House of Earth and Blood
by Sarah J. Maas
If you’ve been following my blog or instagram for any length of time, it may come as no surprise to you, that Sarah J. Maas is one of my all time favorite authors. To say I was highly anticipating her newest novel, would be a vast understatement. I was raving about it. I was telling all my friends. I preordered the book in December (when it’s release date was for March). I was on the hype train of my own creation, because A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of my all time favorite series to ever exist.
Proceed with caution, as there will be some spoilers ahead. TLDR: I didn’t like this book…
I flew through the first 400 pages of this monster in one day. Within the first 50 pages, our major characters have all been brutally murdered. These were characters I had grown to like, adore, and was thrilled to spend the next 750 pages with them. Sadly, that was not to be. At times I grew nostalgic, wondering what the story would have been like if those characters hadn’t died.
Initially, their deaths didn’t bother me. That was, of course, until the rest of the essential cast was introduced. To put it mildly, they were major duds and I was majorly bored. I’ve heard SJM was criticized for poor world building in previous novels, but this was overkill. To. The. Extreme. And to be honest, it didn’t help me picture the world at all. If anything it was so information dumpy, that my brain shut down a few times and I just couldn’t take in the information anymore.
So. We’re overloaded with this new world, new creatures, and messed up hierarchy. Okay. Moving on.
Sometimes I can look past a shaky foundation and focus on the plot. That only works if I care about the plot, and what do you know? Not only did I not care about the plot, but I felt no connection to our characters motivations for even half a second. It was dull, boring, and my heart rate was flat-lining the longer I kept reading. Sure, there were a few exiting moments, but they weren’t enough of a catalyst to propel the story into interesting territory.
I got so tired of the bad dialogue, the repetitiveness, and the stagnation of the story, that at around page 450 I had to stop reading this book and pick up something else. I devoured an entirely new 400 page novel in one day. My brain was so happy to find relief from this book. I would sit down at night and have to talk myself into reading at least a chapter, or at least ten pages. Just to keep going.
I didn’t like the characters. I didn’t understand this world, or think it was cool enough/significant enough to invest time or brain power into. It was a bland, all over the place, okay novel. And that’s really upsetting. This story had the potential to be great, but it really missed the mark for me. So many readers/reviewers are giving this such great ratings (currently posted as a 4.51 on Goodreads!!!!), and I don’t see how they’re coming to that conclusion??? Is their love for the author and her previous works overshadowing this chaotic mess?
I don’t enjoy writing negative reviews. The author spent unknown hours upon hours creating something, and a whole slew of people helped to polish it, promote it, and get it in the hands of awaiting fans. I don’t discredit the hard work that was put into this book. I mean, have you seen the cover art, or the art on the end leaves? It’s stunning, flawless, and unlike any art I’ve seen before. I truly wish I could say the same for the story itself.
Clearly this book appeals to the masses. Unfortunately, it does not appeal to me.