Overall Rating: 5/5
Sarah J. Maas does it again.
I first read her books back in 2017 and despite the fact that I strongly associate them with taking the MCAT (it did not go well), they are some of my favorite books to this day. House of Earth and Blood might just be my absolute favorite. Bryce Quinlan is your average half-human half-fae party girl soaking up all the joy and excitement that Crescent City – home to magical beings from fae to wraiths – has to offer. Life is good for Bryce; she has an adequate job, a potential mate, and best friends that are ready to light it up with her any time of the week. But her world turns upside down after a horrifying night out, thrusting her onto a tumultuous and dangerous path as she hunts for answers and justice. Filled to the brim with emotion, House of Earth and Blood had me laughing, crying, and holding my breath, unable to put it down at any point.
Maas creates an entire universe, from its history to its present day, and builds within it heart-stopping storylines that deliver on every expectation and desire that one could have from a high fantasy novel. It’s got jam-packed action, breathtaking romances, magic, and so much more, all with impeccable attention to detail. This is by no means YA, so be warned that there is plenty of violence (as well as a fair share of steamy scenes). The characters are incredibly well developed with unique narrative arcs that exhibit their growth throughout the tale. Fans of Maas’ previous work may observe parallels between the protagonist archetypes in House of Earth and Blood and her other novels, but there is enough of a distinction in terms of their personalities and circumstances to elevate them as beloved characters in their own right. Even those with limited scenes appear to have fully fleshed out histories, relationships, and places in this world, and I could not get enough of it.
I have not enjoyed being in another world like this since Harry Potter, and that was a sentence I never imagined that I would write. Maas is truly a gift that keeps on giving and if you enjoy high fantasy or are open to exploring the genre, House of Earth and Blood is a must read. Yes, it’s long, but I promise you that the 1,000+ pages went by far too quickly and if that isn’t a sign of a masterpiece, I do not know what is. I will be on a little bit of an SJM re-read binge over the next month in preparation for her February release, so expect to see more fantasy content here. Have you read any of Maas’ books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!