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A reader's guide to the world(s) of Sarah J. Maas

By Kobo • May 05, 2024Recommended Reading

Sarah J. Maas’ trio of romantasy book series are wildly popular and beloved by readers of all kinds. But with a combined total of sixteen novels (so far), it can be hard to know where to start, and whether the obvious reading order is the best one.

Spoiler alert: You can start with any of her overlapping series—though within each series we recommend proceeding in order.

That said, here's our recommended order for reading your way through the world(s) of Sarah J. Maas. 

Enter through A Court of Thorns and Roses

Maas' wildly popular hybrid fantasy-romance series is often credited with bringing the romantasy genre to a mass (or is it maas?) audience. This is the place to start if you're already a romantasy lover—and it's a great place to dive in if you're curious.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

After killing a wolf, nineteen-year-old Feyre is visited by an ancient creature, who demands she pay for what she did. He drags her away to a land of magic Feyre didn't even know was real—thus, Maas introduces both protagonist and readers to the dangerous and enchanting faerie realm that anchors the whole series. As she gets used to her new surroundings, Feyre realizes that faeries are nothing like she was taught to believe and that the beast who captured her is actually Tamlin—an immortal faerie she soon develops strong feelings for.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre has made a home for herself—of sorts—in the faerie realm. She's been gifted the powers and lifespan of High Fae, and she's set to marry her faerie lover Tamlin, soon. But she's haunted by everything she's seen and endured, and she's having trouble reconciling the happiness she should be feeling with the sense of alienation she is feeling. In this lush and romantic adventure, Feyre has to decide who she wants to be, and what she's willing to give up for it.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin  by Sarah J. Maas

The third installment finds Feyre settled into her life and power in the faerie realm. But power comes with consequences, and soon Feyre is dragged deep into the thorny webs of fae politics. With war coming for the Spring Court and threatening everyone and everything she loves, Feyre is forced to take drastic actions—actions that will affect the fate of the entire world.

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A Court of Frost and Starlight  by Sarah J. Maas

This novella acts as a bridge between the first three books in the series and the later ones, which focus on Feyre's sister. It's set during the Winter Solstice, as Feyre and her friends prepare for a bit of much-needed respite after a string of disastrous events. Of course, nothing ever comes easy in the faerie realm, and Feyre's longed-for respite is tinged with hints of the danger to come.

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A Court of Silver Flames  by Sarah J. Maas

The last book (for now) in the series focuses on Feyre's sister, Nesta, who's been commandeered into becoming High Fae, even though it's not really what she wants. She's wrestling with the demons of her past and struggling to make a place for herself in a world that doesn't seem made for her. Her complicated feelings for Cassian, a warrior with his own scars and demons, don't make things easier. But if the two of them can admit how they feel and face their pasts together, then maybe they'll both find the healing they're looking for.

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Then ascend the Throne of Glass

High fantasy meets romance in Maas's longest series so far. This is a great place for fans of epic fantasy to start, but readers who loved A Court of Thorns and Roses and are looking for more will not be disappointed.

Throne of Glass  by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass introduces readers to Celaena Sardothien and the brutal land she calls home. A trained assassin, she arrives at the castle in a desperate bid to win her freedom—she only has to defeat twenty-three warriors in a deadly competition. This is a sizzling adventure chock-full of intricate world-building, magic, political intrigue, and the kind of romance Maas's fans have come to expect.

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Crown of Midnight  by Sarah J. Maas

Having won a position as the King's Champion, Celaena must hide her true aims in order to survive. But as her deceptions become ever more elaborate, the danger in the castle only grows, threatening the lives of everyone she's come to care about.

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Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

The series takes a turn in the third installment, as Celaena sets out on a journey to a foreign land. In order to save her world, she has to confront the deepest mysteries of her past—mysteries she'd rather leave alone. As she wrestles with personal demons, Celaena realizes that sometimes facing the past is what it takes to get to the future.

