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.
Let me preface this review with this, Sarah J Maas is one of those authors for me. The ones that no matter what they publish you’re going to buy multiple copies of it. So as soon as this book was announced I had 2 copies pre-ordered. I’m going to make this review spoiler free for House of Sky and Breath, but there may be some spoilers for House of Earth and Blood, though I will try to keep this spoiler free for both.
It has taken me four days to gather my thoughts to write this review, and I’m still not sure I’m in the right mindset. I’m going to give it a shot anyway. Following the events of HOEAB I was justifiably cautious going in. SJM tends to be an emotional writer, but there was something so raw and real about the emotion in that book. Maybe it was because it was a more modern take on fantasy than she normally writes, maybe it was because it dealt so heavily with grief. Either way I knew HOSAB was going to be just as emotional, if not more so. I wasn’t wrong. Unlike HOEAB we got the POV of many more characters. Bryce and Hunt’s emotional trauma was something to expect, it was clear in book 1, and that kind of trauma doesn’t resolve itself in a single book. What took me by surprise was the emotional punch we got from characters like Ruhn, Tharion, and Ithan. From the first page the emotional turmoil of each character was clear, and that didn’t get lost as the story went on.
What I liked the most about this book was getting into the heads of so many characters. HOEAB was, for the most part, written in the POV of Bryce and Hunt. For the story we were given I think that it worked, but HOSAB was so much more than their story. This book really opened the world of Crescent City, and with that we needed to hear from more characters. I think what surprised me the most was how much I liked Ithan’s character. While there was some redemption at the end of HOEAB, I left with almost no opinion of his character. Getting some background about him, while simultaneously watching him in the present, gave me a better understanding of who he was in the first book. As I finished this book I found myself excited to see what was in store for his character.
Let’s talk spice. SJM has said that HOSAB has 500% more sex than HOEAB, boy was she not kidding. What made a big difference from A Court of Silver Flames (for all you ACOTAR fans) was its relation to the story. The sex in this book felt like it was there to enhance the story, whereas Silver Flames felt like sex for the sake of sex. I am in no way bashing spicy books, sometimes you need something spicy, I just enjoyed how it felt natural. It was in no way any less sexy (the boat scene holy shit), but it was meaningful as well.
Here’s where I’m going to sum up my feelings. Overall, I loved it. From start to finish I loved it. It took me way longer than it normally would to read it, but that was because I knew there was going to be a crazy ending. I knew that when this was over, and I had to begin my long wait for the next book, there was going to be something missing in my life. I was not wrong. The ending of that book will be on my mind for a long time, and I will find no peace until I see how this trilogy ends. The next book is as necessary as my next breath.