SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD (CC#1) BY SARAH J MAAS, FOLLOWED BY A BOOK DISCUSSION WITH SPOILERS (don’t worry, i’ll let you know before the spoilers begin!)
my rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5 stars — this book WRECKED ME. I’ve always adored SJM’s way with words. She gives us amazing characters, people who we wish we could have in our lives, and then she rips them away piece by piece.
to be honest, i didn’t have very high expectations of the book at the beginning. everyone said that it’s really slow and the plot doesn’t pick up until halfway through, which is true. however, TRUST ME, IT’S WORTH IT! yes, sjm could have cut out most of the filler because 800 pages is long but everything just comes together at the end and wraps the story up nicely.
also, let’s talk about the ~spice~. surprisingly, this was relatively tame?? nowhere near acomaf levels, that’s for sure. i was so surprised by it, because it’s sjm’s first new adult book, and i was expecting some very nsfw stuff. ngl, i think the NA label just allowed her to use more ~language~ and make their thoughts more explicit. but she did say in a livestream that book 2 has much more spice in it, so…
all things considered, i do think hoeab is better than koa. maybe it’s my taste, as i don’t enjoy war and politics as much? but i feel like i was much more connected to the characters in hoeab, and they seemed to love each other so much… i love how sjm focused on the power of friendship a lot in this book, and showed how true friends will always be there for each other (yes i cried like a baby everytime bryce’s friends were mentioned). it also showed how people deal with grief in different ways, and that opening yourself up to love is so good. don’t read the book at night unless you want to cry yourself to sleep and feel immensely lonely.
however, there are a couple of things that this book could have been better at:
a) there is a lot of exposition given at the beginning of the book which could have been weaved through the story in a better way, eg. through dialogue. that also happens at the end, where it’s just paragraphs upon paragraphs of info dumping so the readers understand the reasoning, and blah blah blah. i straight-up skipped most of them, and somehow i still understood the gist of the book, so…
b) the term “alphahole”, which is said to mean cocky males who are overprotective of their love interests and dominant and territorial… sounds just like every fae male that sjm’s ever written huh,, also, it’s overused in the book even though hunt is still being a whole alphahole?? so what’s the point of sjm being so self-aware of her tropes?
and finally, c) the representation of poc and lgbtq+ folks in this book… kinda sucks ngl. everyone is described with “golden” skin which is never mentioned again?? and the lgbtq+ characters are literally just there to be token characters,, they don’t get character development, and sjm never even explicitly states anything?? i mean, nice try sjm but how about you don’t pull a disney on us 🙂 but still, i think that the book is still a good attempt (compared to tog and acotar) at having more diverse characters, and i hope that sjm goes down this path for her future books too!
in conclusion, i recommend this book to anyone who wants to be transported into a futuristic world with mostly dynamic characters that you’ll fall in love with right away, and a whole lot of plot twists that break your heart. if you need me, i’ll be in the corner crying about danika fendyr for the nth time…
If you felt like House of Earth and Blood deserved a better review, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought of it! I’d love to hear your opinions!
— end of review, beginning of discussion WITH SPOILERS —
you have been warned!
hi guys, and welcome to my attempt at having a ~discussion~ section. comment your opinions in the comments below (gosh i feel like a youtuber lmao) so we can chat!
first of all, let’s talk about danika. danika fendyr made me laugh, cry, scream and cry some more, even though she was dead for the majority of the book. when hunt said that she’s a synth addict? i got so mad, i could not accept that the book’s main plot was due to her being an addict and not telling bryce anything. but also, i was just mainly mad at hunt for doing the whole rebellion thing again?? but back to danika: literally i started crying anytime she was mentioned in the second half of the book, because her friendship with bryce was so pure and strong and gfjkhkfdshf can i have a friend like that please? and when micah revealed that she tore up the pack and then herself, my heart legit bROKE because the audio showed that she was begging for HERSELF to stop it… *don’t mind me crying in the corner* and can we talk about how bryce sacrificed her chances in the bone quarter so that danika’s sailing would go smoothly… PEAK FRIENDSHIP OVER HERE,, and the next books will definitely elaborate on this more i bet. the climax of my sadness was when danika answered bryce’s call for an anchor and then she uSED THE LAST OF HER ENERGY TO PROPEL BRYCE UPWARDS?? THROUGH LOVE ALL IS POSSIBLE 😭😭 AND HOW LEBAHAH SACRIFICED HERSELF TO SAVE BRYCE AND SYRIE,, OUCH MY HEART WASN’T READY FOR THAT!! THE PLATONIC LOVE IN THIS BOOK IS A+
but aside from how emotional i get when i read the book, i have some problems with the worldbuilding: what is the drop supposed to look like?? i was picturing bungee jumping or a vertical wind tunnel, but according to the book, the people making the drop were just,, somewhere within themselves mentally? but then how do they use their anchors? because i was picturing that they’d be connected to their anchors somehow but bryce and ghost danika just casually went for it, and i’m assuming that bryce casually passes out on the floor when she goes and does her drop, since her body is flatlining when hunt wakes up? but danika is literally a tiny piece of energy,, how does she even get into bryce’s subconscious self or is that just a ~magical part~ that we’re supposed to accept? and what is the Ordeal,, did i just miss out on a whole event? i have so many questions for the worldbuilding (but that may be because i skipped those huge chunks of text at the beginning)…
also, let’s talk about how hunt is missing both his legs and an arm after he protects bryce from the giant catapult/bomb thing at the end of the book. how does he not die of blood loss right away? yes i get it he has angel blood but i don’t think angel blood can fix three lost limbs in the amount of time that bryce takes to make the drop. that literally made me so confused, because shouldn’t he die like,, right away? that must have cut through some arteries. i think sjm needs to touch up on her biology and anatomy but aiiiiight- ALSO CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW HUNT WAS SUCH A SOFTIE AND I LOVED HIM UNTIL HE WAS BUYING SYNTH FOR THE REVOLUTION,, AGAIN? like yes dude i get it you want to be freed from slavery but also i wanted brycehunt to have a calm and happy life without drama 😭 wow that sounded so selfish but THE PART ON THE BOAT MADE ME LIKE HIM LESS OK ;-;
PREDICTION TIME!! let’s guess what’s gonna happen in book 2! leave your answers in the comments pLEASE
- what do you think the title of the next book(s) will be?
- do you think is sjm going to switch the love interest again? if so, who’s your guess?
- will bryce take over as starborn & will ruhn be jealous?
here are my answers: 1) i bet it’s gonna follow the “house of…” format, so probably house of flame and shadow, house of sky and breath, and *maybe* house of many waters if she does a spin off for tharion or someone. 2) YES I BET ON IT!! it’s gonna be aidas, i can feel it. sjm is gonna pull another rhysand and make aidas somehow bryce’s saviour all along, and they can go and be happy as the most powerful couple in the world… familliar, huh? but if she pulls a tamlin on hunt, i will rIOT. 3) i feel like that’s definitely going to happen by the end of the series, because sjm is a sucker for the “main character turns out to be super powerful” cliché. there’s also gonna be a conflict with ruhn because that’s rly the only thing that can happen with his character: is overprotective –> fights with bryce –> apologizes and they become best siblings forever. it’s a ~cycle~
am i still thinking about the book, days after i read it? definitely. will i reread it? definitely. will i cry my eyes out again while rereading? definitely.
House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas.