Review: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Title: House of Earth and Blood
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Adult
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

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.

This book was long. Way too long. 800 pages were awkwardly paced, with a murder mystery that wasn't good enough to keep the storyline from boring. While the beginning of the book had set up a good premise, afterward, I struggled to get through to page 600, where shit actually starts happening. With so much fluff in between, this book could have been 500 pages instead. 

The worldbuilding was mediocre at best—tons of name dropping that took a while before understanding the planet Midgard's hierarchical structure. I had to use the fandom page to look up what some of these names meant. Understanding the world took work at the beginning. Malakim, Vanir, Valbara, Archangels, Aux, CCU, CBD (which I still don't know what it stands for), we are info-fed many names. Frankly, some explanation would have been nice of Maas to include. 

I would also consider this book YA if not for all the "fucks" that were dropped. Sarah J. Maas clearly does not know how to write an adult book with morally gray characters and themes aside from using "fuck" as an adjective to describe every other word. It became annoying after a while seeing her use it so casually. Bryce Quinlan was your typical sassy badass heroine who's so hot that every male wants to fuck her. I found her sassy perfection annoying at times, and the number of times that she said "alphahole" to describe a dominant male was too much. 

The romance was forced and mediocre. It also doesn't make sense; clearly, Athalar can forget about his dead lover Shahar easily because of Bryce. The connection they had was forced and unnatural. It would have been better for them to have stayed friends rather than have a romantic connection. 

Overall it was an okay read but not something I would consider continuing; I expected more from Sarah J. Maas having read the Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series. But this book fell rather flat. 

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