House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

by Sarah J. Maas

4.03 of 5 stars 36 ratings • 16 reviews • 91 shelved
Book cover for House of Earth and Blood

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House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

by Sarah J. Maas

4.03 of 5 stars 36 ratings • 16 reviews • 91 shelved
Think Game of Thrones meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a drizzle of E.L. James - Telegraph

Perfect for fans of Jessica Jones and True Blood, this is a blockbuster modern fantasy set in a divided world where one woman must uncover the truth to seek her revenge.

Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. Every night is a party and Bryce is going to savour all the pleasures Lunathion - also known as Crescent City - has to offer. But then a brutal murder shakes the very foundations of the city, and brings Bryce's world crashing down.
Two years later, Bryce still haunts the city's most notorious nightclubs - but seeking only oblivion now. Then the murderer attacks again. And when an infamous Fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, is assigned to watch her every footstep, Bryce knows she can't forget any longer.
As Bryce and Hunt fight to unravel the mystery, and their own dark pasts, the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the deepest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir ...
With unforgettable characters 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.
  • ISBN10 1635574048
  • ISBN13 9781635574043
  • Publish Date 3 March 2020
  • Publish Status Active
  • Imprint Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 816
  • Language English

Reviews

Avatar for booksevermore

booksevermore 3 of 5 stars

Overall, I did enjoy the book. However the ending and reveal fell flat for me and the characters felt like copies of Maas's ToG characters. 

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reshydari 4 of 5 stars
This is SJM’s best work to date. The book had a slow start, but was generally a fun read! There’s a lot of world-building and lore. Plus, so many lovable characters! I appreciate how much time SJM took to plan out all the details of the world. I am very excited for book 2!

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chillywilly 5 of 5 stars
This is my first SJM book. I loved this book and I cannot wait until the next one comes out. The story is about Bryce Quinlan, a half fae-human, and Hunt Athalar, a fallen angel. Bryce meets Hunt after her wolf shifter friend, Danika, and her pack are brutally murdered in the apartment that she and Danika share. Believing the murderer, who summoned the demon to kill the pack, is behind bars, Bryce goes back to work and moves into a new apartment but is no longer her old party girl self. 2 years pass and the demon returns to murder more innocents. The archangel, Micah, of the territory that Crescent City is located in, commands Hunt to head up the investigation into the murders and requests Bryce to assist Hunt because she lived with Danika and believes her to know Danika best. Bryce sets out to avenge her dearest friend.

After I read about 200 pages, I decided to read what other people had to say about the book out of curiosity. Some said the characters felt very similar to SJM's other books. I can't attest to that as I've never read them. Some said there was too much information dump. While I agree to a point about the information dump at the beginning, it was only an information dump in about the first 3rd of the book. I look at it this way that SJM created a world that is over 15,000 years old. There is going to be a lot of information with all the different races and cultural hierarchies and the main characters back stories. I did have a bit of an issue with all of the characters, there were a lot and it was hard to remember who knew who and which character was which. After the story got rolling some of the characters dropped off until later in the story, but there were way too many characters to start off with especially with all the information that SJM is throwing at you.

One review that I read mentioned all of the grunts, growls, groans, and hisses. There are a lot of those as both of the main characters are stubborn and hard headed. And they love their profanity. In the beginning I understood the reasoning for it. Both characters are, what I feel to be, angry especially at having to deal with each other. Later in the book, some of it seems unnecessary. The characters have grown and mellowed out, so the tone of the profanity seems harsh in the instances that it is used and not necessary for the situation.

But really the story is engrossing. SJM does a great job of giving you enough of the main story line with tiny clues to the mystery, to want more.

I have to say that I was very sad that Danika and the Pack of Devils had to die for the story to unfold. I really liked those group of characters. I would have really liked to see them develop into a story and I was really gunning for Bryce and Connor.

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Steph L 5 of 5 stars
Listen, I lost focus in this book, especially in the middle sections. I still loved this book, and the story was my first Adult Fantasy. I can't wait for the next book!!!!

