Bryce Quinlan has not known grief like that which washed over her when her closest friends were murdered by a demon. That day changed her, transforming her into a ghost of who she once was.
Now, nearly two years after, when the supposed culprit is behind bars, a similar series of murders begin occurring in Crescent City. When Bryce gets put on the case of solving the murders, she is forced to confront the possibility that they may all have been wrong about who is behind these horrific killings.
I needed no incentive to pick up another Sarah J. Maas novel considering how much I enjoyed reading the Throne of Glass books (Queen of Shadows is my favourite!).
So when a couple of things began to irk me in the first few sections of the book, truth be told, I became a little wary. I started wondering whether I would enjoy it at all. But, I needn’t have worried. For me, an ending can usually redeem the entire experience. And that was the case with House of Earth and Blood.
The world Sarah J. Maas creates for this series is one filled to the brim with more than a dozen supernatural beings, together referred to as the Vanir. Their history, abilities, and role in the larger scheme of things is something that gets introduced to us bit by bit. And I loved every aspect of it!
While the Vanir are typically pitted against the humans, through the actions of several characters, you begin to see otherwise; you realize just how much these characters are invested in the greater good of the world.
At the core of the story is the idea that “Through love, all is possible.” The sentiment of this is so strong and perfectly encapsulated in multiple storylines in the novel.
What Danika means to Bryce, what Bryce means to Lele – the author has reached into the very abyss of human emotions to bring these bonds to life and make them special.
Despite how Bryce and Hunt patch their differences and grow closer, I wasn’t as convinced by their relationship. So, not a fan of this particular ship.
Deception, slavery, and violence are three other themes that have a strong presence across the story.
I didn’t like how Hunt and Bryce had the habit of passing stereotypical remarks, especially with regards to gender-related labelling. It was highly unnecessary and added nothing of value to their characterization or interactions.
I get that this is a fantasy novel with elements of romance in it, but the number of times male characters would make eyes at Bryce or pass flirty comments seemed a bit over the top. I only say this because it felt forced. Bryce is plenty admirable without having to show her as being an appealing character just through the kind of attention she gets.
The characters may be new, some of their powers may be new, but Sarah J. Maas once again writes of a world that is taken with power and greed, a society that deems some people more equal than others. And the way she does that is so persuasive that you can’t help but be infuriated.
For an 800-page book, it’s very well-paced. I didn’t find myself bored or wishing that the chapters would pick up speed because, at every point, there was so much more to discover.
The worldbuilding, the friendships, the emotions elicited while reading the book are all reasons why I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I wasn’t sure earlier whether I’d pick up the next book in the series or not, but now I am. I can’t wait to see what the author has created for us in House of Sky and Breath!
Note – I received an ALC of this book from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.