House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) | Everything you need to remember before CC2
Updated: Feb 22, 2022
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.
HOUSE OF SKY AND BREATH IS OUT IN LESS THAN 30 DAYS MY FRIENDS
And if you have read my review on House of Earth and Blood, you know I fucking LOVED it, and can't WAIT for this new one. But House of Earth and Blood is a beast, and even I - who can remember tiny details about most books read years ago, but can't remember to take a pill every day - needed a refresher. So until House of Sky and Breath comes out, I will be posting 5 Crescent City refresher posts! This first post is just general information. Location, CC politics explained, important terminology and items, AND character bio's. Then we will get into chapter breakdowns - divided by the 4 parts of the book.
Crescent City Ultimate Guide - What you need to know
PART I - The Hollow Chapter Breakdown
PART II - The Trench Chapter Breakdown
PART III - The Canyon Chapter Breakdown
PART IV - The Ravine & epilogue Chapter Breakdown
OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE READ HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD
(otherwise known as Crescent City)
Important Notes about Crescent City:
It is an almost exact model of an ancient coastal city around the Rhagan sea. Micah Domitus has let CC be updated though, so while it still is a tribute to the old city, its also something the future can thrive in.
The location was picked because the bend in the Istros river looks like a crescent - which is why Lunathion is nicknamed Crescent City.
There are seven gateways in the city, all built on top of ley lines. Before the invention of mobile phones, all guards needed to do was place a hand on a golden disc, and speak, and they would be heard at all the other gateways. Now they are used as a tourist attraction.
Crescent City is located on Valbara - a continent in Midgard (the planet)
Midguard is ruled by the Asteri, who reside in the Eternal City, on the continent of Pangera
Micah Domitus is the governor of CC
Crescent City is divided by seven districts, which are controlled by a Vanir.
The Meat Market (controlled by The Viper Queen) - has its own laws and ways of dealing with things. Half human women tend to sell their bodies in the area, and some beings use the meat market as their personal hunting grounds.
Central Business District (controlled by Micah) - also called the CBD, is the main hub in CC, with the most modern shopping, businesses, and high rise condos available. The Comitium is in the heart of the CBD, and is where Micah and those who work for him live. Next to it is the 33rd barracks (Micah's personal guard). The square in the CBD is used for public crucifixion, a popular form of execution in CC.
The Old Square (controlled by The Oracle) is where Bryce's place of work is located. The White Raven is located in the center of it. Bryce picks this area to live in, as its the most friendly toward half breeds due to how touristy it is.
Asphodel Meadows (no head of this district) is where most of the humans live in CC.
Five Roses (controlled by The Autumn King) is sometimes called FiRO, and is where most of the Fae reside, including Ruhn.
Moonwood (controlled by the Prime of the Valbaran wolves, but unofficially Sabine rules) is where most shifters reside, and is where the Wolves Den is located.
The Bone-Quarter (controlled by the Under-King) is where the dead's spirit's reside.
Other locations mentioned:
Hel - another planet according to Aiden. It has 7 territories, each darker than the last, and is run by a "Prince of Hel". There is The Hallow, The Trench, The Canyon, The Ravine, The Chasm, The Abyss, and The Pit.
Rhagan Sea - Crescent City is a near replica to an ancient coastal city by the Rhagan Sea. It is not said where the Rhagan Sea is located
Pangera - a continent across the Haldren (I'm not sure what this mean - if it means equator, an ocean, or what) where the human rebellion rages on
Psamathe Desert - about a 5 hour drive from Crescent City, an hour for an angel at top flying speeds, or 30 minutes by helicopter.
Heliruna Mountains - Mountains covered with a deep Boreal forest that was rumored to shield Hypaxia from the Republics influence
Dolas Mountains - Where the rare gorsian stones, used for magic nullifying manacles, is mined.
POLITICS OF MIDGARD
Essentially, the Gods of Midguard. They rule everything. No true descriptions of them, but it is believed their forms are made by the extreme raw power of the stars.
The Imperial Senate
In name only, as they are puppets of the Asteri.
The most powerful of the archangels are made governors of areas in Midgard.
There are four houses the population are sorted in.
