Ranking Sarah J. Maas’s Series

I shared in my A Court of Silver Flames or House of Sky & Breath reviews that it was soon time for me to do an updated Sarah J. Maas review. As you likely know, I have been an avid SJM reader since 2015 – yes, I was indeed reading A Court of Thorns & Roses in my high school library before school and during study hall. If reading fantasy romance in that setting is my claim to fame, I am so here for it. Fun fact that my Top 5 SJM Books post I wrote in 2020 is one of my most popular posts on the blog – I definitely owe some of the attention to the increased popularity of SJM thanks to ACOTAR love on BookTok. 

While I am tempted to do an updated ranking since I do think that A Court of Silver Flames and House of Earth & Blood might just be among my top five favorites (I’m thinking of doing a top ten because let’s be honest, if though I have my FAVORITES, I LOVE all of SJM’s work), I thought I’d go in a different direction and rank the Throne of Glass, ACOTAR, and Crescent City series, based on the first 2 Crescent City books. 

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Yes, let the controversy rain over me. Maybe blame it on the fact that it was my introduction to Sarah J. Maas,  but Throne of Glass owns my heart. I think Throne of Glass is the most fantasy of SJM’s books, in the sense that we don’t get a ton of steam/romance, at least until the last three books. Yes, a large part of that is because Throne of Glass is considered YA, but my theory is that those last few get a little steamy because they were written along side A Court of Mist & Fury and A Court of War & Ruin, ie when ACOTAR really established the romance. Crescent City is of course SJM’s most high fantasy, but I think its setting that borrows a lot of elements from the modern world makes it less of an intimidating fantasy read than ToG (aside from the page numbers of course). While there is that connection to ACOTAR within House of Sky & Breath (trying to be save with spoilers/as non-spoilers as possible).If you’re a reader that has started with the Crescent City series and want to explore more of her backlist, while ACOTAR is the obvious choice, I would recommend reading Throne of Glass if you like the fantasy of SJM more than the romance. Throne of Glass as a series has a similar effect to the transition from ACOTAR to ACOMAF, in the sense that everything you know and expect based on the first two books, Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, gets blown up by the end of Heir of Fire and the series goes into a new direction with my personal favorite SJM book, Queen of Midnight. Throne of Glass begins as semi-Cinderella inspired retelling, as assassin Celaena Sardothien is selected to compete to be the king’s champion, earning the attention of the crown prince, Dorian, and captain of the guard, Chaol Westfall, along the way.  

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House of Sky & Breath Review & Rambles

916mwrmq6JLSummary (from the publisher): Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds.

 

The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

Yes dear reader, it only took me 5 days to finish the 8-5 page beast that is the second book in Sarah J. Maas’s Crescent City series, House of Sky & Breath. Warning that I am going to be using this review as a way for me to process my thoughts on the book. I am going to do my best to not share specific spoilers for House of Sky & Breath, but there may be slight spoilers for the first book, House of Earth & Blood below. I actually haven’t read too many reviews that include spoilers for House of Sky & Breath. Plenty of the bookish people I follow across social media have simply said that they love this book & have alluded to its shocking ending. I also highly recommend listening to Fated Mates’ podcast non-spoiler episode with Sarah J. Maas about HOSAB.  I also plan on listening to SJM’s interview on the B&N Podcast this week. In this review, I am going to talk about my thoughts on the book & my relationship with SJM’s books overall..and yes, my reactions to THAT ending.

Nowadays, I don’t even really consider myself a fantasy fan aside from the occasional 1-2 books from fan favorite authors that I read (like Leigh Bardugo or Victoria Schwab) and of course, SJM. There’s just something so intricate yet somewhat – emphasis on somewhat because I don’t think I have the complete political details of HOSAB down just year & probably need a reread to do so – easy to understand world-building that just gets me every single time. I especially love HOSAB and the Crescent City series because I love how it blends the modern world and fantasy elements. And yes, again dear reader, this book is the most STEAMY out of SJM’s books, on an entirely new level from event A Court of Silver Flames). I really think HOSAB is way more fantasy romance than just high fantasy/adult fantasy compared to other books. There’s really no limit to the more mature content of HOSAB compared to SJM’s books. I know while it’s not every reader’s cup of tea, I love the fluff and the banter of these books and don’t mind the length of the novel. 

