). Well, my prayers have been answered! Can I have more of this preciously and precisely captured dynamic, please?

⋆☽ Worldbuilding ☾⋆

What word can I use to convey my adoration for this world? Inventive? Fascinating? Layered? House of Earth and Blood (which is also the name of one of the 4 Houses of Midgard, if you’re wondering) takes on inequality in a brutal regime while combining magic and technology in a dazzling manner—with scientists, tourists, blood tests checking one’s power, a system to monitor the vibrations in the world’s magic, and a sword in a cave (Jumong + Arthur much?), SJM has thoughtfully became the architect of her most ingenious world yet.

Magic and technology; I never ceased to be amazed by the balance and contrast of how these two elements were mixed; how naturally it was managed. Not to mention the spin on the traits of angels (as we know SJM loves to do, now inspired by angels in Judaism), changing them from holy, perfect idols to arrogant bastards. And there is, ofc, the usual animalistic Fae and shifters touch on the usually-known-as serene creatures—some would dislike her focus on their lupine and canine and feline sides, perhaps finding it uncomfortable, but to me, it is refreshing and precise, as it feels more grittily realistic. What are humans but slightly more intelligent animals? And demonstrating how said connection to the wilds would affect these individuals is a sprinkle of accuracy in Maas’s favour.

In Crescent City, Maas is inspired by multiple mythologies and uses the occasional familiar name to make all the foreign and new information less overwhelming while providing a new outlook on their definitions with clever new interpretations. Such as Midgard, originally land of the mortals between Asgard (land of the gods) and Helheim (land of the dead) in Norse mythology, here used as the name of the planet mortals made their lives upon before the godlike magical beings left their worlds and pushed in from the Northern Rift, also hosting the Quiet Realms were the dead dwell.

Midgard is a world divided by power. Literally. There are tests to determine a Vanir’s level of magic, and the one bearing more of it stands higher on the hierarchy (the down to earth ones having a celebrity-like position in the society). And humans, with no power, do not get much credit despite their efforts in guiding the city to technological advancement, having their achievements funded and claimed by rulers who are smart enough not to leave room for their inferior species thriving while they themselves cling to old traditions.

Additionally, as fits the urban fantasy genre, the focus is on the city and its world building—so while we learn about the system of the planet in general, most of our knowledge and wanderings happen within the confines of Lunathion, a city holding the same nickname as New Orleans, and throwing nudges to it in more than one way.

All together, the world of Crescent City is so rich it’s dripping in gems and shadows and drugs, and its exquisite creatures, artfully shaped and accordingly named landscapes, temples of pleasure, and magical libraries with sneaky books could sweep you beneath its dark waves and crush you in the jaws of the horrifying nøkks waiting for your boat to tip.

Note: I was right! This is the “glittering city on the curve of a river,” mentioned in Kingdom of Ash. The fact that all of SJM’s worlds exist in the same universe just brings so many possibilities to the table, and I absolutely love it.

I will now proceed to the Quiet Realm of the dead, all the way across the crescent river, on my worn boat, ready to tip and leave me to drown in its dark, bloody waters.

⋆☽ Companions ☾⋆

Book playlist: Spotify URL

Books in series:
⟿ House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1) ★★★★★
Untitled Sequel (Crescent City, #2) ☆☆☆☆☆
June 25, 2020

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Gather around, my friends, and pull up several seats. I give you my worst book of 2020. My god.

My first introduction to Sarah J. Maas's work was through THRONE OF GLASS, which sounded kind of like POISON STUDY when I heard the premise: a disgraced assassin fighting for the saving of a kingdom? YAS. But POISON STUDY was a much better book. "But no," said the Stans. "You have to read the entire series. It gets better." Well, I read all seven books, and it actually got worse. Maas either killed off or ruined the only characters who made the series halfway okay, and introduced a sleazy, growling alpha motherfucker of a love interest to match Aelin/Caleana's Super Senshi Sue Powers™. It got so bad that I joked she would literally have to be a god to become any more special and it's like Sarah J. Maas heard me thinking that and was like YAAAAASS QUEEN. I SHALL MAKE IT SO. Ugh.

The A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES series is better... in book one. I'm reading it right now and it might actually be the only book of hers that I'll give more than a two star rating, even though it butchers not just The Ballad of Tam Lin but also Beauty and the Beast. I have a lot of thoughts on making characters in fairytales and stories where the characters are supposed to be unattractive attractive, which I expand more on in my review of A.G. Howard's ROSEBLOOD. But everything that makes A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES bearable is destroyed in later books. Maas swaps out a genuinely tortured and flawed love interest for a carbon copy of Rowan who, once again, is a sleazy, growling alpha motherfucker who makes volcanoes erupt with the force of his come and takes to the skies to make the clouds cower with his incredibly male orgasms. And Feyre, who started out reasonably flawed and realistic, as a human who can't read and has to scrounge to survive, becomes EVEN MORE SPECIAL AND AMAZING, OMG!!!! SO SPECIAL!

Throne of Glass was a young adult series until the last 2-3 books and ACoTaR was a new adult series (even though it wasn't labeled as such), but both of them read as being fairly similar and had similar outcomes. I'll admit that my eyebrows shot up to my hairline when it was announced that CRESCENT CITY would be Maas's first adult novel, because her other books are clearly marketed at a much younger audience and this seems like an attempt to maintain her fanbase's interest as they grow older and outgrow the series. What would her take on "adult" content be?

I'll give you one fucking gods-damn clue what Maas's fucking take on gods-damn content is, but first I have to make sure that my fucking vibrator didn't fall into the gods-damn box of fucking My Little Pony knock-offs that I fucking keep in my gods-damn linen closet!

...That's right. PG-13 sexual content and lots and lots and lots and lots of swearing.

Now, I am no prude, but the swearing in this book was totally unnecessary and just came across as childish. If anything, it made CRESCENT CITY feel like a young THRONE OF GLASS trying to impress all of her older friends with her edginess. CRESCENT CITY fancies itself quite the little edgelord with its filthy mouth, drugs, sex, and violence, but none of it is handled well. Drugs are treated as something casually edgy that the characters do without any sorts of repercussions. Violence is casual as well, and doesn't really serve any purpose in the story. Characters are killed off before we can really care about them properly. And the sexual content is... cringey.

Another issue I took with the book is the way it is constructed. This book was way too long-- about 300 pages longer than it probably should have been max. I think Maas has fallen into the trap of just feeding her readers endless self-fanfiction of the stories she's already written. They adore her worlds and want to read more of it... but both ACOTAR and THRONE OF GLASS were relatively short. They didn't expand in length until the characters (who stayed with her) cared about the series. There is no such emotional bond in CRESCENT CITY, but Maas wrote it as if it were book seven in a seven book series and expected us all to just care. I was reading the comments from stans on the negative reviews who said things like, "Well, it doesn't get good until page 500! You should have kept reading!" and "The last 100 pages made the first 700 pages totally worth it!" 

I'm sorry, but no. If your book is 800 pages long and doesn't get good until page 500, that's not okay. If you have 500 pages of info-dumping to get the book get off the ground, you're not a good writer. There was way too much crammed into this book and a lot of it was exposition that probably should have happened organically by us following the character around and seeing her interact with things and people instead of having everything dropped on the reader like a ten-ton weight of narrative. I read about 600/800 of this book and I'm still not sure what I read. It has Norse gods, faeries, vampires, demons, werewolves, shape-shifters, angels, technology, fast food, video games, humans, and a whole host of other stuff, and none of it really meshes cohesively. The world-building is a bigger mess than a drunken mid-2000s party girl stepping out of her limo to greet the paparazzi after an all-night cocaine bender. It doesn't make sense, and I don't really get how any of it fits together.

Then there's Bryce. Bryce is basically a mishmash of Celaena and Feyre. She's gorgeous. She's sexy. Everyone wants to fuck her. She's not like other girls. She feels pity for whores because she only sleeps around to self-medicate for her emotional issues. She does drugs but she's deep. She hates everyone but everyone's okay with that because they can see the pain deep inside her beautiful eyes. Brycaelayre is half-human, half-fae, and ALL Super Senshi Sue™. You just know that she's going to end up being revealed to be a "goddess incarnate" or the queen of everything by the end of the last book. Maas has never been content to let a female character be powerful on her own merits. She's gotta roll her shoulders, roll her eyes, purr, talk sweetly, tap her nails, and flap her aerobicized faerie wings to the heavens while exploding sex, magic, and specialness from every nonexistent pore.

The love interest, Hunt, is basically a stand-in for Rowan and Rhysand. I'm not entirely convinced that he's here to stay, though, as Micah was looking pretty fine and fiery and there were way too many paragraphs devoted to talking about how hot he was. Don't be surprised if on book 2 or 3, Hunt undergoes a total personality transplant, starts being a dick for no reason, and is then kicked to the curb with the story reworked for how he was secretly an evil gaslighter who was imprisoning Bryce and robbing her of her potential with some half-assed betrayal and only Micah could set her free.

WHICH, by the way, the constant use of the word "alphahole" in this book was not only incredibly irritating and ridiculous, it's also incredibly unselfaware. If you're trying to make fun of a trope, it's probably best not to have that be a trope that you're well-known for. One of the alphahole quotes in this book could literally be a description for any book that Maas has churned out in the last five years. Don't even get me started on the whole "males" and "females" and "scents" nonsense.

