cover image House of Earth and Blood

House of Earth and Blood

Sarah J. Maas. Bloomsbury, $28 (816p) ISBN 978-1-63557-404-3

YA author Maas (the Throne of Glass series) makes her adult debut with this electrifying series launch set on a planet plagued by conflict between oppressed humans and upper-class supernaturals. When a demon slaughters wolf-shifter Danika Fendir and her packmates, Danika’s best friend, the half-human, half-Fae Bryce Quinlan, turns from carefree party girl to traumatized loner. Bryce’s only comfort is knowing that Archangel Micah Domitus and the 33rd Imperial Legion have incarcerated the man who orchestrated the attack: a human with a vendetta against the wolves. But two years later a vampire with connections to Bryce dies the same way Danika did, suggesting the pack’s true murderer remains at large. Desperate to discover the truth, Micah conscripts Bryce to dig into Danika’s final days, and tasks Hunt Athalar, an indentured Malakim assassin doing penance for his part in a failed rebellion, with protecting her. Despite some murky worldbuilding that occasionally undercuts the intricate plot, Maas delivers a richly imagined tale spiced with snarky humor and smoldering romance between Bryce and Hunt. The villains tend to twirl their mustaches, but Bryce is a realistically flawed heroine with moxie and heart to spare. Maas’s adult readers and fans of Charlaine Harris will devour this ambitious, emotionally charged contemporary fantasy. Agent: Tamar Rydzinski, Context Literary. (Mar.)