Updated: May 11
Ashley-Well, hot dang. I finish Sara J Maas's new book- Cresent City: House of Earth and Blood. Well...okay then. I will start by saying that I like/dislike this author. Her usual female leads are strong, as well as arrogant and bratty. Bryce, the female lead in this book, is no exception. Maas also tends to make you like a character. Then when she decides she wants the female lead to move onto another love interest, instead of letting it happen organically, she does character personality assassination.
I was pleasantly surprised to like this book as much as I did. I must say that this has turned out to be my favorite piece of work that she's done. Though, this book is so packed full of information that my head is spinning, meaning this blog might be a little long.
Onward!! First, let me list some facts from the get-go to save on time.
Once upon a time, different dimensions opened in the human world, bringing people and things from other realms into the human world. These other beings are lumped into a category called: Vanir. These Vanir oppress humans. Many humans have rebelled against the Asteri, the leaders of their planet, Midgard.
There are four houses of Midgard: *House of Earth and Blood- Shifters. Humans. Witches. Ordinary animals. *House of Sky and Breath- Malakim. Fae. Elementals. Sprites (were kicked out of their house for participating in a rebellion known as the Fall). *House of Many Waters- River-spirits. Water beasts. Nymphs. Kelpies. Nokk. *House of Flame and Shadow- Daemonaki. Reapers. Wraiths. Vampyrs. Draki. Dragons. Necromancers.
So, there's that lol. Bryce is our main character, though we do jump POV. Bryce is a half-human and half-Fae. The Autumn King is her father, a full-blooded Fae. He refuses to acknowledge her as a daughter. She has a full-Fae half-brother that is older named, Ruhn. At one point, they were close but got in a fight that has damaged their relationship. They tell people they are cousins.
Bryce has four close friends. Danika, the alpha for the Pack of Devils. She is a wolf that can take on a human form. They have matching tattoos on their backs. Juniper is a faun that loves to do ballet. Lastly, there's Fury, who is an assassin.
Bryce works in an antiquities gallery. A fire sprite named Lehabah helps to guard ancient books from the time of the human world that are now banned. There's also a chimera named Syrinx, Bryce's buys its freedom from her boss, Jesiba, a 400-year-old enchantress born a witch and defected from her house.
Is your head spinning yet, haha????
Ember, Bryce's mother, had relations with the Autumn King when she was 19. He began to get too possessive. Once she found out she was pregnant with Bryce, she fleed, afraid the king would lock her away like he did Ruhn's mom. Bryce was raised with a step-father, who she considers her father, Randall, a retired sharpshooter.
In a world where humans and half-humans are treated less, Danika is very protective of her, though they do enjoy their risky partying behavior.
The first 100 pages deal with a lot of intense, yet intriguing worldbuilding. This is truly where the boat begins to rock—an ancient Fae relic known as the Horn was stolen from the temple. Many people are looking for it, but it is lost.
One night, Bryce goes to the club with all of her friends, excluding Danika, who happened to be with her pack back at Bryce's and her apartment. Bryce notes a man trying to sell her a new drug, yet declines, already being on drugs and drinking as it is. Even though Bryce has finally agreed to go on a date with Danika's second, Connor, she gets caught up in an intimate heated moment at the club. Upon going home, she notes that something is wrong. The moment she walks into her apartment, the Pack of Devils lay on her floor, all torn into pieces. She finds the remains of Danika, Connor, and Thorne, in parts in her bedroom. Bryce sees a feral near-translucent gray-skinned, four-legged humanoid demon running. She begins chasing it, only to find an angel laying ripped up, underneath the demon she's been chasing, bleeding to death. She starts fighting the demon, having it run off as she tries to staunch the angel's bleeding.
Here is when we switch POV's and learn about two angels named Isaiah and Hunt, who are in the 33rd legion. Isaiah can summon wind, while Hunt can wield lightning. Both angels have entwined thorns tattooed across their brows with an SPQM tattoo on their wrists with witch ink. The witch ink dims their powers and brands them as slaves. These angels are slaves because they tried to rebel when they were in the 18th legion led by an archangel named Sahar. Hunt had been in love with Sahar. She didn't care that he wasn't of nobility. She saw the potential he had. She disliked the way things were being run. She caused a rebellion that led her to have to fight her twin sister, Sandriel. Sandriel won, killing her twin, enslaving the 18th legion, who has since been divided up and bought from different archangels. As of now, the archangel Micah is in control of Isaiah and Hunt. They are the ones who interrogate Bryce that night.
The book skips ahead 22 months. Bryce is still mourning her friends. All the wolf packs hate her. They feel like she betrayed Connor for hooking up with a stranger, especially since her friends were being murdered when it happened. She still hasn't forgiven herself.
Not even going to lie, I thought Sabine, Danika's mother, was behind it all. Sabine had been jealous of Danika for many reasons. I was proven wrong, haha.
