House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) Paperback – 3 March 2020
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One of the best fantasy book series of the past decade (Time magazine on the Throne of Glass series)
Sarah J. Maas is a master of fantasy (HuffPost on A Court of Thorns and Roses)
Sizzles with sexual tension (Kirkus Reviews on A Court of Thorns and Roses)
From the Publisher
#1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launches her brand-new series CRESCENT CITY with Book 1 HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD
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- Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing (3 March 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 816 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1526626179
- ISBN-13 : 978-1526626172
- Item Weight : 454 g
- Dimensions : 20.3 x 25.4 x 4.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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a. It is an adult fantasy – and yes while, it isn’t a certainty that adults will behave maturely as compared to young adults; there is a higher probability that I will actually connect with these characters!
b. Even if I didn’t connect with ToG; I had no problems with Maas’s writing style – I found it to be engaging, stimulating and with the capability of capturing my interest from the get go. So; I knew that the writing style of the author would be enjoyable to me!
Now; coming to the actual review –
I will not be able to actually summarize HOW MUCH I ENJOYED the experience of reading this tome, before I start to bore you; so let me make points:
1. Bryce Quinlinn – a fiercely, sarcastic, rule breaking harpy with a heart that has been bruised and broken – more accurately damaged – is someone that I DID NOT like for more than half the book; and I am not sure if I still like her after completing the book. But I do know that I respect the heck out of her – she is strong, fierce and takes no notice of anyone else’s thoughts or opinions on her – or at least does her best not to!
2. Hunt Athalar – a slave assassin who indenture is a burden he has no choice but to carry – and somehow doesn’t see a light at the end of a long, dark and bleak tunnel. So he keeps his head down, keeps moving forward one step at a time. He is gentle at heart; and even with his vicious reputation; it was easy to see that the trauma he endured shadows a kind and loyal heart!
3. The multitude of characters playing a vital role in the world – there were so many; that it took me the whole book to keep them straight in my head – WE NEED A PREQUEL TO UNDERSTAND THIS WORLD!
4. The element of having a mystery within a fantasy world was a brilliant stroke – the twists and turns; the revelations of betrayals, secrets and things that would make any weaker protagonist buckle just made Bryce and Hunt’s decisions & actions all the more believable! Trust me; once you get used to the world created by Maas; the book seems to fly – you just CANNOT stop reading!
5. I adored that Maas made sure that there was no “saving the world” kind of responsibility thrust on the shoulders of the protagonists – which made the climax pretty darn perfect experience in my head – I swear; with both Bryce and Hunt being characters you just won’t like in the start; the growth they had to become characters I could respect and definitely want on my team – incredible!
6. Last; but definitely NOT the least – the romance; this is an adult fantasy – the attraction between Hunt & Bryce was sizzling; slow burn and definitely angst ridden. But it was one that saw a conclusion within this book; so I am really hoping that the next book is all about a couple I am rooting *wink wink*
If you have actually read through the whole review – kudos and now go pick up this book if any of the aspects seem to be of your liking – and if you are already a fan of Sarah J Maas; do I even need to say anything more?
By biswadeep g. on 21 March 2020
Note: The review may have a few spoilers. Be careful when you read it.
Review: 3.5 Stars
House of Earth and Blood is a well-written, fast paced story that has it's ups and downs. The book started off slowly and abruptly, making it difficult for me to understand the context setting and the initial character introductions. However, as the story progresses, the plot becomes stronger and more interesting. The story becomes gripping and is a wild roller-coaster until the very end. The author ensures that the readers attention is on the book and nowhere else!
Most of the characters are well crafted and interesting. However, I was not very impressed with Bryce, the main protagonist of the story. She is not as relatable as I had hoped, but all in all, she holds her own well in the story. Being half-fae, she is under the protection of the Fae community, but that is where it ends. On her own with her best friends, living away from her loving mother and step-father, anyone will assume that she is enjoying her life. But when tragedy strikes, it all comes undone.
As Bryce is pulled in to investigate her best friends death, the possibility of suicide, then murder all lurk about. Bryce has to sort out the facts and separate the truth from the lies. Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, is forced to step in protect Bryce, while working with her to solve the case. What ensues is a battle of wits and an underlying attraction which the two characters fight. With a lot of secrets being kept, it is not easy to find out the truth.
I did come to love a lot of the supporting characters, Bryce's best friend Fury, shrouded in mystery. Her step-brother, the Fae prince whom a lot of readers will come to love. His is a very well developed character. I also liked the other Archangels both good and bad. The author brings out a colorful variety in the nature of characters introduced.