House of Earth and Blood
House of Sky and Breath
Sprites (removed after the angel rebellion)
House of Many Waters
House of Shadow and Flame
Many wicked and unseen things that Urd cannot see
The most important to know about this, for this first part, is that while House of Shadow and Flame and House of Many Waters are lead by one person each (The Under-King and The River Queen), the House of Earth and Blood, and the House of Sky and Breath are split up amongst the most powerful.' Being labeled as King or Queen is really a courtesy, as the ones truly in power is the Asteri.
The Ascent - this is the hardest part of the drop, coming back to life. Only with an anchor is this possible, and the more powerful you are, the farther you had to drop into your power, and harder it is to come back.
The Asteri - Treated as Gods, they control every aspect of the world. Unknown vanir. They created the Malakim to be the perfect soldiers, which is why they are the most powerful Vanir. Hunt describes being in their presence at his trial as, at that point, the most horrific of his life. So unearthly, it was as though his own life was a mayfly, his power a wisp of breeze in the face of their hurricane. They each hold the power of a sacred star, and each can destroy a planet.
Auxiliary - Law enforcement group. Predator Shifters (like wolves) do not have a choice in joining the Auxiliary. The Auxiliary takes orders from the City Heads. There are different divisions of the Auxiliary, separated by shifters, Fae, etc...
The Crossing - when Vanir crawled through the opening in the world, and took over Midguard
Starborn - Some of the first Fae has the power of starlight. To be starborn, means you are a descendant of the First Fae
The Ordeal - it is a very difficult personal trial or hardship that each Fae will go through before they make the drop. The level of difficulty depends on their level of power.
The Drop - is a ritual for Vanir to claim their powers and immortality. The initial part of the drop is easy - you drop into your power. But once you get to the bottom, your mortal body expires. Then it's a race back through the psychic pathway of your power to come back to life, before your brain shuts down from lack of oxygen. One is unable to complete the drop alone. You need someone to anchor you to life, to lead you back.
Eleusian System - a computer program that can monitor every moment of "The Drop" by recording the vibrations in the worlds magic.
Firstlight - When a Vanir completes The Ascent, their body is bathed in "Firstlight", which the government siphons away to use for healing, powering the city, and other "dark purposes" known to the republic. You get a tiny drop of it in a jar as a souvenir.
The Fall - This refers to the defeat of the Angel Rebellion. A play on the term "fall from grace". The rebel angels were enslaved, and had halos tattooed to their heads to bind their power.
The Great Library of Parthos - a supposedly mythical and ancient library that holds forbidden books, written by Philosophers who write about evolution, mathematics, theories to disprove the superiority of the Vanir and Asteri. Some that are claimed to have existed before the Asteri arrived. It's later discovered that the Library resides under Griffin's Antiquities - until it's moved to a safer location. According to Micah, a hundred thousand humans knowingly went to their deaths in a battle, just to give the priestesses more time to save the books.
The Halo - a tattoo imbed with magic by the Pangeran witches, placed on the foreheads of the rebel Angels to contain most of their power. It's placement is in reference to how human's used to see angels. Around 2000 Malakim have them. Aiden is the only one to call it the "Black Brown", which confuses Hunt.
Keres - an offshoot of the Ophion group, and led by Philip Briggs
Ley Lines - Natural channels of firstlight that travel through the city under ground. Called Highways of Power, they travel right through the gateways.
The Living Death - the punishment where an angel's wings are cut off. They grow back over weeks, but its painful.
Mystics - Not a lot of detail (YET), but it was another option for Hunt and Bryce to ask about the horn, OTHER than the Oracle. Hunt says they are "some dark, fucked up shit"
Malakim - Angels. They were created to be soldiers for the Asteri. They have no choice but to be in the legion. Hunt says if he wasn't officially branded as a slave, he would be in a sugar coated version of it anyway.
Northern Rift - A rift that opens to other realms and planets. Closed by the Pelias using the horn, it has small cracks that demons can slip through, and more importantly, the demon princes in small animal forms. They have no power in those forms though, and can only stay for a few hours.
Otters - True animals, not shifters, their intelligence and old magic in their veins made them perfect messagers between the 3 realms: the mer in the River, the Reapers in the Bone Quarter, and the residents of Crescent City.
Ophion (Human rebellion) - Humans who are tired of having no rights have revolted, and war has broke out on Pangera. It has yet to reach the shores of Crescent City. It has been going on for 40 years.
