Review of “House of Earth and Blood” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: House of Earth and Blood
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Crescent City #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 803
Published: 2020, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

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.

 

MY REVIEW

One of my favorite authors have started a third series, Crescent City. I was super excited after loving both Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses. I had no expectations, and had honestly barely even read what it was about when I picked it up. I trusted Maas enough to pre-order this one signed as well (I’ve lost count on how many signed copies I have of her books by now, haha).

Even with no expectations, more than she being the author, I have to admit that I was almost ready to put it down at first. It honestly took me half of the book before I actually started to get into it and understand and sympathize with the characters and here’s why.

Maas is an amazing worldbuilder, I would love to pick her brains to find out where she gets all of her ideas from. It’s the same with House of Earth and Blood. She has a little bit of a different approach this time though. At first I hated it, but after reading the whole thing, I think I like it. She introduces the world and all its politics and hierarchies and characters and races in a very natural way. You never feel like she is explaining something, but everything comes naturally in the story. But, this is a whole new world, new races, a lot of characters, and I couldn’t keep up and felt frustrated when I didn’t understand anything at all the first half. I still feel unsure about some things honestly. This is the main reason why I had such a hard time reading this in the beginning.

I think it’s supposed to be adult fantasy, but with the exception of quite a bit of swearing, I don’t really see it. It’s still very similar to her other young adult works. Nothing bad, in my opinion, just something I thought about while reading.

And since it was supposed to be an adult fantasy, and in her latest books had included a lot of sex, I was expecting the worst. But honestly, not a single sex scene. Lots of plays on it though, but nothing that I really thought about. Except that scene when Hunt jerks off in the shower and comes so hard that he sees stars. I actually laughed out loud at that, like wtf?

What was so great about it at the end then? Well, I really liked the mix between science and fantasy. It took place in a modern world but where there was also magic. I really liked the balance she had created there.

The characters’ development were also amazing! All of them were hopeless in the beginning, they all had such attitudes that I just thought it was ridiculous. But it was on purpose and fitted the story and how everything developed at the end.

Also, at the end, so much action. So much was happening! I couldn’t put it down!

The end was an end, but there will be two more and I will obviously read them, but it was a satisfactory ending.

I feel like grading this book is hard. My general feeling now that I have finished it, is that it was a great book! I loved it! But it shouldn’t take 50% into the book to start caring for it. A three is too low, a five (considering the first half) is too much. So I guess a 4 is fair? If you enjoyed her other series, I’m super confident you’ll like this one as well. And if you haven’t read any of Maas’ books previously, start with Throne of Glass.

Review of “Kingdom of Ash” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Kingdom of Ash
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #7
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 984
Published: 2018, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 worlds

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

 

MY REVIEW

I don’t like finishing series. Especially not one of my all time favorites. Many years ago one of my mom’s friends told me about this series. At that time, there were only two or maybe three books published and Maas had a long way to go before this series was done. Fortunately for me, and all other fans, I didn’t have to wait unreasonably long between each book (unlike other great authors who can’t seem to keep the years between releases under a decade). And when it was teo years between, she released a book in her other series A Court of Thorns and Roses which is also one of the best I have ever read! And on that note, before I start reviewing this thousand page brick, she managed to intertwine these two series in a perfect way. It was a spoiler, but I guess I knew that would happen anyway. But it was fun that she did that, the characters of the both series briefly meeting and helping each other, or at least one helping the other.

This book was long, 273k words to be exact. That is insane. No wonder it took me forever to finish it (also because I have been writing non-stop during November-January instead of reading). But it was worth every page. There was so much to be wrapped up and she did it really well. Many battles, many plot twists, many unpredictable saves. It was exactly what you’d expect after reading all of the other books in this series.

I still think that it is kind of silly that all main characters end up together as couples and all the relationships starts with trouble but turns out to be destined to be. It doesn’t really feel like that fits with reality right now, if that makes sense. But I did like that the focus was more on the events this time, not the trying-to-write-sexy-thing she did a few books back where the sex scenes just became a bit awkward.

Something that I have noticed, but not quite sure if if bothers me or if it is really, really smart of her as an author, is that she doesn’t write everything. She leaves out huge parts where Aelin for the most part, is plotting and making plans and they are not even mentioned the slightest until it saves the day. It makes it very unpredictable, but after seven books, you kind of know that Aelin’s secret plans will save the day, somehow.

But overall, the ending was great, all thousand pages of it. I am sad that this was the end and I truly hope Maas will write a new similar series. I get the same kind of cozy fantasy feeling from both Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses and I hope that she will find some new inspiration toward a new series with the same feeling. It is new, it is original. I call it good-feeling-fantasy and this is what I am trying to aspire in my own book that I am currently writing. This feel-good sensation while it at the same time feels hopeless and you can’t stop wondering how more messed up the plot can become.

