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.
House of Blood and Earth’s pages held a lot of what Sarah J. Maas is known for – femme fatale characters, hot supernatural beings and brooding mythical males. Some people are probably rolling their eyes already, however I think there’s something to be said for writing what you know. And despite a really rough beginning with a lot of info dumping, House of Blood and Earth turned out to be a really charming story, where friendship was at the centre of it all.
When I picked up House of Blood and Earth, I wanted something that was comforting and slightly predictable. I must say, I got exactly what I asked for with a few unexpected plot surprises along the way that I was ecstatic about. This book is riddled with tropes that are very typical of Sarah J. Maas. I’m not holding any of this books predictability against it.
I knew exactly what I was getting into when I picked this book up and I enjoyed every second of it.
Bryce Quinlan keeps everyone at arm’s length. Although sometimes she’s little reckless and brash, but she’s largely closed herself off to the world after witnessing the aftermath of a brutal murder of her closest friends. I have to say, I enjoyed Bryce’s wounded characterisation, a woman who years after the death of her closest friend is still mourning and hasn’t learned to enjoy life. Maybe it’s some sadistic part of me that likes the kind of angst that came with that characterisation, but I mostly enjoyed the exploration of Bryce’s grief and depression.
Hunt Athalar is notorious for his deadly skill set and overall brooding attitude as one of Crescent City’s personal Guard. He’s not too happy about being paired up with ‘Party Girl’ Bryce Quinlan for an investigation, but cops it on the chip when his Owner says he’ll reduce his sentence if he finds the murderer with Bryce’s help. Hunt’s perspective was just as palatable as Bryce’s was, but I wouldn’t say he’s a new favourite character or was totally unique enough to give me heart eyes. But I enjoyed his back story well enough and how he came to really care for Bryce. Especially because a lot of their relationship was focuses on them becoming friends and finding a kindred spirit in each other.
What surprised me most about this book was just how much I enjoyed the supernatural crime-drama investigative plot, that was heavily rooted in friendship and grief. It made me wonder why I don’t read more urban fantasies often, and that I need to correct that immediately. Using phones and other advanced tech to solve supernatural crimes… is genius?
Unfortunately this book isn’t without its flaws. (But, is any book?)
This book deserves all the grief it’s getting for its clunky world building. The beginning of this book felt like chapters upon chapters of the most unnuanced info-dumping I’ve ever read. So much information so early when there’s little establishment of plot or character? No thank you. This created so many problems for me, because this book has its own fictional jargon, different aliases and lineages… and I don’t think I remembered 90% of it. As a reader, I appreciate bite-sized chunks of information that is easily digestible PLEASE. Just like this author did in A Court of Mist and Fury, she’s absolutely capable of doing better.
I wish I counted the amount of times ‘alpha hole’ came up in this book. It seems like this author is just poking fun at herself and the fact that she is known for her growly, predatory male characters. Whilst’s Bryce’s dislike of alpha men makes sense for her characterisation, I definitely felt like I was hit over the head with this too much. Instead, I wished Sarah J. Maas would focus on improving her physical descriptions of her characters. If I took a shot every time I read that someone had tanned or sunkissed skin… I’d be hammered, basically.
In a nutshell, House of Blood and Earth is just another looong (urban) fantasy book about faeries (and other things with wings this time) because Sarah J. knows she’s a cash cow and Bloomsbury will let her write as much as she wants. (And good for her.) But I think it’s important to note that a lot of what this book is, isn’t too dissimilar from her other books she’s written before and that she’s really writing for her fans here. I’ve been reading from this author since I was a teenager, and I honestly found this book insanely comforting and a great distraction from life. I’ll definitely be continuing out of interest to see how the series ends.
Are you a fan of this first book or Sarah J. Maas? I’d love to hear any of your thoughts you have about this book! 😊
– Carly, Reading is my kind of thing