House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2) by Sarah J Maas | Review

Posted June 13, 2022 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Books, Reviews / 0 Comments

House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2) by Sarah J Maas | ReviewHouse of Sky and Breath (Crescent City, #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Also by this author: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1), Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3), Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4), A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2), Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5), A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3), A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1), The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-#0.5), Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3), Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7), House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1), A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)
Series: Crescent City #2
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on February 15, 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 807 •Format: E-BookSource: Overdrive

Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.

The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.

I went into the second installment of Sarah J Maas’ urban fantasy series with no real expectations- I enjoyed House of Earth and Blood well enough, but it definitely didn’t hold the same space in my heart that the TOG and ACOTAR series did. You can imagine my surprise when House of Sky and Breath caught me so entirely and utterly off guard with its ending. Screaming, crying, throwing up (not really, but still). Literally shrieking from my bedroom, causing my husband to ask what the heck had possibly happened (and I promptly read him the last two pages, as he’s heard enough of my SJM fangirling over the years to know the significance of what happened). I usually don’t include spoilers in my reviews, but there’s really know way for me articulate my feelings without doing so for this one. So be prepared- major and minor spoilers ahead!

One of my main issues with House of Earth and Blood (HOEAB) was that it was so slow in the beginning, and took about a third of the way through for me to settle into the story and feel connected to the characters. I didn’t have that same issue with HOSAB at all- I felt immediately immersed in the story, picking up a bit after the climactic, catastrophic events of the previous book and getting to follow the characters in their more “normal” day to day routines in the aftermath. The gang is still mostly intact (Bryce, Hunt, Tharion, Ruhn) with the addition of Ithan joining the main crew, the younger brother of deceased wolf Connor. The group is trying to find a new normal in the aftermath of everything that’s happened to them- Hunt’s freedom, Bryce’s newfound powers and royal status, the truth behind the death of the pack of devils, etc. However, their attempt at normalcy is disrupted pretty quickly as they get entrenched in the rebel’s movement against the Asteri, helping Cormac (a Fae cousin of Ruhn’s and heir to another throne) find the brother of a former thunderbird (a Vanir thought to be extinct with crazy lightening powers…confused yet?)

There’s honestly a LOT going on plot wise in this novel, which isn’t a bad thing! However, it definitely felt like it could have been trimmed back in places, especially since a lot of the rebel plot line ended up being obsolete (for now, anyway- you never know with SJM!) For some reason, it seems harder for me to keep all of the different characters and groups straight in this series than in her others- there are so many different houses, factions, law enforcement teams, etc to keep track of. I think I did an OK job of keeping mostly everything straight, but there were so many reveals in this novel it felt a little like whiplash- and surprise, surprise, turns out Danika was pretty much at the center of ALL of them (or at least knew about all of them). It’s starting to seem a little too ~convenient~ that Danika knew SO MUCH prior to her death and every time Bryce thinks she’s understood the extent of her best friend’s life she just blindsided with another revelation. It truly makes me wonder if everything involving Danika was planned in advance, or if it’s just for plot convenience at this point.

Speaking of Bryce, I can confidently say she’s my least favorite of SJM’s protagonists. I actually liked her more in the first book, where her character was more nuanced as she dealt with the grief and rage from Danika’s death, learning to be vulnerable with Hunt, etc. However, in this installment she seemed very much like a pale imitation of Aelin to me. Always with the swagger, always “winking,” always having a sassy (and cringy) comeback- but most irritatingly, somehow always plotting and scheming off page and magically solving major problems. I get SJM’s other protagonists have a habit of doing this too (Feyre for example, when she goes and gets the mirror off page), but it just seems bizarre that Bryce, who’s been in this status of power for a few months, somehow navigates these secret situations with the same savvy as a Queen and a High Lady with waaaaay more resources at their disposal.

