House of Earth and Blood

- Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savoring every pleasure Lunathion—otherwise known as Crescent City—has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city—and Bryce’s world.

Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city’s most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step.

Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, wants nothing to do with Bryce Quinlan, despite being ordered to protect her. She stands for everything he once rebelled against and seems more interested in partying than solving the murder, no matter how close to home it might hit. But Hunt soon realizes there’s far more to Bryce than meets the eye—and that he’s going to have to find a way to work with her if they want to solve this case.

As Bryce and Hunt race to untangle the mystery, they have no way of knowing the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the darkest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir…

Series / Genres:

My Review:

solid, good read:
4/5
I’m going to start by saying I really enjoyed House of Earth and Blood. I want to get that out nice and early before the Maas fans get up in arms about what I have to say.

I don’t care how good a book is; it should not take over 450 pages to set the scene and get to the good stuff. It took me three days to get to this point, and then I read the last 350 pages in one sitting. Because the second half(ish) of the book is incredible. Maas stops floundering around looking for the plot, and the intensity rackets from 0 to 100 in the weirdest twist that made almost no sense but finally got everything moving.

I understand worldbuilding and the complexity of the mythopoeia being created out of thin air, but so much of the first half felt like a drag. I was starting to worry – I loved ACOTAR, but when I read ToG next, it didn’t have the same magic. It’s why I’ve put off reading House of Earth and Blood for so long. I’m sitting somewhere in between with this series but am hopeful that House of Sky and Breath can pull it together to ACOTAR level (or above – the roots are certainly present to allow for it…).

There’s definitely no instalove here (thank you) – both of Bryce’s ‘relationships’
I’m counting both Connor and Hunt here
take the slow burn approach that is so perfect for the way this story is told. Nothing else moves quickly, so I’m glad the romance didn’t, either. The cast of characters is eclectic and has the potential to be very interesting, though they’re lacking a little depth after all the focus on Bryce and Hunt in House of Earth and Blood. I hope this improves with time because it could add much of what was missing from this narrative. Bryce and Hunt are so wound up (trapped, really) in their own heads with grief and despair it would be nice to have some relief with some different POVs or at least appearances.

You could not have dragged me away from finishing the last half of this book in one sitting. I fully cried several times, and there was a serious feeling of catharsis. The tone of House of Earth and Blood is so dark – even as the reader, you have very little hope for any kind of light or joy in the end, even knowing who the author is. This story took so many turns I wasn’t expecting, and then more twists on the original twists had me unsure where we would end up. I’m equally excited and apprehensive to see where this goes next…

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