I don't think it's exaggeration when I say that this is THE WORST MAAS BOOK I HAVE EVER READ. It was so terrible, reading it actually gave me a headache. All of her other books I've read, I could at least finish, but this was unbearable. It was like SJM took everything I hated about her previous books and injected them into CRESCENT CITY in ultra-concentrated form. The only two redeeming things about this book were the *attempt* at sex-positivity (but only for Bryce-- remember, actual whores are to be pitied) and an odd reference to My Little Pony figures (called "Starlight Fancy" figures-- Bryce collects them). Between the terrible, disorganized world-building, the curse-words speckling each page, and the beautiful but two-dimensional shells that served as the main characters, I just could not find one single fuck to give. Maybe because SJM took all those "fucks" and put them into her book, instead. You know, to make it "adult."

1 star
Profile Image for Ellie.
189 reviews702 followers
March 1, 2020
2 stars baby. I promise there will be no spoilers in this review, I’m not a monster. Warning: this review is long.
Let’s begin with what kept me going throughout this entire book: my stupid tallies.

My Stupid Tallies:
Characters snarling: 108. This physically hurt me tbh.
Characters being described with golden/tan skin: 22. The woke queen is back ladies and gentlemales, with another racially ambiguous cast that lets her imagine them as white but defend herself if people ever say she has no POC in her books. Absolute galaxy brain.
Characters purring: 17. Gross.
Characters roaring: 9. While much lower than I anticipated, it still was 9 times too many. I have never heard a real-life person do anything close to a “roar” but since “tHEy’rE nOt HuMaN eLLiE” I guess it’s fine.
The M Word: 2 I want to thank this woman for restraining herself in this book, 2 times for her favourite word is incredible, let’s give her a round of applause, guys.

The Characters:
Bryce Quinlan:
Bryce “Silky” Quinlan is first up to the executioner’s block and oh boy do I have some things to say about Bryce. While she is SJM’s typical snarky heroine, she is what I will thusly dub The Advanced Self-Insert . While Calaena and Feyre were obvious self-inserts (both having golden-hued hair and blue eyes, suspiciously like the author) Bryce actually has RED HAIR, which is honestly a game-changer, a never-before-seen addition to Sarah’s repertoire. I’m so proud of her. Let us list why Bryce is The Advanced Self-Insert:
- Every dude is insanely horny for her. Doesn’t matter if they’re an ancient mythological being or some dude on the street -- he wants to bang her.
- She is supremely skilled in the arts of battle. Wielding both a rifle and a sword at once? No problem, despite both weapons requiring two hands. Bryce is just that amazing. Being half-human and therefore physically weaker than almost every character in this book? No problem, the plot will demand she beats them anyway.
- She is the most beautiful “female” to ever walk the earth. Nobody compares to Bryce, whose hair is silky beyond words, whose voice is silky, whose walk is silky (???), whose skin is silky. The woman is so silky she will fold if you touch her. Naturally, silk is a complete aphrodisiac for every “male” in this novel, so she is desired by all. People having types? Nope, golden-skinned redheads only baby.
But enough about what makes Bryce ridiculously hot, let’s talk about her flaws, and boy are they vast.
- She is just too curvy to be a dancer. Her ass and breasts are just too round, too perfect, for her to possibly be a professional dancer.
- She attracts “alphaholes” (these are her own words btw) and complains about it despite these alphaholes being the only men she even entertains notions of dating/being with. Maybe her true flaw is that she’s a hypocrite?
- ???
- Did I mention that she’s really beautiful?
A well-rounded character (literally) if I do say so myself.

Hunt Athalar:
And now we come to our glorious love interest, our Fabio, our physical equal to Bryce. He is a fallen angel (completing SJM’s wing-kink), so renown through the land that he has been dubbed “the Umbra Mortis” or “The Shadow of Death”. The creativity behind this title is unparalleled: not only did she have to think of two words that are “cool and edgy” but she had to put them in google translator and change them into Latin. Think about that for a second … all the time and effort… what a writing queen. I hope to be as powerful as her one day.
Anyway, let’s talk about his personality. Like Bryce, he can be quite funny sometimes (I actually love the Jelly Jubilee parts of the novel – see I can be nice). Also, like Bryce, his personality doesn’t really extend past the fact that he is beautiful beyond comprehension and has power never-before-seen for his race (lightning magic, ooOoOoOOOoo). Also like every other powerful character in this novel, he uses this magic a total of once or twice. Because when you make all-powerful characters, you must limit them by not letting them do anything of note, otherwise the book would’ve ended on page 3. Oh, and he has a total foot fetish. I feel like that’s important to note, you know, as a trigger warning for grossness.
Still better than “Feminist King” Rhysand and Rowrat.

The Other People:
Carbon copy rip-offs of her characters from other books. Ruhn is an emo version of Aedion merged with some Azriel. Fury is literally the same as Amren. Juniper is Elain with a personality. Sandriel is Maeve. Danika is EXACTLY Aelin. Is it plagiarism if you’re ripping-off yourself? A question for the philosophers, methinks.

The Plot:
By far the weakest plot Sarah J. Maas has ever construed and this is the same woman who plotted ACOFAS. It goes like this: Action > Banter for 600 pages, sprinkled with the most boring murder investigation I have ever read > Answer is given to them > Another 50 pages of banter > Revelations > An “action-packed” ending where more than half the cast of characters do nothing.

The World:
The world-building in this book sucked. I know of two locations: Pangera (an entire fucking continent) and Crescent City. That is all. We never leave Crescent City. Ever. I don’t think we could if we tried.
There’s this war going on in the background of the entire novel, between humans and the Vanir. Yes, the Vanir. If that sounded familiar, it’s because it refers to a race of nature gods in Norse mythology. However, SJM liked the sound of that word but didn’t like its meaning, so in this world (also called MIDGARD) the word ‘Vanir’ refers to all different kinds of mythological beings, including angels, fae, werewolves etc. I love stealing words from ancient cultures and disregarding its original meaning so it can work in my shitty high fantasy novel.
Anyway, this war is going on because humans are completely oppressed by the Vanir, who see themselves as superior to humans in every way. However, most of the characters are Vanir so the human plight is pretty much pushed to the background except when the half-human Bryce is being sneered at and she gets mad about it. There are literally people dying, Bryce. This war and human oppression get less screen-time than Bryce’s perfect ass. How can I take this war seriously and believe the Vanir are meant to be the bad guys when we spend so much of the book talking about how sexy they are??

Lastly, the writing:
I don’t wanna be too mean here because I did read an ARC, but holy shit this is most badly edited ARC I have ever read. I’m thinking her editors are just becoming so lazy because they’re like “ah whatever it’s SJM, they’ll buy it no matter what, leave all the typos in there, take out no scenes, just let her do whatever.”
This book should have been edited down to 500 pages and that’s THAT.
If you loved her other work, particularly the ACOTAR series, you will no doubt love this, it has lots of the same shit in it. If you’re going into this hoping her foray into adult fantasy will result in intricate world-building, morally grey characters and adult themes, you would be wrong.
This book is basically ACOTAR but now she can swear!! Hooray!
2/5 stars thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
Profile Image for Alana.
663 reviews1,269 followers
February 15, 2022
Reread 2022:
I still stand behind my rating & review.
Now it’s finally time to dive into book two.

"Light it up, bitch."

Did I cry? Twice
Is this my favorite SJM book? No
Do I need the next book? Immediately

I have A LOT of feelings on the first book in the Crescent City series so I'm going to do us all a favor and just get straight into all the things I liked and didn't like about this!

What I Liked

👯‍♀️  The emphasis of friendship.  Y'all mind if I scream for a sec? I didn't read the synopsis before I picked up this book and the last time I read it was months ago, so imagine my surprise when I finished part one of this book. I was pretty gutted to say the least. Now, after finishing it and realizing the full extent of Bryce and Danika's friendship, how much they loved each other, and the lengths they would go to save each other literally makes me want to bawl my eyes out (especially when we find out the significance of some of the things they say to one another). By the end of this book I was reduced to a blubbering mess of tears. Pass the tissues, please.

💁🏻‍♀️ Bryce Mother F'ing Quinlan.  I love that bitch even when she is a bitch. I'm not trying to jump the gun or anything here but she MAY be my favorite female MC we've had so far. She's a curvy, red-headed, sassy, cursing up a storm, take no shit type of gal and we love to see it. I adored how unapologetic she is for being herself, how fierce and hard she loves people, and how much she cares for the greater good as well. Her character growth in this was phenomenal and heart breaking and I need the next book immediately because I need more time with Bryce in my life.

🤬  Cursing and sex talk. If you want my honest opinion SJM writing adult book feels so right and if she never went back to YA books I wouldn't care. I think the way cursing, talking about sex, drugs, partying, and drinking is brought up in this book is pretty realistic to the society we live in today. And I think that this made the book feel a tad more "normal", you know, as normal as we can get when we're talking about witches, wolves, vampires, fae, mermaids, and life vest wearing/mail delivering otters.

🌎  Urban fantasy world.  I really don't read enough of them but when I do I always love them. There's just something about all these paranormal creatures in a modern/futuristic world with technology and what not that fills my heart with glee. And Sarah builds this world up just like her others. She did a really great job of creating a complex world...even if it did take a little while to catch on. Once I was able to catch up it really did make me appreciate how well it was all put together and I definitely can't wait to see more of it.