One message which is persistent throughout the book is the meaning of friendship and loyalty. The author also shows us the true power of love above all else. The story, even though a little slow at first, was truly a wonderful read! I thoroughly enjoyed the action and appreciate the way the characters find their way in the end! Even Bryce and Hunt grow on you in the end and the reader just has to accept them since they bring the story together!
Top reviews from other countries
I had expected this book to be a great starter for a new series, as typically the first books in a new series are the ones that SJ writes the best. Plus this was meant to be an Adult series rather than her usual YA / teen fantasy, a bold new move that should indicate a good level of confidence in the novel and subsequent series
However, the information exposition overload in the first few chapters was a warning for the strength of the rest of the novel. It became a compilation of SJ’s of plot repetition from previous novels.
There’s a Mary Sue main character (Bryce) that has the most obviously implied talent (no subtly at all with that one - when the sword mysteriously started humming a quarter in, I knew that was going to go down) but of course some extra mad skillz because why not make her super powerful like the other female characters in the other series’ (Celena and Feyre) but with no real justification or logic as a half human / Fae.
There’s obviously a SUPER powerful hero (Hunt a replacement for Rhys and Rowan) that has been abused at the hands of female villains (Maeve / Amarantha) but has instant feelings for the main character possibly because it’s not possible to play the “mate” card across different species. There’s no clear reason why Hunt, a hardened and haunted ancient fallen angel, suddenly softens to Bryce other than the fact that she’s very attractive but very much out of character, he enjoys their ridiculously annoying banter and made up words such as alphahole. That, or, the character is so badly shaped that to a reader, it makes no sense.
This book reads as though it has many different attempts of plot threads but they’ve been thrown together in a frantic rush to get them all into one book. This has resulted in a romantic pairing that isn’t believable (or based mainly on lust), main characters that I don’t really like or care about, supplementary characters that I also don’t care about or understand why they were needed in the first place, lots of “watching” the plot unfold but not really “doing” anything aka not much action - mainly exposition, and a jumble of plot threads: grief over dead friend, insta-love with mysterious misunderstood killer, crazy boss that has unlimited supplies of random crap that coincidentally happens to be useful, villainous female torturing hero, crazy one-of-a-kind super powers defying all odds, drug addiction, unjust class structure etc etc (the list goes on) all within the new structure of a paranormal fantasy world mix of every single possible type of creature, categorised in a new system, layered into a hierarchy.
Basically, I am disappointed and not sure I can be bothered to look out for the next one. There’s not enough for me to remain interested.
If you want a good world building fantasy that IS adult, check out Ilona Andrews and put this glorified older teen / YA book away.
Em um universo dominado pelos Asteri, seres com poderes comparados aos de deuses, conhecemos Bryce Quinlan, uma universitária e autêntica “party girl”, metade humana e metade feérica, que vê sua vida se modificar drasticamente com o assassinato brutal de seus amigos mais próximos.
Dois anos após tentar seguir com sua vida, mas sem realmente conseguir, ela é convocada pelo governador de Crescent City para, junto à Hunt Athalar, um anjo escravizado por liderar a maior e mais conhecida rebelião da história contra a hierarquia instaurada em seu povo, investigar e desvendar os eventos que culminaram na morte prematura daqueles que tanto amou, já que o suposto assassino voltou a atacar.
Conforme a investigação se desenrola, segredos e mistérios são revelados, Bryce é obrigada a revisitar as lembranças dolorosas e os traumas deixados pelo acontecimento mais horripilante de sua vida e a antipatia inicial que sente em relação à Hunt dá lugar a um sentimento enorme de identificação e compreensão que passa pela amizade e paixão até chegar ao amor verdadeiro.
É um enredo cheio de suspense, aventura/ação, mistério e romance que se apresenta bem denso e difícil no início, em razão da complexidade e quantidade de criaturas e divisões políticas introduzidas, com uma personagem principal que não agrada muito a princípio, mas que cresce de forma exponencial e inesperada, surpreendendo a cada reviravolta inimaginável e culminando em um final arrebatador que não só te deixa ávido por mais como te conquista completamente.
Temos aqui aquele tipo de história que se inicia de forma despretensiosa e relativamente comum e se torna algo gigante ao longo dos capítulos. Excelente início de uma série que possui pleno potencial para se tornar a melhor escrita pela autora!
Saying that, I adorned the journey that the main character, Bryce, goes on. The themes are more adult in nature but her journey through grief is universal and I love how it’s portrayed - even if it’s hard to read sometimes!
Bryce is a solid female character with a hatred of ‘alpha holes’ and a vulnerable yet independent streak that is so often missing from female character led stories. I really like her, for all her flaws more than anything else.
