Review: House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

A copy of House of Sky and Breath lays on a gray blanket, with House of Blood and Earth above it, next to an Aquarius candle.

Alexis:

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 

The first book in the Crescent City series, House of Earth and Blood, is my all-time favorite Sarah J. Maas book. I know my initial review of it on here was a little bit critical, but I’ve re-read it multiple times now, and it gets better every time, and just hits me right in the feels!

I know the book world was hyped about the release of the sequel, House of Sky and Breath, but you can bet I was hyped about it, too!

What I didn’t like so much: 

I think House of Sky and Breath suffers a little bit from second book syndrome in that I can tell everything in this book is setting up big events to happen in the next one. 

One of the sex scenes had some information that 100% should have been left out, because it took me out of the scene and was frankly unnecessary and unsexy. 

While HOEAB focuses primarily on the two main characters, Bryce and Hunt, HOSAB bounces around more between the side characters. Maas focuses especially on Ruhn, Bryce’s brother; Tharion, a mer; and Ithan, Connor’s little brother. 

The multiple POVs bogged the story down. I found myself not caring about Tharion’s POV at all (sorry, Tharion). And I missed the focus being on Bryce and Hunt.

Now, on to the rest!

What I liked:

While I did enjoy Ithan’s POV, the only secondary character I really connected with was Ruhn! He’s such a good character, and I’m excited to see how he progresses in the next book, too. I also really enjoyed the funny scenes in this book.

Also, as Maas teased, THE ENDING. She tied so many details and plot points together, it was actually insane. I had to zone out for a while in shock after finishing this book. I haven’t slept well in a week, and it’s all because of this book! 

But that’s all I can say about that without spoiling anything. 

Who knows, maybe when I re-read this one, I’ll have a different opinion. But for now, the first ¾ of the story was about 3.5 stars, and the last ¼ of the story was 5 stars.

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Review: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

A Kindle version of A Court of Silver Flames is being held up in front of a money tree, which is in a gray cat planter.

Alexis:

I was finally able to read this book after getting it from the library on my Kindle! And good timing too; unfortunately, I’ve been fighting a sinus infection, so I barely moved from the couch while I read this book.

A Court of Silver Flames is the fourth installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. This book is from Feyre’s sister’s, Nesta, point-of-view, and follows her as she hits rock bottom and tries to come to terms with her new life, and come to terms with her feelings for Cassian.

I loved parts of this book and wasn’t a fan of other parts. The actual plot that makes brief appearances? Great! Nesta’s hard, uphill battle to heal and come to peace with herself and her family and those around her? Also great! Nesta forming strong, supportive friendships with other women? Amazing! Nesta learning how to fight with Cassian as her teacher? Awesome!

And I might be in the minority in this, but there was just too much sex in this book. I knew that was going to be the case going into it (as the word had been going around the Bookstagram grapevine) but I found myself just flipping through the sex scenes. They just kept happening, in abundance and a wild amount of detail! I’m not a prude by any means, but it absolutely could’ve been pared down and the point still gotten across; it got very repetitive.  

It probably doesn’t help that Nesta was never my favorite character. However, this book did make me feel for her and understand her journey and her trauma. Maas always excels at that. But Nesta’s POV made Feyre and Rhysand not look great, honestly, and it was sometimes weird to read about this cast of characters from Nesta’s negative POV. 

While I enjoyed the book overall, even after skipping through the sex scenes, I still can’t help but compare it to Crescent City: A House of Earth and Blood. It deals with similar themes, but it’s Maas’ best work, in my opinion, and it’s significantly less racey, and A Court of Silver Flames almost felt like a shadow copy of that story.

Like I said, I still enjoyed the book overall, and I think it’s worth a read if you’ve been closely following ACOTAR. But just be aware of what you’re going into if you read it!

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐.5

Review: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

Alexis:

“Through love, all is possible.”

