House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

The basics

Title: House of Earth and Blood

Author:

Series: Crescent City #1

- House of Earth and Blood (2020)
- House of Sky and Breath (2022)
- Untitled

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

Read a full summary of House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas below. If you can’t remember what happened in House of Earth and Blood and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

What happened in House of Earth and Blood?

  • Bryce Quinlan is half-Fae. Her father is a suuuper powerful Fae King, and her half-brother is the
    Chosen One Fae Prince, Ruhn. Super Powerful Fae King Dad didn’t claim Bryce as his own, though, so
    everything thinks she and Ruhn are cousins and Bryce is some random half-Fae.
  • Bryce is best friends and roommates with Danika, a super powerful wolf shifter and leader of the Pack
    of Devils. Danika’s Second, Connor, really fancies Bryce. Bryce knows a lot of powerful people…
  • Danika’s mother, Sabine, doesn’t like Danika all that much because Danika is her grandfather’s
    favourite, and Granddaddy gave Danika the treasured family sword. Sabine doesn’t like Bryce either.
  • With all of that set up, the story begins. Bryce is going on a date with a human guy called Reid. He’s
    really dull and spends the whole date on his phone. Bryce gets fed up and breaks up with him. She texts
    Connor, who’s at her and Danika’s place fo some Pack Bonding Time, and tells him she will give him a
    chance.
  • Earlier that day, by the way, a horrible guy called Briggs got let out of prison. Danika attended a
    meeting about it and returned in a really bad mood.
  • Bryce decides to head to a club to cheer herself up. Her other best friends, Juniper and Fury, join her
    and they all get off their heads together. Bryce heads home and finds absolute carnage.
  • Danika and the Pack have all been torn to shreds. Something is still in the apartment building and
    Bryce tries to chase it down. This Something rips into an Angel before fleeing. Bryce reckons it’s a
    demon.
  • Hunt and Isaiah, two Fallen Angels, show up. They’re basically detectives in Crescent City. They take
    Bryce in and make sure her leg gets healed up. They think Briggs might be behind the deaths.
  • Hunt also works for Micah, the powerful Archangel of Crescent City, because back in the day Hunt
    fought for his lover and was responsible for the death of over two thousand people, and now he has to
    pay off this blood debt. He’s unhappy about the situation but he also feels bad for being responsible for
    so many deaths in the battle between the two Angel sisters. So far he has “made up” for about eighty
    deaths.
  • Viktoria, a wraith, comes and interrogates Bryce but Bryce isn’t capable of answering questions. Hunt
    and Isaiah watch the interrogation. Sabine arrives and is super angry, although it seems she’s mostly
    angry about the sword being missing.
  • Ruhn makes some phone calls and they have to let Bryce go. Sabine uninvites Bryce from the Sailing
    (the funeral).
    • TWO YEARS LATER
  • Bryce is dealing with a vampire called Maximus. She’s selling him an artifact or something on behalf of
    her employer, Jesiba. He gets all touchy with her but Ruhn soon arrives and he stops being a creep.
  • Bryce returns home and it’s all good until the next day, when Hunt and Isaiah show up at the gallery
    where she works. They get Micah to come over and it’s explained that Maximus was killed, probably by
    the same thing that killed Danika two years ago. They want Bryce to help find out who did it.
  • The only thing is, Briggs has been put away again and they don’t think it was him. So who summoned
    the flying demon?!
  • Bryce and Hunt team up. Hunt watches over Bryce and she’s understandably annoyed at having a
    weirdo angel sat outside her apartment.
  • Ruhn visits the Autumn King and is told to go looking for Luna’s Horn – the same Horn that Danika was
    talking about two years ago. The old guy also tells Ruhn that he wants Ruhn to marry Queen Hypaxia, a
    witch, in order to solidify their political alliance.
  • Bryce heads into town to get her nails done, and Hunt starts to tell her off for not focusing on the case.
    He’s really belittling but she sets him straight. The beautician was Maximus’ girlfriend so Bryce was
    looking for information.
  • Bryce, Ruhn, and Hunt meet up at Luna’s Temple.
  • Ruhn explains the Horn situation to Bryce and we learn that the Horn once belonged to the Starborn
    Prince and in theory should now call to his bloodline. The Horn is super powerful and was used to fight
    off demons. However, the Star Eater (another strong demon guy) used the Prince’s blood to create
    kristallos demons, which have now been banished to Hel. The Horn broke after this.
  • An acolyte from the Temple is killed.
  • Bryce learns that it was Micah who she saved that night two years ago.
  • Bryce heads to the White Raven for the atmosphere (she’s not currently drinking alcohol) after Hunt
    says she’s on his list of suspects. There’s an explosion while she’s there and she gets injured trying to
    protect her friend Juniper.
  • Hunt takes Bryce home and looks after her. He moves into the spare room after this.
  • Ruhn looks into the history of the Starborn Prince some more. He learns that Pelias had a wife and
    daughter who were Starborn too. There’s some sort of riddle about the Horn only being healed by light
    that’s not light.
