5 Thoughts About House of Flame and Shadow

March 28, 2024 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

5 Thoughts About House of Flame and ShadowHouse of Flame and Shadow (Crescent City, #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury UK on January 30, 2024
Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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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.

It’s been two years since we last had a book from Sarah J Maas, so to say that House of Flame and Shadow was highly anticipated is probably an understatement. The third book in the Crescent City series promises a lot, from the end of a story arc, to a famed cross over and much to resolve in between. So how did it deliver in terms of expectations?

My answer is – yes, it did meet expectations, but not without reservations.

1. Too many side characters, not enough Bryce and Hunt

When you reach the third book in a series, you want the main part of the story to be about the main character – Bryce, and her winged mate Hunt. Unfortunately, I felt like the book had SO many story arcs and side characters to keep track – some of which had little to no impact on the main storyline about Bryce and the Asteri problem. From the Viper queen, to Baxion fighting the rest of the wolves, to Tharion and his bethrothed, Ruhn and Hunt being tortured at the beginning, the Princes of Hel, the Autumn King, there was wayyy too much for my brain to keep track of.

No doubt some of this is to set up the next book in the series (which I hear is about Tharion in particular), but at almost 900 pages, my eyes definitely glazed over at certain points.

2. Bryce and Hunt had so much potential

This is a big call, but I think in this book, it felt like the battle had already been won. If your mate has been tortured and held captive away from you, you’d think that there would be a HUGE reunion and lots of emotions when you get reunited. But unfortunately, it felt a bit flat to me. I really liked the set up to their relationship, and how they bonded in House of Earth and Blood. But I really missed their heartfelt banter and everything in this book. Hunt fell by the sidelines as Bryce ran around executing her plans without telling anyone else, which was pretty frustrating.

3. I found myself getting really annoyed at Bryce

Bryce runs around to another fae world and acts completely cocky while she’s there. In fact, during the whole book, she acts pretty cocky like she knows what she’s doing and that she’ll somehow just get out of it. Through love, all is possible. When she’s in this fae world, she just decides to unleash an Asteri, destroyer of worlds onto them just trusting that it would all work out. My mouth pretty much dropped open at this point, especially given who was in the room with her. Not only that, but she also doesn’t really confide in her allies about some of her plans, even if she could’ve you know, communicated things beforehand to create a back up plan.

4. The whole Asteri thing was too easily solved

The whole series builds up this great evil and destroyer of worlds that is the Asteri, only to have everything easily solved by the end of it. From creating an antidote, to adopting allies, to building up the great evil and the myth and lore around it – it was all really fascinating, but there never really felt any sort of conflict or fear that things wouldn’t work out for Bryce and her crew.

5. Lydia was an unexpected fave

I’m always up for a redemption arc, and Lydia definitely gets one even though she’s done some unmentionable things as the Hind. I loved seeing her communication and relationship blossom between herself and Ruhn, although there was a weird bit at the end that seemed too easily forgiven. If you’ve read it, you’ll know. My heart definitely warmed to her as she reached out to her sons who have been adopted, it definitely added an extra-dimension of sacrifice to her character.

Given all of my thoughts and reservations about House of Flame and Shadow, did I still enjoy it? I always love the complex lore and fantasy creatures that Sarah J Maas manages to build in these books, and these books really do pack a punch in terms of character development and fantasy world-building. Despite having a few niggles about this book, I still really enjoyed the conclusion to the series and look forward to the next one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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One response to “5 Thoughts About House of Flame and Shadow

  1. I absolutely LIVE for Sarah J Maas’ books, but I agree with a lot of your points here. There are SO MANY side characters in Crescent City, and dare I say some of whom I don’t actually care about (I’m looking at you Ithan) Bryce being cocky and making all these secret plans is 100% true as well, and it’s a bit of a staple of Sarah J Maas’ heroines. I hope she moves away from this in her next series because this has been done three times now. Like you though, I still really enjoyed this conclusion to Bryce’s story!
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