Leah’s Review of “House of Sky and Breath” by Sarah J. Maas

By: Leah

Originally posted on Leah’s Books.

House of Sky and Breath

  • Author: Sarah J. Maas
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publication Date: February 15, 2022
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Series: Crescent City #2

CONTENT WARNING: imagery of concentration camps, torture, murder, blood, violence, gore, prejudice, mention of rape, excessive profanity

5 stars

Plot Summary

The deadliest power.

The fiercest passion.

The cruelest fate.

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.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode—and the people who will do anything to save it.

Overall Impression

Oh my god. I’m pretty sure that this book has officially broken my brain. Because I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the book, and now that I’ve taken a few hours to process, I am struggling to come up with words, and a coherent review. All I know for sure is that I need book three immediately.

I did a reread of House of Earth and Blood before starting this one, and it put me in the perfect frame of mind to dive into this book. It’s a few months after the events in book 1, and life is settling into a new normal for Bryce and Hunt. And I loved seeing how all the relationships changed in this story compared to the last one. Bryce and Ruhn are forming a new sort of relationship, and Hunt is finding his place in a world where he is no longer a slave. While Bryce is still the same irreverent, brilliant, stubborn female she’s always been, she’s also adding a new title to her repertoire—sister. And Ruhn captured my heart with how he’s redefining his relationship to Bryce. As in, not being a total alphahole.

“Hunt didn’t know why Ruhn’s apparent satisfaction surprised him. He’d expected wounded male pride, perhaps, at Bryce showing him up in his own home. Yet pride did shine from Ruhn’s face—for Bryce. Like the prince had been waiting for his sister to step into her power for a while now and he was honored to have her at his side.”

But Bryce can’t change who she is deep down, and her desire to protect any who need her help is only getting stronger. The only thing that’s changed is that she now has more power, some influence, and some very helpful friends on her side. So when she comes across someone who desperately needs her help, she quickly realizes that she’s probably the only one who cares enough to see him for what he is—a boy who needs protection. And she promptly jumps into action, without worrying too much about the consequences for herself or the people she cares about.

“And during the spring attack, when Bryce had run to Asphodel Meadows…it was the same feeling creeping over her now. The boy needed help. She wouldn’t walk away from it. Couldn’t walk away from it.”

The relationship between Bryce and Hunt is also changing. There’s an incredibly strong bond between them, but I especially loved that her protection and care doesn’t only extend to the weak, but to the strong people in her life who need support and assistance. Hunt being one of them.

“Bryce hated the shadows in his eyes. Ones she’d do anything to help heal. Do anything to avoid renewing. Team Survive at All Costs—that was her team. She didn’t care if that made her a coward.”

The story is seriously full of action. I’ve never had as many plot twists blindside me in a single story, and I couldn’t get enough of it. There was only a single plot twist that I figured out, and I loved that I found out I was right. I was hooked from the first page, and found myself quickly unable to put this book down. It consumed my entire life for the two days that I read it, and I think I’ve read this in record time (for me). The combination of information revealed, plot twists, connections between the characters, and the incredible world-building had my jaw dropping for the duration of my read. It didn’t hurt that there’s some really funny humor interspersed in the story.

“‘In a world full of enemies, you’re my only friend.’ ‘Well, maybe I should give you friendship lessons, because you fucking blow at it.’”

This book is very spicy, as I was expecting, even if it was also slow-burn for a lot of it. But when the spice hit, I wasn’t surprised to find myself loving how things go down (no pun intended). And since there’s more POVs than just Bryce and Hunt, there’s even more action in the story. 

We find out so much more about many things in this story, right up until the very end. Some of the questions I had in book 1 were answered, and some new questions that came up were answered, but ultimately, I was left with even more questions! Hence my need for the next book to be available ASAP. There’s a major cliffhanger, which I’ve come to expect, even if it makes it incredibly painful to have to wait for the next book. But you can bet that I’ll be preordering it and literally anything else SJM writes.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 27

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