• Kori

House of Sky and Breath Book Review

If you've been around for a bit, you may have picked up that I am Maas Trash–anything that Sarah J. Maas releases is an auto-buy for me, and I devour it as quickly as possible. House of Sky and Breath, book two in the Crescent City series, was no exception.


If you haven't read the first installment, House of Earth and Blood, or would like a refresher or my thoughts on it, check out my review! As it's been less than a month since HOSAB's release, I've kept my review mostly spoiler-free. There are some minor spoilers that I just had to discuss, but I've left out the major points.


House of Sky and Breath Book Review Coffee, Book, and Candle

Genre: Urban High Fantasy


Category: Epic Read

Want to know more about how we categorize books? See our Glossary for details.


RATING: 4/5 Stars

Plot: 4/5 stars

Characters: 4/5 stars

World: 5/5 stars


Pairing: Pizza + whiskey & ginger beer with lime OR chocolate croissants + spiced chai latte



PLOT


Going into House of Sky and Breath, I knew we would see a continuation of the ongoing war between humans and Vanir while Bryce and Hunt navigate their traumas from book one, as well as the political climate now that she possesses Luna's Horn and her lineage and power are public knowledge . . . all while attempting to fly under the Asteri's radar following Rigelus's threat. Beyond that, I wasn't sure what to expect—and yet, book two was still not what I anticipated.


The plot seemed all over the place and had major filler vibes; so much was going on while nothing really happened. There was a lot of emphasis on the characters (more on them later), including new ones introduced in the prologue—which in itself felt disorienting by beginning in a new place with characters that readers know nothing about.


However, it quickly became evident the prologue's events would be important to the rest of the story . . . sort of. So much of the book focused on locating one of these new characters, who ended up having almost no impact on the story. I hope they will become more relevant in later installments, but we'll just have to wait and see.


As we've come to expect from Maas novels, House of Sky and Breath was riddled with humor and banter, quotable moments, and lines that packed a punch. Unfortunately, there were also some cringey moments, particularly in the spicier scenes. That said, there is a lot more spice in this book, and if you're a fan of slow-burn, you're in for plenty of it. Honestly, much of the plot seemed there simply to tease fans by keeping Bryce and Hunt from finally getting together.


On a brighter note, House of Sky and Breath had better pacing and less info-dumping than its predecessor since so much of the world had been established. Despite some predictable moments, the mystery and plot twists kept me engaged, and the story ended on a cliffhanger I believe will be a major turning point in the Massiverse. Finishing this installment left me with a serious book hangover and more questions than when I started. And now I have to wait probably two years before I get answers?!


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CHARACTERS


As mentioned earlier, this book is heavily character-driven. Unlike House of Earth and Blood, this installment puts emphasis on the side characters and switches between their points of view. While this cast of characters is (at this point) my least favorite of SJM's, I did enjoy learning more about them and seeing Bryce's group of friends grow.


Between the potential crossovers and all the questions I had before starting this book, I was disappointed we didn't learn more about Hunt's and/or Fury's backgrounds. It's going to drive me crazy waiting for the next book.


We did, however, learn a lot about Danika. My heart kept breaking for Bryce as she uncovered more secrets Danika had been keeping, and how it made her question her importance to her supposed best friend. Yet I understand Danika's motives in keeping things under wraps. It's fascinating how a character who isn't even present can have such an impact on the story and be so interesting. Her secrets and brilliant scheming remind me so much of Aelin, and she's definitely my favorite character in this series— along with my baby boy Ruhn.


Speaking of the Starborn Prince, I was glad to get his point-of-view in this book and to see his character fleshed out more. I got warm fuzzies seeing him and Bryce recover from their issues in book one and spend more time together. It was also nice to see him get a lover/potential mate. Though it was fairly easy to guess who it was, I enjoyed watching it play out. I have semi-mixed feelings about the situation, but mostly I want them to work it out.


I also have mixed feelings about Bryce and Hunt. Maas uses the mates trope in all of her work and has said in interviews that Bryce and Hunt are endgame—which is obvious by the events in this book—but I'm not sure how I feel about their being mates. Especially since Bryce was so hurt when she discovered Danika and Hunt kept secrets from her, then Bryce began keeping secrets from Hunt. I have theories about their mating bond—like Hunt being part fey—but I'm not sure if I'm totally on board with it. I would've liked it better if they were just lovers who chose each other, but we'll see how it all pans out.


WORLD


Most of the world-building was done in book one, but we were introduced to a few new settings in House of Sky and Breath, like the Blue Court and the Asteri's Crystal Palace. I love how Crescent City's urban environment impacts the story and makes this fantasy more relatable—the use of phones and computers, Bryce's stash of old makeup palettes, bars and coffee shops . . .


Technology seemed to play more of a role in this book. It lent a sort of sci-fi feel with the use of ships, mech suits, and bio-domes. Then there's also the fact that there are other planets from which the Vanir immigrated to Midgard.


Last but not least, THAT ENDING! I am so psyched to see how much Maas explores this and how it will impact Crescent City as both a setting and a series.



FINAL THOUGHTS


Although I have mixed feelings, I enjoyed House of Sky and Breath. It felt like A Court of Mist and Fury: much of the plot centered around furthering Bryce and Hunt's relationship. It was chock full of Maas's signature tropes: powerful female characters, slow-burn romance, the importance of female friendships, difficult family dynamics, found family, reconnecting with a passion after enduring trauma, mating bonds, battle couples, and more. Crescent City is vast and beautiful, and the growing cast, mystery, and plot twists evoke emotion and keep the reader engaged from start to finish. It's an exciting read, and I highly anticipate the next installment.


Are you caught up on this series? Let me know what you thought in the comments below, or hit me up on bookstagram or Twitter! If you haven't gotten around to this one yet, you can find copies with bonus content from Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and Target!

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