House of Sky and Breath: Book Review (no spoilers)

In usual Sarah J. Maas fashion, the internet has become a bit of a risky place if you haven’t read the fantasy author’s latest release yet. Fear not, this review is spoiler-free!

However, as this review does discuss the second book in the series, if you haven’t read the first book, A House of Earth and Blood, you might like to check that out first.

Now, let’s get to it…

The book, House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas sits on a shelf surrounded by plants. On the shelf below an orange typewriter sits.

What is House Of Sky and Breath about?

House of Sky and Breath is the sequel to House of Earth and Blood in the Crescent City adult fantasy series.

House of Sky and Breath picks up a couple of months after the events of its predecessor. We find Bryce Quinlan (half-human, half-fae) and Hunt Athalar (angel) navigating their new life together.

The pair have decided to take things slow, given the intensity of last spring. But their chemistry is making that challenging, to say the least.

When tensions begin to rise in Crescent City once more, Hunt and Bryce attempt to navigate the changes in their lives, finding themselves swept up in a rebel movement that threatens to break the sliver of stability they’ve carved out for themselves.

What I liked about House of Sky and Breath?

In keeping with the series so far, there’s a mystery at the heart of House of Sky and Breath. It’s rewarding to see usually distinct genres such as fantasy and mystery combine with satisfying results.

House of Sky and Breath goes beyond a self-contained mystery to build on the foundation set in the first book to develop the overarching worldbuilding and plot for the series.

There’s a greater emphasis in this book on the inequality entrenched in Crescent City and Bryce’s world. This was a topic that was introduced in the first book, and now we see characters have an opportunity to determine their response to the suffering they are now more aware of, than ever before.

When it comes to characters, Sarah J. Maas continues to demonstrate that secondary characters can have their own arcs, independent of the main characters. If you enjoyed Ruhn, Bryce’s brother, you’re in luck, as we spend more time with the Starborn Prince in this book.

We’re also introduced to some new characters and see old favourites grow and continue to develop. Action, adventure and romance abound. In particular, Bryce and Hunt’s relationship continues to be a highlight in the series for many fans. Especially with so many swoonworthy quotes to pick from.

“But wherever you’re headed when this life is over, Quinlan, that’s where I want to be, too.”

House of Sky and Breath, Sarah J Maas

What I didn’t like about House of Sky and Breath?

So much happens in this book! I promised no spoilers, so I won’t go into specifics. But needless to say, there’s a reason this book is almost 800 pages long…

With so much happening, at times this felt somewhat of a bridging book in the series, laying a firm foundation for what is presumably to come in the next instalment.

We do get some worthwhile character development, and it’s overall an entertaining read with fast pacing. There are a couple of things that left me wanting more, but I don’t think that’s too big of an issue at this point in the series.

Who is House of Sky and Breath perfect for?

Fans of Sarah J. Maas’s more recent books will notice a shift in the tone and audience of Maas’s books (yes, I’m looking at you, A Court of Silver Flames). House of Sky and Breath continues the authors shift away from young adult themes and writing, in favour of an adult audience.

There’s more explicit sexual content, older characters and darker themes, than in her previous work. While this isn’t necessarily an issue, it’s certainly something to be aware of going in. Compared to the first book in the series, House of Sky and Breath really dials things up. You shouldn’t be finding this one shelved alongside Throne of Glass at the bookshop.

But, if you’re looking for rich worldbuilding, characters you’ll care for, a steamy romance, and an entertaining story that blends genres — it’s worth checking out the Crescent City series.

Final Thoughts

One of the best parts of being a part of a book loving community, is the collective excitement when a new book releases.

I adored seeing all over my Instagram stories, readers making their pilgrimage to the bookstore to pick up a copy. Or sharing their excitement (or impatience) at being at the mercy of the postal system as they waited with bated breath by the front door. Perhaps you’re still waiting for your copy to show up!

There’s something special about shared interests that binds us together despite other differences. Books can be entertaining, heartbreaking and so many other things, but they’re also a bridge to other humans. A way to make a connection (if you’ve ever spied someone on public transport reading your favourite book, you know what I mean). Books can elicit unspoken affection that we can use to spark conversations.

It’s been challenging starting 2022 after the last couple of years. There’s a sense of uncertainty and exhaustion that feels unfortunately familiar to most of us. So celebrating the small joys, like a new book from a favourite author, feels more precious than perhaps ever before.

If you’re a Sarah J. Maas fan, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this series! Let me know in the comments.

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