House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Whew! Y'all, Maas does not play around with her world building. She's back this time with her first "adult" novel and she's painting a vast and in depth picture of this new world.
I had read all of Maas's other books by the time I got to this one so I had a good idea as to what I was getting myself into. Somehow I was still unprepared for the depth to which I felt attached to the main character.
We join Bryce Quinlan with her life sort of in progress. Her closest friends are brutally murdered and she survives the attack only to become a shell of herself. We rejoin her a couple of years later to find that she's sort of going through the motions. Her quiet and relatively safe life gets turned on its head when she gets tasked with helping to solve that murder. She's teamed up with an angel with a dark and brooding/brutal past.
I don't think I'll touch too much on their relationship. I'm sure you can figure out on your own how that's going to go. Contentious, friendly, madly in love by accident. Surprise!
So this world that's being built is super intricate. There's almost too much information given for the current storyline. Well, ok…so it's not too much…it's just a lot at the beginning instead of it being more spread out. There's magic and angels and werewolves and everything else…
Honestly I loved Bryce. She was layered and far more relatable than Feyre and Aelin ever were. I think the main difference between Bryce and the others was a lack of arrogance. She just wanted to live her life and be left well enough alone with her grief. She still more than rises to the occasion when she needs to, she's still got that self-sacrificing air that all of Maas's women do, but with Bryce it feels a little more like her choice rather than her destiny (even though you could argue that it's her destiny).
This is a BIG book. 800+ pages, so if you're going in, you have to commit to the finish. As for the "adult" nature of this book, I feel like the only thing adult about it compared to Maas's other works is a well placed use of the word "fuck". Otherwise, if you're worried about sexual content I can tell you that ACOTAR has way more graphic depictions of folks coupling than HoEaB.
Honestly, I could have bought this book simply for the cover and front page art. It's a solid 4.5 stars from me.
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