This is, rather emphatically, not a review of this book, as it’s eight hundred damn pages long, I’m not quite 1/4 of the way through it, and I have no plans to abandon it at all. This will be spoiler-free, for the most part, and even if I do spoil something, like I said, I’m early enough in the book that it barely counts.
I discovered Sarah Maas had a new series out when I found it at Target, of all places, several weeks ago; buying a book from Target would prove to be only the first of several deeply weird things about this book. First of all, take a look at that cover: what’s the name of the book? If you said Crescent City, you’d be wrong, as that’s the name of the series, currently planned as a trilogy but who knows. The name of the book is House of Earth and Blood, following the modern trend of naming books Noun of Noun and Other Noun. Seriously, look around, there are dozens of them. I feel like somebody needs to have a word with whoever did the cover layout, as that’s … weird.
Second, I’m having some serious issues with wrapping my head around the worldbuilding she’s doing here. For all practical intents and purposes, House of Earth and Blood is set in the modern world, except not: this book is clearly (?) not set on Earth, although people have cell phones and order out for pizza and days of the week are called Tuesday and months are called April, and the main character works in an art gallery, except so far literally none of the main characters are fully human. So it’s sort of urban fantasy-ish, except that it’s not set in the Real World, which is how every other example of UF I’ve ever read works, but even though it’s not set on Earth there is this deeply bizarre mishmash of real, ancient human cultures all over the place: the titular House of Earth and Blood is one of the four Houses of … Midgard, and a group called the Vanir is a thing, and there is slavery in the book, and people who are enslaved have SPQM tattooed on them, which stands for Senatus Populusque Midgard, which might hit you kind of funny if you know anything about Rome.
There’s a character named Maximus Tertian, and there are also angels, most of whose names end in -iel, as you’d expect from angelic names derived from Hebrew, and there was an angelic rebellion at one point, because of course there was, and meanwhile the main character is named Bryce Quinlan. It’s all very schizophrenic and oh did I mention that despite all this the book is shaping up to be a police procedural/murder mystery? Because it is.
My ultimate opinion on this book is really going to depend on whether this ends up feeling like it all makes sense together or is just very very lazy. I really enjoyed Maas’ Throne of Glass series, so she has a ton of goodwill built up, and I’m entirely willing to believe that there is a plan for this, but right now the whiplash is really getting to me.
I probably shouldn’t even talk about this, and I’ve been resisting talking about this, because I feel like there’s no way to do it without coming across as vaguely creepy, but it’s still on my mind two days later and there’s a reason the word “braindump” is in the name of this piece. So let’s get mad at TikTok for a couple of minutes. (TikTok? Tik Tok? How do I not know if it’s one word or two yet?)
I ran into this random video on my For You page a couple of days ago. An older white lady, very very angry, ranting into the camera, which usually isn’t how TT goes for a couple of different reasons. Anyway, she was bitching about how “you” need to stop looking at “her video,” because “she” is “only fourteen” (clearly not referring to herself) and how TT is “promoting child porn” and people should stop going to look at “the video.”
First of all, this is probably a kid doing some sort of booty dance in a tank top, which is about half of TikTok at any given moment. The notion that there’s actual child porn on the site feels … somewhat unlikely. But if you think there is child porn on the site, what the hell are you doing posting a ranty video at people to stop looking at it, with no indication whatsofuckingever of what the hell it is we’re supposed to stop looking at? Like, what am I supposed to do with this information, white lady? You’re very upset about some video, and you don’t want me to look at it, which, okay, fine, but that’s literally all the identifying information you put in your video? That there’s something Out There Somewhere that is so bad you’re literally calling it child pornography, so maybe throw out a user name or something so that the rest of us can block or report it? Because it’s not like the For You page gives us a choice of what we’re looking at, right?
…and this is why I’ve resisted posting this, of course, because tell us the username so we can block and report is functionally exactly the same as tell us the username so that all the dirty old men can go look at the child porn, and now everyone looking at your stupid little video with even a trace of common sense is stuck in this weird limbo between I would like to help you get rid of the terrible thing and I am not a fucking degenerate, and you can’t do one without setting yourself up to be accused of the other, and one more time why the hell did you decide to post this? Because, again, functionally speaking, what you just posted is I don’t like someone else’s video but I’m not telling you who or which one, but I’m really REALLY mad about it.
Subtweeting on fucking Tiktok, and fuck it I’m just going to spell it differently every time I use it in this post, shouldn’t be a thing. And now I’ve posted about the stupid thing, and I can stop thinking about it.
Anyway. I’m done now.
9:18 AM, Wednesday May 13: 1,370,016 confirmed cases and 82,389 Americans dead.