The co-op bookstore for avid readers

Reading Your Way Through Sarah J. Maas

Aviv Gijsbers van Wijk •
Mar 6th, 2024

Sarah J. Maas. She’s the reigning queen of romantasy, the wildly popular romance/fantasy genre mash-up, who has taken BookTok (book TikTok), BookTube (book YouTube), bookstores, and book readers by storm reminiscent of a high fantasy battle scene in one of her books. Maas has, at the time of this writing, three books on the top 15 New York Times bestseller fiction lists. Plus, she’s announced that there will be new books for both the A Court of Thorns and Roses and Crescent City series coming soon.

Are you Maas-curious? 

Maas has three book series in progress, and she has hinted that the worlds constructed in these series may be interconnected, according to an interview with The With more than 15 published Maas books out there, where do you start? And what’s all this talk about reading some of the books out of publication order? Let’s dig in.

I. A Court of Thorns and Roses series 

“ACOTAR,” as it’s commonly referred to, is (very) loosely inspired by Jean-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s 1756 Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. The series is known for featuring magic, otherworldly creatures, and it definitely leans into the “romance” part of romantasy. (Some of the scenes can get “spicy,” as romance readers would say.) 

In a world where faeries are magical, feared, cold-blooded killers of humans, nineteen-year-old human huntress Feyre (pronounced “fay-ruh”) takes care of her family, who live in the ruins of their former glory. When Feyre kills a large wolf with her bow and arrow, she unknowingly crosses a line that will draw her into the dangerous world of the High Fae. 

Our Take: 

This is the first series to start with. You’re going to want to read the series in order, but hang in there until book three - that’s where things really get interesting. And you’re in for a nice twist when you get to one of the books written from a very unexpected point of view. 

Books in the series

A Court of Thorns and Roses 

A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Silver Flames

II. Throne of Glass series

Even though this is technically the first series Maas began writing, we suggest reading it after ACOTAR. The series is composed of eight books that follow the intriguing Celaena Sardothien, a famous, eighteen-year-old assassin imprisoned in Adrian, a kingdom where magic has long been absent.

The king of Adrian offers her a chance at freedom if she can compete in a tournament and slay her opponents, but when some of her opponents start dropping dead mysteriously. . . they must look into the past for answers that will grant Celaena’s future freedom.

The Upshot:

This series is famous for having a different timeline order (of events in the series) than publication order, kind of like Star Wars. We list the publication order here, but even the publisher offers the alternative order if you’d rather read events as they happen. Fun fact: Maas, who started working on this series when she was 16, originally published some of the books digitally as prequel novellas before Bloomsbury published them.

Books in the series

Throne of Glass

Crown of Midnight

Heir of Fire

The Assassin’s Blade

Queen of Shadows

Empire of Storms

Tower of Dawn

Kingdom of Ash

III. Crescent City series

The latest addition to the Maas universe, the Crescent City series is Maas’ first foray into adult fiction. It follows Bryce Quinlan, a half-fae whose best friend is murdered by a demon. When similar murders start taking place in Crescent City, she’s determined to investigate them. She joins forces with Hunter Athalar, an actual fallen angel who has been enslaved by the Archangels after attempting an (unsuccessful) coup. 

Our Take: 

We’d recommend this series for fans of speculative murder mysteries, urban fantasy (fantasy set in more realistic cities or with modern technology), or books with intense world-building, like The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, or Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. It’s also less romance-forward than her other books, so if you don’t care about romance much, this is the series for you. Crescent City is less high fantasy than ACOTAR and leans more into themes of technology and magic, while also casting a wide net of different types of fantastical creatures. 

Books in the series

Crescent City

House of Sky and Breath

House of Flame and Shadow

A box set is available for all three books in the series.

While the order you should read Sara J. Maas's books may be hotly debated, the reading sequence of the three romantasy series is ultimately up to you. Happy reading! 🔥 Follow us on TikTok for more Maas content and giveaways to come!

What to read next:
What to read next: