I have never been as surprised by a book as I was with Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. A few weeks ago, I was sent an excerpt of the first five chapters in this book and was NOT impressed; you can see what I thought here. I have reviewed all of Maas’ books and been quite critical of her writing. I think she has excellent ideas but sometimes the execution of those ideas is a little rough. She also has some cringey writing quirks. Somehow, though, this book was a five star read for me. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have a few issues, however. Since this is a brand new release, I’m going to keep this review spoiler free. I’ll get into my thoughts after the synopsis.
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.
This book is everything I wanted in a New Adult fantasy. It’s no secret that traditional publishers don’t want to touch the New Adult genre but those of us in our twenties and thirties still want to see ourselves represented in books. I love YA, I really do but I am so far past the high school age struggles. Those stories just don’t appeal to me anymore. I’m hoping that since somebody as successful as Maas released a fantastic New Adult book that that will open the door for other authors. So, why did I love this book?
My first true fantasy love was The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I was really into the thought of an ordinary urban world that was filled with magic and supernatural beings. At that time, it was a really unique concept. Crescent City is very similar to that and it made me feel how I did when I was a teenager reading Clare’s books for the first time. The world in this book is intriguing but large and confusing. It’s set in the future so there is advanced technology but magical elements are mixed in throughout. For example, the entire city’s power grid runs on magic so this book is the definition of urban fantasy. I thought the world building was some of the best Maas has done when compared to her other books but it could have been a bit more in depth. However, this is only book one of a series so there’s plenty of time for information about the world to be expanded on.
Let’s now talk characters because oh, how I love them. It’s no secret that Maas prefers a certain type of male and female character. Her main male characters are always super hot alphas with a troubled past and usually have wings of some kind. Her main female characters are always unbelievably gorgeous while not realizing how gorgeous they are, super talented in something artsy and the only one that can save the world. If you’re fine with those characteristics and can enjoy them for what they are, you’ll love Bryce and Hunt. Bryce is a combination of Aelin and Feyre’s best traits. I honestly loved everything about her. However, if the qualities mentioned above really bother you, you will hate Bryce. The same goes for Hunt. I prefer him way more than Rhys or Rowan and I feel he has more depth BUT he still follows that same pattern. As for the other characters, I love them all. I didn’t feel that any were unnecessary or annoying and I can’t wait to learn more about them in the next book.
I love when I have an emotional connection to a story and this book literally made me cry like five separate times. I loved the friendships, the action and the romance. Speaking of the romance, this book is NOT smut. The romance was on par with A Court of Mist and Fury or anything in the Throne of Glass series. It’s definitely targeted toward adults and there is some graphic language but there was nothing that stood out to me as being truly scandalous. Maas is a big fan of certain tropes, especially forced proximity and enemies to lovers. Those tropes are definitely in this book and if you hate that aspect of Maas’ writing, this might not be the one for you.
I truly feel that this is Maas’ best work. The first five chapters that I discussed in my review of the excerpt are the worst of the book. My issues with those chapters still stand but the rest of the book was good enough for me to overlook them. If you like urban fantasy and don’t mind a healthy dose of trope filled romance, this is the book for you. Have you read this book or do you want to? Let me know! Thanks for reading and have a great day!
I wanted to do a makeup look inspired by the cover of this book and it sort of turned out. I like the look but I realized I have not one true, vibrant red eyeshadow in my collection. This turned into goth queen real quick and that wasn’t quite the vibe I was going for but here we are. All the details are over on my Instagram!