I usually can overlook not loving SJM’s protagonist if I adore the side characters (and she often writes awesome side characters), but the rest of Bryce’s gang doesn’t have SJM’s usual charm for me. Tharion is honestly obnoxious and in a hell of his own making, Ithan I could take or leave, Ruhn just seems immature and woe-is-me, and Fury and Juniper got very little page time in this book. Then there’s Hunt, who I have mixed feelings about. I’m intrigued that he seems to be endgame for Bryce (which breaks SJM’s usual bait-and-switch with the love interest in a series), but we still know basically NOTHING about him two books in. I do like that he’s different than SJM’s usual love interests, not all self-sacrificing and all powerful. He’s actually pretty concerned with keeping himself and Bryce safe above all, does NOT want to put himself in a position that could land him in slavery again, often makes the wrong decision/call or disagrees with Bryce, etc. It’s through this selfishness, though, that I find him interesting, as he’s not “perfect” like Rhysand or Rowan came to be over time (which honestly became annoying). HOWEVER I am so tired of the whole “mate” thing…I get that it’s a running theme in her novels with Fae, but I feel like it doesn’t make ANY sense here because 1) Hunt’s an angel and 2) there wasn’t that biological tug, they just sort of decided “hey let’s be mates because boyfriend/girlfriend sounds stupid.” XD

It’s repetitive tropes like these that had me begin to grow wary as I read. I was fearing that perhaps SJM was too one note with her storytelling, that she was relying on too many similarities from her old books due to a lack of creativity, such as:

  • The concept of mates like in ACOTAR and TOG
  • Ruhn having dark hair, violet-blue eyes, the power to cloak himself in night, etc
  • Cormac teaching Bryce how to teleport, AKA “winnowing” from ACOTAR
  • The Autumn King in general
  • Sophie starting the novel sent to a prison work camp where her true identity/powers were not known
  • Mention of the three-faced goddess, parallels with the “Mother”
  • The Hind wearing a silver torque around her neck
Spoiler Time!

Folks, I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. Should have KNOWN this was not a mere coincidence. When you-know-what hits the fan and Bryce has to travel to another world to seek help and instead of landing in Hel as planned finds herself being taken to A PLUSH HOUSE ON A RIVER BY A HAZEL EYED, DARK HAIRED, DEMON WINGED MALE and then in comes a female who is clearly AMREN (!!!!!) and then RHYSAND AND FEYRE (!!!!!!!!) I about lost my ever loving mind!!!!! Like I know I am a grown ass woman but I never thought this crossover would actually HAPPEN (the small Rhys and Feyre cameo in KOA was surprising enough!) Part of me is like OH NO will the next book read like fanfiction? But then part of me is like THIS IS THE MOST EPIC THING EVER AND I NEED TO GO REREAD THE ENTIRE TOG AND ACOTAR SERIES IN ORDER TO PICK UP ON ALLLL THE CLUES AND EASTER EGGS.

*Deep Breath*

Ahem, so as you can tell, I am excited. Does this crossover have the possibility to be cringey and potentially sully the ACOTAR and (perhaps) TOG cannons? Absolutely. But I think it also has the possibility to be so, so awesome and I am DYING to know whether this was planned all along or if this came in later. I have soooo many theories spinning around in my head based on what we learned, such as:

  • Bryce’s kind of Fae evolving from the Prythian Fae?
  • Shifters like Danika evolving from Erilea’s Fae?
  • Dusk’s Truth = THE LOST DUSK COURT (It has low key always bothered me that there was a Dawn Court but no Dusk Court!!!!)
  • Danika and/or the Hind being descendants of Aelin?
  • Amren either being an Asteri (Sirius) or having been one of their soldiers?
  • Was this all set up in KOA when those Fae from another dimension came and helped Aelin fight the Valg?
  • Fendyr = Fenrys???


Other thoughts I had when reading:
  • OMG so maybe Hel isn’t the enemy?
  • The whole idea of one of the mystics being an Alpha to challenge Sabine is *chef’s kiss*…but smelling of pine and embers…Rowan connections??
  • I was surprised to learn that the Hind was Agent Daybright! I actually thought it was Celestina- even if she was with Hypaxia, I thought it might turn into a polyamorous situation with them + Ruhn lol
  • The whole Baxian/Danika thing…again, adding too much to Danika’s story (though I did like Baxian lol)

Overall: You can tell I am a mess and this crossover has the potential to be a disaster but I am rooting for it to be amazing and you can catch me re-reading allll the SJM books soon!

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