Crescent City: House of Earth & Blood - Sarah J Maas

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)Title: House of Earth & Blood

Author: Sarah J Maas
Source: Publisher

Bound by blood.Tempted by desire.Unleashed by destiny.
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.
With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

I'm planning to just refer to this book as Crescent City throughout this review because I have had enough of these ‘­­­­_____ of _____ and ______’ titles. They are too long and all start to sound the same and I’m not wasting my time typing it out.

Aint Nobody Got Time For That GIF by Jasmine Masters - Find ...

Crescent City is a hot mess of a book, that is the only way I can think to describe it. I have no idea how to actually review this one, so this review is about to be as much of a hot mess as the book is. Was this book terrible? No. Was it amazing? Definitely not. Do I recommend it? I don't know, it depends if you want another cookie cutter SJM book or not. This book basically goes the way all of her books do, even to the point where she seems to have copied and pasted characters and plot points from one series to the next. If you aren't a big SJM fan or are just done with her books in general, you are probably going to want to avoid it. Her other series were hard for me because I enjoyed them both in the beginning but both had big issues and I was disappointed with the finales for both books. I still seem to come back to her books though because they are addictive and easy to read.

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan HansenTitle: Dear Evan Hansen
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Source: Purchased

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore--even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be?

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

Dear Evan Hansen was a book I eagerly anticipated releasing but then also felt very apprehensive about reading it. It's probably why it has actually taken me a few years to actually get to it. I absolutely love the musical, it makes for a very emotional, moving watch and also the soundtrack is one I never tire of listening to. I really wanted to read the book but then I was also scare that I wouldn't love it as much as the musical or the book would end up leaving me disappointed. I can now say that I wasn't disappointed by this book and I did enjoy it, however it still felt like it was lacking something that it was hard to put my finger on. 

What I Liked:

Connor Murphy:  Connor is a character that you don't actually get to hear from during the musical. Yes, he has musical numbers and moments where he is there but the character is dead and really what we are getting is what Evan imagines Connor would be saying and doing, it is like he feels haunted by Connor and judged for what he is doing. In this we actually get chapters from Connor's POV, in a very 'The Lovely Bones' kind of way where he is watching what is going on once he is gone. I really enjoyed his point of view and voice, and also the fact that we get to know Connor a little better.

The writing: I was worried this would read like a terribly written fan fiction or one of those awful novelisations of movies you sometimes get. I was very pleasantly surprised and really happy with that aspect of the book, it is very well written. I also felt like you could tell that the author really wanted to do the musical justice whilst also fleshing out the story to fit to a novel length. 

Dear Evan Hansen, Evan Hansen GIF | Gfycat

What I Didn't Like:

Connor's backstory: I didn't dislike the actual backstory itself and the deeper look into Connor but I felt that it took away something by giving him that. I can't quite explain why. I feel it might be because without that it makes it even more obvious how Connor's story has been taken from him, how other people are creating a narrative of who he is and why he did what he did. He isn't there to give his side of the story but in this we get it and I don't know if it was really needed or added to the story.

Evan: I love Evan but I feel he is a character that doesn't do so well on the page and where you are actually in his head. Let's not pretend that what Evan does is in anyway okay, it is indefensible. It is easier to see how it goes that way and snowballs away from him in the musical then it is here though. The actor I saw in the role portrayed it so well and I felt Evan was easier to sympathise with. He definitely is less so in this and I can see people who aren't familiar with the story would get frustrated with him very quickly.

Zoe & Evan's relationship: I can't explain why it works so much better on stage than it does on the page, it just does. It just feels much more manipulative and hurtful in the book and harder to empathise with Evan here. It doesn't help that his infatuation with Zoe comes across a lot more creepy when you're reading it, rather than a little teenage crush. 

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For the most part I enjoyed the book, so much so that I managed to read it in one sitting and stayed up far too late to finish it. However it just didn't pack the emotional punch that I was expecting. I found it a lot harder to connect with Evan, which also then made it harder to understand how he could do what he does in regards to Connor and his lies. I feel I'd have also enjoyed this even less if I wasn't already familiar with the characters and story through the musical.