  • Declan tells the group that Danika was at the Temple when the Horn was stolen from it.
  • They’ve been talking about Bryce’s childhood visit to the Oracle for ages, and Hunt decides he wants to
    go and see her for himself. Bryce admits that when she visited, the Oracle was blinded by something.
    And her father was ashamed and sent her home, claiming she wasn’t his daughter.
  • Briggs, currently still in prison, gets a visit from Hunt and Bryce. He insists he’s not behind the explosion
    at the White Raven, and he’s definitely not out there murdering people. Briggs claimed to have liked
    Danika, because she warned him before arresting him the first time.
  • A security guard from the same temple is murdered. Bryce looks into it and figures it may have
    something to do with ley lines, as the deaths have been occurring near them.
  • Declan tells the others that CCTV footage from the night the Horn was taken has been wiped.
  • Bryce thinks the demon(s) is using the sewage system to travel around the city unnoticed.
  • They speak to Tharion, a really important and cute merman, and ask him to watch out for any demons
    traveling about down there.
  • Bryce and Hunt go to Sabine. They have to get past Ithan (Connor’s brother), and Amelie first. Both are
    terrible. They make It to Sabine, who is angry with them both, but mainly Bryce.
  • Bryce admits that she was considering jumping from the roof of her building, but Juniper stopped her.
  • A kristallos attacks and bites Hunt. They think this means they’re correct about Sabine being involved in
    the murders.
  • Sabine shows up at the apartment and threatens them. They tell her about their theory – she killed
    Danika – but Sabine is adamant she didn’t. She does think that Danika stole the Horn, though.
  • Ruhn visits Bryce and tells her about a new drug on the streets called synth. It grants magic users extra
    powers, but seems to send people mad if they take too much.
  • Bryce figures Danika was killed by something other than the kristallos because the wounds don’t match
    up.
  • At a loose end, Bryce summons a demon prince called Aidas and asks for advice. Turns out he likes to
    shapeshift into a cat and visit the human realm. He met Bryce when she was thirteen and was upset
    about the whole Oracle ordeal. Aidas kind of gives advice? And also tells Bryce to find him once she has
    made the drop.
  • Viktoria runs some tests on Danika’s clothes. She finds traces of synth on them, which seems to
    contain obsidian salt. Useful for summoning demons…
  • Tharion tells Hunt and Bryce that he spotted Danika dealing synth on the river back in the day.
  • Amelie ruins some croissants and Bryce gets upset because they were Danika’s favourite, and it would have been her birthday. Hunt goes and finds Amelie and threatens her.
  • Bryce finally agrees to get her injured leg healed. It has been paining her for two years so it’s about
    time. The medwitch, whose name we don’t know yet but she’s the same one that Ruhn has been talking
    to, removes the venom from the wound and it starts to heal up nicely.
  • The medwitch reckons she can make an antidote from the venom.
  • Sabine goes to see Micah to complain about Hunt. Micah summons Hunt and Bryce, and Sabine
    demands that Hunt is punished for threatening Amelie. Amelie is visibly uncomfortable and doesn’t want
    this to happen, but Sabine insists. Micah cuts off Hunt’s wings, which will apparently grow back
    eventually. It’s a bit grim.
  • Sabine argues with Bryce some more. Bryce says she bargained with the Under King to guarantee
    Danika safe passage to the Bone Quarter. Bryce was worried Danika wouldn’t make it on her own.
  • Bryce watches some videos from synth experiments and it’s once again grim. She watches humans
    tear some Vanir guards apart. Their deaths look a lot like what happened to the Pack and Danika.
  • Bryce wants to head back to her old apartment, but someone sets it on fire.
  • Tharion calls Bryce and tells her to come to the river. Some people are currently doing a deal on a boat.
    It’s the Viper Queen and Hunt.
  • Bryce boards the boat with Tharion’s help, and then Micah and Isaiah arrive. Micah and the Viper
    Queen set a trap for Hunt, Viktoria, and Justinian because he knew they were after synth in order to gain
    enough power to get rid of the Archangel, and hopefully free themselves. Apparently Hunt was trying to
    back out of the deal but the others wanted to continue. They’re all arrested.
  • Before they’re taken away, Bryce learns that Danika stole the formula and a bunch of synth and was
    selling it. She was taking it herself, and it’s thought she destroyed the whole Pack that night as well as
    herself.
  • Viktoria is ripped from her body and her essence is put in a jar. Justinian is crucified. Hunt is shut in a
    cell for a while. Isaiah visits and asks why he did it.
  • Sandriel finally shows up. She was the sister of Hunt’s former lover. The two sisters were at war – the
    war which Hunt was fighting in – and Sandriel won.
  • The medwitch shows up at the gallery and gives Bryce some of the antidote she was able to make.
  • Sandriel buys Hunt from Micah. Bryce shows up and tries to buy Hunt off her for millions of gold marks.
    Sandriel really wants Hunt though, and refuses. Bryce tries to offer up herself, but Ruhn arrives and
    announces that Bryce is his sister, daughter of the Autumn King, and therefore his property. Therefore
    she can’t offer herself over.
