Name: House Of Earth And Blood (Crescent City #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published By: Bloomsbury
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Rating: ★★ (2/5)
Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.
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.
Before I begin just hear me out for a bit. Sarah J. Maas is an author who puts out books that are sometimes a hit and sometimes a miss for me. I don’t recall her first books in her series ever being really good. It’s usually the sequel that infuses the series with a new energy. This was the case with Throne of Glass and it was definitely the case with A Court of Thorns and Roses. When the news broke out about a new series by Maas, I actually found myself quite excited especially because of the promise of a wondrous premise with an urban fantasy setting that was supposedly going to be an adult fantasy. I was sold. Adult fantasy is one of my favourite genres or might in fact be my favourite genre of all time and I was looking to have a good time. But unfortunately this book turned out to be a huge disappointment and i’m still sobbing over what could have been and what it actually was.
Firstly, this did not read or feel like an adult fantasy to me. I think most of my gripe is with the fact that this book was marketed as one. I’ve talked about it before but f-bombs and sex doesn’t make a book adult fantasy. Where is the fully realised world? Where is the art, culture, religion, history and a complex society? Where is the magic system? These issues cropped up throughout the book and honestly did nothing but ruin the experience. When you market a book and call it an adult fantasy make sure it is one and not dolled up to be one. World-building was severely lacking with random name drops of random place and random things throughout the expanse of the book. There is little to no explanation about most events or places mentioned and I came out of this novel confused about where the characters even live. There’s also this weird mixture of several mythological names from different mythologies that just don’t fuse together. It’s a messy attempt at some semblance of a world and it didn’t work. Not for me atleast.
Another thing that didn’t work for me was the magic system or lack of it. There’s little to no insight into the way the magic works in this world. Characters just fly around and do stuff but we have no clue as to how they do stuff. Where is their power coming from? What is the basis of their magic? And like the tech here is just kind of there. It does nothing to really aid the plot and i’m like?? It leaves no difference between an urban and a medieval fantasy.
I’m also not fond of either of the two characters. I found both of them to be hecka annoying and literally found myself rolling my eyes when either of them spoke. They also came off as quite hypocritical to me. When they are grade A assholes to everyone and flip people off for no reasons but their own, others are just supposed to let it be but when it’s the other way around, they leave no stone unturned to guilt trip others. Also why is everyone still hot and beautiful in this book? And everyone seems to have a thing for Bryce and I’m here just like why?? Haven’t we had enough of this in Maas’ other series. Bryce is pretty much a rip-off of Celaena and if you were to switch the latter with the former it would have made zero difference. The same goes for Hunt who could quite literally be a Rowan 2.0 and I never liked Rowan in Throne of Glass too so you probably have an idea about how I feel about Hunt.
Can we also talk about the writing and redundant use of growling, snarling, hissing and such? I found my mental counter going off whenever the characters did any of that. Also, I found the whole ‘alphahole’ thing funny at first but then it got stupid all too quickly. Stop saying it all the time omg. It doesn’t help your case especially considering your characters are the same in terms of fae power dynamics, mate and the whole scent thing. Okay, lastly, a major gripe of mine is the length. Man oh man the length could have been so much shorter. I personally have no problem with the length of the book if it is justified but this was book was tons of meandering, a lot more description of tanned and chiseled abs and just a whole lot of nothing that could have been chopped off. This could have easily been a 450-500 page book and it wouldn’t have taken away from the story.
Whilst I clearly haven’t enjoyed this book, there are a few things that I should mention I liked. The whole wolf pack dynamic especially Danika and her pack was something I definitely saw myself getting behind. I enjoyed that but ofc it was gone too soon. Then I even enjoyed Ruhn’s character and was much more interested in knowing about him than Hunt’s sob story.
*Breathes* alright I’m done here. I’m sorry you had to sit through that. I’m kind of not sure whether I want to or do not want to read the next instalment in this series. Some of you are probably wondering why I want to even consider reading the book when you take in all the gripes I had with the book. But like I said before, Maas doesn’t’ t have the best track record with her opening books but her sequels often work for me. Idk this is a discussion and an investment I might have to ponder upon later.