I have to say though, that intertwining of her two series was a true delight, so I suggest you read all of those books before reading this. Otherwise you will miss it and just have an amazing book behind you. The whole series gets a five out of five! Easy!

Review of “A Court of Frost and Starlight” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.5
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 272
Published: 2018, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 snowflakes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

MY REVIEW

I have missed Feyre and co. Since the first chapter of this series, I knew I would love it, the colorful world, the deep descriptions, the realistic characters. Even if this story was “just” an in-between-story, it was long and had development, almost as much as a whole Skulduggery Pleasant book or Artemis Fowl (which are approximately the same length, if perhaps a little bit longer).

It was noticeably a short story in one way though, that it was rather uneventful in comparison to A Court of Wings and Ruin where there was a big fight and stuff happening all the time. But it was a cozy story, a nice look into the now “everyday” life inbetween the big war in Wings and Ruin and what I can only guess will happen in the next installment in this series.

I also really enjoyed the Acknowledgements section at the end. It was very beautiful.

The book/novella gets a 5 out of 5.

Review of “Tower of Dawn” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #6
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 664
Published: 2017, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 spiders

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

 

MY REVIEW

I have been waiting for a year to find out what happened to Aelin and was very dissapointed when I learned that the next installment in the series would not be about her, but a longer version of the short story Maas had originally planned, about Chaol. Not dissapointed now though. This book was fantastic! But the cliffhanger from Empire of Storms is still very much  applicable though with both of these ending at approximately the same time.

She is a bit predictable though and as soon as Chaol and Nesryn were separated, you could tell what would happen with that couple. For example. But there was also some plot twists that I did not see coming that will make the next book even more interesting.

Do I really have to write any more? If you have read anything by Sarah J. Maas, then you know her type of writing, and this is exactly her writing. If her name was not on the cover, you would pretty fast guess that is was her. Definitely not a bad thing but you kinda know how the story will go from the start.

Sarah J. Maas is one of my favorite authors and my biggest inspiration to my own book so a 5 is a given!

Signed book copies

A while ago, I learned that Good Choice Reading has virtual signings of books and the release of the next book from my favorite series is coming! Tower of Dawn is the 6th book in Throne of Glass series and The Assassin’s Blade is the prequel. They also offer Empire of Storms (#5) but I already have that one in my bookshelf.

Both of those two books, personally signed to me for only $55. And shipping is included! Shipping to Sweden would have been $84 but since my mom has this amazing work buddy in Philadelphia who comes to Sweden twice a year, she was so kind and told me that she could bring them if I ordered them to her place. She has helped me a lot previously as well, like Advils (not even comparable to similar aspirins here in Sweden, costwise) or candies that I miss. Super super sweet woman!

I can’t wait for October when she gets here!

Coloring book

The fantasy story set in Sarah J. Maas’ latest series A Court of Thorns and Roses got my extremely caught. She was amazing with the environment descriptions, described vivid colors and fantastics scenarios. When I enjoy something and have a beautiful picture in my head of what it looks like, I always wish there will be a movie or TV show where I can see this on screen instead of just in my head. In a majority of the cases I am very certain that I would be dissapointed… However, I feel like a coloring book could work! The pictures look really good, and when I get to decide colors I think the picture in my head will be even clearer. So therefore I bought my very first coloring book as an adult. I also bought new pencils, the ones I have are probably a hundred and thirtyseven years old and I wanted to give this book a fair chance. If I feel like it I can also add water and make the colors float into each other or mix. Cool pencils.

Review of “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 699
Published: 2017, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 tattoos

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

MY REVIEW

I am starting this review with the same phrase as my last one, but perhaps not with two exclamation marks: Oh my god!

The third book in this series is both similar and nothing at all like the third book about Feyre. Similar in style, and I have to admit that the first one is still in one category of itself in some sense that I can’t really explain. It is similar with the types of feelings that exists, the characters are the same. It differs in events. A Court of Mist and Fury is a well-knit together story of how Feyre finds her place in the world, whereas A Court of Wings and Ruin is what happens to her when she is faced with challenges and how to deal with situations with her newfound place.

It is a lot of politics, battles, and surprises that literally made me gasp at some points and had to lay down the book for a short while and think about what actually happened. Crazy intense story with an ending, which could work as the end to the series. Still many things that will happen, but they seem minor compared to the big war that was fought throughout this book. Fortunately, I don’t have to speculate on what will happen, because there will be three more books to come! Unfortunately, I will have to wait a full year for the fourth installment in A Court of Thorns and Roses…

When it comes to grading books, I only go after my general feeling of the book after finishing it. I wasn’t as satisfied as after Mist and Fury, but I don’t feel like it is a 4.5 either. So I give it a 5 as well!

