★★★★★ for House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Isn’t it funny that one could feel proud of something that isn't even related to them? When reading a book with excellent world-building, I often sense a gleam of that sentiment in my chestfaint, but strong enough to be recognizedand I will silently recite, “This is why I love fantasy.” It occurs to me as pure luck that not only have I been able to experience it once this month but twice. That said, the lingering feeling after finishing Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo was covered up by my decision to binge-read House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas which I managed to finish yesterday.

House of Earth and Blood follows the story of a half-fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan who lives with her best friend Danika in Crescent City. Not being able to resist the pull of partying, both share a similar interest in getting drunk and high in a club called The White Raven. However, an incident happens one day when Bryce is away with her other two friends. Danika is murdered brutally and Bryce has to see the proof before her own eyes.

Two years later, the still-traumatized Bryce finds out that the supposed culprit behind the bar is actually blameless in this matter when another similar murder happens. Being the only suspect in the prior incident, the Governor asks Bryce to investigate the crime with the help of a notorious fallen angel called Hunt Athalar. But when the two try to dig into the mysterious secret behind this case, they find out that things are even more complicated than they seem to be while also finding each other in the process.

Upon finishing this book, I realized how at a loss for words I would be, sitting in front of the screen trying to form my jumbled thoughts into a review: merely saying that this book was great or the world-building was complex would be a complete understatement. House of Earth and Blood was jam-packed with various creatures like fae, angel, werewolf, vampyr, witch, demon, sprite, mermaid, and many more with the political tension between them getting inevitably heavy. The first part had been a struggle I admit, because as fun as it was seeing the archenemies managed to live side by side in Crescent City, it’s also pretty hard to digest every little detail and new terms at the same time.

Once I had gone past that though, I couldn’t seem to put this book down. About 800 pages devoured in 3 days has probably confirmed a lot. Is it possible to love so many characters in a book that you’ve finally lost count? I believe it does. I really adored Bryce. She’s witty, brave, and basically owned the several qualities that I liked in a female main character. I also liked how Hunt managed to balance Bryce’s quick humor and stubbornness just as much as I doted the relationship between Bryce and her friends. To wrap it up, I liked almost everyone in this book so let’s just leave it at that before I couldn’t refrain myself and accidentally reveal some spoilers.

The twists were exceptional in my opinion but please note that before this I had rarely read anything by Maas except for ACOTAR, ACOWAR, and Catwoman: Soulstealer, so I felt like she did an extremely good job with this one. The plot got more and more unexpected as the story developed. Some scenes brought out laughter while the other made me shed some tears. The conflict, the secret, the mystery... I just couldn’t get enough of them.

My only protest would be for it to contain too many F words. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very well aware of the fact that it’s an adult book and besides, I’ve never had a problem with the usage of the mentioned word as long as it’s not applied too often. Considering how much I loved this book though, I wouldn’t even think to hold this opinion against my full-stars rating. I was just here to express the thought of it being redundant at some point.

In conclusion, House of Earth and Blood was such an amazing read, worth the hype, and thus exceeded my expectation. I've seen a lot of reviews to be able to make a point that while this book is widely loved, others may not feel the same way as they think it's too similar with ACOTAR and TOG to their liking. For me though, I sense a little ACOTAR's vibe combined with Cassie Clare's, so I'd totally recommend it to everyone who likes both authors and adult high-fantasy books.

Actual rating: 5