💘  Romance.  Can we just talk a second to appreciate how SOFT Hunt Athalar really is? Because I could cry thinking about it. I loved how this took a friends to lovers approach and that within the time of Bryce and Hunt becoming friends and developing feelings for one another there was a whole lot of healing going on too. I am praying to all the gods that they are endgame and will legitimately riot if they are not.

What I Didn't Like

🙃  I am confusion.  This book just started name dropping people and places left and right like it was nothing. SJM honey, please let me catch up I'm trying to figure out who is who, what planet we're on, and what in the hell CBD stands for. Eventually I got it but it's just one of those cases where you have to just power through and hope for the best that it will all make sense.

😴 Too long. It's a good thing that I enjoy SJM's writing because man, was this long. I tried not to let it bother me that much but the fact that you have to sit through just about 500 pages before any "big" revelations start to pop up was rather annoying. For readers who don't like her writing this could definitely be the thing that makes or breaks you. Looking back on it I just feel like so much of the first 500 pages could have been condensed and it pretty much would have read the same way.

☠️  My favorite character died. I don't think I really need to say anymore than that. But I am DEVASTATED and honestly ready to sue.

♻️  Not the most original. I told myself going into this that I was specifically not going to compare this to the ACOTAR and TOG series. Since it's a brand new series I wanted to give it my undivided attention and not look for similarities, but it was SO HARD. A lot of this felt like Sarah took the best parts of ACOTAR and TOG, mashed them together, changed the time period/setting to a more futuristic one, and added more paranormal creatures. And while I loved this world she created it always felt like this was something I had read before. I mean, there were even similar phrases used in this with just a few words changed from her other books.

And there you have it friends, my complete list of thoughts on House of Earth and Blood. I am definitely excited to continue this series and despite the 3.5 rating I still really did enjoy this. I'm not stressing too much over this not being my favorite SJM book because her sequels are usually the BOMB and you best believe I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment for these characters!
Profile Image for  Teodora .
303 reviews1,633 followers
March 28, 2023
5/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺
“Let someone in, give them the power to hurt you, and they’d do exactly that, in the end.”

When I saw 800+ pages I got a bit scared.

Okay, a bit more.

But then...


It’s been amazing.

At this point in life, I don’t even want to question this woman’s books anymore.
Every time I buy a new, fancy wig in order to look decent while reading one of SJM’s books, she snatches it into cosmic space like it’s nothing.
I always think I’ve got it well glued to my scalp but oh well. I’m always terribly wrong.
Literary goddesses don’t give flying shits about glue anyway.

The world-building, as usual, is fabulous. I really love the fact that this world has been fashioned in an urban fantasy style because with this, the whole multiverse Sarah J. Maas is creating (like the goddess of life that she is) gets even more credibility and depth.

Now, as a bit of a warning, this book gets full-on New Adult, bad words and all so if you feel offended by this kind of thing then I don’t know what to tell you, deal with it or suck it up. I, for instance, have no problem with this (I’m Romanian, we’re nasty creatures) and it definitely didn’t ruin anything for me. Au contraire, it added flair.

At first, the characters of this book don’t seem to be the most lovable. I was actually kind of okay with them until I learned to love and appreciate them, but I think that is because they are new characters in a new world and it gets a bit more time to get adjusted to everything. I wasn’t very fond of most of the characters in the first books of Throne of Glass and ACOTAR series either so that’s definitely not an issue. It’s normal.

After some time passes and I got used to the story, I started to realise that under all that notorious party girl exterior Bryce tries to put like a charm around her, she is a broken soul who’s trying to get through life – life made hard by those who try to tear her down; she’s a braveheart who loves too much; she’s compassionate and smart; she’s a bad bitch. And Danika is her equal bad bitch bestie and I kind of love them both.
“It’s easier for me – when people assume the worst about what I am. It lets me see who they really are.”

Hunt is a bit of a stiff-ass but he gets better as the story moves on. Still not head-over-heels in love with his character but he’s definitely a good lad. He’s as broken and lonely as Bryce and this is what makes them fall in love so fiercely and deeply. They feel right for each other. They feel like home.
“You are where I want to end up. A life – with you. You are my fucking path.”

Also, I actually can’t help but love Ruhn, with all of his frat-boy-dude-bro type of attitude he has at the beginning. Yeah, Ruhn’s the one I truly liked from the beginning. He’s such a goof at heart, I can feel it.

Now, we have to talk about this too, a kind-of warning matter like the bad words thingy – even though there are some serious matters going around the Crescent City, this book is very sexy. Sexy for real. And some sexy things also happen *oopsie*.

Just harness your horses, please.

SJM already mastered this skill of mixing business with pleasure in her books so be prepared to feel a bit uncomfortable at the smut but get fast over it because people die and demons roam free in that world. And there are some juicy secrets teasing us too so you won’t have time to catch your breath.

Blush a bit, go wash your eyes and get over it. This book means business.

Because you’ll see after you pick it up, the last 200 pages are THE SHIT. I honestly cried at least three times and I wasn’t feeling very myself by the end of it.

You know a book gets to you when you broke down crying, so guess what? Brace yourselves, this book wants to catch you off guard.

So, with all that being said, GO READ THIS BOOK. And find yourselves a new obsession in it. As I did.
It’s amazing.
“She was sea and sky and stone and blood and wings and earth and stars and darkness and light and bone and flame.”
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 21, 2020

Just released my Top 10 Books from 2020 BookTube Video - now that you know this one made the list, click the link to find the rest!
The Written Review

"See, that right there is the problem. You and the whole rest of the world seem to think I exist just to find someone like him."
Bryce Quinlan lives in a world full of fae, werewolves, angels and demons...and in a world full of high-rise apartments, internet and cell phones.
"The forcast didn't call for rain." She scowled at the sky. "Someone must be throwing a tantrum."
Crescent City is the one place where all forms of magic (and technology) intersect into one, unforgettable town.

But there's a dark side to the city.
...the cities were little more than pens for the Vanir to trap and feed on the humans - and their humans.
And that dark secret swallowed Bryce's best friend alive.

Now, two years later, Bryce is (finally) back on her feet...just in time to see the signs appearing.

Signs that indicate that whatever caused the first incident is itching to come back - bigger and more deadly than ever before.
"Some bad shit's going down, isn't it."

This one was wild...and hella confusing.

For the first 300 pages or so, I felt really lost and I honestly almost put the book down.

There was SO MUCH info-dump world-building that my head was spinning and I was NOT having a good time at all.

Just imagine chapters with sentences like this thrown all around:
Pollux atonius, Sandriel's triarii commander - the Malleus, they called him.
And so, I turned to the reviews.

Everyone and their mother was praising this book to high-heaven, with the stipulation that you really need to get past the first third of it.

So I...gave up...on trying to remember all of the minor details (sorry butterfly-shifter, you don't get to stay in my brain) and just went with the flow.


Seriously wow.

The remaining five hundred pages knocked my socks clear across the country.

It was insanely good.

But, keep in mind that the first third did make me want to hurl it against the wall.

BUT, I am totally pre-ordering my copy of the sequel literally over a year in advance cause gosh-dang I can't live without the next one.

Annd here are some other fun booktube videos starring this book!

Just a fun little BookTube Video all about some fabulous literary worlds!


Just posted my Goodreads Choice 2020 Reaction Video on Booktube! Click the link to check it out!!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for • Lindsey Dahling •.
291 reviews611 followers
April 12, 2020
How most authors approach writing an adult book: “I’m going to delve in to some dark, gritty topics. Readers will truly feel the pain of the characters struggling to cope with the world around them.”

How SJM approached writing an adult book:

I’m finally ready to write this damn review. Please note that I AM actually a big SJM fan, which is why I took this book's existence so personally.

Alright, alright, alright:

1. The minor characters.

I was much more interested when Bryce and Hunt interacted with anyone OTHER than each other. Can I name any of those minor characters? Sure can't because either a) I finished this over a week ago and already forgot their names and/or b) their names are weird AF, which made it too difficult for me to remember them in the first place. I particularly liked Faerie brother & co., cat demon, badass boss bitch, and mermaid dude.

2. Danika's hair.
Ice blonde with rainbow highlights is pretty bitchin'. (I'm grasping at straws here.)

It's a no from me, dawg:

1. The 3rd person omniscient POV is done SO POORLY.

I'm honestly at a loss on this. ToG is told from the same POV and SJM does a fine job with it (could I USE any more acronyms?).

Seriously. SJM knows how to do it. SHE KNOWS HOW TO WRITE (don't @me, haters). SO, WHAT WENT WRONG HERE?! She left absolutely NOTHING up to the imagination. There was no mystery or tension between the characters. We’d read a scene from Bryce’s POV where Hunt was unusually quiet. Then, it would switch to Hunt's POV where he would spend the first few paragraphs recapping the exact scene we just read with Bryce AND he would explain every single thought he had while he was silent during that conversation. THERE WAS ZERO ROOM FOR INTERPRETATION. There was certainly no need for me to turn on my brain. She spoon feeds it all to you.

2. The spoon is actually a giant shovel used for slinging info dumps at you.
You're told basically the entire history of this world for 150 pages with a little bit of dialogue/one grain of plot rice sprinkled in during it. Do I look like a give a flying flapjack who ruled this place 400 years ago and how they weren't that popular and who took over for them and what color shoes that person wore and how long they went between haircuts? SURE DON'T. Tell me when it's relevant. But actually, don't TELL me this information...

