All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: House Of Earth And Blood by Sarah J. Maas

on March 26, 2020

House Of Earth And Blood (Crescent City #1)
Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury ANZ
2020, 802p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

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.

I have previously enjoyed both of Sarah J. Maas’ other series’ and was quite looking forward to this new series, which is the first classified as “adult” despite the fact that her other two were pretty much adult books. However – this book was a struggle in a couple of different ways and I think a lot of that boils down to the fact that well, it’s just too long.

It’s 800 pages and when I finished it, I said to my husband “pretty sure that could’ve been a 400p book. Max.” There’s huge amounts of filler and info dumping in the first section before the murder happens and then pretty much nothing happens for the 300p or so after that except for some pretty tedious conversations between Bryce and various other people and Hunt, the fallen angel turned guardian, following her around as she ‘investigates’ the death of her best friend Danika and Danika’s wolf pack. The last maybe 200p are excellent – I was invested in what was happening and a lot of the plot was actually quite strong, some of the stuff laid down earlier turned out to be important. But because the preceding 300 or 350p was so slow, that made the last 200p or so feel like utter breakneck pace. So overall, it feels a bit all over the place.

Secondly, Bryce. She’s really annoying. She’s one of those “sassy” girls who isn’t intimidated by anyone or anything, even immortal beings that could clearly snap her in two with a mere thought. She’s also ridiculously beautiful of course and although she’s half-Fae, has almost no power until it turns out that she’s a special snowflake after all, because of course she is. I found Bryce tedious for probably 90% of this book. There’s a lot of drug taking and partying and sleeping with randoms in toilets in the earlier section and a lot of being horrid to people in the rest for seemingly little to no reason at all. I think in order to make the reader feel sympathetic toward Bryce, Maas has some people/wolves treat her in a truly heinous fashion but for me, this is never particularly adequately explained. It’s partially explained in terms of one character but in relation to another, nothing really makes sense other than the fact that Bryce is a “half-breed” but the level of hatred and revulsion feels ridiculously over the top and stupidly petty.

I found no reason to get invested in Bryce and Hunt because this is the first book and Maas has sunk every first book ship and there’s little to suggest that won’t happen here as the series moves on. To me their chemistry wasn’t particularly there. They’re just two exceptionally hot people forced to spend time together and for some reason that results in them wanting to sleep together (which doesn’t happen actually, there’s no sex scene here). I liked Hunt as a character and I enjoyed his motivations, the twists revolving around him. He actually felt far more interesting to me than Bryce – the struggle with his ’employment’, his desire for freedom, his dedication and loyalty to his fallen lover was something I felt marked him as different…until it seemed that he wasn’t immune to Bryce either because she’s super beautiful and amazing and her only flaws are her too-big boobs and her too-big butt which meant she couldn’t have the dancing career she desired. The best thing about Bryce was actually her friendship with Danika.

Books don’t have to be this long to set up a story, even in a completely foreign urban fantasy world. I felt the same way about Kingdom Of Ash as well, and that was culminating a massive book arc. This is just beginning….it’s possible subsequent books in this series could be longer, if it follows patterns of her others. I felt like you could lose probably 300p of this book and it honestly would not actually impact on the core story at all. There’s just a lot of Bryce doing things – going to work, going home, going for a run, eating, talking to people, arguing with Hunt, arguing with others, reminiscing about Danika and navel gazing. This just reminds me that sometimes I say “oh I feel I could read 1000p of X character just living their lives” and then an author gives me a book that is basically 1000p of a character doing things and yeah, no, it’s not the read I thought it was. Or maybe it’s just because I found Bryce so meh most of the time. I liked Feyre and Aelin a lot more. Bryce is like Aelin with the volume turned up even more and I wasn’t sure that was possible. Maybe now that she’s at peace over the death of her friends, I’ll like her more in the future. I hope so.

If this had been a 400p book (like the first 100p and the last 300) I think it would’ve been pretty amazing. There’s actually a lot of pretty clever (and quite gruesome) stuff and the way it peaks at the end was really engaging and like I said earlier, I was pretty invested. But I really had to push through the 400p in the middle, I was literally forcing myself to read through it at times, just waiting for something to happen. When it does, it’s great. But there’s so much time spent where nothing is happening and that for me, is getting to be a problem.

7/10 (I really ummed and ahhed over what to rate this, whether it’d be a 3 or a 4 on Goodreads, 6 or a 7 here. I think because the last portion really did have my heart racing and made me feel things {I am still not over Lehaba} I went the more generous number)

Book #49 of 2020

One response to “Review: House Of Earth And Blood by Sarah J. Maas

  1. Brilliant review! Sorry it wasn’t what you hoped 😦

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