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cornerfolds 1 of 5 stars
DNF @ 290 pages. I cannot.

Well, this is awkward. I guess it's time for my first unpopular opinion review of 2020! I'm not Sarah J. Maas's biggest fan, but A Court of Thorns and Roses is (embarrassingly) one of my favorite books. I didn't enjoy the way that series ended, but the first book is one I've read over and over. I've also been reading the Throne of Glass series and have been mostly enjoying it, so I was hesitantly excited for Crescent City.

To start, why in the world is the series name the biggest thing on the cover? Why doesn't the title of the book look like the title of the book? I haven't heard a single person call this House of Earth and Blood. But I digress.

Let's dive into this 800+ page "adult" urban fantasy novel that is holding out at 4.47 stars on Goodreads as of this review being written. I didn't really know what I was getting into with this book, but I certainly wasn't expecting to be completely overwhelmed by swearing as soon as it began. It's as if Sarah J. Maas decided all she needed to make a book adult was an F-bomb every third sentence. And I'm not exaggerating. Fun fact(s) about me: I am an Air Force veteran who spent time in Afghanistan and I'm married to a sailor. I am no stranger to swearing and honestly have quite the vocabulary in the comfort of my home, but this book was extremely excessive for no good reason. There was no point in the amount of cussing shoehorned into Crescent City. It didn't add anything and came off as extremely unnatural and it took me a long while to get used to it. So that was strike one.

Have I mentioned that this book rings in at over 800 pages? For a first book in a series, that's quite a lot. In the past SJM series have begun relatively short and got longer as they went. This worked because the reader (me) had time to get invested in the characters before diving into such a massive book. There was plenty of time to get the backstory and the world building. For whatever reason, this time she dove right in with 800 pages and, let me tell you, not much happens at least for the first 300 of them, which is where I gave up. There's an awful lot of info dumping and characters being sad and talking about how gorgeous everyone is, but not much story to actually care about.

Speaking of the characters, Bryce Quinlan has red hair. I just need everyone to know that because all I got from the 300 pages I read was that she has red hair, nice legs, and likes pink underwear. Oh, and she hates "alphaholes" even though they're the only "males" she seems to be attracted to. Yes, despite all the criticism SJM has received for using the terms "male" and "female" in both her previous series, she still does it here and it's cringe.

Hunt Athalar, said alphahole, is Rhysand but worse, at least from what I've seen so far. Where Rhysand was at least "woke" and "feminist," Hunt is judgmental and overbearing. He has big wings and super strong powers. As much as I love Rhysand (and Rowan is growing on me, I guess), I felt nothing for Hunt at all. I'm not sure at what point there's supposed to be any chemistry whatsoever between Bryce and Hunt, but by page 300 there was nothing.

I know everyone and their brother loves this book, but I just could not get into it. The world building was so info dumped I couldn't tell you anything about it outside of the places Bryce visits and I literally couldn't care less about the characters. There's also kind of a murder mystery, but I didn't care enough about the characters to care about their motivations. I wanted to love this SO much, but it just was not for me. I was repeatedly told that it picks up 200 pages from the end, but no one should have to invest in reading 600 pages of an 800 page book for it to get good.

Avatar for kate87

kate87 5 of 5 stars
If youve read Sarah's other work and enjoyed it, you will love this book it blows the others way out the water. Did not want this to end.
Absolutely heartbreaking and magnificent

Avatar for blackbibliophile

3.5 ⭐️
I thought this was going to be a book about a great romance. But I was wrong.

Although I struggled through the first 5 chapters as Maas did a little world building (I’m STILL not sure of the hierarchy of the worlds or what world they’re in), I forged on and finished. It got better. Much better. What I thought was going to be a romance, ended up being a story about an epic friendship and the unbreakable bond that results when you love someone so much it transcends worldly boundaries. It also told the story about the journey of a girl who was desperately seeking to find her place in the world. I’m glad this book wasn’t ruined with cheap sex scenes.

I really liked it.