It's Creative Writing 101. You need me to know about the current dictator's entire family tree as well as each of their favorite colors? SHOW me why it's relevant WHEN it's relevant. Don’t hit me in the face with a textbook. Also, make sure it’s actually relevant. 95% of the info dumps were not. NEAT.

4. There was no sex scene.
In fact, there was very little spice at all. I’m not reading SJM just for plot, SO WHAT THE HELL.

5. Everything is SO contrived.
I can’t even go into this without giving away spoilers. But, you’ll know it when you see it. Over and over.

6. So much gratuitous cursing.
Look, I'm not some delicate flower who faints at any and all four letter words (see: this review).

But, reading this book felt just like watching a Scorsese movie. Did they really need to say "fuck" every other word? FUCK* NO THEY DIDN'T. It served no purpose.

*my purpose = rage

7. Bryce quit dancing because she was told her boobs and ass were too big.
OKAY, BRYCE. Could not stop rolling my eyes at this detail.

Am I going to read the next book in the series?

Is the previous answer a lie?

But, Lindsey, if you hated this so much, why didn't you give it 1 star?
Bias. Complete and total bias.

Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
January 28, 2023
3rd reread. Still in love. Still obsessed. Even better than the first time.


Reread and when I tell you that this book was perfect. Perfectly told and brilliantly executed.

This woman speaks my language. That ending was magical beyond words. It was cinematic. It played like an action thriller.
My old self clearly didn’t know what she was talking about. Rating it 4 stars.

Old review still stands but not fully. I appreciated the world-building so much more even though it was a bit of a slog to get through at first.

The characters I’ve become obsessed with and I wouldn’t change a thing about that ending.

“Through love, all is possible.”


Sarah J Maas really does own my ass!

I was anticipating this book like no tomorrow and whilst it wasn't perfect for me, I fell in love with the story regardless.
I'm not going to go into too much detail. Just discover the book for yourself, darn it!
BUT I loved the world-building. There was so much to it, so rich and full and whilst for others it felt info-dumpy, this was one of my favourite aspects. I can see it getting confusing, but I relished in the way the world was introduced and the way she kept building upon it. It was epic!

The main characters were just as good as the side characters. There was depth to them all. The murder mystery element was a damn treat and I need the sequels to be following some sort of similar story line. The mystery was intense, exciting, and had my mind reeling! I became a damn detective whilst reading!

My slight qualm was with the ending though. The last two-hundred pages are a fuckin whirlwind and at first, I could not believe the constant revelations we were getting. It was so fuckin good and SO well done! Everything, every plot point, was tied up nicely and linked. It all made sense. But as I read on, I found that it dragged a bit too? And that certain things felt convenient? Some aspects of the magic weren't fully explored, which is a pet-peeve of mine. So I do think it could have been slightly shorter and more cohesive.

This also read like a complete book. So I'm intrigued to see what the other books will be like, which characters it'll follow and what the story-line will be.

But all in all, always sign me up for more Sarah J. Maas.
And Hunt, where you at?


Pre-reading raves!

I cry. 😭😭😭😭

Best SJM cover. The detail! 😍


Well, this news just made my day! NEW MATERIAL FROM SARAH J MAAS! 🤩
I can’t wait to see how she ventures into Adult Fantasy!

You can read more about it here:

I hope Maas does a Sanderson and releases books every year from here on out. 😁
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
April 16, 2021
This was good, but I didn't love it by any means. It took soooooo long to get going, which I knew going in. Everyone talks about how the beginning is a lot of world building and is super boring but it's worth it in the end! Well, I don't think it was entirely worth it. Maybe it's because I have a pet peeve about books or series that you have to wait until a certain point for it to get good because I don't want to waste my time. Especially in this case I'm extra bitter because this book is 800 freaking pages long and doesn't start to get reaaally interesting until like page 500 if I'm being generous. But yeah, that's my little rant. The story itself was intriguing and had a lot of twists and turns but they all kind of happened close together. There was an angsty romance that took a lot longer to get going than I expected. It was super duper slow burn so even as the world is building it wasn't like there was much of a romance to latch onto to be interested in. I liked the additions of wolves and angels and other such creatures added to this new fae world. The world is cool because it's an urban modern-ish setting, like our world but not, with these creatures added. The characters were good, nothing spectacular, kind of frustrating at times. I feel like SJM has a very specific character she writes and I don't know if it's just me but I think all of her protagonists kind of seem similar to me. They're like the tough outside soft inside girls, I don't know. I think I might pick up the sequel but honestly, not committing to anything at this point. We'll see how much the supposedly urgent plot is dragged out in that one. I know this makes it seem like I hated it but I didn't, it was a solid middle of the road for me. But I am very happy I finally freaking read it.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,461 reviews9,616 followers
February 17, 2022
Reread 4 stars I just really can’t get over

I have an effing headache! I flew through this book like a psycho! I skimmed a lot of stuff I didn’t give two shits about.

And to be honest, while I do like the main characters, there were other characters that I loved more and I got invested in them and wanting to know more about them, got all excited. BUT, the hell was I thinking, this was like ALL the books you never invest in a character or characters. They are dust in the wind....

Now I’m just still .....

I will reread on Audio soon because I need to process all this shit. I loved all of the paranormal creatures and what not as well.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾




The End!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,827 reviews29k followers
April 23, 2020
4.5 Stars

I know it's not "cool" to like SJM books anymore...all the cool kids say she's tired, she doesn't have enough "rep" in her books, she's too trope-y, her males are too "masculine," angels and fae have been done too many times before, blah, blah, fucking blah...

I'm not here to rate the literary elements here, people.
I'm not here to ferret out any imagined or un-imagined social warrior stances in a barely adult Urban Fantasy book meant for entertainment.


And this was scrumptious.

Was the beginning somewhat clunky and hard to get into? Yes. But I was prepared. And that should be expected in almost any first in a new fantasy series.

Was it too long? Yeah, probably. But I also wouldn't trade in any of the length and, in turn, lose any of the world/character-building.

Did a lot of the characters remind me of characters from her other books? Sure.

But again, I don't care.
At the end of any given day, I am just a basic bitch who reads for ENTERTAINMENT.
And I found this book to be 800 pages of a good time.

Can't wait for book two.
Profile Image for Breanna.
502 reviews174 followers
June 24, 2020
Series Predictions:

• badass heroine. she's so special, so beautiful
• everyone is in love with her
• love interest #1 introduced
• but wait
• FAE (oh sorry, it's sidhe now i guess)
• love interest #2 introduced; gross alpha male (totally fae sidhe)
• something about a mate bond
• shows abusive tendencies towards MC but that's okay because he has a ~troubled~ past and all transgressions are forgiven
• as a matter of fact, those abusive actions are portrayed as swoon-worthy and #relationshipgoals
• original plot lines and characters forgotten; lol what's continuity?
• love interest #1 is forgotten. probably won't show up again in later books tbh
• who cares about inconsistency: HOT FAE SIDHE
• long, unnecessary pages of cringeworthy, disturbing sex scenes and weird euphemisms for penis
• more novellas/novels published after series ends because why not
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 5, 2020
Okay, I just need to stop. Stop it, Emily. At this point I can't say anything negative about Maas because it is 100% my own fault for continuing to pick up her books, hoping for... for what? That she will suddenly give me back the fun frivolities of the first two Throne of Glass books? Clearly, I am deluded if that is the case.

I'm actually going to return this book. It turned up yesterday; a $20 preorder I have no memory of making. Was I drunk? Hormonal? Sleep-deprived? Who knows? Could have been all three. All I know is that I read three chapters and I am already exhausted with the smirking and scenting. Maas is just not for me anymore, clearly. I am curious to hear what makes this her "first adult fantasy book" from those who finish it. So far, it seems almost exactly like her other books, but with a few more "fucks" thrown in.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,051 reviews49k followers
February 24, 2022
review 2/24/22:

honestly enjoyed this more the second time around. i still maintain that this book is too long and lacks the kind of direction i prefer in fantasy. but upon reread i can appreciate the sheer depth of the world... the politics are pretty interesting and the hierarchies are clearly well thought out. i don't think this is maas' best work by any means but i am curious to see where this series goes.

review 4/4/20:

bold and brash but will i wanna throw it in the trash

after reading, whispers: trash


since when do i write reviews anymore... if you want a 25 minute spoiler filled vlog of messiness, i can provide here
Profile Image for Ishmeen.
380 reviews153 followers
Want to read
May 29, 2018
me on an everyday basis: I’m so over angels and demons tbh
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.6k followers
September 28, 2021
SJM: faerie-folk! winged warriors! a vibrant city! a world on the brink of war! heart-pounding romance!
everybody: ACOTAR!
SJM: wut?
everybody: wut?
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
January 31, 2021
this is the best book i will read in 2020 2021.

so let it be written, so let it be done.

Profile Image for Era ➴.
215 reviews521 followers
April 22, 2022
[rtc after rereading]

All the fucking stars in the universe. ALL OF THEM.

First off, let me start by saying no review, no matter how eloquent or long or detailed, will ever completely let me convey my feelings about this book. Ever. Because I HAD FEELINGS and they wrecked me completely.

If you don't know me, that means that this is going to be really, really long. With way too much fangirling and incoherent raving.

I have heard a lot of complaints about the first half of this book being slow. Not to me. I read intensely through the whole book, though I was completely invested in the last quarter (which was like 200 pages, but still). Maybe it’s just because of my personal preferences because the first part of the book was really world-building, which I love. I love when a book has strong, intricate world-building. It’s one of my major weaknesses in books.

