5-Star · Book Reviews

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) | Spoiler-Free ARC Review

91oX1d8ogSLTitle: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Genre(s): Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: ARC acquired through my job at Barnes and Noble
Pages: 816
Add to GoodreadsAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

Synopsis

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launches her brand-new CRESCENT CITY series with House of Earth and Blood: the story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.

Personally, I recommend readers go into this book blind, as the event described in the synopsis hits harder when you don’t see it coming. But too each their own. Here’s the full synopsis for those who want it:

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.

TW/CW: drug use (drugs are fictional, mirror ecstasy and cocaine) and alcohol use, death of a friend, death of a loved one, torture, slavery, war violence, talk of suicide, suicide attempt, grief, attempted murder of a pet, talk of sexual violence (attempted and implied), violence, gore

Review:

I was able to acquire this ARC through work and y’all let me tell you all about how much I lost my shit when I saw that we had this one. My manager said she’s never seen anyone excited over an ARC before.

Y’all, I’m going to be honest with you, when this book was announced at BEA and BookCon last year, I was interested, but I didn’t fall into the hype. Then I saw Becca from Becca and the Books talk about this one in one of her weekly reading vlogs and yeah, she 100000% sold me on this one.

A week or so later, we got the ARC at work and got my greedy little hands on it and started reading it the stroke of midnight on the 7th (so it’ll count for Tome Topple) and I absolutely devoured it.

“My friends are behind me, and I will protect them.”

—>characters<—

Bryce – Our leading lady. Bryce is a fiercely loyal friend, open in her sexuality, a bit of a party girl (but not someone to underestimate). Also, she’s half-Fae and the only one brave enough to talk back to them.

Hunt – Fallen angel and the broody replacement we all need now that Jon Snow is out of our lives. Completely misunderstood and passionate to a fault.

Ruhn – Fae prince and Bryce’s “cousin,” even though they’ve had a bit of a falling out. Tired of his dad and trying to live up to his expectations.

Danika – Wolf-shifter, Bryce’s best friend. Alpha of the pack and inline to take over as prime. Known as a party girl, but also as a great friend.

There are a ton of side characters in this book, all amazing. Would 100% give my life for Syrinx and Lehabah.

Representation: We have side characters described as “light” and “dark” skinned. With the exception of Bryce and her parents, our other main characters are not human (though many are humanoid).

We do have side-characters in same-sex relationships and an on-page (though subtle) f/f romance and mentions of a m/m romance (though the romance itself happens off-page).

“Through love, all is possible.”

–>plot<–

Okay, so I went into this book completely blind and I loved watching the plot unfold. This starts off as a pretty run of the mill murder mystery. Bryce and Hunt are put on the case to help figure out who committed a pretty brutal murder two-years after the fact. That being said, the number of emotions I felt while reading this book was something I wasn’t prepared for. I cried, I was shocked at reveals, I needed to put the book down and process passages. I just had a ride with this one and got so so invested in it.

The plot twists into a much more complex story that leaves you satisfied at the end of this book, but SO excited for the sequel.

Also, this book has mild Zootopia vibes and I was kind of here for it. I don’t want to go into that too much, but like, it was a fun surprise and a plot that had a bit of a shocking ending.

Oh and Maas is known for her romance (*cough* ACOMAF *cough*), so the biggest surprise of this book was that the main romance was so FREAKING SLOW BURN. There were two scenes that got a bit steamy and I was prepared for some chapter 55 level smut,  but nope. Mostly heavy petting and solid 3rd base action, but we’re still holding out for the big bang and I am extra excited for book 2 because I’m so ready for more Maas romance.

Yeah, I really don’t want to give anything away. This was an engaging and entertaining story that had me hooked and intrigued from the start. I did film a reading vlog that has more detailed thoughts and spoilers that will be uploaded after release on the 3rd.

“Bryce was a ghost for a long while. She pretended she wasn’t, but she was. You brought her back to life.”

Final Thoughts:

I’m sure you all know where this is going, but this book took me by complete surprise. What I thought was going to be a fun urban fantasy has taken over my life in the best possible way. I’ve already preordered a finished copy of this book and preordered the audiobook and will probably reread this one a couple more times before the end of the year.

I’m trash for this book. It’s definitely making the top of the list for my faves of the year, I’m not sure how high it’ll be, but I’m just saying it’ll take a lot to knock this from the top spot. This was definitely a new favorite.

Rating:

5 stars

 

11 thoughts on “House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) | Spoiler-Free ARC Review

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