The proper reading order for TikTok-famous author Sarah J. Maas' 16 books, from 'A Court of Thorns and Roses' to 'The Assassin's Blade'

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The proper reading order for TikTok-famous author Sarah J. Maas' 16 books, from 'A Court of Thorns and Roses' to 'The Assassin's Blade'
Sarah J. Maas has published popular fantasy books including "A Court of Thorns and Roses," "Throne of Glass," and more.Bloomsbury
  • BookTok can't get enough of Sarah J. Maas' fantasy series, especially "A Court of Thorns and Roses."
  • With 16 books published so far, it can be tricky to know where to start if you want to join the fandom.
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Sarah J. Maas has become a household name for fantasy and romance readers like myself in recent years.

Maas is best known for writing books about faeries; she's published 16 books across three series so far. For readers like me who grew up on "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight," Maas' books provide much-needed adult, fantasy stories told from a female perspective (and it doesn't hurt that she writes, ahem, more mature romance, either).

The New York Times bestselling author has sold millions of copies of her books — which are published in 38 languages, according to her website — and she's also become one of the most popular authors on TikTok today.

For those of you who aren't addicted to TikTok like I am, avid readers share fan art and discuss theories about their favorite books on a corner of the app known as BookTok, and Maas is one of the BookTok authors. The tag #acotar for her book "A Court of Thorns and Roses" has over 5.6 billion views on TikTok to date.

With the release of her most recent book, "House of Flame and Shadow," Maas created an interconnected literary universe with her separate series, much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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But because her literary work is so expansive, it can be unclear where to begin if you want to enter Maas' fictional world. To help out my fellow BookTookers, I created a definitive reading order for her books that I think will offer the best Maas experience.

Although it was not Maas' first fantasy series, I recommend starting with 'A Court of Thorns and Roses'

"A Court of Thorns and Roses" stars Feyre Archeron, a huntress and human who gets pulled into the faerie world after killing a fae, finding both conflict and romance on the other side of the wall that separates the human and fae worlds.

She dives deeper into the magical world of Prythian in the following books, discovering unexpected power as Maas flexes her world-building skills. The series is currently being adapted into a TV show for Hulu.

I love all of Maas' books, but I think "A Court of Thorns and Roses" offers the best introduction to her world for those who haven't read any of her writing before. The otherworldly elements of the series are built out slowly, the books offer a comprehensive view of Maas' writing style, and the romance in them is steamy and compelling.

The proper reading order for TikTok-famous author Sarah J. Maas' 16 books, from 'A Court of Thorns and Roses' to 'The Assassin's Blade'
"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas.Bloomsbury

The books should be read in the order they were released:

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  • "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"

The 'Throne of Glass' series was released first, but I think it works best as the second Maas series

When readers enter the expansive and epic world of "Throne of Glass," they meet Celaena Sardothien, a famous, 18-year-old assassin who has been imprisoned in Adarlan, a kingdom where magic disappeared years ago.

The crown prince of Adarlan offers her a chance at freedom, proposing she compete as his contestant to become the king's champion by defeating 23 other criminals.

Celaena was born to fight, but as the other competitors start dying mysteriously around her, she will have to confront the pain of her past to face the battles ahead.

The world of "Throne of Glass" becomes massive as the books progress, making it ideal as the second Maas series. However, I don't think reading the "Throne of Glass" books in the order they were published offers the best narrative experience.

The proper reading order for TikTok-famous author Sarah J. Maas' 16 books, from 'A Court of Thorns and Roses' to 'The Assassin's Blade'
"Throne of Glass" by Sarah J. Maas.Bloomsbury

Mass originally wrote "The Assassin's Blade" as four novellas published as e-books between January and July 2012. "Throne of Glass" was then released by Bloomsbury in August 2012, and the publisher later released the novellas with one additional story as "The Assassin's Blade" in March 2013.

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Chronologically, the events of "The Assasin's Blade" take place before the rest of the series, but reading it first reveals details Maas leaves out of "Throne of Glass," "Crown of Midnight," and "Heir of Fire," though they quickly become relevant in "Queen of Shadows." If I had known background information from "The Assassin's Blade" when reading the first three books of the series, I don't know if I would have been as captivated as I was when I binged "Throne of Glass."

In addition, the events of "Empire of Storms" and "Tower of Dawn" take place at the same time in different parts of the "Throne of Glass" world, so there's debate among the fandom on how they should be read. They were released in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and although "Empire of Storms" was released first, it leaves off on a cliffhanger, while "Tower of Dawn" does not.

Some people tandem read the books since they take place at the same time, and you may see people on TikTok suggesting you skip "Tower of Dawn" altogether because it doesn't center on the protagonist. But it has information that's critical to fully understanding "Kingdom of Ash."

To maintain the series' suspense without revealing spoilers, I think the best "Throne of Glass" reading order is:

  • "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"

Maas recommends reading "The Assasin's Blade" as the third book in the series on her website, though I think "Heir of Fire" is more captivating if you read it before "TAB." Plus, if you don't mind minor spoilers and know you struggle with suspense in series, feel free to reverse "Tower of Dawn" and "Empire of Storms."

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After her two longer series, Maas readers will be ready for the 'Crescent City' books

Half-fae Bryce Quinlan is at a crossroads when the "Crescent City" series begins, grieving the murder of her best friends by a demon.

She believes the killer was apprehended, but when similar murders start taking place in Crescent City, Bryce agrees to investigate the deaths with Hunt Athalar, a Fallen Angel who has been enslaved for hundreds of years by the all-powerful Archangels after an attempted coup.

The stubborn, beautiful half-fae is Hunt's ticket to freedom, but neither he nor Bryce is prepared for what they find as they look into the murders — or the connection that forms between them.

The series has three installments to date, and the most recent book, "House of Flame and Shadow," was published on January 30.

The proper reading order for TikTok-famous author Sarah J. Maas' 16 books, from 'A Court of Thorns and Roses' to 'The Assassin's Blade'
"Crescent City" by Sarah J. Maas.Bloomsbury

I would absolutely leave "Crescent City" as your third Maas series for a few reasons.

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The fantasy in "Crescent City" is less intuitive than it is in "A Court of Thorns and Roses" or "Throne of Glass" because it combines technology and magic and includes a mass variety of fantastical creatures. Elements from the other series are also key to understanding the climax of the second installment in "Crescent City," with Maas herself recommending people read "ACOTAR" before starting "Crescent City," as BI previously reported.

Plus, "House of Earth and Blood" and "House of Sky and Breath" are arguably two of Maas' sexiest books — they're tied with "A Court of Silver Flames," in my opinion — and I found it fun to watch Maas' romance chops mature as I made my way through her books.

All in all, I think "A Court of Thorns and Roses" and "Throne of Glass" prepare readers for the complex and titillating world of "Crescent City," so it just makes sense to read it last.

You can read the series as it was released:

  • "House of Earth and Blood"
  • "House of Sky and Breath"
  • "House of Flame and Shadow"

In addition, I'd recommend taking a look back at "A Court of Silver Flames" before diving into "House of Flame and Shadow," as the plot contains details that are relevant to Bryce Quinlan's journey in the third "Crescent City" book.

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