“The universe is massive. Some believe it has no end. Or that our universe might be one in a multitude, as bountiful as the stars in the sky or the sand on a beach.”

Characterization. Always, always, always a huge hit for me. Obviously, going into this I knew it was going to be incredible because, seriously, this is a fucking Sarah J. Maas book. She did not disappoint.

Also, may I point out that this book has more inclusion of races and sexualities than SJM's other books.

Bryce Quinlan – the gorgeous, flippant, badass, wrecked, understanding, sassy, party-girl protagonist whose sarcasm, intelligence, secrets, and all-around badass-ness is so damn incredible. You can tell as soon as you read her comebacks that she is the epitome of an SJM female protagonist. In other words, utterly fucking perfect. I could write a 500-page book on how much I love Bryce and still not have enough (500 pages because I’m a lazy ass and I could just use 1-point font)

Danika Fendyr – the powerful, loyal, equally-badass, lethal, terrifying, never-to-be-underestimated, equally-party-girl, incredibly-fucking-strong Alpha wolf shifter who I fell in love with as soon as she opened her mouth. She does not get enough spotlight or recognition and I will NEVER stop talking about her character and how she deserves so much fucking love and appreciation.

Hunt Athalar – the powerful, strong, stony, emotionally-wrecked, gorgeous, lethal Fallen Angel and honestly the character with the most amazingly written emotional backstory. I LOVE Hunt and his sensitivity and shocking human-ness, and he never ceased to make me feel emotions. He made me feel emotions. The bonus: he knows how to make coffee and will cook breakfast.

Ruhn Danaan – the rebellious, powerful, arrogant domineering Fae prick with a heart of gold and a hidden soft side. I liked his character, but I didn’t love him the way all of the hype said I would. I heard so much obsession over Ruhn before I read the book that I honestly felt let down a bit. Still. He’s a Fae male protagonist written by SJM; how can you not love him? (no, Tamlin does not count as a protagonist)

Lehabah – the pretty, little, gossipy, mischievous, caring, talkative, brave, emotional fire sprite who despite being really annoying at times, I still love. She is so amazing and supportive in her own little way and I wish I had a companion like her. She deserves EVERYTHING.

Juniper Andromeda – the beautiful, talented, determined, gorgeous, fierce, supportive, loving, sweet, stubborn dancer who refused to let her faun legs stop her from ballet. We don’t get much of her but We. Need. More.

Fury Axtar – the lethal, mercenary, terrifying, dark, dangerous, rebellious, sarcastic, notorious assassin whose caring side and lethality are amazing. I loved her. I need more of Fury. Please. I loved her so much.

Jesiba Roga – the notorious, cold, imperious, powerful, feared, mysterious, cunning, immortal sorceress who intimidates everyone and often threatens to turn people into animals. No one challenges her, no matter their standing. Overall a badass bitch.

Hypaxia Enador – the smart, calculating, unflinching, strong, underestimated badass witch who knows what she’s doing and does not back down. I loved her as soon as she was introduced because even though she was shady, I could tell she was going to be a strong character who deserves so much more spotlight because I literally forgot about her while I was writing this review.

There’s more to the characters and I could keep going but that would take a long time and I’m lazy.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a party girl. I don’t get why the world thinks there is.” But she considered his words. “It’s easier for me—when people assume the worst about what I am. It lets me see who they really are.”

The plot. I admit I went into this not expecting too much based off the synopsis. Well, that’s kind of a lie. I went into this expecting a TON because one, it’s a Sarah J. Maas book, two, the rave review from literally all of my friends, and three, because the idea was fascinating and I had read a sample off Google Books. But the synopsis didn’t do it for me.

The book itself, on the other hand, blew my fucking mind. The twist in the first five chapters that wasn’t even a damn twist, it was just a setup. The plot. The world. Everything. The story progression, character development, story arcs, themes, and ALL OF THE FUCKING PLOT TWISTS that I still haven’t gotten over. I knew Sarah J. Maas would give me an incredible story, of course – I’ve read Throne of Glass and ACOTAR three times each – but I wasn’t sure about her writing a murder mystery.

I should never have doubted the queen. Nothing can describe the experience I had reading this book.

“Vengeance incarnate. Wrath’s bruised heart. She would bow for no one.”

The character trauma that SJM incorporates into all of her books is insane. I have some pretty rough experiences with grief and depression, and Sarah J. Maas’ books are the best representation of trauma that I have ever read (being a fourteen-year-old, that probably isn’t saying much but I like to consider myself mature). The way she writes their healing, their pain, their darkness, their grief, just feels so real and amazing, and I love it.

“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.”

The writing. This is Sarah J. Maas’ first adult book, and I was a bit hesitant to read it at first because her other books are mature enough (*cough* beach scene *cough*). They are…detailed, to say the least, and they have some pretty strong language. I thought Crescent City wouldn’t be that much worse.

I mean, it really wasn’t. I don’t mind the F-bombs all over the place – proof of that is scattered throughout this review. I have a lot of exposure to cussing and I toss around the word fuck like it’s confetti. There was a ton of cussing and a bit more explicit information about male and female interaction, but I honestly think I was desensitized to the cussing part after reading all her other books.

“I’m saying I want shit kept quiet.” She grinned at Ruhn, showing all her white teeth, the expression more savage than amused. “I’m saying if you three morons leak any of this to your Aux buddies or drunken hookups, I am going to be very unhappy.”
Honestly, Hunt would have liked nothing more than to grab some popcorn and a beer, kick back in a chair, and watch her verbally fillet these assholes.”

I don’t care about the bad language. I can cuss people out in a mixture of languages (just ask my classmates). What made me uncomfortable, as a fourteen-year-old girl with basically no dating experience, was the interactions that I was mentioning in the last paragraph. Somehow I’m not as desensitized to those scenes.

“Danika just said it. “If he grabs his phone to check his messages before his dick’s barely out of you again, please have the self-respect to kick his balls across the room and come home to me.”

The one thing I had an issue with: why are all of SJM’s characters absolutely fucking gorgeous?

I know that sounds odd, and jealous and insecure and shit, but it’s true. All the females are lean and toned with gorgeous bodies, pretty hair, and awesome skills, and all of the males are tall, muscular, and powerful. In all of her books. Even though they’re all mentally and emotionally relatable, they still have these perfect bodies and gorgeous faces and pretty hair and it makes me even more insecure. Excuse me, where are my average people? I already struggle with body image and reading this didn’t really help (still, that’s not enough of a reason to lower my rating of this book because it was just that good.)

So. To finish raving (for now at least, because I’m tired of typing and I can’t function enough to think of anything else to write).

I did not want to be done when I read the last page. I did not want to finish this book.

Because this book was absolutely fucking incredible. Going in I knew it was going to be a favorite, but I didn’t realize it was going to be this powerful. This is very possibly Sarah J. Maas’ best book ever, which is fucking saying something. If this is just the first book in the series, then holy shit are we in for a ride with the rest of Crescent City.

The main point of this review: I AM TRASH FOR SJM.

(Also, the next book is going to be called "House of Sky and Breath". I'm calling it. That's what pretty much all of the major characters in this book belonged to and it's the next House up from Earth and Blood in the caste system, so it would make sense to go that way.)
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
530 reviews34.5k followers
April 5, 2021
I'm on BookTube now! 😊

“Through love, all is possible.”

To be honest I don’t even know where to start with this review. This book was great in so many different ways that I’m having a really tough time to sort my thoughts and feelings. What I can definitely tell you is that this book is one of the slower ones. It has 803 pages and up to page 500 every single one of them is used to build up the plot and to introduce all the characters. I know a lot of other people who reviewed “House of Earth and Blood” actually didn’t like this long build up and saw it as a huge flaw but personally I think that it was important for the storyline.

Are 500 pages to introduce the characters and the world setting too long? Maybe. But in this book it worked for me. I guess everyone who ever read high fantasy knows that plenty of pages go into the history of the MCs and the world building. (Quite honestly sometimes you’d even get pages of descriptions of the surroundings. I’m looking at you LOTR!!! *lol*) Every info I got in HOEAB was interesting and important for the plot though so I’m definitely not complaining. ;-)

Even the least important characters and side-characters had history and I was living and breathing for it. Sure, there are some characters like Tharion, Aidas and Queen Hypaxia I’d love to hear more about (and I’m sure I will in the next book) but considering the many different groups and the complexity of the world Sarah actually did a great job. This said the last 300 pages just about killed me and I couldn’t have stopped reading even if my life would have depended on it. *lol* Yes, it was THAT suspenseful. Quite honestly I have no idea how Sarah wants to top this book!!?? I mean this was book one in a series and my expectations for book two are so high they are scratching the sky. XD Before I think about the next book let’s speak about this one first, okay?! ;-P

The characters:

Welcome to Crescent City! The city of many possibilities and ALL the spoilers! *lol* So if you don’t want to be spoiled and haven’t read the book yet, I’d recommend to take the next bus out of town because this is going to be a spoiler festival! ;-)

Bryce Quinlan:

“Do you own any weapons?” The purely male gleam in his eye told her that he assumed she didn’t.
“Bother me again,” she said sweetly, just before she shut the window in his face, “and you’ll find out.”