Primal Rage/Wrath - a state of absolute fury that a fae can enter, their power lashes out, they become stronger, and tend to destroy things around them. Bryce describes her vision going hazy, her muscles seizes painfully, and her fingers curving as if she wants to tear into something
The Sailing - a ritual performed after one dies. The body is put into a black boat, and it is sailed across the Istros River to the entrance of the Bone Quarter, where their soul is welcomed by the Under-King, and they are granted access to the mist veiled shores. If a soul is deemed unworthy of this, the boat will tip their body into the river before making it to the Bone Quarter, and the soul is given to the river.
SPQM - the slave mark tattooed on every slaves wrist. The letters SPQM are surrounded by the seven stars of the Asteri. No matter what is done to it - burned or cut off - it will return. Stands for Senatus Populusque Midguard (The Midguard Senate and People)
The Summit - Each territory in Midgard held their own Summit every 10 years, attended by various leaders in their borders, along with a representative of the Asteri and a few visiting dignitaries relevant to whatever issues would be discussed.
Through Love, all is possible - what the Oracle told Danika when she went as a teenager, Hunt also says its an ancient saying, dating back to some god he can't remember, but wouldn't be surprised if it was Cthona
Vanir - Supernatural beings.
The 18th - Shahar's most elite warriors in the Angel rebellion
The 33rd/The Triarri - The Governor of Crescent City's personal guard and army. Also a law enforcement group, but can only be ordered by the Governor. Most of the 33rd are slaves.
The 45th - Was Sandriel's triarii. Consists of the Harpy, the Hellhound, the Hawk, and the Hind.
Archisian Amulet - an incredibly rare and expensive amulet said to protect the wearer. Bryce is given on by her boss Jesiba, as Bryce will be around a lot of dangerous artifacts and clients. It is the amulet of the priestesses who one served Parthos.
Brimstone Missiles - missiles made from pure magic from the Asterian Guard. A combination of angelic powers of wind, and rain, and fire into one, bound with firstlight.
Godslayer Rifle - very rare, incredibly powerful rifle. Bullets are made from gold, are 6 inches long, and are usually engraved. The one Bryce uses is engraved "Memento Mori" (Remember you will die)
Gorsian Stone manacles - manacles made from a stone that completely nullifies vanir power. The stones are mined from the Dolas Mountains. It is rumored that the human rebels are working on turning the metal to a spray to use against Vanir on the battlefield.
Danika's sword - A Fendyr family heirloom. Meant to be passed down generation to generation, Danika's grandfather bypassed his daughter Sabine, and gave the sword to Danika, as he claimed the sword called out to her.
Lightseeker - Party drug that resembles a white powder that reflects different colors. Creates a euphoric and energetic high that also increases affection and positivity in its user. Seems similar to ectasy.
Luna's Horn - A Fae item that belonged to the first Fae, it was named after the Goddess Luna. It belonged to Pelias, the First Starborn Prince, who used it during The First Wars. After facing off with The Prince of The Pit for three days, he was mortally injured. Before succumbing to his injuries, he summoned the full strength of the horn, banishing the Prince of the Pit, his brethren, and their armies back to Hel. It closed the Northern Rift permanently, but left it broken. Demons can only leave through small cracks, or being summoned with salt. Only a Starborn Fae can use the horn. At the end of the book, we learn that the horn was stolen by Danika, after Micah blackmailed her. Danika, suspicious of Micah's intentions, didn't hand over the horn, but had it round into powder, mixed with ink, and tattooed on Bryce's back
Mirthroot - Creates a calming and mildly hallucinogenic high in its users. Very similar to marijuana, except for the hallucinogenic effect. It can be smoked through cigarettes' or bongs.
Synth - is a drug made from synthetic magic, created by Redner Industries, that gives humans Vanir powers for an hour, and increases Vanir's powers. For a human, their powers would be stronger than a Vanir. A high dose will lead to the user killing those around them, and themselves. The only known cure for a Synth overdose is Kristallos venom, which nullifies magic, stabilized by the healing magic of a powerful medwitch. Ironically, the amount of obsidian salt matches the unholy number of the Kristallos demon, which causes users to sometimes accidently summon it. It was labelled as a healing drug, as it started out that way. We later learn that Synth was actually created by human rebels, but human spies tipped off Redner Industries, who had Danika bring them and the research back to them. Danika kept an eye on the trials for Synth, in hopes that it could help Bryce, being half human with no power, a leg up in the world. After seeing the test trials though, she became concerned for the test subjects - the human rebels she brought in.