  • Bryce leaves and is attacked by a kristallos. Ruhn and his friends show up to help her just in time.
  • The Summit begins, which includes all the important leaders. Turns out that the medwitch is actually
    Queen Hypaxia. She seems nice.
  • Ruhn speaks to Hunt telepathically. He says he’ll do all he can for him. Bros!
  • Micah leaves the room on “urgent business” while the others discuss their stuff.
  • Bryce is surprised to see Micah show up at the gallery. She knows she’s in trouble so she messages
    Jesiba, who puts the video feeds from the CCTV on the screen at the Summit. This gets everyone’s
    attention. This also reveals her library, which is the Library of Parthos and super important. It includes
    lots of human and magical books.
  • Turns out that Micah is behind everything. He’s been after the Horn this whole time. Also turns out that
    Danika had the Horn ground down and inked onto Bryce’s back. Micah plans to inject Bryce with synth to
    get the Horn working again.
  • Micah admits that he was working with the company that was experimenting on synth. Danika was as
    well, and she was finding people to conduct the experiments and help develop the drug. Danika
    eventually noped out though after everything started going wrong.
  • Micah then tried to frame Danika in order to get her to steal the Horn for him. He wants to summon
    some demons (no big deal), and get rid of all the humans. He wants to become an Asteri (basically angel
    gods). Danika found out about these… ambitions, and hid the Horn from him.
  • As revenge, Micah injects Danika with synth and she kills the Pack and herself. This plan makes sense
    but… it also means Micah almost got himself clawed to death by the kristallos that night two years ago?
    Not the best.
  • Oh yeah and he also offed Maximus, that vampyr from the beginning of Part Two.
  • Micah’s latest attempt at finding the Horn was to get Bryce involved.
  • Basically this is all his fault and now he has figured everything out.
  • Micah injects Bryce with the synth, which heals her wounds. She uses a book to escape (maximum
    power!!) until Micah threatens Syrinx by throwing him into the tank with the nokk. Micah grabs Bryce and
    throws some of his power at her but it doesn’t have the desired effect.
  • Bryce escapes his hold and locks him in the bathroom for a bit. Bryce uses this time to save Syrinx and
    starts to run off. Lehabah buys Bryce a few more seconds by sacrificing herself to trip Micah up.
  • Bryce sets a trap for Micah upstairs and is able to shoot him. She resuscitates Syrinx and injects herself
    with the antidote that Hypaxia gave her.
  • The whole Summit have been watching this, btw. They haven’t been able to do anything because
    they’re too far away. Unfortunately, they also realise that the portals did open, and now demons are
    flying through into this realm.
  • Everyone in the city tries to get to a shelter. Bryce helps out. Ithan goes to find Bryce but eventually she
    feels she is forced to lock him inside a shelter when the demons just aren’t slowing down.
  • Sandriel supposedly talks to the Asteri, who say help is coming. It’s coming in the form of tanks that will
    destroy the city completely.
  • Bryce closes a portal by sparkling. She’s also Starborn, and that’s how she blinded the Oracle when
    she was 13 – she has a whole load of light. She used it once before to save Danika, and now she’s
    trying to save the city. She closes one of the portals but it really drained and unable to close the others.
  • Hypaxia frees Hunt from his bonds so he can kill Sandriel. Quickest death ever. Then they go to rescue
    Bryce using Fury’s helicopter.
  • The Asteri tanks start shooting missiles at the city. Bryce is trapped under some rubble. Hunt arrives
    and protects her, almost giving his own life for hers.
  • Bryce calls out for an Anchor so she can make the Drop. Danika answers from the afterlife. Bryce goes
    through the Drop and almost dies, but she makes it through, much to the Autumn King’s surprise. He has
    no faith in her, clearly. Danika helps her through it, and it turns out that Bryce is more powerful than the
    Autumn King.
  • Light spreads and the demons run off, and the portals close.
  • Hunt is healed by the light so it’s all good.
  • An Asteri called Rigelus calls Bryce up to threaten her (nicely) not to say anything about her power or
    what happened. He sets Hunt free as a gift.
  • Jesiba meets with Cat!Aidas, who has apparently known about Bryce all along. They talk about Theia’s
    light and how they thought it was destroyed by Pelias. Aidas says that Hunt’s father would have been
    proud, and implies that Jesiba knew him very well. Seems Jesiba and Aidas may be working together on
    something.

That was our recap of what happened in House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas. Check out our recap list for more plot summaries, and if you can’t find what you need you can request a recap here!

QUICK REVIEW

 

I hadn’t read a Sarah J Maas book in years before I picked up House of Earth and Blood, but falling back into this 1000 page book was like meeting up with an old friend. Despite being the size of three full novels, House of Earth and Blood reads surprisingly quickly. Yes, Maas reuses all her usual character tropes and even recycles full lines of prose, but House of Earth and Blood is still an excellent comfort read if you’re not expecting too much from it.

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