I love Bryce so freaking much, I can’t even! This girl is the BEST! I love as good as everything about her and her many flaws only made her even more likable in my eyes! This is a character I could totally relate to and she felt very real! I mean she’s stubborn, clever, resilient, funny, loyal and compassionate. Yes, at times she’s even reckless but it’s all just limited to pushing her boundaries. She never really goes overboard unlike some of Sarah’s other characters and that was really refreshing. Bryce is a very self-confident character and knows exactly what she wants and she’s not only working hard but also has both feet on the ground. The way she dealt with Micah?! OMG!!! That’s a fierce woman right there! *lol* I respect her character and I hope we’ll get to see even more of it in the next book!

”It’s easier for me – when people assume the worst about what I am. It lets me see who they really are.”

Hunt Athalar:

”In the harsh bathroom firstlights, his light brown skin was pallid under the black band of thorns across his brow. The tattoo, he’d learned to live with. But he shrank from the look in his dark eyes. Glazed. Empty. Like staring into Hel.”

I kinda liked his nickname. Umbra Mortis definitely has some ring to it. *lol* This said I also think in many ways Hunt was the broken, powerful “alphahole” Sarah J. Maas has written about so often. Just like with Rowan and Rhysand his background story is heavy and quite violent which was no surprise because obviously Sarah likes to write about men with baggage. ;-P Of course I still liked him and rooted for his character he just reminded me a lot of all the other men Sarah wrote about. What I certainly didn’t expect was his betrayal and the fact that he knew about the drugs all along! This came as such a surprise and his involvement totally threw me. XD Then again it probably shouldn’t have surprised me. After all he didn’t regret any of his actions and said so multiple times. I wonder where Sarah will go with his character in future.

”By the time Ramuel decided to let me serve as his assassin, it had been nine years since I’d seen sunlight. Since I’d heard the wind or smelled the rain. Since I’d seen grass, or a river, or a mountain. Since I’d flown.”

”There were some of the Fallen who accepted the halo and slave tattoo, you know. After a few decades, they accepted it. Stopped fighting it.”
“Why have you never stopped?”
“Because we were right then, and we’re still right now. Shahar was only the spear point. I followed her blindly into a battle we could never have won, but I believed in what she stood for.”

Danika Fendry:

”It was unheard of, for a shifter to have that sort of power, yet all the standard childhood tests had confirmed it: once Danika Dropped, she’d become a considerable power among the wolves, the likes of which had not been seen since the elder days across the sea.”

If I’m completely honest I probably would have married Danika before dating Bryce! *lol* I loved her character so much and I really wish there would have been even more of her. I mean I already knew Danika was going to die, but I wasn’t prepared of how fast I’d grow fond of her and her pack! She was such an amazing person and her death was horrible. >_< At least as horrible as her own mother! I swear, Sabine certainly didn’t make it easy to like her. If there is even the slightest possibility that Danika gets reborn and reappears in the next book I’d be so here for it. XD Is it possible, Sarah? Please! *makes huge puppy eyes*

”Her goal was to protect you. Always. Even from yourself.”


”She and the commander of her triarii, Pollux, take cruelty and punishment to new levels.” He clenched his jaw, shaking off the blood-soaked memories. “They’re not stories to tell on a busy street.” Or at all.”

That angel most definitely was no angel at all and should have burned in Hel. I hated Sandriel with a fierce passion and I really wish she would have died in the rebellion! It’s not right that a cruel person like her was that powerful and even though she got what she deserved I still think that her death was too quick. She should have gone to prison for eternity and not died that quickly. >_< Well, she’s dead now and won’t cause any more trouble. XD

Tharion, Queen Hypaxia & Aidas:

Aidas had nearly vanished into nothing when he added, the words a ghost slithering through the room, “The Oracle did not see. But I did.”

Okay, those three were just side characters but each one of them was super intriguing and I would have loved to get more of their background story!!! Like seriously! Just give me more! Aidas the Prince of the Chasm was one hell of an interesting character and Tharion as well as Queen Hypaxia easily won me over as well. I always knew that med witch was suspicious but I didn’t even think about the possibility that she might be Ruhn’s betrothed. *lol* Let’s hope all of them will be a part of the next book! <3

“I know the costs of war, Governor.” Bold male, to say that, to look Sandriel dead in the eye.

The relationships & ships:

Bryce & Hunt:

”Only sorrow lay here. And something like understanding. Like she saw him, as he’d seen her in that shooting gallery, marked every broken shard and didn’t mind the jagged bits. Under the table, the toe of her high hell brushed against his boot. A little confirmation that yes – she saw his guilt, the pain, and she wouldn’t shy from it.”

What I really loved about their relationship is that it grew steadily. There was no insta-love or some unnecessary drama. They started out as two strangers that both knew about the other’s reputation and didn’t trust each other. The more they got to know each other and the more time they spent together, the more they started to see the true person behind all their bravado though. It was so refreshing to see them develop a really close friendship. Sure, there was attraction but it was just a part of their friendship and didn’t define it. I adored how they started to take pictures of each other to make new memories and how just to be around each other helped them to deal with their problems. They both had a lot on their plate but together they managed to pull through it. I still can’t believe that Hunt was in on the dugs though. That was quite a shocker and I’m kind of worried Sarah will pull a typical Maas and make us dislike Hunt in the next book. So far all her books started out with a love interest the MC would die for and then she ended up with someone completely different. *lol* It would be such a shame if that happened in here too. I guess only time will tell. XD

”And she tried not to look too shocked when he laid his head on her thigh, his arm coming across her to rest on the pillow. A child laying his head on his mother’s lap. A friend looking for any sort of reassuring contact to remind him that he was a living being. A good person, no matter what they made him do.”

”You’re my friend. Who watches trashy TV with me and puts up with my shit. 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.”
He smiled at her, let it convey everything that glowed inside him at her words. “I like that.”

Bryce & Ruhn:

”He’d wounded her, and it had scared the Hel out of her that he held such power. That she had wanted so many things from him, imagined so many things with her brother – adventures and holidays and ordinary moments – and he had the ability to rip it all away.”

Ahhh I absolutely loved this sibling bond! I mean yes, at the beginning of the book Bryce is keeping her distance to Ruhn and doesn’t want to have to do anything with him, but to be honest the reason for that was pretty shady if you ask me. I mean yes, they had a fight, but it’s no reason to avoid your brother for years. XD The explanation why she brushed him off was pretty lame but then again there are siblings in real life that don’t talk with each other for ages because of one silly thing. Believe me I’ve seen it – siblings that didn’t talk to each other for 30 years because of some minor matter and died without reconciling – so I suppose it might be realistic after all. I’m just glad Ruhn and Bryce are talking again and I definitely want to find out more about Ruhn in the next book. He was just a small part in here and I’m very curious about him and his life. Also I really thought Ruhn might be bi or pan but then Queen Hypaxia appeared and I guess that’s it. >_< I’m pretty certain my queer ass won’t see a real LGBTQ+ pairing in this series as well. Which is a shame but then again it’s probably better if Sarah doesn’t write them. I mean not every straight author can pull off a realistic queer rep so I respect her for steering clear of it. It takes guts to say “no” and to know your own limits. ;-)

”His blue eyes gleamed in the streetlights, dawn still far off. A breeze off the Istros ruffled his black hair. And it was the tears that filled his eyes, the wonder in them, that had Bryce launching forward. Had her throwing her arms around her brother and holding him tightly.
Ruhn didn’t hesitate before his arms came around her. He shook so badly that she knew he was crying.”

Bryce & Syrinx & Lehabah:

”My friends are with me and I am not afraid.”

THOSE THREE BROKE MY FREAKING HEART!!!! AHHHH!! I’m still crying for Lehabah!!! This little precious fire sprite!!! I can’t!!! T_T I loved Lehabah so much! She was so fierce and compassionate and had quite an attitude but ahh that only made her even more likeable! I loved that she always called out Bryce on her coldness and unfriendly behaviour and that she was such a gossip. *lol* I can’t believe she died and the scene when she fought to give Bryce those precious seconds had me in tears. I was SOBBING reading that scene!!! SOBBING! T_T I’m still not over it. I guess I’ll never be. Also Syrinx is such a precious creature! <333 I want a Syrinx as well!

Bryce sobbed, “I bought you, and now I set you free, Lehabah.”
Lehabah’s smile didn’t falter. “I know,” she said. “I peeked in your drawer.”
And despite the monster trying to break loose behind them, Bryce chocked on a laugh before she begged, “You are a free person – you do not have to do this. You are free, Lehabah.”
Yet Lehabah remained at the foot of the stairs. “Then let the world know that my first act of freedom was to help my friends.”

Bryce & Danika:

”Bryce patted Danika’s silken head as she passed. Danika nipped her fingers, teeth flashing.
Bryce chuckled, entering the narrow kitchen.”

The bond between Danika and Bryce was so amazing!!! <333 I’m such a sucker for close friendships and found family and Danika and Bryce were like the embodiment of this trope! They had a friendship you rarely find and I count myself lucky to have the same kind of closeness with my bestie. The tender gestures, cuddling, hugging, all those physical gestures of affection but also the strong mental bond and spiritual closeness, it was all there with Bryce and Danika, which is the reason why I loved them both so much! <333 Ahh how I wish Danika wouldn’t have had to die. But that moment when Danika answered and told Bryce to “light it up”. OMG!!! She made the drop with her, from the other side she still helped Bryce and helped her to make the Drop!!! I can’t! I just can’t!!! Those two are killing me! <333 *weeps in a corner* I really wish Danika wouldn’t have died. T_T

She whispered. “I’m scared.”
Danika grabbed her hand again. “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.” She took Bryce’s face in her hands and pressed their brows together.