Overall, I did enjoy it - a lot - but it didn’t capture me as much as her previous work. For starters, it felt like it took a long time to get going - the first third of the book felt long and drawn out. Then, there’s a major plot twist (which I won’t spoil), that comes out of nowhere and it’s so frustrating because it’s a great twist and the remainder of the book becomes fast, punchy and addictive. The plot twist though has no real foreshadowing (and I’m not convinced it makes that much sense for those characters to be doing those things at that time due to injuries/the laws of time and physics), it just...it really threw me out of the story and I had to decide to ignore the fact that it makes no sense and instead just keep going - driven by my love for the characters and the typically addictive nature of the love story. (Lets be honest, Rhys and Feyre will always have the best love story)
Unlike her other series, I probably wouldn’t reread this one - I’m glad I read it but I have no burning need to go back to it (where as I couldn’t get enough of TOG and kept rereading it).
It feels like there’s going to be a sequel and now that all the clunky world building is done, the sequel is probably going to be amazing.
Overall, I would recommend but maybe don’t put it at the top of your list... but if you’re a massive Sarah J Maas fan...then what the ‘hel’ are you waiting for? Go read it!
Firstly, this is not what I'd describe as an adult novel. In fact, the writing seemed less sophisticated than TOG. The only thing that made it more 'adult' was a littering of swear words which felt forced/contrived - as though that's what the author feels is needed to elevate a novel from YA to adult. Really, the dialogue felt incredibly YA still (almost childish in a way when it came to the 'romance' and Bryce's inclination to call all strong males 'alpha holes'. It was a sort of high school language almost.
This novel isn't set in our reality either. Not, of course, a valid criticism of the book; just something that (probably via fan rumour) had been mis-communicated. However, I would have loved for Maas to do a new spin and start a novel in this reality. Like I say though, it's not a reason to have a dig at CC; just something to be aware of if you were hoping for this novel to be set on 'earth'.
Next, let's talk about sex/sizzle. Way disappointing. Now I realise that this is the first in the series, and Maas may want to leave some titillation for later books. However, this was woefully disappointing for an 800 page grownup novel. When it comes to writing smouldering fiction, Laura Thalassa is waayyyy better - her Bargainer series knocks Maas out of the park. Even Natalia Jaster brings it on more. And I found Natalia Jaster's writing in Trick (admittedly the only novel I've read by her so far) to be a lot more sophisticated.
I struggled getting into this book - it started slow and there was a ton of info dumping at the start. It didn't seem to build as naturally or organically as TOG. I'd hoped to see Maas getting better as a writer but this felt very paint-by-numbers. There was one part (a couple of hundred pages in) which was a 'wow' moment. But that was then obliterated by a storyline that I found less than engaging. It seemed to go round and round in circles regarding the search for a stolen fae artifact and somthing called synth. A bit like a fantasy detective story but without being very gripping. I hung on in there though because, well, it's Maas. The book finally picked up in the last 150-so pages but it was all quite predicable. In fact, the whole thing just felt like a re-skinning of Maas's other novels, with nothing very original (just a change of scene and character). We have a heroine (who doesn't know she's got powers - but of course the reader knows she's going to come into great power because Celaena did, and so did Feyre). We've got winged males - but this time it's the angles. The angels bothered me because we have fae too, and I couldn't really see what the difference was, except for the wings. The angels in this novel don't feel very different to the winged fae in Maas's other novels; I couldn't pick out a quirk or feature that made the angels interesting. I'd have found CC more interesting had there been a greater distinction between them and the fae. In fact, I'd have probably preferred it if the love interest was a shifter because at least that's a point of difference. There were repeated turns of phrase that I've grown bored with now, across thousands of pages of Maas's work (characters 'huffing laughs' 'grinding out' phrases' and the amount of times Bryce's 'toes curled' to indicate she was horny was laughable). The sex scenes were also laughable: 'hard, considerable length' - I ask you! Okay, I get the author wants (as always) to convey her lead male is well hung - but find a new way to do this!
Generally, the romance between Bryce and Hunt was predictable and dull. There was certainly not enough conflict/tension for it to be a satisfying hate to love storyline; this is no Rhys and Feyre. Hunt isn't dark enough either - he's actually quite boring. Ruhn, Bryce's brother, is a more interesting character who seems to have more of an edge - and maybe he'll appear more in the next books. If this remains Bryce and Hunter's series though, I'm just not sure how much I care about them or how invested I am in their story at the moment. Will I read the next book when it comes out? Probably - I'll give in one more bash. Generally, though, unless Maas ups her game and makes this a more adult, well-written series, then I think I've seen her do it all before - and better.