"House of Flame and Shadow" by Sarah J. Maas comes out on January 30.
The "Crescent City" series has a massive cast of characters that can be hard to keep track of.
Here's a rundown of the major players. Major Maas spoilers ahead.
The series follows Bryce Quinlan, a half-fae living in Lunathion, also known as Crescent City, on the continent Valbara on the planet Midgard. Fans have been anxiously awaiting the third installment, as the second book in the series, "House of Sky and Breath," ended on a dramatic cliffhanger.
"Crescent City" has a huge cast of characters, most of which are magical creatures referred to as Vanir. That cast will likely only expand in "House of Flame and Shadow," as the book is set to cross over with Maas' "A Court of Thorns and Roses" series, which has four books and a novella packed with characters.
To help prepare you for the third book, Business Insider created a guide to some of the most important characters in the "Crescent City" universe.
The rest of this article contains major spoilers for the "Crescent City" and "A Court of Thorns and Roses" series. And if you want a refresher on the "Crescent City" plot so far, check it out here.
Bryce Quinlan is the protagonist of the 'Crescent City' series, but her mate Hunt Athalar and brother Ruhn Danaan are key to the plot too
As a half-fae, Bryce has both a human and a fae parent. Her mother is Ember Quinlan, a human, and she considers her stepfather, a human sharpshooter named Randall Silago, her real dad.
But her birth father is Einar Danaan, known as the Autumn King to the public. Einar is the ruler of the Valbaran fae, and his son, Ruhn Danaan, Crown Prince of the Valbaran fae, is Bryce's half-brother.
Bryce and Ruhn are heirs to the Starborn fae lineage, giving them power over starlight and the ability to wield the Starsword, an ancient sword forged from an actual star. Bryce has more starlight power than Ruhn, though he is a full-blooded fae. Ruhn also has power from his mother's lineage, allowing him to wield shadows and speak into other people's minds — the latter of which he keeps secret from most people.
Bryce can blind people with her power and has an eight-pointed star scar on her chest that glows at different times. Bryce's power also allows her to teleport, and she can absorb other Vanir's powers for short bursts of time because she made the Drop through a gate, where Vanir drop their power daily.
In addition to her Starborn abilities, Bryce became a portal after her friend Danika Fendyr (more on her in a bit) inked Luna's Horn, a magical object that creates portals, onto her back, allowing her to travel between worlds.
Bryce meets her mate Orion (Hunt) Athalar in "House of Earth and Blood," though they don't recognize themselves as such until "House of Sky and Breath." Hunt is an angel, a species formally referred to as a Malakh on Midgard. Hunt can fly thanks to his wings, and he has power over lightning.
Hunt was previously a slave owned by the republic as punishment for rebelling against them, but he was freed at the end of "House of Earth and Blood." However, he still works for the 33rd Legion as a member of the triarii, the private protection for the governor of Crescent City, who is always an archangel.
At the end of "House of Sky and Breath," Ruhn and Hunt help Bryce escape to another world to save their planet from the Asteri, evil creatures who have been leeching power from its citizens for centuries.
Bryce's late friend Danika Fendyr and her Pack of Devils move the plot along despite dying in the first book
Bryce met her best friend Danika Fendyr at college, and they were attached at the hip until Danika died at the beginning of "House of Earth and Blood." Danika was a powerful wolf shifter, the Alpha of the Pack of Devils, and the heir apparent to the Valbaran wolves. She was also a bloodhound, allowing her to sniff people's bloodlines.
She worked quietly to undermine the Asteri until her death, tattooing the horn on Bryce's back and partnering with a human named Sofie Renast to uncover how the Asteri came to Midgard.
Before her death, she also secretly mated the angel Baxian Argos, known to most as the Helhound, and left a luxury apartment to Bryce in her will, where she kept clues about her rebellious activities. Baxian tried to help Bryce and Hunt throughout "House of Sky and Breath," and the Asteri took him prisoner alongside Ruhn and Hunt at the end of the book.
Danika's pack included Connor Holstrom, her Second, who was romantically interested in Bryce. The Archangel Micah murdered Danika, Connor, and the rest of the pack after she stole Luna's Horn. Bryce killed Micah when she discovered who murdered her friends.
Bryce and Ruhn's friends back them up throughout the series
Ruhn's best friends are Declan Emmet and Tristan Flynn, two fae with whom he went through his Ordeal, a magical challenge fae must overcome. The trio also work for the Auxiliary, Crescent City's law enforcement agency, and live in a house together.
Declan is skilled at cyber security, often hacking into different networks to help his friends, and Flynn, who has earth magic, will inherit the title of lord when his father dies. Declan and Flynn helped Bryce, Hunt, and Ruhn break into the Asteri's palace remotely in "House of Sky and Breath," though it's unclear if the Asteri knew of their involvement.
Aside from Danika, Bryce also became good friends with Fury Axtar and Juniper Andromeda in college. Juniper is a faun and professional dancer, while Fury is a Vanir whose species is classified. She works as an assassin for hire. Juniper and Fury also revealed to Bryce they were in a romantic relationship at the end of "House of Earth and Blood."
Mer Tharion Ketos and wolf shifter Ithan Holstrom worked with Bryce, Ruhn, and Hunt in 'House of Sky and Breath'
Tharion and Ithan were introduced in "House of Earth and Blood," but their plots became more involved in the second book in the "Crescent City" series. They also both move into Ruhn's house during the second book.
As a mer, Tharion lived in an underwater city ruled by the River Queen, and he was her Captain of Intelligence at the start of the series. He was also betrothed to her daughter after being intimate with her years ago, though he doesn't want to be with her. Tharion works with Bryce and Hunt to discover the whereabouts of Sofie Renast's brother Emile, though he backs off when he finds out Emile lacks magical powers.