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The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin's Blade collects five prequel novellas featuring different characters from the series. All the novellas take place prior to the events of—and all but one were originally published in the lead-up to—Throne of Glass. So unlike the prequels of other popular series, these were originally introduced to readers as such.

However, many fans prefer reading these stories after Heir of Fire and before Queen of Shadows, in what's known as the romantic order. Fans of the series have suggested that taking a detour through the prequels at this point sets up clearer connections from the past to events and characters that come in later books, and lets you spend time in a different way with characters you’ve come to know in the previous three books.

Fun fact: originally The Assassin's Blade was published six months before Heir of Fire. But that's a reading order recommended by few today.

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Queen of Shadows  by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena has survived untold dangers and made her way back to the kingdom she loves, ready to fight the empire who's crushing her people and reclaim her place as the rightful queen. But crushing a powerful empire is never easy, or simple, and it'll take all of Celaena's ingenuity and passion just to stay alive.

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Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena, now known as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, gets a crash course in "Wow, it's extremely hard to lead a kingdom" in this action-packed novel. War is brewing on the borders; animosity between those with magic and those without is growing; and monsters Aelin has never seen before are threatening to destroy everything she's worked to build.

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Tower of Dawn  by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn takes place at the same time as Empire of Storms following Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq, two characters sent to a distant city to form an alliance—and hopefully find some healing for themselves at the same time.

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Many readers who prefer approaching this series in the aforementioned romantic order choose to read Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn in tandem, sequencing the chapters of the combined books in order of the story’s chronology. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as flipping to the other book at the end of each chapter, and for that reason we don’t recommend this approach to first-timers. Tandem order follows an irregular sequence of chapters (search “TOG tandem” for charts) that keeps the story from building momentum across the two books the way Maas wrote it, and risks turning a combined 1300-page thrill ride into something resembling homework.

But for readers who’ve been this way before, tandem is a fun way to approach familiar narrative terrain and will yield an appreciation for Maas’ finely woven plotting.

Kingdom of Ash  by Sarah J. Maas

In the blistering conclusion to the series, Aelin has been captured by the Queen of the Fae and is unable to help her friends and allies as they fight for the future of the kingdom. It'll take all her strength—and theirs—to finally break free, and make the better world they've all been dreaming of a reality.

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Last stop: Crescent City

Set in a contemporary but magical fantasy world, the Crescent City series has the same sizzling romance as Maas's other series, with a slightly more modern feel. This is a great entry point for readers who love urban fantasy, but will also appeal to readers who've devoured the rest of Maas's work and are looking for something different, but not too different.

House of Earth and Blood  by Sarah J. Maas

The first installment in the Crescent City trilogy is part murder mystery, part romance, and part magical adventure. In other words: everything you could possibly want from a Sarah J. Maas novel! Half-human, half-fae Bryce Quinlan has a pretty good life—until a demon murders a bunch of her friends. Bryce is determined to bring their killer to justice. She's just not expecting help from a morally complicated fallen angel...or to fall in love with said angel along the way.

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House of Sky and Breath  by Sarah J. Maas

Bryce Quinlan and her lover, the supernatural being Hunt Athalar, have survived a whole lot of danger and managed to save Crescent City from the dark power that was bent on destroying it. Naturally, they're pretty tired, and all they want is some time to themselves to explore their relationship and build a future. But that's not what they get, because revolution is brewing, and neither of them can stay quiet and silent when there's injustice to fight.

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House of Flame and Shadow  by Sarah J. Maas

If there's one thing Maas knows how to do, it's ratchet up the tension with each new book in a series. That tension reaches a fever pitch in the final book of the Crescent City trilogy. Bryce and Hunt have been separated—Bryce is in a completely new world, desperate to get back to the place and people she loves, and Hunt is once again trapped in an all-too-familiar dungeon. Sexy, action-packed, and full of surprises, this is a masterful conclusion to a beloved series.

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