Maas has a way of writing worlds that suck you in and make you want to keep reading. While this world is pretty similar to the one in ACOTAR, I loved how the world in Crescent City blends modern technology with magic; we don’t get enough fantasy with modern technology, and it was really interesting and fun to see the characters use both cell phones and magic. It was also loosely based off of Ancient Rome, which was cool.

I really enjoyed all of the characters. I liked reading from both Bryce and Hunt’s perspective. They both have a great mix of admirable traits and flaws. And, as usual, Maas is great at writing characters who have suffered from trauma with care.

The first half of this book did a great job setting up the world, the characters’ backstories, and establishing the main plot, while the second half was more fast paced and action packed. While a lot of readers find Maas’ build up slow, I enjoy how she spends time establishing the world and letting us know the characters before diving deeper into the plot. And I thought the plot of this book was intricate. Honestly, even though this book is so heavy on the details and it took me a while the get all the worldbuilding details straight, it was just so much fun to read!

My cons are pretty small. First, let me just say that if you don’t like Maas’ writing style, just don’t pick up the book? A lot of people seem to be giving this book bad reviews without even reading it because they aren’t fans of Maas’ writing.

I will say, thankfully, this book has considerably less drawn out sex scenes; it still has a decent amount of people flipping each other people off, and a lot of f-bombs, which didn’t bother me. I’m still not a fan of her character name choices (Bryce and Hunt? And I never got over Tamlin’s name from ACOTAR) but honestly, that’s such a small bone to pick, and it boils down to personal preference.

Even though I loved reading the ACOTAR series, I thought this book was far better written. I still don’t think her writing is the absolute best, but what she IS good at is writing characters you will want to root for, and writing worlds that you will become obsessed with. And despite the fact that this book is over 800 pages long, I barely wanted to take any breaks from reading it.

Bottom line: this was so much to fun to read! And considering the fact that the plot centers around a murder mystery, apparently murder mysteries are my new definition of “fun.”

VERDICT: 📚📚📚📚📚

 

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Alexis:

Spoilers Below!

Overall, A Court of Wings and Ruin, the third book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy, was a 4 star read. It was more along the lines of the first book than it was the second book. However, I did have a list of issues with it that I will explain below!

I’ll start with what I liked. Maas’ writing shines when she writes action scenes. I loved reading the war scenes. I thought she did a great job with their pacing and descriptions.

I also loved that Rhysand fully transformed in the final battle. I was like, “Heck, yes!”

I also enjoyed having all the High Fae in the same scenes. Their histories and abilities were very interesting all pooled together.

As for what I didn’t like as much, for some reason, Maas’ writing is just a little bit worse in this book. She has a tendency to lean towards the occasional cheesy line, but this book seemed to bring her cheesiness out just a little more.

This book felt like Maas had been rushed, that she had a deadline that her publisher wanted her to keep, so she wrote this book quickly. And then it wasn’t edited enough. The pacing felt slow. This book is about war, and war does drag on, but the plot doesn’t flow as nicely as it did in A Court of Mist and Fury. Everything just felt slowed down.

And…the sex scenes did not fit as well in this book as they did in A Court of Mist and Fury. They felt cringey and all of them were basically a carbon copy of each other. There’s also a scene where Rhys tells Feyre, “You smell like blood,” after they fought in a battle. And then they have sex. Hmm. I don’t know about that.

And, my biggest issue. I am all for diversity, but not just for the sake of diversity. Mor’s reveal as bisexual was a complete cop-out from Maas. Mor’s been hiding that she’s bi…for 500 years?? Just so she won’t hurt Azriel’s feelings?? Her hiding this from her family for that long did not feel true to character.

As for the plot, I had issues with the fact that Feyre is insanely powerful and yet she HARDLY FOUGHT. Obviously, Rhysand has significantly more war experience, but Feyre is his equal, so they should’ve fought together. Her mention of, “You know, I don’t really like war,” was not a good enough reason for her not to fight.

As for the whole new cast of characters at the end, this also felt like a cop-out from Maas. When Rhysand asked why they couldn’t find them, their answer was, “Oh, I guess we hid too well, so even our friends couldn’t find us.”

