Once again, a story has left me almost speechless. I have to say, when I finished this book, I truly had no words and I had to wait a couple days to finally collect my thoughts on this masterpiece. Sarah J. Maas is hands down one of my favorite authors EVER, and her books might just be my favorites of all time (hate to pick favorites but I have no shame in admitting this). The characters are incredible and the world-building is so elaborate, right down to the smallest details. While I love every single character, the complex nature of the story is what really sells me on any SJM book. Crescent City just might have been the most complex and beautiful world yet.
Let’s switch things up a bit and talk about the setting and plot first. This is SJM’s first adult novel and I do have to say the tone is a little different compared to ACOTAR and TOG (if you haven’t read either series, you need to drop everything you’re doing right now and read them). I’m not saying ACOTAR and TOG feel like YA books… because they really don’t to me. I just think Crescent City took off at a much quicker pace than the other two series. I also wouldn’t say Crescent City was difficult to read, but we were given so. much. information. right from the start, and it was a lot to process. Another difference is this book takes place in a modern world, with technology, phones, cars, drugs, alcohol, etc. I loved this new aspect, and I appreciated how she incorporated so many mythical creatures into a contemporary world. Sounds like a place I’d love to live in, to be honest. Another thing I adore about any of SJM’s books is how many characters there are. While it sometimes feels unnecessary to cram books full of characters, I feel like they never feel overwhelming in her books. She finds ways to utilize them all, and they each contribute to the intricacy of the plot.
Enough gushing about SJM. Crescent City follows Bryce, a half human/half fae girl as she starts to investigate how and why her best friend was brutally murdered. I really enjoyed the introduction into Bryce’s life with Danika as a carefree party girl, and then the fast-forward two years to Bryce’s isolation and depression after Danika’s death. She is trying to solve the mystery around the murder along with Hunt, who is the Governor’s assassin. The tension between Bryce and Hunt was perfect. Each of them had been through some shit, and it was a real treat to watch them realize they were equals. Once again, I’m a big fan of multiple perspectives in a novel. In this case, we got to watch Hunt realize his assumptions about Bryce were misguided. She purposefully keeps everyone at arms length and lets them assume the worst about her. It takes Hunt knocking down the walls she built over the last two years for her to realize that good things can come from letting others get closer to her.
Another main character we got to follow along was Ruhn, which we learn is Bryce’s half brother. It was nice to watch him and Bryce reconcile their differences and grow close to each other once again. I think he was a good brother, albeit a little protective, but he really did a great job helping Bryce and he was always supportive of her. Unfortunately, he had a shitty father to please, who also happened to be his king. I don’t fault him for trying to please the Autumn King throughout his life. And when we learn the true meaning behind Bryce’s visit with the Oracle, and Ruhn isn’t even mad at her?? He deserves Brother of the Year. I’m pumped to see how Ruhn and Bryce move forward with their relationship.
The way this story picked up in the last third of the book blew my mind. Crescent City had me on the edge of my seat, mouth wide open. Just when we thought Hunt and Bryce were endgame, Hunt betrays Bryce. I couldn’t believe that scene. Things seem to die down, with all the important people away at the Summit and Bryce continuing her work for Jesiba. Then all hell breaks loose (literally). The story switched from Bryce’s POV as she took on the Governor alone, to Hunt and Ruhn watching it all go down on a screen, and it was INTENSE. And it didn’t stop there! No no, Bryce goes on to save her city after the portals to Hel are opened, and all I have to say is she is a badass. The ending had me bawling my eyes out multiple times. Everything Bryce endures and sacrifices hit me right in the heart and I CRIED cried.
There were some truly bad villains in this novel, yet the story ends on such a happy note that I can’t for the life of me imagine what happens next. Some crazy shit went down in the epilogue, and it left me gaping as questions flooded my mind. As WILD as this story was, how could Bryce and Hunt’s lives get any more crazy??
Patiently waiting for the sequel to release is going to be a real test on my level of control.