“House of Earth and Blood” was quite something and I loved to read this book! Sarah tackled so many important and interesting topics and she did it in a very sensitive manner. It might have seemed to be a slow paced book up to the 500 pages mark but I think it was necessary to build up the story like that. I have absolutely no idea how Sarah J. Maas wants to top this book but I’m more than just willing to find out! *lol* Let’s hope the wait for “Crescent City 2” won’t be all too long. XD
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,009 reviews1,328 followers
Want to read
December 13, 2019
Stop judging readers for reading SJM books (Because she is problematic) while you nearly worship J.K. Rowling and make her fortune grow to billions!

(My problem is not with the fact that some find SJM books problematic but with the fact that they judge other readers and attack us for enjoying them!!)
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,122 followers
January 14, 2023
This book was good!!!!!!!!!!
And I'm angry about it?

Get ready for a mostly rambling rant/rave review of how this book got 5 stars from me.

But first, a warning: I don't usually curse in my reviews, but this one might get a little more colorful than usual. In honor of Bryce and the fact that unlike SJM's previous characters, she can freely curse.
Also, don't worry, this has no spoilers. At least, I don't think it does. But then again, maybe? Like, low-key, but then again a lot of these things were bound to happen? Idk man read at your own discretion

So, I almost didn't read this book. In part, because I had lowkey forgotten that it even existed, and then because even after I cared enough to remember I simply didn't care enough to spend hours of my life reading it (this book is 800 fucking pages, mind you).

And yet, because I am me, and I have no sense of self-control or common sense, I read it. Like, just now. Like, two minutes ago as I am writing this.

And I liked it.  A lot.

And I don't know how to feel about it.

It's no secret that I don't particularly like Sarah J. Maas's books (sorry not sorry). It's no secret that I dislike 95% of her character in ACOTAR (except Cassian and Nesta, cause I'm obviously trash). It's also common knowledge that I think that her books are just a tad bit overrated.

But damn it, this book was so good!

No, it wasn't perfect. Yes, it was really fucking long. But oh my Lord, it was so fucking entertaining!

Sarah played dirty in this book and I loved it! I also hated it because it stressed me the eff out. But mostly, I loved it.

All the characters were so interesting and cool and I just wanted more of them.

Also, I can't possibly believe that I'm typing these words right now but damn it, I loved Hunt, the main male love interest.

I don't particularly care for the 'males' in the Throne of Glass series. The males in ACOTAR all piss me off (especially Rhys, whom I cannot stand because he has no flaws or depth or anything that would make him interesting). But Hunt? I loved this dude. I liked him so much I was beginning to wonder if this was, in fact, an SJM novel that I was reading or if I'd been bamboozled.

In fact, I liked this whole book so much more than any other SJM novel I've read. And I, due to my masochistic reading tendencies, have read all of them.

I think it was the lack of phrases like "fae males" and "prick" and "mate" and "vulgar gesture" (that last one is probably because Bryce can actually say the word fuck here), among other annoying and overused things like *shudders, cringes and dies* "velvet softness/ velvet wrapped steel". I mean, they do still show up in some places but it was sparingly and so they didn't stand out.

Sarah also (thank God!) toned down her excessive use of ellipses. There were still more than in the average novel, but far less than in ACOTAR, that's for sure. But seriously, why don't we discuss the fact that she overuses ellipses more often? Like, you know how they say Dickens was paid per word, I swear SJM is paid per ellipsis...

I also loved the fact that SJM lowkey disses the males in her previous books with her description of an "alphahole" (an 'alpha asshole', in case you hadn't gotten it). Seriously, she basically, on the lowest of all the keys, described Rhys perfectly and it was hilarious and refreshing to realize that Sarah might actually be self-aware.

And for all you Rhys lovers who will argue that he is not an alphahole. I beg to differ. Also, this might be the wrong review for you.

But, enough about Rhys, let's get back to Hunt, whom I actually liked. He's described as a brooding, solitary badass (which I suppose he is), but then he spent most of his days watching tv with Bryce and cooking her dinner and playing with her pet chimera and basically being super domesticated and nice and great. Like, he can still easily kill people, but he was also super chill and surprisingly cool and not annoyingly overpowered like Rhys (in case you hadn't noticed, I don't like him).

Bryce was also so much more likable than I thought she'd be. I think it's because I was expecting her to be like Feyre from ACOTAR (whom I really don't like either), but no, Bryce was actually pretty cool too. Unlike Feyre she wasn't a Mary Sue who was ridiculously overpowered and could do no wrong. Plus, minor spoiler, but also not really, it 's very vague and won't ruin anything for you:  Bryce casually vacuuming the remaining ashes of her enemy after lighting them on fire, is the most savage thing I've ever read and I was grinning like a maniac as I read that.

Also, Danika Fendyr is too good for this world. That's all there is to say.

And Ruhn Danaan. He just needed a hug. I would have gladly given him one.

But let's acknowledge the elephant in the room and talk about the fact that I gave this book 5 stars. I have never given an SJM book that honor, and I didn't think this would be it.

For most of what I read, I expected this to be a three, maybe four-star novel. It was good, I was enjoying it but my brain and my heart were still at odds.

Then the last quarter of this long-ass book came around and what happened was that essentially, my heart told my brain to shut the fuck up, and my brain, too engrossed in what was happening in the story, decided to obey.

This fucking book *almost* made me cry! Yes, that's right, my cold little heart actually managed to hurt for these characters and signal to my eyes to water. The tears never actually spilled, but that was mostly because I was in a room with other people during that chapter and I refused to show weakness! Had I been alone, I don't doubt my mascara would have run. That's when I knew the rating was skewing in the 5-star direction.

Then, during the epic, heart racing showdown that was the ending????

My eyeballs were glued to the page. I was grinning and cheering and flipping off fictional characters as I read (I was alone in my room at this time so I didn't look insane).  I was so fucking invested I doubt I blinked the entire time. That whole ending was chaos in the best possible way.

Although I have to criticize (as if that's not what I've been doing the whole time), the fact that right before the epic climax of this novel, before all the shit hit the fan, and everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, the main villain revealed themselves and then, in the most dramatic and cliche fashion started fucking monologing their evil plan like a damned Disney villain. There's a whole chapter of this villain just stating their evil plan and confessing to everything like they knew they were a character in a novel and needed to clearly state in explicit detail what the heck was going on in a way that even the dumbest of us could follow. I rolled my eyes so many times I could barely concentrate on the fact that it was supposed to be a tense scene. I just wanted the villain to open their eyes to their stupidity and shut the fuck up. I just kept thinking of Syndrome the entire time.

But alas, arrogant people like to hear themselves talk, I guess.

Then, the end, like, the "third to last chapter", part of the end was a bit cheesy and annoying for me though. After everything that went down, you'd think that they'd have things on their mind other than wanting to get it on (like making sure their friends weren't all dead) but no, this was an SJM novel after all. We can only expect so much.

Also, I just realized I said absolutely nothing about the actual story and plot so, here you go: the worldbuilding was wild and creative and while a confusing at first, it was all really well woven together considering that different types of magic and technology had to be integrated.

The story was well written, if a bit long (this damned book is 800 pages long!), but it's ok, I'm not too mad at it. Despite the fact that I lost many hours of sleep because of it.

Lastly, Unlike ACOMAF and ACOWAR, this book actually had a plot, and didn't spend hundreds of pages on filler content and gratuitous sex scenes which is, of course, always a bonus in my book. Also, the plot was pretty gosh-darned engaging.

So, I applaud you, Sarah. Against all odds, I sincerely applaud you.

In the end, this book wasn't perfect and even as I write this, my brain whispers to me in question as to whether this really was a five star novel for me and it brings up some seriously valid points to support its claims. But, my heart is still in charge and it tells me that yes, yes it is, so I'm rolling with it!

(Or maybe, I'm just trying really hard to justify the two days of my life I spent reading this behemoth of a book despite having work to do. Who knows?)

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I am super excited for this book's sequel. I am also dreading the fact that it's probably going to be really fucking long and that fact is already stressing me out.

(It just occurred to me that more than being a raving review about House of Earth and Sky, this is really just a rant of ACOTAR, and I'm totally ok with that.)

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Profile Image for Sofia.
258 reviews6,445 followers
August 27, 2021
I came here to be entertained. Instead, I cried. Ha ha. Ten points to Gryffindor.

The funniest thing about House of Earth and Blood is reading reviews from people who were angry about the males and females and barking bones and growling and purring and people with wings. This is a Sarah J. Maas book. What did you expect? Mooing bones? GASP.

Pretends To Be Shocked GIFs | Tenor

This book is very long and the beginning dragged. There was quite a bit of infodumping and a lack of contextual clues that made some of it confusing. However, all of this built up to a stunning, action-packed, thrilling ending. I read one-third of House of Earth and Blood in one day because I was hooked.

It's long because there's so much character development. Somebody close to Bryce, the main character, dies at the beginning. It hits her like a bullet and changes her forever. Watching her come to terms with the tragedy of her friend's death was one of my favorite parts of the book. It was gradual, realistic, and heartbreaking.

