Series: Crescent City, Book 1
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Fiction
Publication date: March 3, 2020
Bryce Quinlan led the perfect life – working hard all day and partying all night – until a demon murdered her closest friends leaving her alone in a world she used to love. With the accused behind bars and the crimes starting up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. And she’ll do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of things.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His skills and abilities are being forced into one purpose – to assassinate his keeper’s enemies no questions asked. Yet when a demon begins wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer and freedom will be in reach.
Through love, all is possible.Danika Fendrir, House of Earth and Blood
As usual, Maas’ world building was phenomenal. I loved getting to explore the world and learn how the city was built. I loved getting to experience the different districts in the city, to see how they interact with each other and the roles they play in the inner workings of the city. By getting two different perspectives to witness the world through, it was possible to see things the other might not have noticed.
Like always, the characters in this story was so filled with life. Maas has always done an amazing job at creating characters the reader will either love or hate. It might have taken me a while to get used to being in Bryce’s head, but once I was used to the way she though I enjoyed my time there immensely. Sure she might not have been the most reliable narrator at times, but she certainly kept things interesting. Leading a double life after her closest friends’ deaths couldn’t have been an easy thing to do, but it was the only way she could stand existing after the horrors she’d witnessed.
Getting to live in Hunt’s mind part of the time was a great way to break from the melancholy Bryce lived her life in. Granted Hunt didn’t have the best life himself, but the difference of being in a soldier’s mind was evident from the get go.
The thing that’s either hit or miss for me with Maas’ writing has always been the plotline of the story itself. While I adored her Throne of Glass series, her A Court of Thorns and Roses series (first review here) wasn’t exactly for me. When I’d only read these two series, I’d all but convinced myself that Throne of Glass might be the only series I enjoyed by her. Then I enjoyed reading Catwoman: Soulstealer when it came out because the story was fantastic. In fact, it was this standalone story that convinced me that it was the plot of ACOTAR I didn’t enjoy and that Maas’ writing itself is something I adore. Because of this, I always look forward to picking up anything that Maas writes in the future. Not every book might be to my tastes, but I know I can still enjoy the way she tells her stories.
That being said, I really did enjoy the plot of House of Earth and Blood. Knowing that Maas’ books are generally long and contain a lot of exposition that neither adds nor detracts from the story, I expected the story to have a slow start. For me it did. Sure it took me a little while to get into the story, but once I’d immersed myself in what was going on, I found myself loving Bryce and feeling her pain as she struggled with her grief and regrets. Heck, her guilt was so real it was practically dripping off the words.
Hunt’s side of the story added an extra depth of despair and hope that Bryce alone wouldn’t have conveyed. By getting to see them interact with each other and the world around them, they became more than just detectives. They became real people that were struggling with real issues.
Of course their case was an important driving force of the story, but it seemed to be just the catalyst for what was going to happen throughout this story. Yes the murderer needed to be found and brought to justice, but it was everything that they found out along the way, the clues that were sprinkled into the story in the most unlikely places, that helped make the story the fantastic read that it is. Bryce and Hunt might have been thrown together as unwilling partners, but they certainly know how to follow a scent and make the world bleed the answers they need.
While I can admit that this story might not be for everyone, if you’re a fan of Maas’ writing style or urban fantasy reads in general I’d recommend giving this story a try. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried at one point – and after you’ve finished the story I’d love for you to guess which part of the story did it.
I’d also highly recommend listening to the AudioBook version of this story narrated by Elizabeth Evans. It took me a second to pull the voice away from Elena from the Throne of Glass AudioBook narration, but I’m thrilled that Evans narrated this tale by Maas as well. While I haven’t listen to too many AudioBooks yet, she’s quickly become one of my favourite narrators to listen to. Evans breaths an extra layer of life into the characters and it’d be a shame if you missed out on it.
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