House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

by - November 09, 2020



The first time someone asked me what I thought about this book, I immediately describe it as a typical Sarah J. Maas book. It's lush, it's beautifully written, and our characters are just as grumpy and broody as always. AND I ATE IT UP.

Sarah writing adult stories just feels natural in this book. I think a lot of us expected her to go all out with the sexual content but this book did not make that the focus point, something I later appreciated. However, despite its large size, I found that Crescent City was filled with a lot of nothing at some points and there were times I just craved something more. 

I blame this on the world-building. I think it's fair to say that Sarah wants to explore and experiment when it comes to the world-building. And Crescent City does not fail in this regard. Right from the first chapter, we are introduced to this world in heavy, thick sentences that may leave you feeling discombobulated. 

I think I only started to appreciate the world Sarah tried to create once I passed the first half of the book. However, Crescent City is probably my least favorite world Sarah has created. This is due to the bare minimum we received when it came to the other houses. I still don't know the history and actual driving force of certain houses. I think Sarah is setting us up for a sequel that reads similar to A Court of Mist and Fury, where we'll probably (hopefully) get introduced to the world on a grander scale.

With all this said, I don't think Sarah did anything really original with this book. The technology elements threw me off at first because the magical elements reminded me so much of her other worlds, but I soon grew used to it and was able to really settle into the storyline. And I was not complaining.

While we're used to reading about the found family element in Sarah's books, Crescent City flips the coin and introduces us to a protagonist that has lost her family. So we dive into the loneliness and the guilt that haunts Bryce as she goes on with her life and figures out how to be happy again. Her grief is heavy in this book but I could see the little seeds of found family elements starting. We don't get as much of it as I would have liked but at this point, I'm choosing to believe that Crescent City was just the start of something big.

Sarah set an immense and beautiful stage with this book, which led me to believe that the real "meat" of this story will be something unexpected. Similar to the Throne of Glass series, you'd never believe that the first book would lead to so many more characters, story arcs, and coming of age stories. This just feels that big and maybe even bigger. The way Sarah simply introduced us to relationships and ended the book without "finalizing" any of those relationships made me think that Sarah's preparing us for something.

All in all, I still really enjoyed this book. I found that it was a great first start, despite being slow and sort of meaningless at times. The ending was completely unexpected (WHAT HAPPENED?) and I'd even call this one of my favourite SJM cliffhangers. I stayed up until four in the morning to finish it and went to bed dreaming of the sun. I count that as a win.

Rating: 4 stars.

Book Description:

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.

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