If they had been such good friends/allies during the last war, they definitely would’ve found a way to keep in contact with Rhysand and his crew.

As for my last complaint, Armen should’ve died. Rhysand coming back from the dead made sense, but there’s no way Armen could’ve come back after all that.

Despite my issues, I enjoyed the book overall! I definitely think the trilogy is worth a read, just be aware that it isn’t perfect.

VERDICT: 4 stars

 

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Alexis:

Okay, let me start off by saying I have a lot of feelings about this book, which is awesome, because if I book can dig down in me and make me feel all sorts of things, then I am here for it!

A Court of Mist and Fury builds off of A Court of Thorns and Roses but makes the world 10 times better. Plot? There’s lot of plot. Characterization? Tons of it. Tragic backstories and permeating feelings of guilt? There’s a lot of that, too. I love character driven stories, and this book dove deep into the characters of Feyre and Rhysand.

It’s hard to talk about this book without spoiling anything, but I’ll write my non-spoiler review first.

First of all, it’s important to address the fact that this book is a monster, as it weighs in at 626 pages. When I first got it from the library, I thought, “What can she possibly go on about for that many pages?”

I will admit, it took me a good 50 pages to get into it. The sex scene towards the beginning was cringey. The beginning was a little slow, but necessarily so, as Feyre dealt with the trauma from the end of the first book. But it quickly becomes interesting once Feyre enters the Night Court. I loved meeting a whole new cast of characters. Sometimes secondary characters feel too bare for me as a reader, but Rhysand’s crew felt very fleshed out.

Maas did a much better job of explaining the magic system, and I enjoyed learning about the world’s complicated history. I loved the whole atmosphere of the Night Court.

I enjoyed Feyre’s character development, and I really enjoyed learning about Rhysand. He’s such a complex character, and I loved learning about his motivations and his backstory. I’m also a sucker for the tall, dark, and handsome type.

Without spoiling anything, let me just say that this is the best relationship/romance I’ve read in a while. I wasn’t all for it in the first book; it was okay, but it was lacking a real depth. But Maas didn’t hold anything back in the sequel.

That being said, there were some small things in this book that I take issue with. While I enjoy Maas’ writing style overall, sometimes she throws out a line that makes me cringe. She writes “snarled” way too many times, and things like “said baldly.” She writes “he purred” more often than I ever want to read; I’m a firm believer in “said” is best. I know the characters are supposed to have a predatory side, but ugh. It was a little too cringey for me.

This book also negated the first book in a lot of ways, which I’ll go into in the spoiler-filled section of my review below.

If you’re debating reading the series, get through the first book so that you can get to this one! I loved the worldbuilding and I especially loved the character growth. I don’t give 5 stars lightly, but I was wholly engrossed in reading this. I stayed up past my bedtime reading this (whoops) and finished it the next day.

I’m excited to read the next one.

VERDICT: 5 stars

SPOILERY REVIEW BELOW:

 

Feyre + Rhysand—OH THANK GOD. Tamlin had no personality, and I was interested to see how Maas would further their relationship. But she hit it out of the park with Rhysand. He just oozes personality, and he and Feyre actually have chemistry! Yay! I’m very picky when it comes to relationships in books; often it feels too rushed or too out of nowhere. But Maas took the idea of a slow burn and stretched it, so that Feyre and Rhysand actually knew each other inside out and trusted each other with their lives.

I’m also down for anything with flying, and I loved how Maas described Rhysand and the other characters’ wings.

Like I said above, this book did negate some aspects of the first one. After everything Feyre went through to save Tamlin in the first book, she jumps awfully fast to Rhysand. I’m not complaining about it, because it honestly felt true to character, but it was a bit jarring at first. I know some other readers had issues with Tamlin’s actions in the beginning of A Court of Mist and Fury, and felt betrayed by his character and actions. But I wasn’t too fond of him as a character to begin with so…I didn’t mind!

And while Lucien was my favorite character in the first book, he acts like a shell of his former self in this one. But considering how his story arc ended, I’m sure I’ll see much more of him in the 3rd book!