March 5, 2020

Reviews: House of Earth and Blood + Chain of Gold


pub 3/3/20 by Bloomsbury
Adult - Urban Fantasy
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars | Is it even possible for Sarah J. Maas to write something I won't absolutely love? The answer is a resounding no. I've been a huge fan of hers since the first BookExpo I attended in 2012 when I picked up an ARC of Throne of Glass and read it only a few weeks later. And as someone who's read and loved that entire series plus A Court of Thorns and Roses, this move into adult urban fantasy felt natural and inevitable. House of Earth and Blood is an incredibly strong series starter that takes place in Crescent City and is filled with fae, demons, angels, werewolves, and humans. Some of whom are good, and others, as we'll learn, not so much. At the forefront is Bryce Quinlan, a half-Fae woman frequently underestimated because she loves to party but beneath the surface is someone hard-working, deeply devoted to her friends and kind. So when her best friend is killed by a demon and similar crimes start up again, she's determined to get revenge and discover the truth. Except... she has some not-so-welcome help in the form of Hunt Athalar, a Fallen angel enslaved to the Archangels and assassinating his boss' enemies as repentance. But if he helps Bryce find the murderer, he may be closer to getting his freedom. As you can imagine, not only do they make some shocking discoveries but along the way, their antagonism leads to friendship and romance (my favorite kind of relationship!). I admit that in the beginning I struggled to keep track of all the different paranormal creatures, the tiers, history and names. It's a lot to take in! But then I realized I needed to stop and just lose myself in the story, which I most certainly did. While Bryce is my favorite character in the whole book, the truth is I fell in love with nearly all the characters introduced. One of Maas' strengths has always been creating relationships -- friendship, romantic or otherwise -- that give me so many feelings. And it's because they feel real. Little details would make me laugh or smile and later on when the big moments happened, there were definitely a lot of tears too. The storytelling was just brilliant and the world-building top-notch. After I finished, I spent almost the whole week rereading my favorite parts of it.

Do I recommend? How many ways can I say YES YOU HAVE TO READ THIS. If you love paranormal urban fantasy, I cannot recommend this series enough.


pub 3/3/20 by Margaret K. Elderry Books
Young Adult - Paranormal Fantasy
⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 4.5 stars | Friends, I will happily read Shadowhunter books forever! I'm seriously impressed by how Cassie Clare continues to expand the world and create new casts of characters to love. And with Chain of Gold, I seriously adored just about everyone. In case you didn't know, The Last Hours trilogy is a spin-off from The Infernal Devices that takes places year and years later. It was so much fun to see Will and Tessa as parents and to see how Jem was still very much a part of their lives. But the original cast played a secondary role to this new generation who has been living peacefully in the aftermath of their parents' bravery. And if you've been keeping up with all of Clare's books as long as I have, lots of names will sound familiar! There's James and Lucie Herondale, Cordelia Carstairs, Anna and Thomas Lightwood, and Matthew Fairchild. Of all the groups of friends across the different series, the dynamic between this particular set might just be my favorite! Each character is developed with such nuance and I felt something for each of their individual plights. Cordelia's  resonated with me the most though. I loved her bravery, her genuine nature, and her desire to be the hero of her story rather than to accept the role society would have her play. But I'm also trash for the Herondales so James' story intrigued me too, even when I wanted to shake some sense into him. That said, when a shocking series of demon attacks begin to plague London, it's this younger generation who take it upon themselves to figure out why this is happening and what can they do to stop it.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them in action and I think the adventures to come in the rest of the series will have readers along for a wild ride. My only complaint is the potential set up of a trope that I think Clare falls back on one too many times. I did find it fairly irksome towards the end because I have strong feelings on the matter but I'm hoping she'll surprise me in a good way in the next book.

Do I recommend? Absolutely! I'm already thinking about how much I want book two.

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