House of Sky and Breathe | Review
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐1/2
"Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.
The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.
In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it."
House of Sky and Breath is the second novel in the Crescent City series by Sarah J. Maas.
I am conflicted (and a bit sad) because I don't know how to feel about this book. Half of me wants to say I enjoyed it because I generally like SJM, and the other half of me realizes that I had issues with it.
Let's just get right into the details.
The writing is the kind of YA writing that I expect and enjoy reading, but there were a couple of things that bothered me. For one, for some reason, women and men are referred to as males and females, and, just, why? It sounds odd a bit demeaning to say that.
The other issue I had with the writing was the perspectives. I had no issue with the multiple perspectives, but what did bother me was the fact that they shifted suddenly mid-chapter. It was incredibly confusing and disorienting when you would be reading about one character and then all of a sudden you are following someone.
When Sofie Renast, a rebel, finds something that can change the tide of the rebellion and the foundation of Midgard, and when her brother can't be found, our cast of characters are unwittingly thrown into the rebellion. While the plot is simple, this book is over 800 pages, which means that the story got dragged out quite a bit.
In typical SJM style, not much happened until it picked up at the very end. It was about 750 pages of relationship issues and slowly piecing things together while adding more fuel to the fire, and it took about 650 of those pages to get any kind of crucial information. Going back to the relationship issues, there were a lot of surprise arranged marriages in this which I didn't think added anything particularly good to the plot.
There were some reveals that threw me off (like that ending because that really threw me for a loop), and some that I thought were not executed well. I can't talk about it without getting into spoilers, but there was a very cheap reveal based on off-page actions.
This is an adult book, which means that this is spicy, and I didn't care for it at all. Not only because I just find it cringy, but I felt like it hung over the reader's head. You learn that Bryce and Hunt are trying to hold off on having sex for a couple of months in order to get to know each other more, and it doesn't let you forget that.
Even after they gave up on that, every single interaction between them had some kind of sexual tension, and it was just too much because it put a wrench in their relationship development. They also ended up having sex at the worst times as well.
The world did expand a bit in this with the addition of the Bone Quarter and Hell, as well as some information that I cannot reveal. There was also the addition of the fae archives, where Bryce now works, but, unfortunately for me who liked this idea, not much time was spent there.
My only other comment about the world-building would be the extent in which magic is used. For this, I am referring specifically to Bryce, and she is one of the strongest people there, but in reality, she can barely do much besides becoming a human lightbulb.
This book made me realize that I did not like Bryce, at all really. I don't remember how I felt about her in the first book, but she really grated my nerves in this one. I didn't like her bravado at all and the way she would act all cocky and confident in front of everyone, including people who could easily overtake her. She's the kind of person who thinks it's her way or the highway, and I wasn't here for it.
I honestly don't get what Hunt, or anyone because it was actually stated that everyone has a thing for Bryce, sees in her. She isn't the greatest friend nor lover at times, and she makes very questionable decisions with the excuse that she was just trying to help. I would not trust her to have my back, at all.
Moving onto her loverboy, Hunt, I didn't like him either quite frankly. This book is very self-aware when Bryce keeps calling him an alphahole, because that is exactly what he is, an alpha male who is way, way, too protective of Bryce (and possessive). If someone ever so much as dared to go at Bryce, who could fend for herself even if I didn't like it, he would be two seconds from taking that person down.
As for Bryce and Hunt's relationship, I don't like either of the partners, and I already stated that most of their time spent together was just thirsting or straight-up sex, which did this relationship no favours. I am still hoping that SJM is going to do the thing she always does not only because I don't like them as a couple, but also because at this point I am expecting it and it would be boring if it doesn't happen otherwise.
In all honesty, I had more issues with Bryce and Hunt compared to the more morally grey characters, who were way better written. Ruhn and his group, Tharion, and even Ithan were all okay, and characters like Baxian and The Hind (and the Princes of Hell), were a lot more interesting to read about.
Going into this I wanted one thing, to see more of Tharion, Aidas and The Viper Queen, and I kind of got that? Tharion had a more prominent role in this book, but Aidas and The Viper Queen were sadly not in this nearly as much as I would have liked. The same goes for some new additions as well in the form of more of the I Princes of Hell. I really hope that more of the princes show up in future books because I am here for that.
Am I disappointed with this book, yes, but will I read the next one after that ending, absolutely? If you are going to pick this up, keep in mind that this is an adult book and contains swearing and explicit sex. There were also mentions of rape so mind the trigger warnings as well.