Updated: Jan 24
House of Earth and Blood
by Sarah J Maas
Published by Bloomsbury
Book 1 in the Crescent City Series
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.
With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, 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.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violent Urban-Fantasy Thrilling
Steamy Mystery Intense
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, the first book in her Crescent City Series, centers around Bryce Quinlan, a party girl who's life changes overnight when her best friends are brutally murdered. When the murders start up again, two years after the supposed killer was caught, she is paired up with Hunt Athalar, a Fallen Angel who is currently enslaved to the archangels he tried to overthrow. She gets a chance to get revenge on the murders that turned her into a shell of who she once was. He is offered something he wants more than anything if the murderer is found: his freedom. Together, they investigate and not only learn the truth in the dark city, but learn more about themselves, and each other.
So I was warned ahead of time that this book starts off a bit slow. It's a fantasy. This is a very intricate world, and there is a lot of world building, along with a lot of characters, that need to be built up before the story moves along. You'll understand why by the end. I promise. It took me a good ten chapters to get into House of Earth and Blood. Normally, this would be points against it for me, but not in this one! BUT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THIS BOOK YET, PLEASE KNOW, YOU ARE MEANT TO BE CONFUSED. Don't give up on it.
In fact, if you have read this book, and are still confused about the world, check out this reddit that explains it for you!
So. Thoughts. I have never read a fantasy so fucking ... original. I mean, yes ... we get your normal supernatural species. Angels and demons, fae and witches, shifters and humans ... we have a high class and lower class, etc ... BUT I swear Sarah adds some elements to her characters and world that changes things up in a big way. The unique touches to this world that Sarah adds to the story makes House of Earth and Blood just absolutely delicious. And the story? The mystery? While at points there seemed to be random bits of information that were added to the story for no reason at all, it all comes full circle, and it's fucking. Epic. One of the best things of House of Earth and Blood? The unpredictability of it. I usually do figure out things before the end, and I didn't figure out ANY of what happens in this book.
I'm still in shock.
Another reason this book is, again, EPIC, is because the characters are written so incredibly well. Our two main characters, especially so. Both are emotionally broken, and flawed characters, that make mistakes. I love characters that are not written perfectly, and we get that here. Bryce definitely makes mistakes, but she is also an incredibly empathetic person. Very loving. She lets people think the worst of her though, so there are a lot of misconceptions about her. Hunt is very much the same, but has the added misfortune of being a slave, and struggling with wanting to be free, but also wanting to be free from a corrupt republic. And I gotta say ... holy fuck, the chemistry between these two is INSANE! I swear I was sweating most of this book.
I swear if Sarah "Tamlin's" us with Hunt, I will riot.
The side characters in this book are equally amazing. Believe me, that doesn't mean I like 95% of them. Most of them are brutal. But we have characters we can't help but love and root for as well. Like Ruhn. I have a huge soft spot for Ruhn. There were quite a few moments where I wanted to shake Bryce because, hey, be nice to your brother. He freaking loves you. There are characters I have been left incredibly curious about as well ... like a certain demon prince ...
Can I just say that trying to write about this book and not give anything away is so incredibly hard? It's INSANE how hard it is. So if this review comes out weird and vague, it's only because I don't want to ruin the book for you if you haven't read it yet. Which, if you haven't yet, why the fuck not? Buy it now!
House of Earth and Blood was a very surprising book to me. It took a while to get into, but once things started to piece together, and we get the bigger picture, woven with some amazing character development and INTENSE chemistry, House of Earth and Blood was epic. Truly. It blew my freaking mind. I'm putting it up there with A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (which is my top book of the year atm). It's obvious at this point what my rating will be, but I implore you, READ THIS BOOK!
Bryce and Connor's moment in the kitchen, and her eventually agreeing to go on a date with him
Hunt stopping the interrogation when he saw that Bryce was about to have a breakdown
Hunt telling Isaiah about Bryce's chemera appearing to him, biting him in the ass, vanishing back to the apartment, and Bryce opens the curtains to Hunt rubbing his own ass
Bryce telling Hunt that while he thought she was doing nothing, she was getting some leads for their case
Bryce getting the obsidian salt, and luring the Viper Queen to her
Hunt being a total sweetheart to Lehabah
Hunt giving Bryce first aid after the explosion at the club
Bryce explaining to Hunt what an alphahole is
Bryce taking a selfie with Hunts phone to put a "non-corpse" photo on there
Bryce recording the game for Hunt when Micah punish's him with an assignment
The. Shooting. Range.