Bryce Quinlan by rosalynnart on DeviantArt
credit: rosalynnart

Bryce is a really interesting character. I love how confident she is and how she pursues her dream even though people tell her she's "not the right size." She's bold and brave and sassy. She will not tolerate people being stupid. She is hurting inside but covers it up by pretending to be a rude, careless party girl. She's selfless and smart, but pretends to be selfish and stupid to judge people's characters and to hide her hurt from the world. She's a character with layers.

"It's easier for me - when people assume the worst about what I am. It lets me see who they really are."

Bryce Quinlan | Crescent City Wiki | Fandom
credit: Lauregalart

But Hunt sees through her mask. If he pulls a Tamlin or a Chaol, I will be upset. I'm not crazy about him, but the way he and Bryce bonded was exquisite. The best thing about SJM books is how the MC and the final love interest share their traumatic experiences and actually WANT to understand each other. The way they slowly open up is devastatingly beautiful. And then they help each other grow. Love doesn't magically solve their hurt, but it helps them heal. I'm not crying, you're crying.

“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.”

Bryce Quinlan by alrun-art on DeviantArt
credit: alrun-art

I love how the small details build to insane plot twists. After the first twist happened, I thought it was the big one. But then there was another and another and soon enough, I was screaming internally at the pitch of an over-excited baby bird. I love the ending sooo much. Everything came together perfectly.

Fernanda Fernandez - Crescent City: Bryce & Hunt 🌙
credit: Fernanda Fernandez

Towards the beginning of the book, I was skeptical about some of the characters. They seemed like copies of characters from Throne of Glass. Hunt is Rowan 2.0. Ruhn is Aedion. Shahar is Lyria. But as the book progressed, they became their own characters, which I was happy about.

I would definitely recommend House of Earth and Blood, as long as you can tolerate purring Fae. Don't worry, there are fewer possessive and aggressive males in this series than in ACOTAR.

4.5 stars

Book Review: HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD by Sarah J. Maas | The Fandom
credit: Carlos Quevedo



review to come when I'm less shooketh

This is so beautiful *crying* My heart can't handle it
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
477 reviews38.1k followers
May 4, 2020
The last 200 pages of this book.....


Say what you want about SJM, but there's a reason why her books (fucking FIFTEEN+ books) are still super popular and profiting.

My head needs to pull my brain together after all that.
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Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 11 books75.2k followers
Want to read
May 17, 2018
OHHHH. ¿Nuevo libro de SJM?

¿Saben quién lo va a leer? ¡YO!

Tal vez (probablemente) me arrepienta, pero no puedo evitarlo, jajajaja, por ahora sigo pensando que voy a leer todo lo que SJM escriba.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.2k followers
February 15, 2022
I've mulled this over for a few days and decided to settle on a 4 star rating. This book is nowhere near perfect, but it sure was A LOT of fun and I'll definitely carry on with the series when the next book comes out IN A YEAR AND A HALF. I forgot how long the wait can be in between fantasy books and I HATE IT HERE

Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,040 reviews3,438 followers
January 24, 2022
2021 Reread***
Okay, I enjoyed this even more on a reread! It hadn't quite occurred to me the first time around that this book is structured as a murder mystery, which is really fun. There are SO many great twists and I kind of love Bryce as a main character. This is one of my favorite books by Maas and I love how it blends paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and cozy murder mystery. It's a blend I have a great time with. Upgrading my rating from 4.5 to 5 stars upon a reread because I really adored this.


Wow, that was a RIDE! First things first:

1) You can see my reading vlog on my YouTube channel HERE: https://youtu.be/TkCRid7deIs

2) No, there actually isn't all that much smut in this book. A few steamier scenes very late in the book that are quite tame and serve for needed character/relationship development. There are a lot of references to sex throughout and the MC Bryce (half-human, half-Fae, supposed party girl but with unexpected depths and a complicated background) is not shy about her history of hooking up with people, but the amount of actual explicit content is pretty minimal. However, I would expect to see more in book 2.

3) No, it definitely did not need to be 800 pages long. The first 2/3 of the book really should have been edited down in terms of wordy descriptions and unnecessarily lengthy passages. This probably should have been more like 600 pages, BUT most of the scenes feel important even if they are sometimes longer than they needed to be and it definitely still kept my interest.

4) No, it does not read like YA. It very much reads like an adult urban fantasy with a murder mystery subplot and heavy romantic elements. Also, there are a lot of F-bombs.

5) No, the cast of characters is not all white and straight! There are several POC side characters with significant roles, and at least 3 queer side characters. I would love to see many of those characters further developed in later books, but she seems to have done quite a bit of course correcting here. There are clear character descriptions. For example Juniper, one of Bryce's best friends, is a beautiful and talented dancer described as having dark brown skin and thick curly hair, but she faces discrimination in the dance world because she is a faun and there has never been a faun as a lead dancer. There are several other examples, but in general I think she has done a good job of diversifying her cast of characters in terms of appearance, race, class, sexuality, and power, with a subtle eye to examining oppression and power imbalances.

6) No, the primary love interest is not another example of toxic masculinity with an unhealthy relationship. Rather, Bryce and Hunt both have strong personalities but feel like they are on pretty equal footing in terms of power dynamics. We get more than one explicit conversation about gender and power imbalances, with external examples of where things can go very wrong. Bryce has even coined a term (that feels a bit like SJM poking fun at herself) "Alphahole". (a mashup of alpha-male and asshole, with some specific and entertaining definitions offered in the text)

7) No, the writing isn't completely different from her other books. While this does feel quite different in some ways and is in my opinion better, people who just hate her style of writing are probably not going to suddenly fall in love with Crescent City. If you already like her books, I would definitely recommend reading this one. If you like urban fantasy, I think it's worth giving it a try. If you absolutely hate the way she writes, you will continue to find things to be annoyed with here. Most of those things I either don't mind or actually like, but there are definitely scenes and writing quirks that I think will be criticized by people who just don't mesh with her work.

With that out of the way, let's talk about the book! In general, House of Earth and Blood is a whole lot of fun. I really think SJM excels at character development and interpersonal drama (as opposed to big action or battle sequences) and she really leans into that here. We get a large cast of interesting characters, powerful friend groups, burgeoning romances, lots of banter and light moments, relational drama, big twists and unexpected revelations. The last 250 pages or so are full of "OMG WHAT?!" moments with fast paced action and surprising twists. When we do FINALLY (after lots of near misses and teasing) get a steamier scene, it feels very earned and the characters have been through a lot together.

One thing that I like a lot (though not every reader feels the same) is that SJM intersperses intense, dark, and emotional scenes with lighter, more everyday moments between characters. I think this serves to develop the characters, allow their relationships to breathe, and creates a sense of concreteness that can be lacking in very fast-paced fantasy. It also feels important for organically developing a romantic relationship between characters with a lot of walls and a lot of trauma. You get plenty of that here- characters hanging out on the couch eating takeout, showering and sleeping in between perilous moments, engaging in silly banter and taking pictures on their phones, having a heart to heart, etc. I really loved that element, but I can see why some readers might find those scenes dull or unnecessary.

The world of Crescent City is big and complex. The first part of the book is slow-going because there is a lot of introduction to the world and characters. The final book will contain maps and character/hierarchy charts, all of which would be very useful to have. The book is set in a slightly futuristic city that runs on both magic and technology, populated by fae, shifters, vampires, mermaids, satyrs, witches, humans, and more. This gives it a blend of modern sensibilities with fantasy elements and I tend to enjoy books that have this combination. But once you get a handle on the world and some of the characters, the narrative completely sucks you in.

If you have read other books by this author, you might know that ACOTAR and Throne of Glass are set in the same universe, though not in the same world. It seems very clear that Crescent City is also intended to be set in the same universe. If you have read Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash, then some of the larger scale world-building in those books will probably feel familiar here. I'm really curious to see where she takes that in future installments and I wouldn't be surprised to see some degree of crossover or influence between worlds. I love when authors are able to create connections between series and I think she has set herself up to do that very effectively here.

There is a complex political hierarchy that we learn quite a lot about, although I still want to know more. The planet is ruled by Archangels, who in turn answer to the mysterious and powerful Asteri. This system was inspired by the Roman Empire and slaves are branded with magical tattoos that say SPQM. Late in the book we also see brutal punishment through crucifixion, which was a torturous Roman form of execution, mostly known today in reference to Jesus. Humans are typically oppressed and not valued due to their lack of magic, but there are humans rebelling in some parts of the empire with rebel cells existing in Crescent City as well. It's a really interesting world and I'm excited to get more in the series.

I could do an entire section on all of the characters in this book, but I will leave that to other reviewers who will doubtless do a great job with it. In general, I thought there were a lot of very interesting and compelling characters, fantastically awful villains (though fyi, near the end we do get a QUITE extended villain monologue which was interesting, but a tad excessive), a great slow-burn romance, and side characters and romances I want to know more about and see developed further. While it isn't a perfect book, it is pretty damn good and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. If my biggest complaint is that it's too long, she's doing a lot right.

Huge thanks to Isabella Ogbolumani (@thefeministbookworm on Instagram) for sending me an advance review copy of this book! All opinions are my own.

CW include (but are not limited to) drug and alcohol use, loss of a loved one, violence, torture, suicidal ideation, estranged family relationships, slut-shaming and bullying (not portrayed as positive), attempted sexual assault.
Profile Image for The Burning Rose (Jess).
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Want to read
February 9, 2020
Update: Sarah sold signed copies, but the shipping cost a fortune so all I have left to do now is wait and buy the regular copy. God, please make it March already.

Fuck my life, This is the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen 😍
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