So, the book takes a lot of twists and turns. Some, we saw coming, others, we were blindsided by. After 22 months, the killings start happening again. A human named Phillip Briggs went to jail. He led a human rebellion. They thought he had used obsidian salt to summon the demon that was killing. Now, their world is turned upside down. If Briggs didn't murder the Pack of Devils, then who did? Who was starting to murder again?
Hunt gets assigned to Bryce after Micah tracks her down and explains that they need her help in catching whoever is behind this, before the critical summit meeting that occurs every ten years. Hunt has everything to gain from this. Micah has offered him a deal, if they find out who is killing before the summit, Micah will reduce his slave sentence dramatically.
Bryce, the hardhead. Hunt, the Umbra Mortis: Shadow of Death. Of course, these two begin to experience chemistry. And of course, I'm rooting for them. At this moment, we are just hoping Sara J Maas won't be Maasing Hunt.
To be honest, I'm bummed about Danika being dead since I liked her a lot. But let me tell you, it added that extra emotional spice in the story. I NEED to know who is behind this. I found myself drumming through many possible theories mostly, which were wrong. But I appreciate the twists and turns that were around every bend.
Yes, I now know who the killer is. I didn't see it coming, but yet, it didn't shock me much. What shocked me significantly was when the book took a turn, trying to pin Danika as a party girl who is addicted to synth. Synth is a drug that was manufactured at Redner Industries, a Human company. They tried to say she leaked the drug for profit. My heart was devastated at this. Especially when we come to learn that Danika killed her pack, then killed herself.
There was a silver lining, though. Yes, Danika indeed did kill her pack and kill herself. Not intentionally, though. She knew how dangerous synth was. She was able to gather recordings on a file exposing that Redner was experimenting with the drugs on Humans. Humans were gaining a brief burst of power because of this drug. Of course, Human rebels are excited. The downfall is, is that the drug makes you lose your mind. The drug had been forced on Danika that night, giving her power and strength like she's never had before.
Since this book is packed full of so much information, I will leave some things unanswered, allowing the other bloggers on this site to help me if they would like :).
Sarah: Phew, good job Ashley on describing this so well! I have my journal of daily things I read and I would honestly need days to type it all out and it still may not even make sense if I tried to explain everything that happens in this book. So I am not even going to attempt, but instead I will state how I felt about it in general.
It definitely started out with info overload. You tend to understand as you read, but sometimes you still get a little confused by some of the verbiage, but in the end it didn't make me wonder what was happening. The twists had me second guessing many things, but not so much all the new species and ways of describing the houses etc. Speaking of verbiage though...... Sarah J Maas seriously needs to learn not to repeat words so often. I wanted to chuck my book at the wall just because she kept saying 'alphahole' and honestly if anyone was the alphahole in this book it was not Ruhn and it certainly wasn't Hunt.....that's right, it was Bryce.
Here are some of the pros about this book in my opinion:
- The case in the story about Danika was definitely a whirlwind of twists and turns. I enjoyed learning more about her and the gang and how they got chopped to bits.
- Adias seems interesting and poor Lehabah....Also Syrinx is adorable.....Hunt is ok, but I am not holding out much for him because he may be Maased in the future....( if you do not know what I mean by this..... go read Throne of Glass and have Chaol be your example...... or ACOTAR and look at Tamlin after book 1)
Now here are the negatives:
- BRYCE FRIGGIN QUINLAN! Dear lord she annoyed me to no end! I am alllllll for feminism. I love female leads, but you can be a strong female without being a total b-word about things. But SJM just has this thing where she makes her female leads completely unbearable. Cool everyone wants to get in your pants, oh look you are snarky, oh look you are seriously way overpowered....cooooollllllll.....not really. It gets tiring after awhile. I really just want a moment where someone seriously tells her off and doesn't just forgive her right away.
- The story, where Bryce is concerned, is way too predictable. Sure I did not guess about Danika and what happens there, that I was very pleased with, but everything involving Bryce and her 'supporters' gets too redundant. It's like she merges her previous series (which seem much more adult to me than this did btw) and flops it into this new thing where she marks it adult to get new fanbase, but she does it in a way she does not need to really create new material.
- I liked the fight scene, but I wish we got to see more of the other characters, but I guess I understand because this was her shining moment ( I suppose ) , but it still irked me a little.
Here are my predictions I made, or am making for this:
A) Bryce would become super overpowered upon making the drop ( was correct )
B) Hunt will be a giant cinnamon roll ( hello again Rhysand )
C) Ruhn will follow the same plot as Dorian in Throne of Glass....... ( this one is still up in the air but I'm betting on it )
D) Bryce treats everyone as if it was Chaol after she gets back and sees him again ( especially Ruhn )
E) Expect a good portion of the next book to be mostly sex.
I'm sure there were others I marked down, but honestly when I continue this series I will mostly be reading for Ruhn...... and Aidas intrigues me.....I hope we see the other princes of Hel.
Sorry ladies and gents I am rating this a 3/5. Still not a bad score, but if it wasn't for those twists with Danika and if it wasn't for some of the supporting characters, I am not sure I would have finished the book....which makes me sad because I was really excited to see if she grew as an author. Turns out she just added more cuss words into the mix.