Review by: Colleen
*Note: No spoilers beyond information given in the summary.*
I should probably begin this review with a small disclaimer. I am, undoubtedly, the biggest sucker for Sarah J. Maas novels you’ll ever meet. Though, since there’s a chance you haven’t met me, I give you permission to grant that title upon someone you do know.
However, I guarantee I am a close second to that person.
With that fact now floating about in your brain, I have to say I will rave about any SJM book until I die (as I’m about to do with her debut adult novel, Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood), but I’m also aware of a few things that might be turn offs to fans and newcomers. So I’ll do my best to paint you the full picture.
First off, this book delivered on world building. The magic system in Crescent City is complex and unique and while complicated to grasp at the start, it quickly became an easily navigable set of rules, traditions, and species. Sarah places a huge mix of different fantasy elements atop a strikingly human- based society. Angels use smartphones and fae drive sports cars and witches use modern surgical technology in their healing alongside their magic powers. I personally found it engaging to read about creatures that originally seem foriegn using everyday objects common to me, making parts of the story more relatable.
Additionally, the characters that fill this magical world hit you in every way they were meant to. Bryce, the main character, draws you in with her confidence and spunk and holds on to you the entire book as she grows. Alongside other characters, it’s so easy to feel the chemistry not only in the romances but in the friendships, and to feel spiteful towards the reigning evil powers within the city. Sarah crafted the character dimensions and interactions wonderfully, creating characters with a new level of depth that are truly interesting to explore.
While this is mainly a character driven story, fueled by Bryce of course, the overarching plot of the book is fascinating. Every chapter left me wanting more, more, more. I had to know how each challenge altered the outcome of the book. I was enticed by the magic and mystery of the murder case the story follows, the pages virtually dragging me along, I was so hooked. It is definitely a page turner and lacks plot holes and dull points that can interrupt complex fantasies such as this one.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book! I had such a blast reading it. I cried, laughed, smiled, and felt all the feelings and struggles of Bryce throughout the book. It truly tackles the pain of loss and the healing strength of love in a powerful way that I will never forget! If you’re looking for a magical, impactful read, you should definitely pick this one up!
Alright, now that I’ve raved about the magnificence of the book, here are a few points you might want to know before going into it if you’re a more skeptical reader:
- It is a SJM book through and through, so if you aren’t into brooding male characters or snarky female ones, you won’t find anything too different in here.
- Off of that point, other SJM fantasy trends are present, such as almost every important character having a distinct scent. So again, don’t read it just to complain about those elements now that you’ve been warned.
- It is definitely an adult book. Not necessarily for the reasons you may think, but because the characters are older (in their 20s to 200s and beyond), there are scenes set in clubs with drinking, use of drugs, and swearing beyond fantasy euphemisms to their own gods. However, if you’ve read any of Sarah’s books before, don’t shy away here. It’s not much of a leap.
Again, I absolutely devoured this story and eagerly await the sequel, so don’t let any of the aforementioned points scare you off! If you are an SJM fan, you will love this book! And even if you’re not a fan or are new to the world of Sarah J. Maas, I still highly recommend Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it!
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