Starsword - Sword that Ruhn pulled from a stone during his ordeal, as it recognized his Starborn powers. It is the fabled dark blade of the ancient Starborn fae. When pulled from its scabbord, starlight flows through the blade, before settling at the tip. Despite this, the sword is powerless without the matching long-daggered knife, that was forged from the iridium mined from the same meteorite that fell on their old world. The knife was lost eons ago, with no recollection on how it was lost. It is thought to have been lost during the First Wars. "When knife and sword are reunited, so shall out people be."
Not an item but ...
Kristallos Demon - a demon created to find Luna's Horn. Created by the Star Eater, using blood from Prince Pelias on the battlefield and his own dark essence. Suspected to be a Type-Six demon, where Type-Seven is allocated for the Princes themselves. Because of the obsidian salt in synth matches that of the unholy number of the demon, users of it can accidently summon it.
These are just general bio's. We will get more in depth when we go through the chapters :)
Bryce Quinlan (Half-Fae/Half-Human)
Art by @carlozgzz003
Bryce is the bastard daughter of the autumn fae king, and estranged from him after he threw her out in the street after finding out her power levels.
She has wine red hair, looks mostly human except for her hair and ears, and is curvy.
She works in an antiquities store, selling rare, and sometimes illegal artifacts
She met Danika in college, and they have been best friends since.
Her step-father trained her on self-defense and guns
Ruhn and her were close for three years, until a terrible fight occurred.
Nicknames are B, BB, and Legs.
Loves dance, and would have pursued it as a career, but was told she couldn't because of her body type
Hunt describes her scent as a combination of nutmeg, lilacs, and the gleam of the first stars at nightfall. Later, he thinks she smells like paradise, home, and eternity. Of exactly where he was always meant to be.
Later find out that she makes a deal with the Under-King, exchanging her place in the Bone Quarter for Danika. Whether this becomes null-and-void after the events of this book is unknown.
Bryce, along with her parents and Danika, kept Bryce's Starborn power a secret - until Bryce reveals it in an attempt to save the city.
Danika had the horn ground to powder, mixed with witch-ink, and tattooed on Bryce's back, knowing Bryce was Starborn. It's in the language of the universes.
Bryce's Ordeal is her fight with Micah, one she ultimately wins by shooting Micah in the head with the Godslayer rifle
After completing the drop, she becomes a decimal point stronger than The Autumn King, because she used the plaque to connect with Danika's soul, that millions and millions of beings dropped power into over the centuries to make a simple wish, to complete the drop with. The firstlight Bryce creates during her Drop fixes the city, and heals injured beings.
Bryce is the only known being to complete the Drop without a real anchor, as Danika was dead and unable to be a true one. She is also the only one known to survive the Ascent after going beyond her power means by using an artificial source.
After Bryce uses her power to save the city, she is left with a pale scar of an 8 pointed star on her chest
In the epilogue, it is revealed though Jesiba and Aiden that Bryce carries Theia's light.
Danika Fendyr (Shifter-Wolf)
Art by @carlozgzz003
Alpha of the Pack of Devils
Had silvery blonde hair with colored highlights, a tattoo on her neck of a horned wolf, and a tattoo along her spine that said "Through love, all is possible", that she got with Bryce.
Daughter of Sabina, the Prime Apparent of the Valbaran wolves. She has no idea who her father is.
Danika's grandfather gave her the family heirloom sword, bypassing her mother, because it "called" to her.
Rumored that with her power levels after making The Drop, she could be alpha of ALL wolves in the world.
is the only person who knows Bryce's biggest secret (other than her mother and step-father)
Died at age 23, along with her pack. While at first believed that the Kristallo's demon was responsible, and later determined that Danika was addicted to synth, and killed her pack and herself when overdosing, it later comes out that Micah nullified Danika and the packs powers, injected Danika with synth, which caused her to kill her pack mates and herself.
Nicknames are Dani and The Party Princess
According to Micah, Danika was researching something at Redner Industries on her own time.
