REVIEW: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
We enter our story with the introduction of Bryce Quinlan. Bryce Quinlan is a 23-year-old half-fae who is an assistant at Griffin Antiquities. The shop is owned by a 400 year old enchantress who goes by the name of Jesiba Roga. Bryce’s job entails greeting customers and keeping an eye on the secret archives. He is joined by his colleagues Lehaba, a tiny fire sprite and Syrinx who is a chimera. Bryce lives with his best friend Danika. Danika is the grand daughter to the werewolf prime and Danika is an alpha to the pack of devils.
Bryce’s mother is human and Bryce’s stepfather raised her whilst her biological father is the Autumn King of the fae community and has a full fae son named Ruhn.
Philip Briggs who is the leader of a human rebellion has just been released from Prison on a technicality. Danika goes to meet with Archangel Micah who is the governor of crescent city to complain about this release. Bryce, Danika and her pack go out to commiserate him being released but Bryce ditches them to go out on a date but when she returns she finds that a demon has killed Danika and her pack and runs after the demon who is now feeding on a downed angel. She tries to keep the angel alive. Bryce is now the prime suspect in the case of summoning the demon. Ruhn calls the people holding her and says that he is a distant cousin and that he is the son of the Autumn King and has telepathic powers. Bryce is released and Briggs is imprisoned for summoning the demon that killed the pack. Ithan, Danika’s brother, texts Bryce that she is not welcome at the funeral.
Two years later, Bryce meets with a client about an artefact. After the meeting though, he is found dead and that the injuries match those of Danika’s which means that the murderer is still out there and is actively hunting. Micah assigns Hunt to protect Bryce and help her investigation as she is the only link between the two murders. Another murders occurs and Hunt confides to Bryce that Micah was the angel that she saved that night and that he doesn’t want anyone knowing about it. She agrees but Hunt also angers her because he accused her of being the one who killed Danika. She storms off heading to the White Raven which then explodes right in front of their faces.
They visit Briggs in prison and he admits that it has nothing to do with him and that he actually liked Danika and whilst they are there, another murder happens. Bryce realises that all of the murders occur near the ley lines. It is revealed that the artefact that Bryce, Ruhn and everybody else is after, Luna’s Horn was somehow involved in Danika’s death and that Danika stole it. Sabine, her mother covers for her once she is dead but is accused by Bryce and Hunt for killing her when this revelation comes out.
After this revelation, Bryce is shocked about it to her core until Ruhn comes and tells her of a new synthetic healing drug called Synth. Meanwhile this is happening, 8 bodies that may have been the same killer, Kristallos are found and this makes Bryce and Hunt question Danika’s death as the wounds are different and there is no venom. Viktoria retests Danika’s clothes from the night that she was murdered and finds them covered in synth. Apparently, Danika was seen dealing synth before her death. In high concentrations, this drug can give a burst of strength and in humans, can lead to magical abilities for a while.
Bryce heads to her old flat and finds it on fire. Tharion calls Bryce to tell her that a deal is going down by the river and that she should come right now. When she gets there, she realises its Hunt and the Viper Queen. Hunt buying and the Viper Queen selling. Micah explains to Bryce that Hunt realised what Synth could do and he and Viktoria had planned to distribute it to the rebels. Micah found out about this because they tried to recruit the wrong person and the viper queen told him. Hunt reveals that Danika stole the formula and sold it. She was an addict and it’s very likely that she killed her pack before the demon even arrived. Hunt is imprisoned for his crimes.
Bryce decides that she can’t leave him and decides to buy him from Sandriel and when Sandriel refuses, she offers herself instead. Ruhn hears of this and rescinds the offer immediately. Bryce storms of because of this and is attacked by the demon Kristallos. Ruhn, Declan and Flynn save her and she heads home.
Micah finds Bryce at the store and tells her that she is the horn of Luna and that Danika stole it, ground it to dust and had it used to tattoo Bryce. Micah hopes that by injecting Bryce with Synth he will heal the horn and give it the power to reactivate. Bryce gets a confession out of him however when he admits that he was the one who released the synth and that Danika would feel responsible for it so she would try and round it up. He caught her with it and demanded that she steal the horn for him in return for not arresting her. Micah planned to use the horn to summon an army from another world to stop the rebels. Danika being weary of his plans hid the horn from him and Micah waited till Briggs was out of jail to use him as a scapegoat and when Danika doesn’t tell him where it is, injects her with synth and she tears herself and her pack apart. He then used the Kristallos to search for the horn as well as planting the idea into the Autumn Kings’ head about it which means Ruhn is searching for it and lastly, Bryce searching for the horn herself. Micah injects synth into her, which then allows her wounds to be healed, and her to get free from him but he catches hold of her and blasts power into her tattoo. Nothing happens but she manages to get away with the help of lehaba who has sacrificed herself to help Bryce. Micah follows her however and she shoots him with the Godslayer Gun that Jesiba has, she shoots Micah in the head.
Expecting to be arrested, she goes out onto the street and finds that the horn has opened a portal to hell in all the of the seven of the city’s gates. Demons are everywhere and slaughtering people on sight so Bryce goes to help the human district that have no magic. Hunt and the others try to leave for the city but Micah has destroyed all means of transport. Bryce runs to the city gate and begins to glow and announces that she is the heir to the Starborn fae. Only her mother, stepfather and Danika knew of what she was. She has more light than any star born since the first wars. Using her light, she commands the horn to close the portal and it does.
Knowing that Bryce is the star born heir, she poses a threat now to the Asteri. Hunt kills Sandriel and he, Ruhn, Flynn, Amelie and Fury leave the city in the remaining helicopter. The Asterian guard arrives and drops a missile on the city, Bryce manages to find shelter but her leg is hurt pretty bad once again. Bryce wakes up and finds Hunt beside her near death. Bryce drags herself to the gates and asks people to come and help her with the drop. During a drop, the body dies and an anchor is needed to help them come back to life. No one comes but then she hears Danika’s voice saying that she’ll anchor her. Bryce overpowers the autumn king who is at the highest ranked level. She gives her life for the city, which in turn gives her the power that it has collected over the millennia. The demon’s run for the portals and they are sealed shut. Buildings are repaired and the city looks like new.
Rigelus, one of the Asteri forgives Hunt and her of their crimes but orders them to stay silent about what really happened and to use their powers wisely and to definitely not sound the horn. If they do, they’ll face the consequences.
This book like any other Sarah J Maas book was filled with magic on every page. Magic like no other. Maas creates an enchanted tale of love and loss, of family and friends and of secrets and betrayals and yet still has not yet exhausted herself writing fae! I will honestly read anything that she writes about the fae. I was simply mesmerised by this story and Bryce was such a wonderful character. Can’t wait to read more in the next book.
3 out of 5 stars.