Tharion also leaves the River Queen's court in "HOSAB," offering himself to the Viper Queen instead so he doesn't have to live underwater. A snake shifter, the Viper Queen rules over the Meat Market in Crescent City, where seedy dealings often go down. Those working for her often become addicted to her venom.
Ithan is Connor's younger brother, and he had a promising career as a sunball player, though he quit after his brother's death. Sabine Fendyr, Danika's mother, kicks him out of his wolf pack at the beginning of "House of Sky and Breath" for defending Bryce in the press, making him a lone wolf. Danika's father is Mordoc, a cruel dreadwolf who works for the Asteri.
Ithan also loved Bryce, which he always kept to himself because of Connor and Bryce's connection. In "HOSAB," he goes with Bryce to a mystic, discovering a wolf shifter separated from her family. The Prime of the wolves reveals to him the wolf is likely the lost Fendyr heir who could challenge Sabine for the Prime position when he dies. At the end of the book, Ithan steals the unnamed wolf from the mystic, hoping to protect her from Sabine.
The estranged half-sisters the Hind, aka Lidia Cervos, and Hypaxia Enador were major players in 'HOSAB'
Hypaxia Enador became Queen of the Valbaran Witches in "House of Earth and Blood" after her mother died. She is both a witch and a necromancer, allowing her to speak to the dead. She inherited her necromancy gifts from her father.
When she became queen, the Autumn King arranged a marriage between Ruhn and Hypaxia, hoping to increase the fae's power in Valbara. Ruhn and Hypaxia have friendly interactions in "House of Earth and Blood," but unbeknownst to him, the witch has a secret lover. She is involved with Celestina, the archangel who replaces Micah as Crescent City's governor after his death. Their relationship is a secret to all but Bryce and Hunt, who walk in on them being intimate at a ball.
Lidia Cervos and Hypaxia share a mother, but Lidia's father's family raised her because she inherited his deer shifter gifts instead of her mother's witch powers. Lidia was recruited by the evil archangel Sandriel (who is killed by Hunt in "House of Earth and Blood") to join her triarii, and she became not only her spymaster but spymaster for the Asteri. She is also the cruel angel Pollux Antonius' lover, seeming to thrive among the evil.
But unbeknownst to everyone, Lidia is a spy for the rebel group Ophion, going undercover as Agent Daybright with no one knowing she hates the Asteri and Pollux. Ruhn, as Agent Night, connects with Day using his mind-speaking powers while helping Bryce search for Emile, and they fall in love without knowing who the other is.
Lidia won't tell Ruhn who she is even after discovering his identity, only revealing herself to save him and Bryce when they are captured after breaking into the Asteri's Archives at the end of "House of Sky and Breath."
Aidas, a Hel prince, is trying to free Midgard of the Asteri, which includes Rigelus
In "Crescent City," Bryce has contact with Aidas, one of the seven princes of Hel. Rather than being a place of punishment for the dead, Hel is another planet in the "Crescent City" universe. It's considered an evil place to the public, particularly because demons can be called to Midgard from it. But Bryce discovered in "HOSAB" that Hel has been trying to help Midgard's citizens fight against the Asteri for thousands of years. The Asteri tried to conquer Hel before coming to Midgard, and the princes killed Sirius, one of the Asteri, while pushing them out.
Aidas visited Bryce when she was a child in the form of a cat, and he later appeared to her as a handsome blond man when she called on him as an adult. Aidas is invested in Bryce's Starborn power, as he previously fought against the Asteri alongside the last Starborn Queen, Theia.
Six members of the Asteri still exist on Midgard, and they're led by Rigelus, known as the Bright Hand of the Asteri. The Asteri's power is described as almost god-like in "Crescent City," and unbeknownst to the world, they feed off of the firstlight Vanir release when they make the Drop, where they come into their magical power and become immortal, and the secondlight they release after they die.
Rigelus intends to use the horn on Bryce's back to get to the planet her breed of fae originated from, as he wants to feed on them again. She escapes him thanks to assistance from Ruhn and Hunt, intending to open a portal to Hel in the hopes she can find Aidas and get his help ridding her planet of the Asteri.
The cast of 'A Court of Thorns and Roses' will also be important in 'House of Flame and Shadow'
To her dismay, Bryce doesn't reach Hel, instead finding herself in a strange, idyllic land. That land is Prythian, where the "A Court of Thorns and Roses" series is set.
Bryce is only formally introduced to Rhysand in "House of Sky and Breath," though she appears to interact with Feyre Archeron, Nesta Archeron, Amren, Cassian, and Azriel. Feyre and Rhysand are the High Lord and High Lady of the Night Court, and the others serve in their court. Nesta is also one of Feyre's sisters, and she is mated to Cassian.
All the court members are fae, though Amren used to be another more powerful creature before she sacrificed that part of herself during a war in "A Court of Wings and Ruin."
Bryce's interactions with the Night Court are brief in "HOSAB," but Maas revealed several connections between "Crescent City" and the "ACOTAR" universe in the chapter. First, Bryce thinks Rhysand is her brother when she first sees him because he looks nearly identical to Ruhn. In addition, the Starsword lights up when placed next to Azriel's knife, Truth-Teller, indicating it is Truth-Teller's long-lost twin weapon, Gwydion, which is mentioned several times in "ACOTAR." Likewise, Bryce discovers she can communicate with Rhysand and Amren by speaking the ancient language of the fae.
Maas hasn't revealed what role the cast of "ACOTAR" will play in "House of Flame and Shadow," but she teased an interaction between Bryce, Nesta, and Azriel in an excerpt from the book that she shared on Instagram.
"Bryce began running again, hurtling through the cave. Back toward Nesta and Azriel. And prayed there was something left for her to save," it read.
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