House of Flame and Shadow is the 3rd book in the Crescent City series by Sarah J Maas. It’s the most anticipated book of 2024.
About 'House of Flame and Shadow'
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Crescent City #3
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy Romance
Page Number: 816 pages
Audible Listening Time: 29 hours 42 mins
Goodreads Rating: 4.45/5 (Volatile)
My Rating: 4/5
House of Flame and Shadow picks up right where the previous book left off, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Recently, I’ve come across sequels that fast-forward to the future, and I’ve realized that this approach dampens my excitement for the book.
Suddenly, Bryce finds herself in the world of the Prythian Fae, tasked with the daunting challenge of defeating the Asteri. The Prythian team views Bryce with suspicion, considering her a potential threat to their world. Meanwhile, Hunt, Ruhn, and Baxian are enduring the brutal torture of the Asteri as punishment for their past transgressions. In a different part of Midgard, Ithan and Tharion embark on their journey, their minds burdened with concern for their friends.
In House of Flame and Shadow, one major plot and three subplots unfold simultaneously. Each team - Bryce and Hunt, Ruhn and Lidia, Ithan, and Tharion - is given ample space to develop. Although Bryce and Hunt are the main characters, I find myself rooting for Team Ruhn and Lidia.
The revelations Bryce uncovers in Prythian are fascinating, shedding light on a wealth of history. I was overjoyed to finally receive some answers. Bryce’s storyline held my interest until she reunited with Hunt, after which it lost some of its appeal. However, the storyline involving Ruhn and Lidia had me utterly captivated. The chemistry between them is palpable, reminiscent of the romance between Rhysand and Feyra, both of which I adore.
Initially, I was indifferent to Ithan’s storyline. But when he regained his full power after taking Hypaxia’s antidote, his character reached a satisfying conclusion. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for his journey up to that point, I appreciated how his character arc was wrapped up.
As for Tharion’s storyline, I must confess, it didn’t hold my interest throughout the book. It felt like it was dragging the book down. His chapters were the most challenging to get through.
The plot was handled really well by Sarah J Maas. She didn’t make it boring and I’m so grateful.
Out of our three main ladies - Feyra, Aelin, and Bryce - Bryce is my least favourite. The primary reason for this is her poor treatment of those around her. Throughout the three books, Bryce only treats her parents, Danika, Juniper, Fury, and Sphynx well. Other characters are merely tools for her to use whenever the chapters switch to her POV.
I detest how she seriously mistreats Hunt. Why is this guy still with her! Hunt endures so much from Bryce after being brutally tortured and nearly killed several times for her. Give the guy a break. This is also one of the major reasons why Bryce and Hunt are my least favourite couple in the entire 16-book Maasverse. I’m not invested in their romance.
Hunt, despite being the primary male character, doesn’t contribute much beyond catering to Bryce’s whims and serving as her emotional support puppet when she requires it. His lineage, tied to the princes of Hel, was an unexpected twist and the only aspect that lent some intrigue to his character.
Ruhn is a character who outshines the rest in terms of interest. I attribute this to the ‘Rhysand Effect’. The Rhysand Effect occurs when the male love interest looks and acts like Rhysand from the ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ series and has similar powers. He is my second favourite character from House of Flame and Shadow.
Lidia is the crown jewel of House of Flame and Shadow for me. She’s a force to be reckoned with, standing tall among the most badass characters in the entire Maasverse, right after Manon, Aelin, and Amren. Her chapters were a delight to read, brimming with unexpected revelations that kept me on my toes.
Ithan’s character was somewhat appealing in House of Sky and Breath but failed to maintain that interest in House of Flame and Shadow. His poor decision-making skills were frustrating, particularly his obsession with resurrecting the dead and consistently botching the process. However, the conclusion of his character arc was satisfying, despite the exasperating journey leading up to it.
In my opinion, Tharion’s storyline could have been entirely omitted from the book. I understand its purpose as a setup for the next instalment in the Crescent City Series, likely titled ‘House of Many Waters’, where Tharion’s character might receive more focus. However, his actions in House of Flame and Shadow left me indifferent.
The world-building in the Maasverse is nothing short of spectacular, and House of Flame and Shadow elevates it to a whole new level. This universe, spanning 16 enthralling books, is a marvel to explore. House of Flame and Shadow is to the Maasverse what ‘The Sunlit Man’ is to the Cosmere - both are treasures meant for those who have journeyed through all the books in their respective universes.
However, those unfamiliar with Sarah J. Maas’s other series may find themselves lost in House of Flame and Shadow. It’s brimming with answers, historical context, easter eggs, and connections that only dedicated fans of the universe will fully appreciate and derive satisfaction from.
The magic system in House of Flame and Shadow is straightforward to grasp. It’s less complex than the Cosmere, but that’s not to say it’s simple. To fully understand it, you’ll need to have read 15 books before House of Flame and Shadow, compared to Cosmere’s 20 books. And these aren’t light reads - most of them exceed 800 pages.
Yet, the magic system itself is quite accessible. Sarah J. Maas does a phenomenal job of elucidating the magic system without turning it into a dry history lesson.
