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Sarah J. Maas‘ romantasy series “Crescent City” and “A Court of Thorns and Roses” are certified sensations, with chart-topping sales and endless discussion on TikTok and Reddit forums. The just-released third book in the “Crescent City” series — “House of Flame and Shadow” — has officially topped The New York Times Best Sellers List, and the fandom is growing beyond genre enthusiasts.
Interested in figuring out what all of the hype is about but unsure where to start? Variety has a primer for fans to get the most out of Maas’ interconnected series, which are best read in a different order than how they were first released.
Starting point: The “A Court of Thorns and Roses” series
Maas’ signature books are the four-novel run known to fans as ACOTAR. The series follows the adventures of Feyre Archeron and her inner circle in Prythian, a fae land filled with romance, political intrigue and magic. The best order to read for maximum enjoyment is:
“A Court of Thorns and Roses” (2015)
“A Court of Mist and Fury” (2016)
“A Court of Wings and Ruin” (2017)
The holiday novella “A Court of Frost and Starlight” (2018)
“A Court of Silver Flames” (2021)
For completists with a sense of whimsey, there is also 2017’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses Coloring Book.”
Next step: The “Crescent City” series
The third book in the “Crescent City” series is currently taking the literary world by storm, but the series’ twists are much more impactful if read after ACOTAR. In this series, half-human half-fae Bryce opens up a world of danger when she starts investigating the death of her best friend. In order, the “Crescent City” series is:
Further reading: The “Throne of Glass” series
Still can’t get enough of Maas’ writing? Try her YA series “Throne of Glass,” which only has one confirmed tie to ACOTAR but is packed nonetheless with what many fans think are essential easter eggs. While the books don’t have as much spice as her other adult series, the death-defying adventures of teen assassin Celaena Sardothien a.k.a. Aelin Galathynius are a favorite among Maas’ fans. The best order to read them is chronologically through the series:
For creative fans, there is also the “Throne of Glass Coloring Book” (2016).
For superfans: “The Assassin’s Blade”
This “Throne of Glass” prequel is a collection of five stories set before the events of the series, chronicling Aelin’s early adventures and travels.
GraphicAudio makes nifty enhanced audiobooks that move far beyond the traditional constraints of the format, and include a complete cast of actors, sound effects and music. Try the format out with “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” and if you have a good time, run the whole series again! You can access GraphicAudio’s audiobook on Audible, currently offering a 3-month free trial.