With an 800+ page book, there was ample time to use the first 5 chapters to form setting in a simplistic way so it didn’t interfere with the story AND give the reader some kind of idea wth was going on. I think that’s the only place this fell short. I’m still perplexed by all of the new terms and classifications of creatures. I’ll tuck that useless information away for now and hope it’s better explained in book #2.

Avatar for llamareads

llamareads 4 of 5 stars
Content warnings: drug use, suicide attempt, depression, grief, disordered eating, torture, slut-shaming and general bullying

“Despite his suspicions, Hunt had the creeping feeling that this assignment was either going to be a fuck-ton of fun or a nightmare.”


That quote? My mood when I started this book. Given that I had mixed feelings over SJM’s last two books, I went into this behemoth (1109?!? pages on my ereader) with quite a bit of trepidation. But once you get past the first eight chapters, this is some pretty solid old school SJM, complete with lots of freckled golden skin and too many instances of the word “male.”

Bryce reminds me most of an Urban Fantasy AU Aelin, which is not a bad thing. Bryce, to put it bluntly, is a party girl, mostly content with just putting in her hours at work and then partying with her friends. And if her friends are all wildly more successful than her (her roommate’s famous and poised to take over the shifter pack, and her other two best friends are a ballerina and probably-an-assassin), well, that’s because she’s half-human and they’re not. All of that changes rather abruptly one night, and Bryce is left to pick up the pieces. And that’s just the first eight chapters…. the rest of the book is a murder mystery complete with political shenanigans and lots of breaks to take selfies.

The world building is both too much and not enough. Crash course? There are four Houses comprised of various beings known as Vanir, which include (deep breath) sprites, angels, shifters, merpeople, witches, and Fae. All of it is ruled over by star-beings known as the Asteri, and at the bottom of the heap is, as usual, the humans. There’s some vaguely Judeo-Christian mythology (Fallen angels who attempt to overturn the Asteri, demons from “Hel”) and the angel legions are vaguely Roman, even down to using crucifixion as a punishment. There’s a lot of time (and pages, so many pages) spent setting all this up, and it still somehow ends up being confusing and never quite gels. It’s all packaged up in a sort of magical urban fantasy complete with cellphones, night clubs and pizza.

“Isn’t it exhausting to be an alphahole all the time? Do you guys have a handbook for it? Maybe secret support groups?”


I was particularly amused by a conversation between Bryce and Hunt about “alphaholes” – a pretty well-known trope in romance circles – and watching Hunt subvert that stereotype. Am I completely sold on the relationship between them? I’m not sure. Like any romance, there’s a dark moment – where something happens that makes the two characters question their relationship – and in this case, it’s a doozy. I certainly didn’t feel like the character in the wrong groveled enough. Plus, this is SJM, and her MO seems to be setting up one ship and then torpedoing the *@#$ out of it later on. I was much more invested in Bryce and Danika’s friendship, honestly, and her messed up relationship with Ruhn.

Speaking of Aedion – I mean Ruhn…. There’s a lot that feels very reminiscent of her two previous series in terms of characters and plot developments… even the one sex scene. I can’t really complain too much about that, though, as it does read as a sort of “best of” of those series, though I really wish the disordered-eating-as-grief thing hadn’t made another appearance. It did make some of the twists not as surprising. I mean, if you’ve read SJM before, by halfway through you know exactly what’s coming. Also, this book is long. It’s really, really, really long, and the pacing in the middle suffers as a result. Even at the beginning, getting through those first 8-10 chapters is… not for the faint of heart, and I bounced hard off both the pre-release excerpt (those first seven chapters) and the actual finished book several times before I managed to actually make some headway. Once it finally clicked, though, I was firmly hooked and couldn’t put the book down.

Overall, despite its flaws, I still enjoyed the book, the developing relationship between Bryce and Hunt and the multitude of side characters.



My take-aways: I will forever be thinking about Jelly Jubilee and Bryce vacuuming.
Also, SJM? Stop trying to make “rootling” happen.

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friendstolovers 3 of 5 stars
i’m done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it was good