Danika gives up the rest of her essence, her soul, to boost Bryce in the Ascent
Hunt Athalar (Malakim/Angel)
Art by @carlozgzz003
Full name is Orion Athalar, also known as the Umbra Mortis (The Shadow of Death)
Most notorious Fallen Angel, and is now a personal assassin for Micah
Is the only being who has the gift to harness lightening, and considered one of the most powerful beings on the planet without the halo containing his magic
He was the right hand of Shahar, and was the General in her legendary 18th elite
Hunt is assigned to guard Bryce while she tries to figure out who Danika and the Pack of Devils murderer is, and as they work together, the closer they get.
Has grey wings
Smells of rain kissed cedar
After Hunt sacrifices himself to save Bryce, Bryce ultimately saves his life with the firstlight generated from her Drop
Aiden says that he thinks Hunt's father would have been proud - but no mention of who his father is
Ruhn Danaan (Fae)
Art by @faeriereverie
Bryce's half brother (but others know him as her cousin)
Crown Prince of the Valbaran Fae
Known as the chosen one, the Starborn, as he is the only known fae to have access to the stars light. He was also able to retrieve the Starsword from a rock during his Ordeal.
Best friends are Tristan Flynn, and Declan Emmet
Deeply resents his father, for many reasons, including his treatment of Bryce, and his mother.
Is deeply loyal to Bryce despite their fight, and Bryce pushing him away
Keeps the full strength of his shadow magic secret, but is advanced enough that he can speak to people telepathically
Isaiah Tiberian (Malakim/Angel)
Art by Salome Totladze @morgana0anagrom
Commander of the 33rd Legion
was a part of the Angel rebellion, and a part of Shahar's elite 18th Legion
despite being enslaved, he has worked his way up the ranks under Micah, by being agreeable and doing what he is told, in hopes that he will eventually be freed
Mentioned he has a boyfriend, but its also hinted that he saves a lot of his money, and does everything he is told to free someone he loves.
Has white wings
Micah Domitus (Malakim/Angel)
Art by Salome Totladze @morgana0anagrom
Governor and Archangel of Crescent City, appointed by the Asteri
Head of the Central Business District
Owns and controls the angels in the 33rd Legion
Seen as incredibly handsome, with large, white wings, he is also known as being very cold, and unforgiving.
His powers are stronger than most other angels
Bryce shoots him, killing him. But she makes sure by using Danika's sword to cut him to pieces, burning his body to ash, then vacuums him up.
Pack of Devils:
Connor Holstrom - Danika's second in command. After his parents died when he was a teenager, he raised his little brother on his own, and insisted he go to college before playing Sunball professionally. They were very close. He developed feelings for Bryce in college, but Danika ordered him to not pursue her, and he obeyed. Five years later, with both Bryce and him clearly interested in each other, Danika gives him permission to ask her out. A few hours later he was killed. Thorne and him were going to be Danika and Bryce's anchors during the drop. At the end of the book, the Under-King gives Bryce a gift for her saving the city - a glimpse of Connor and the Pack on the shore of the Bone Quarter. Connor waves at her, smiling, and Bryce waves, smiling and crying, and blows him a gentle kiss.
Nathalie - Danika's third. Was killed along with her pack.
Thorne - Danika's Omega. Seemed to be a "gravitational pull" between Thorne and Danika, like two stars orbiting each other. Him and Conner were going to be Danika and Bryce's anchors during the drop. He was killed with the pack.
Bronson - liked documentaries, and was never allowed to pick the movie. Died with his pack.
Zach and Zelda - nicknamed "The Ghosts" for their white fur coats, and were twins. They died with the pack.
Luna - patron goddess of Crescent City, and favors some members from both House of Earth and Blood and House of Sky and Breath. Luna's Horn - a fae relic - was named after the Goddess. She is known for never having a mate or lover
Solas - Sun God
Cthona - Mother/Goddess.
Ogenas- The River Queen is possible his/her daughter
One of the 7 princes of Hel, Prince of the Chasm, the 5th circle of Hel
First meets Bryce in cat form, when he is lured by The Oracle screaming after her meeting with Bryce. He sits next Bryce, telling her not to cry because it would make those who hurt her happy, and stays with her until she is calm enough to return to her father.
Bryce summons Aidas to see if he has more insight into the murders. He appeared as a "slender, pale-skinned pretty boy", thinking it would please Bryce more than his cat form. When summoned, the room becomes so cold, it only takes minutes for frostbite to occur, and the air hurts to breathe.
He says that T