Crescent City Series Review

The Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas follows Bryce Quinlan, a party girl who investigates the murder of her best friend. However, Bryce quickly learns that murder is more dark and twisted than she could have imagined. Currently, there are two books released in the series, A House of Earth and Blood and A House of Sky and Breath. A third book in the series is currently planned, but there is currently no release date.

The Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas marked a new “era” by the author for me. Crescent City is the first series by the author to initially be labeled as adult (A Court of Thorns and Roses was originally placed in the YA category). Additionally, it is her first fantasy that leans more towards urban fantasy, as the world also contains a more modern city-like setting with technology. While The Court of Thorns and Roses series was considerably more sexually explicit and contained more graphic violence than Throne of Glass, despite still being labeled as YA. However, the first book in the series wasn’t as graphic as the later novels. Compared to the other series by Maas, Crescent City literally starts right off with these elements. That being said, I think the Crescent City series is a natural next read for people who enjoyed the A Court of Thorns and Roses series or readers new to Maas who are looking for an adult fantasy romance book.

Both A House of Earth and Blood as well as A House of Sky and Breath contain many elements that are typically found in novels by Maas, although the setting is different than her previous works. The pacing, the characters, and some of the fantasy elements/tropes/plots used within this series were similar to those in other works by the author. As a result, if you like Maas as an author, then you will probably enjoy this series as well. However, if you are not a fan as Maas as an author, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy this series either.

Like her other previous works, Maas contains a lot of world building at the beginning of the novel, which can be overwhelming. While this world building is always necessary, as it usually comes back around at the end of the story, it can be tedious for readers who want the plot to pick up quickly. The books in the Crescent City are also much longer than the first books in the other series by Maas. For comparison, these books are similar in page length to A Kingdom of Ash, the final book in the Throne of Glass series. As a result, there are a lot of people, places, and structures to keep track of as you are reading. Similarly, at the end of the books, it is exciting to see all of the plots come together. At the same time, there is so much action packed into the last 200 pages that it can be hard to keep straight.

One element of this book that made me wary was the setting since it was so different than other books by Maas. However, I really do enjoy the setting of the Crescent City and I think it really suits the characters who occupy the world in which it takes place. I think it also helped differentiate Crescent City from Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses which have settings that are more similar to each other.

Similar to the other works by Maas, there is an interesting and likable cast of characters. That being said, there are some characters that don’t stick out to me in the Crescent City and so I am not as attached to them as other side characters in other novels by Maas. For example, at the end of the second book in the ACOTAR series, I was fully invested in all members of the Inner Circle and Feyre’s sisters. At the end of the second book in the Crescent City series, there are some side characters, like some of Ruhn’s roommates or some of Bryce’s “inner circle” where there history is not as revealed, as I feel like I don’t know them as well. That being said, I do really like Bryce as a main character and I feel like she is different enough than Feyre or Aelin to stand out as her own main character.

Like Throne of Glass, the cast of characters is used to show many different points of views. However, I feel like this was done a little more effectively in Throne of Glass and it wasn’t even perfect in Throne of Glass. As I mentioned previously, I feel like I’m not fully invested in all of the characters in this series yet, so I kept wishing for the story to go back to Bryce’s point of view. In Throne of Glass I felt motivated to keep reading because every chapter ended in a cliffhanger and I couldn’t wait to get back to that person’s point of view. However, that wasn’t the case when I was reading this series, especially in A House of Sky and Breath.

Another aspect of this book that I’m not completely sold on is the romance. I like Bryce and Hunt, the main love interest, well enough. I didn’t dislike them as a couple by any means and I think they suit each other well. That being said, Hunt isn’t my favorite love interest that Maas has written. I think many of his character traits are picked from other love interests that have appeared throughout novels by Maas, so he doesn’t stand out as much to me. I actually found myself a little more invested in another male character in the book, Ruhn, and his potential love interests. As a result, the romance in this book isn’t necessarily a drawback for me, but I have liked other couples more in books that I have read by Maas.

Overall, I enjoyed both books in the Crescent City series, even though I wouldn’t consider them my favorite books by the author. That being said, I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series to see how it continues. I give the first two books in this series an average of 4 stars.

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