For an 800+ page book, House of Flame and Shadow maintains a brisk pace. There are moments where it slows down, particularly during Tharion and Ithan’s chapters/POVs, but the thrilling parts of the book balance it out, keeping the narrative fast-paced.
I appreciated how the book picks up exactly where ‘House of Sky and Breath’ left off, wasting no time in diving into the heart of the story.
Having read all 15 preceding books, I thoroughly enjoyed House of Flame and Shadow. It was my most anticipated book since the release of ‘House of Sky and Breath’. I was so engrossed that I finished the book in just 2 days. However, I must emphasize that to fully appreciate this book, you need to have read all of Sarah J. Maas’s books. They’re all interconnected. Those who haven’t read all the other books might find House of Flame and Shadow overwhelming and info-dumpy. But for those of us who asked for this depth and complexity, Sarah J. Maas delivered in spades.
House of Flame and Shadow, the third book in Sarah J Maas’s Crescent City series, continues Bryce’s journey in the Prythian Fae world. She’s up against the Asteri, while her allies face their challenges. The book has a main plot and three subplots, each with a different team. Bryce’s discoveries in Prythian are insightful, but Ruhn and Lidia’s subplot steals the show.
The characters are varied, but Bryce isn’t winning any popularity content due to how she treats Hunt. Hunt, despite being the primary male character, is mostly seen catering to Bryce’s whims. Ruhn, on the other hand, outshines the rest due to the ‘Rhysand Effect’. Lidia is the crown jewel of the book, standing tall among the most badass characters in the entire Maasverse. Ithan’s character, though initially appealing, fails to maintain interest, while Tharion’s storyline could have been entirely omitted from the book
The world-building in the Maasverse is spectacular, and House of Flame and Shadow elevates it to a whole new level. However, those unfamiliar with Sarah J. Maas’s other series may find themselves lost in this book. The magic system in the book is straightforward to grasp but requires having read 15 books before House of Flame and Shadow. Despite being an 800+ page book, it maintains a brisk pace, with the thrilling parts of the book balancing out the slower moments.
The book was thoroughly enjoyed by the reviewer, who finished it in just 2 days. However, to fully appreciate this book, one needs to have read all of Sarah J. Maas’s books as they are all interconnected. Those who haven’t read all the other books might find House of Flame and Shadow overwhelming and info-dumpy. But for those who asked for this depth and complexity, Sarah J. Maas delivered in spades.
Having read all 15 preceding books, I thoroughly enjoyed House of Flame and Shadow, finishing it in two days. However, to fully enjoy it, you need to have read all of Maas’s books. If you haven’t, this book might feel overwhelming. But for those ready for a deep dive, Maas delivers.
“Who’d you piss off to get sent to retrieve me, anyway?” She could have sworn Nesta’s lips curved into a smile. “On a good day, too many people to count. But today … I volunteered.”
“The friends they’d made were what mattered in the end. Not the enemies. Through love, all is possible.”
“Now I don’t fucking care who you are, so long as you’re mine.” Her eyes shot to his, again full of surprise. “Because I’m yours, Day. I’m fucking yours.”
“Honor is all I have,” Irithys said, the heat of her indigo flames strong enough to warm Lidia’s chilled hands. “Honor, and my name. I will not sully or yield them.”
“A world where people loved and valued books and learning so much that they were willing to die for them. Can you imagine what such a civilization was like?”
“It is on Avallen, and females are not allowed beyond the lobby of the archives.” “Yeah, our periods would probably get all over the books.”
“And you saw me. For the first time, you saw me. I could talk to you as I hadn’t spoken to anyone. You reminded me that I was—I am—alive. I hadn’t felt that way in a very long time.”
“Gods, what did he do to you? Anger and grief filled the question as it came from all around him, from inside him. Ruhn managed to say, Nothing you haven’t done a thousand times yourself.”
“But what is eternal, what is made of love … that can never be destroyed.”
“The world seemed to hold its breath as the elegant doe walked up to Ruhn and gently, lovingly, nuzzled his neck.”
Amazon Blurb of 'House of Flame and Shadow'
The stunning third book in the sexy, action-packed Crescent City series, following the global bestsellers House of Earth and Blood and House of Sky and Breath.
Bryce Quinlan never expected to see a world other than Midgard, but now that she has, all she wants is to get back. Everything she loves is in Midgard: her family, her friends, her mate. Stranded in a strange new world, she's going to need all her wits about her to get home again. And that's no easy feat when she has no idea who to trust.
Hunt Athalar has found himself in some deep holes in his life, but this one might be the deepest of all. After a few brief months with everything he ever wanted, he's in the Asteri's dungeons again, stripped of his freedom and without a clue as to Bryce's fate. He's desperate to help her, but until he can escape the Asteri's leash, his hands are quite literally tied.
In this sexy, breathtaking sequel to the #1 bestsellers House of Earth and Blood and House of Sky and Breath, Sarah J. Maas's Crescent City series reaches new heights as Bryce and Hunt's world is brought to the brink of collapse-with its future resting on their shoulders.
Buy 'House of Flame and Shadow'