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My Top 5 Sarah J. Maas Books

After reading House of Earth and Blood back in March, I started thinking about which book I consider to my favorite book by Sarah J. Maas. I considered ranking all the books across Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and now Crescent City, but I think that would require another full reread of all her books. I’ve read the first five ToG books twice and the first two ACOTAR books twice. I decided to at least rank my top five favorite SJM books in honor of the potential that ACOTAR #4 will be out in January 2021. This is unconfirmed, but as Kristin of Super Space Chick points out in her latest News & Stuff video, the book’s release date is set for January 26, 2021, on retail sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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My Top Five Sarah J. Maas Books

#5. A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2)

812Iu6GMZSLAs I was writing this post, I went on Goodreads to revisit my reviews for all of these books. I noticed that A Court of Mist and Fury is both SJM’s highest rated and most read book on Goodreads. This really isn’t a surprise to me because ACOTAR is way more well-read than Throne of Glass outside of the fantasy bookish community and/or readers who don’t normally read YA or adult fantasy and tend to read romance. ACOMAF is definitely the strongest installment in the ACOTAR trilogy. It’s obvious that this book completely sold me on Feyre and Rhysand (hellloooo Chapter 55), but it makes the series into something more than a Beauty and the Beauty retelling or what we might’ve expected after the first book.

A sidenote, by after my second reread, I realized that ACOMAF really should’ve made ACOTAR be considered as an adult or at least new adult fantasy series. You likely I am so much more of a romance reader since I reread ACOMAF – contemporary romance is my current favorite genre- but I think the genre name for this series needed to switch before ACOTAR #4, which Sarah has said will be considered adult fantasy.

#4. Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)28260587

Empire of Storms could have easily been a ‘middle book’ between Queen of Shadows and Kingdom of Ash, but SJM completely nailed this one. The fifth Throne of Glass book features some of my favorite scenes and quotes in the entire series. Although it might not be a favorite amongst readers who love action in their favorite, I personally loved it because of all the plot and world-building and stage-setting for Kingdom of Ash. At the end of my reread back in 2018, I retitled this book as ‘Empire of Tears’ thanks to its ending.Read More »

A NEW SJM FAVE: House of Earth & Blood Review

Whenever Sarah J. Maas comes out with a new book, it gets immediate priority on my to-read pile. According to my Goodreads, I had Crescent City on my TBR since May 2018, so I had plenty of time to plan my reading around its release. House of Earth and Blood, the first book in the Crescent City series, is SJM’s latest release since Kingdom of Ash came out in October 2018, so it was such an exciting experience going to the bookstore on release day and pick up her first adult fantasy book.

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I highly recommend checking out SJM’s Crescent City Q&A on the World of Sarah J. Maas YouTube channel. Since she cancelled the Crescent City tour due to the health climate, SJM and her husband, Josh aka Papa Maas, hosted a live show answering readers’ questions about the new series and basically anything SJM related. With no spoilers, they shared a lot of fun details about the book and Sarah’s writing process. I loved when SJM talked about the cover design and revealed the hidden details within. She also talked about her life outside of being an author, from how she met her husband to what it’s been like being a mom and her struggle and journey with anxiety and depression. Although she warned that things could change, it looks like we’ll be getting the first book in the Nesta ACOTAR spin-off series and Crescent City #2 in 2021. Like Crescent City, the Nesta spin-off will also be considered adult fantasy. SJM revealed that the new ACOTAR covers coming in June are meant to grab more adult readers.

As one of my go-to authors, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even need to read the full synopsis of her books anymore to know if I’ll pick them up or not- the answer is always yes! Of course, having loved SJM’s young adult books about Fae, I was even more excited for Crescent City when it was announced that this urban fantasy series would follow a young half-Fae woman on a mission to find the demon that murdered her closest friends two years prior.

Summary (from the publisher): Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard downloadall day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it. 

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

It’s no surprise to anyone that I absolutely loved House of Earth and Blood. I am already crying over the fact that I finished it and need the sequel. While SJM’s books tend to be on the lengthy side normally, I read this 799 beast over the course of the week. I did have some other things in life going on at the time aka homework, dealing with a very much altered school schedule, and watching Star Wars, but I found that I couldn’t really fly through House of Earth and Blood because there are so many details. I also didn’t want to necessarily fly through me because I wanted to catch all the details and really enjoy being back in SJM’s writing.Read More »