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  • Kayla Weaver

A Crossing of Fates

Forewarning: there will be spoilers!

            I don’t think anything prepared me for the final pages of Sarah J. Maas’ Crescent City: A House of Sky and Breath.

“The male stepped forward, tucking in his wings. He smiled slightly and said in the Old Language, in a voice like glorious night, “Hello Bryce Quinlan. My name is Rhysand.”

I know I screamed internally (and possibly out loud), and nearly tossed my Kindle into the wall at what I consider to be the most epic multi-verse, crossover event. I happened to pick up the second book Crescent City novel at the same time the newest one was released- I could not imagine being thrown a cliff-hanger such as this, and then waiting TWO YEARS to continue the story. I had jumped to the third book, A House of Flame and Shadow, almost immediately.

As is her usual style, the last 100 pages of a Sarah J. Maas book is a rollercoaster of events and last-minute plot twists that leave readers in emotional turmoil as her characters are. At the end of the second book of the Crescent City series, just when we think our hero Bryce Quinlan has opened a portal in desperation to reach life-saving allies against her fight with the evil Asteri, she is dumped into a different world, the one of Maas’ other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR). With her brother, her husband Hunt, and friends left behind at the clutches of evil, Bryce now faces an entirely new peril- navigating a world vastly different and further from her own.

In A House of Flame and Shadow, we follow Bryce as she navigates the world of Prythian. Her first experiences are with the internet’s favorite book boyfriend Rhysand, as she is interrogated by the High Lord and some of his inner circle: Azriel, Amren, and Nesta. Then, she goes on what I like to call the Journey- she travels with Nesta and Azriel, trapped in a tunnel and with no other choice, and along the way learns more about her own powers, this new world she has landed in, and the truth, one that ties both worlds to each other in ancient history. There is a lot of info-dumping, but it is also eye-opening, jaw-dropping, and spun together well enough that the connections start forming between this world and Crescent City’s. A tentative understanding and maybe even a friendship is blooming between Nesta, the focus of Maas’ last ACOTAR book A Court of Silver Flames, and Bryce. We even get a little bit of Azriel’s personality, just enough to leave us wanting more. And then Bryce, in a typical Bryce way, then ditches her new “friends” to return to her own world, where much has changed in the short time she is gone. She comes home to the Crescent City, a new truth to herself, strength in her resolve and power, and ready to finish what she started.

Bryce’s friends and found family have also been busy since her disappearance. The return of old friends, newfound members, and enemies-turned-allies leave many to their own side-quests, each creating an interweaving of fates that soon come together again for the final battle against the tyranny they all work to end. No matter the cost.

Maas has spun a story that connects two of her most loved series, finding a way to blend the two without one overshadowing the other. Bryce has connected with the world of ACOTAR, but without the entirety of these characters flooding into the story; they aren’t even asked to help fight her war. Instead, a mutual understanding between two female heroes is formed, one understanding the other’s struggles because they’ve also been through hell and back in their own journey. And this recognition plays an important part in the bigger picture.

With many of her friends now coming from their own life-changing ordeals and coming onto their own power, Bryce steps up to face her greatest challenge: taking down the all-powerful evil the Asteri, and those she holds closest behind her every step of the way. I won’t spoil the ending, but as the dust settles on Crescent City, loose ends are tied in ACOTAR, one can only imagine what Maas has in store for the future of the growing Massverse.

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