Ashton’s Literary Ramblings Review: Sarah J. Maas: Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood

So if you are a die hard fan of anything, then you know the anticipation and the eagerness that fills your veins when they (whoever they are) announce an addition or new item. Well, Sarah J. Maas announced early last year that she was starting an adult fantasy series called Crescent City. I was like a little kid in a candy shop with unlimited money; I was so, so excited. Then, of course, I had to wait…and I had to wait. As a reader, we know the definition of waiting. While some authors can publish a book each month (James Patterson, I’m pointing my fingers at you) or at least publish a few novels a year (Danielle Steel, this is where you come in), other authors take a long, long, long time. Look at Stephenie Meyer. She’s finally finishing Midnight Sun after thirteen years, but that’s a whole other blog post (coming soon).

First off as always:

Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood

This cover is absolutely breathtaking! The cover is made by artist Carlos Quevedo, a Venezuelan graphic artist. The intricacy of his artwork is amazing and makes this perfectly suited for Sarah’s book.

Now let’s get to the point: the book. First, here’s the summary taken from Goodreads:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

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.

 

At first, I struggled with this book. I didn’t like the set up of it or how Bryce was perceived as a ‘party girl’. Eventually, I started becoming more interested in the story. While I was still confused about how Sarah set up the world of Crescent City and how that world operated, I eventually became invested in the characters and the mystery revolving around the horn. Hunt and Bryce, of course, became a top contender of my favorite fictional couples. I could see how bruised and hurt they both were by things that had either happened to them in the past or things they had done in the past and how those things had shaped them as characters. Their relationship evolved from one of loathing to loving. However, if you’ve read anything by Sarah J. Maas, then you know about her plot switches. I won’t invest myself in any specific relationship in this series until book two comes out because I know how her plot switch upended my whole world when I read her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. 

Now, I’m back to waiting for the next installment in the series (no publication date yet). I’m hoping Maas will use Book 2 to fill in the cracks about this world in Crescent City.

Kingdom of Ash

Sarah J. Maas’s final book in the Throne of Glass series is set to be released on October 23, 2018. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that I am just a little obsessed with this series, and now it will be all coming to an end! While I am excited to see what happens to my favorite characters, I am also sad to see them go. Luckily, I can jump back into their stories any time I want when I reread the series.

Sarah J. Maas has been developing this series since she was sixteen years old. She had originally posted a version of the first novel — originally titled Queen of Glass — on the website FictionPress.com before the publishing company, Bloomsbury, picked it up. Maas had a gigantic online following which brought her writing to Bloomsbury’s attention. Throne of Glass was published on August 7, 2012 and was inspired in part by Disney’s Cinderella. Anticipating the release of the first novel, Bloomsbury also released eBook editions of the four prequel novels, which you can download from the Indiana Digital Download Center.

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s deadliest assassin, as she is plucked from her enslavement by the Crown Prince of Adarlan himself, Dorian Havilliard. Dorian summons her to the castle to fight as his champion in his father’s competition to become the King’s Champion, or the king’s own personal assassin. She must compete with twenty-three other champions from all kinds of backgrounds to win. Meanwhile, something dark and evil is stalking the palace and champions are turning up dead. It’s up to Celaena to discover what’s killing the competitors before she winds up dead herself.

The first book in this series is just the beginning; it becomes clear throughout the rest of the series that something even more sinister is taking place, and Celaena’s journey to win her freedom is simply the catalyst. You’ll find witches, giant spiders, wyverns, magic, royalty, secret identities, and love peppering this action-packed series that will keep you guessing until the very last page of each installment. I honestly don’t know how the series is going to end, which stresses me out a little.

You still have a little bit of time to read or reread the six books already in the series before the seventh, Kingdom of Ash, is released on October 23, 2018. The Aurora Public Library District does own several physical copies of some of the books, but the entire seriesincluding the prequels — is available to download from the Indiana Digital Download Center. You can also request the books through Interlibrary Loan by filling in the form online, calling, or stopping by one of the desks. You might want to put your name on the list for the seventh book, too, to reserve your spot as quickly as you can! Call the library or stop by one of the desks today!

Happy Reading!

Series Starters: A Court of Thorns and Roses

I’ll admit it; I was leery to start Sarah J. Maas’s other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. But I’m glad I stuck with it! As always, Maas did not disappoint!

A Court of Thorns and Roses is recommended for young adults and older; in fact, it is often categorized under New Adult, which is a fairly recent subgenre in which characters are between the ages of eighteen and thirty or so. There are strong themes of growing up and coming to terms with oneself, as well as some content that might not be suitable for younger or immature readers.

The series starts with nineteen-year-old Feyre hunting in the woods, trying to keep the promise she made to her mother on her deathbed to always take care of her father and two sisters. She spots a deer but as she’s going in for the kill, a wolf comes along and threatens to steal it away. She takes a chance and kills both the deer and the wolf, thinking her family can keep the meat and she’ll be able to sell the pelts in the village for money. A few days later, it turns out that the wolf was actually a faerie in animal form, and another faerie has come to collect the debt on his sentinel’s life. What Feyre finds is a magical land cursed by a mysterious blight, a beast and his court who cannot take off their masks, and freedom.

After a slow start that seemed nothing more than yet another take on Beauty and the Beast, the action picks up about halfway through and doesn’t stop until the very last page. I’ve found this to be typical of Maas’s books, but it’s definitely worth sticking out. After several twists and turns that you won’t see coming, you won’t be able to wait for the next book in the series. Fortunately, the Aurora Public Library District has the first three novels in the series available for you to check out as physical or digital copies!

Happy Reading!

 

Series Starters: Throne of Glass

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas has been on my to-read list for a year now, but I had been putting it off because I was skeptical. I thought it would be another typical YA series with yet another heroine destined to save the world, overthrow the government, and fall in love all at the same time. And while these elements are the bare bones of the plot, I was not prepared for the whirlwind that was the first book in this series.

Celaena Sardothien is the world’s most notorious assassin — or, at least, she was until she was captured and imprisoned as a slave a year ago. An unlikely offer from Crown Prince Dorian Havilliard pulls her out of the depths of slavery and launches her into a competition to become the King’s Champion, where she must defeat twenty-three other infamous assassins, thieves, and soldiers to regain her freedom. However, what Celaena thought would be a run-of-the mill test of her wits and strength quickly becomes something more sinister. Evil is lurking in the castle and something is killing off the competitors one by one. Now it’s up to Celaena to find whatever monster it is that is killing her competition, survive a tyrannical king who has brutally conquered most of the countries on the continent, allow her new acquaintances close enough to be friends, and become the King’s Champion so she can be free again.

This is a slower read to get into as Maas draws readers to her characters first, allowing the action to pick up during the second half of the novel. I was invested in Celaena almost from the start because Maas does such a great job of closing her off from everyone around her, even the reader; I was as frustrated as Dorian and Chaol when she shuts down and refuses to talk about her past! There are still unanswered questions at the end of the novel, so it’s a good thing that there are four other books following the first as well, as well as the sixth and seventh books being published in September 2017 and May 2018, respectively.

The Aurora Public Library District has the five existing novels available from the Indiana Digital Download Center as well as a couple hard copies of some of the books available for check out today. Also available from the Indiana Digital Download Center are prequel novellas from the Throne of Glass universe that can be checked out as well.

It looks like I’ll be absorbed in this series for awhile, but I don’t think I mind. I’ll just be over here, impatiently awaiting the release of the final two novels!

Happy Reading!