Hunt getting Bryce through a panic attack
Bryce changing her contact name in Hunt's phone all the time
Bryce squealing about the otter
Bryce taking care of Hunt when he is horrified with his punishment from Micah
That moment in the kitchen between Bryce and Hunt ... holy sexual tension batman
The video chat with Bryce's parents
Hunt holding Bryce's hand, and talking her through getting her leg fixed
Bryce and Hunt finally telling succumbing to their feelings for one another
Bryce trying to bargain to get Hunt freed, despite his betrayal.
Bryce calling her boss, and making sure Micah confessed everything in front of the camera
Ruhn, and everyone honoring Lehabah for her sacrifice.
The. Fucking. Vacuum. YES! haha
The Prime telling Sabine that Bryce has the heart of a wolf
Bryce saving as many humans as she could
Bryce revealing that she is starborn, and has hid it for years
Hunt being freed while everyone is distracted, and him killing his "owner"
LIGHT IT UP!
Hunt trying to bring Bryce back from the Drop
Hunt and Bryce finally telling each other their feelings
Bryce talking to her Mom about Hunt
Ruhn and Bryce making up
"I'm home", and blowing a kiss to the pack goodbye
Where to Buy
Danika: "I bet fifty silver marks the bouncers don't let you through the doors looking like that."
Bryce flipped off her friend as the pack chuckled
Bryce: "I'm sorry if I make you feel self-conscious about your bony ass, Danika."
Connor: "Look. We've known each other a while ..."
Bryce: "Is this a rehearsed speech?"
He straightened, color straining his cheeks. The Second in the Pack of Devils, the most feared and lethal of all the Auxiliary units, was blushing.
Bryce: "That sounded like a rehearsed introduction to me.
Connor: "Can you let me ask you out, or do I need to get into a fight with you about my phrasing first?"
She snorted, but her guts twisted
Bryce: "I don't date wolves."
Connor threw her a cocky grin.
Connor: "Make an exception."
Bryce: "Like what you see?"
The female gave her a sweeping glance, from Bryce's heels to her red hair to the bottle of wine dangling from her fingers. The fae female shrugged, setting the black stones in her long dress sparkling.
Fae: "I'll pay a gold mark to watch you two."
She inclined her head to the human at her table.
He offered Bryce a smile, his vacant face suggesting he was soaring high on some drug.
Bryce smirked at the female.
Bryce: "I didn't know Fae females had gotten so cheap. Word on the street used to be that you'd pay us gold by the armful to pretend you're not lifeless as Reapers between the sheets."
Bryce: Pizza. Saturday night at six. If you're late, it's over.
Connor: I'll never keep you waiting.
Ruhn: "Keep talking, Athalar. Let's see where it gets you."
Hunt: "I'm shaking."
Bryce: "I didn't know Daddy bothered to care about my safety."
Ruhn: "He doesn't. But I'll make him care about it."
Bryce only smiled again, as if she hasn't heard a damn word he said. But then she hit some button beside the door that had the enchantments burning like acid -
Hunt jumped back, his lightning flaring, defending against an enemy that was not there.
The door shut. She purred through the intercom.
Bryce: "I'll call you. Don't bother me until then."
Urd fucking spare him.
Hunt: "You have my number now. Call it if something goes wrong, or feels wrong, or if you need anything."
Bryce: "Like a pizza?"
She clearly saw the middle finger Hunt lifted above his head. Shadow of Death, indeed.
Bryce: "You would make a good delivery boy with those wings."
Hunt: "I'm going to be straight with you."
His nostrils flared
Hunt: "I will do whatever the Hel it takes to solve this case. Even if it means tying you to a fucking chair until you write those lists."
Bryce: "Bondage. Nice."