Review of “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 624
Published: 2016, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 5 out of 5 wings

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

MY REVIEW

Oh my god!! How is it possible for a book to be this good? I can honestly say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. This is Maas at her absolutely very best, it almost make you wonder what kind of doping she took after the first one, which was quite frankly, not much compared to this one.

First of all, the characters felt more real, they were way more intriguing and it was so much easier to relate to them. The relationships between the people were more fun, not  necessarily real, or at least those are not the kind of relationships with friends and partners I have experienced previously, but so interesting and entertaining and you wish you had those kind of relationships. The story-telling and environmental descriptions are still amazing and you almost get surprised when you look up from the book and realize that this is the reality.

I can’t write much more if I want to stay away from plot reveals. So I will wrap up with the grade. I would easily give it more than 5 if possible, it is just that good! It took me 9 hours to finish and sometimes i couldn’t put the book down, I would literally walk and read simultaneously! I would also promise myself to just finish the chapter before doing something productive (like writing my master thesis), but I ended up reading 3.5 chapters and then falling asleep with the ereader in my face on the couch. It is just that good! If you felt a little bit hesitant after A Court of Thorns and Roses, forget that feeling, read A Court of Mist and Fury. There will be zero regrets whatsoever!!

I am really glad A Court of Wings and Ruin (#3 was released today). I bought the book before work, finished #2 on my way to work and started #3 on the way home.

Review of “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 421
Published: 2015, Bloomsbury Publishing
My Grade: 4 out of 5 flowers

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

MY REVIEW

I haven’t read this series yet because I was filled with scepticism. I LOVE Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas’ first book series) and I found it rather unbelievable that such a young author (she is 31 now) could produce two amazing book series simultaneously (because Throne of Glass is truly one of the best series I have read). I wondered if she could write anything as good. She could! Well, almost. A Court of Thorns and Roses only got a 4 from me, while every book in Throne of Glass series got a 5.

My first thought while reading was that I was unused to reading first person stories. I have read them and I do feel that they tend to be easier to relate to. However, I found it a little bit hard to relate to Feyre, the main character. Mostly I think because she was so unlike me and acted very differently than I would have in the same situation.

My second thought was that this book has drawn influences from several other stories. First of all, Beauty and the Beast. She gets taken away by a beast whom she very quickly falls in love with. It is an intriguing story and you kind of secretly wish it to happen to you, that your life would be like a fairytale. It was obvious beyond doubt that she would fall in love with him (I hadn’t really read the backcover so I actually didn’t know the story at all before reading it). It was obvious that he eventually would push her away and that she couldn’t stand to be away for too long, only to return shortly after and find everything in chaos. But at the same time, parts where surprising, like for example the character Rhysand and the actual end of the book also was surprising. While at the same time no I guess. That doesn’t make any sense but that is how I felt.

The world this book takes place in is gorgeously painted by Maas, exactly like Throne of Glass, or even more so perhaps. But the reason why it doesn’t get a full 5, is partly because of the sex scenes, which bothered me in the latest Throne of Glass book too (Empire of Storms). They fit well with this story compared to Empire of Storms, but it is a young adult fantasy book, sex doesn’t really have to be a part of it. It is possible to write about passion without descriptions of the act itself. The main reason It doesn’t really reach a 5 is because I don’t feel like it should get a 5. It is not quite up there as my favorite book series which have gotten 5’s (like Harry Potter for example), they are in different categories and therefore it gets a 4. I think I can say that if you enjoyed Throne of Glass, you might enjoy this too, which feels like a faster version of it with more fantasy.

Spontaneous book purchase

Yesterday Jesper and I went to my favorite store, Science Fiction Bokhandeln (~The Science Fiction bookstore). I think it actually might be his too, since he always wants to go there. I have a long list of my favorite books that I want to have on my shelf (I have most of my library in the .epub-format), and yesterday I ticked one whole series off. Throne of Glass, one of my favorite series of all time. Next on my shopping list is Silo by Hugh Howey.

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The book bag also contained the main game of Munchkin. So we are prepared for game nights at our place from now on. A funny thing happened later when mom came over to pick up the keys (so she can feed our cats when we are away at my grandma’s for the weekend). She also brought the game of Munchkin since her group of friends couldn’t figure out (or was it something else? Can’t remember) how to play it, so I was promised it. What are the odds that she brings it over on the same day we decide to buy it? I really like coincidences, they are fun! Anyway, so now we have to return the oen we bought, and get another version instead so we have twice as many cards. I think Jesper wants to get the Zombie version. No surprise there.

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