The Random Bibliophile

by Renee Alexis

Renee Alexis
20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and BTS. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.

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2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge
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House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City 1) by Sarah J. Maas

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City 1) by Sarah J. Maas
Synopsis from Goodreads:

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…

With unforgettable characters and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.
 

Sarah J. Maas is one of my favorite fantasy authors and I have been a fan of hers since 2016. I was obsessed with and crazy about ACOTAR and Throne of Glass for years. Now that she has a brand new series, I kind of put off reading it because I was afraid that I wouldn't love it as much as I loved ACOTAR and TOG. Don't get me wrong, I've wanted to read this book since it was released last March 2020, but I just didn't have the mindset to dive into something new that wasn't Terrasen or Prythian yet. Throughout the months, I have heard many great things about this book and I had high expectations as I finally decided that it was high time for me to pick it up.

House of Earth and Blood is the first book of the Crescent City Series. It is an adult fantasy book that centers around the protagonist Bryce Quinlan, a half-human, half-fae female, whose life was plunged into chaos after her best friend, Danika Fendyr, was murdered. We are introduced into a brand new fantasy world called Midgard - where Lunathion (also known as Crescent City) is in, the setting of our story. In this book, we get to see a lot of fantastical creatures, including the Fae - which we have already encountered in Maas' previous books.

As much as I refrained from comparing this book with her previous ones, I can't help but see similarities in terms of the characters and the Fae aspects of it. I'm pretty sure writing about the Faes is Sarah's comfort zone but it was nice to see other fantastical beings incorporated in this book as well. 

World Building

I want to talk about world-building in particular and I just want to say that it was gloriously done in this book. I loved the world-building, every chapter brought something new and I devoured every word. Too much description usually bores me (I'm looking at you Cassandra Clare), but SJMaas has just this beautiful writing I can't help but admire. Her words flow through my brain creating a vivid world in my imagination. The way she writes about this fantasy world was far from boring. I was engrossed. It was as if I was in Lunathion myself and I was right there beside Bryce, walking down the sidewalk. At least this is how affected I am by her words. Although I won't deny that there were some instances that it was just information overload that I had to go back a page and read it all over again just to really understand everything. 😅 

"Through love, all is possible."

Book Length

I've read that a lot of people saying that the book was too long and that it would have been better to cut it a few hundred pages short. I sort of have a different opinion. This being the first book of a heavy fantasy drama, the length of this book was just right. Like all other fantasy series, the first book is where we get the first glimpse, the first impression of the fantasy world it has. House of Earth and Blood was heavy with descriptions, world-building, introductions to places and characters, and the history of its world. After finishing the book, I still even have questions about so many things. While some would find it dragging and boring, I find the first half of this book enjoyable. Maybe I'm biased, but I just love how Sarah writes, introducing us to this new world, to this fantasy place she created with a lot of complexities in it. I've seen a lot of people complain about how long this book was, and yes, this book is THICK but I would've read it anyway even if it was a thousand pages long.

Pacing of the Book

The pacing of the book was okay. The story was divided into four parts and I think that helped a lot in building up the plot. I was itching to get to the climax of the story and when I finally got there, I was overwhelmed. I cried, I laughed, I was at the edge of my seat. I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it, and after reading the last page, I was left utterly speechless. Leave it to Sarah to write some characters you can't help but be invested in and then BOOM, revelation after revelation, twist after twist. I was mindblown. I was moved. And the action? OH MY GOSH. Even if everything happened in the last 30% of the book, it was that turn of events that made me give it a 5-star rating. 

Characters

Now, let's talk about the characters... Let's start with Bryce. I've always loved strong female characters, this is why I really loved TOG, and so I couldn't help but compare Bryce with Aelin. While Bryce has her strengths, I didn't see a lot of protagonist characteristics in her character in this book at first. She's a party girl, a mediocre half-blood who works in an antiquities shop, a woman who became depressed after the death of her best friend. Her character was anticlimactic up until I saw what she was made of towards the end of the book. I hungered for that development, I longed for Maas to finally reveal who Bryce was and I wasn't disappointed. 

I have mixed feelings about Hunt's character and I'm saying this having Connor in mind, though I feel there's still a lot more we have yet to learn about him. Hunt (who I sometimes call Hunter) didn't strike me as much as Rowan or Rhysand did. Okay, I'm sorry, here I go again with the comparison, but I just can't help it! Yes, he's dashing and he has a huge D and he's sexually appealing and totally powerful. Okay fine, he's a fine ass. And yes, I liked how Sarah wrote him as someone who was struggling to forget his first love - again the same with Rowan! 

I swear I could just point out a number of similarities, like Fury here is like Amren in the ACOTAR books, and Syrinx is the Fleetfoot in TOG. Ugh, at this point, I wouldn't be able to stop comparing the books and their characters. (But I really loved Juniper & Fury (and I want to know about these two!), and Lehabah.)

But then again, I bet there are still sooo many secrets Sarah has up her sleeves in regards to the characters and the story in this world, and I can't wait to read more of them in the next books!

Some things I didn't like

Rating this five stars didn't mean it was a perfect book. It wasn't. There are some things I didn't like. Number one is the swearing. Why was the swearing in this book too much, Sarah? Like why? I get that swearing can be appropriate at times but in this one, there was just TOO MUCH and some are uncalled for and were just childish. Number two, alphahole-what? If I had a dollar for all the number of times alphahole was mentioned, I'd be set for the month. Number three, the male-snarling has got to go. I understand people here are animalistic (haha), but really? Roaring and snarling? Come on, Sarah, you can do better than that. But all these negative thoughts aside, I still gave this read a five-star rating because I was extremely entertained. 

I guess that's everything I have to say...for now. I've always loved a good fantasy book and this one just hit the spot. I've been a huge Maas Trash and I guess I will always be one! 

RATING: ❤❤❤❤❤


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