Hunt: "Do you own any weapons?"
The purely male gleam in his eye told her that he assumed she didn't
Bryce: "Bother me again, and you'll find out."
Hunt wondered how much trouble he'd get in if he chucked Bryce Quinlan into the Istros.
Hunt: "This is already a nightmare."
Isaiah: "You watched Quinlan for one night."
Hunt: "Ten hours, to be exact. Right until her pet chimera just appeared next to me at dawn, bit me in the ass for looking like I was dozing off, and then vanished again - right back into the apartment. Just as Quinlan came out of her bedroom and opened the curtains to see me grabbing my own ass like a fucking idiot. Do you know how sharp a chimera's teeth are?"
Hunt: "When I flew over to explain, she blasted her music and ignored me like a fucking brat. I didn't see her again until she went for a run. She flipped me off as she left."
Isaiah: "So you went to Samson Street to brood? What's the emergency?"
Hunt: "The emergency, asshole, is that I might kill her before we find the real murderer."
Viper Queen: "Nice bodyguard."
Bryce shrugged as those snake's eyes dragged over every inch of Hunt.
Bryce: "Nothing going on upstairs, but everything happening where it counts."
Viper Queen: "I've never heard Hunt Athalar described that way, but I'm sure the general appreciates it."
Viper Queen: "I was at the spa the night of Tertian's murder. And as for Danika and the Pack of Devils, one of my associates threw a Drop party for his daughter that night. Turned into three days of ... well, you'll see."
Hunt: "This drive contains footage of you at a three-day orgy?"
Viper Queen: "Let me know if it gets you hot and bothered, Athalar. I hear you're one Hel of a ride when you pause the brooding long enough."
Hunt: "You know, even a scooter is a dumb fucking thing to drive before making the Drop."
Bryce: "Thanks, Mom."
Hunt: "You should take the bus."
She just let out a barking laugh, and zoomed off into the night.
Lehabah: "He's dreamy."
Bryce: "Yeah, just ask him."
Lehabah: "Hunt's handsome enough to be on this show."
Lehabah pointed with a dainty tow toward the tablet propped before her.
Bryce: "Unfortunately, I don't think the size differences between you and Athalar would work in the bedroom. You're barely big enough to wrap your arms around his dick."
Smoke swirled around Lehabah at her puff of embarrassment, and the sprite waved her little hands to clear it away.
Bryce chuckled, then she gestured to the tablet.
Bryce: "I'm not the one who's bingeing a show that's basically porn with a plot. What's it called again? Fangs and Bangs?"
Lehabah turned purple
Lehabah: "It's not called that and you know it! And it's artistic. They make love. They don't ..."
Bryce laughed, letting it chase away the swarming ghosts of the pasts, and the sprite, despite her prudishness, joined her.
Bryce: "I doubt Hunt Athalar is the making love type."
Lehabah: "BB is cranky because she hasn't been able to make her list."
Bryce: "I'm cranky because I'm hungry and you've been a pain in my ass all morning."
Bryce: "Interesting. You think I should give him a heads-up that you're coming?"
Hunt's grin was pure wickedness
Hunt: "Hel no."
Ruhn: "I asked you to come. Not him."
Bryce linked her arm through Athalar's, the portrait they painted laughable: Bryce in her fancy work dress and heels, the angel in his black battle-suit.
Bryce: "We're joined at the hip now, unfortunately for you. Best, best friends."
Hunt: "The best."
Hunt echoes, his grin unfading.
Luna shoot him dead. This would not end well.
Hunt: "So you're saying you think I'm really an asshole?"
A corner of his mouth curled up.
Bryce: I've met and dealt with a lot of assholes, Hunt. You're not one of them."
Juniper: "So, the gorgeous angel who's making you coffee right now -"
Hunt grinned at the coffee machine.
Bryce: "No, no, and no. Jesiba is having me do a classified job, and Hunt was assigned to protect me."
Juniper: "Is being shirtless in your house part of that assignment?"
Bryce: "You know how these Vanir males are. They love to show off their muscles."
Hunt rolled his eyes as Juniper laughed.
Juniper: "I'm shocked you're even letting h