'I was in a reading slump. One author turned it all around.'

I was a huge reader when I was a kid. I mean, I inhaled books. 

But then I grew up. And I started working, and my free time dwindled to approximately nonexistent… 

But along with a lack of time, I struggled to find books that really grabbed me. There were a few good series along the way, and I'd dip in and out from time to time. But mostly the books on my bedside table sat gathering dust. 

And then someone recommended a book

THE book. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses.

ACOTAR, for those who know.

You might’ve heard of it. It’s kind of a big deal around here on TikTok. So big that "#acotar" has had more than eight billion views over on the social media platform. Billion. With a B. And that many people can’t be wrong. But somehow it still doesn't feel "mainstream" so I'm filling you in. 

Watch: Need help navigating the Maas-verse? TikTokkers have you sorted... Post continues below. 

Video via TikTok/Emma Halbrook.

I can appreciate that spicy romantasy (what a clashing of genres, btw) isn’t everyone’s bag. But this series – in fact, all Maas' books (we’ll get to them, don’t you worry) – got me out of a reading slump so deep that I thought no light could ever penetrate.

Who is Sarah J Maas? 

Maas is arguably one of the biggest names in the young adult and new adult fantasy genres right now. The New York native started writing her first novel, Throne of Glass when she was 16 and yes I feel wildly unaccomplished. She initially posted her writing on a fiction-sharing platform before a literary agent (who must be feeling pretty damn smug right now) spotted it and knew she was onto something huge.

Because the thing about Maas is, she can actually write. I know that’s a ~crazy~ claim, an author who can string a sentence together, but you remember reading other books that went viral (ahem Twilight) and how, even though you were totally hooked, the writing was, let’s be honest, borderline heinous? 


Imagine that level of love and obsession with a book but with an author who has a strong command of the English language

Like, wow.

Which books has Sarah J Maas written?

Okay, so if you want to really dive into the entire Sarah J Maas experience (and I highly recommend this as a stellar life choice), you need to set aside some serious time, because there are 20 books to make your way through (including five novellas).

I know, I know. It sounds like a lot. 

It IS a lot, I won’t lie to you.

But trust me when I say you’ll get so absorbed in the absolutely phenomenal world building. You'll... feel things when it's all over and you'll wish she'd written 20 more. 

The good news is, there are more coming. And if you start now, there’ll probably be something even newer out by the time you’re done. In fact, according to her publisher, Bloomsbury, Maas is signed on to write another seven books and HOW DOES SHE DO IT?

That aside, let’s take a little journey into each of the Maas series. 

Throne of Glass.

It's a lot to get through, I know, but I believe in you. Image: Booktopia.

Maas’ first series, comprising seven truly epic novels (plus five prequel novellas in one handy book) follows the tale of Celaena Sardothien, a sassy, badass assassin doing time in the salt mines for her crimes, who's given a chance at freedom by competing in a deadly competition to become the King’s Champion. I mean, what a premise, right?


There’s some dark magic s**t that comes along to mess things up because of course there is – and there is SO MUCH MORE to this series, but I don’t want to give away a single thing. Just know that you are in for a heck of a ride with this one.

A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Just five essentials. Image: Booktopia.

Feyre's a human, she's living below the poverty line, but she also happens to be a badass hunter, and the only person keeping her four-person family (Feyre, Dad, and two sisters) fed and therefore alive. But when she shoots down the *wrong* wolf, she's dragged off to the magical land of the faeries. We're not talking delicate, wispy pixies here, either. There's political intrigue, magical conflict and big, scary threats to contend with. 

There are five books in this series – currently – with at least one more on the way. Maas shared at the end of 2023 that she was working on book number six in the series, and fangirls everywhere swooned at the thought of more Rhys, Cassian, Azriel, Nesta… These names mean nothing to you now, but they will. Oh, they will. 

Crescent City.

Ah, Crescent City. I know you're not meant to play favourites but... this is mine. Unlike the first two series, this one's got a slightly more modern (though still totally fantastical) setting, and it's a bit edgier. There's hard partying, drinking and drugs, swearing, smut... There are three books in the series — House of Earth and Blood, House of Sky and Breath, and House of Flame and Shadow — and all of them are chunky, so clear your schedule before you start.


Main character Bryce Quinlan is badass, sassy, funny (I'm seeing a pattern here with Maas' MCs, but it's one that *so works*); her sidekick (oh, he would hate to be called that) is Hunt Athalar, an unbearably sexy fallen angel-slash-assassin for the government. Essentially, they're paired up begrudgingly to hunt down a murderer... And get caught in a web of political intrigue, dark secrets and ancient powers. 

Plus, there's romance, s-t-a-c-k-s of sexual tension and spice, plus demons, sexy mer-people, otters that deliver the mail (yep), twists you 100 percent won't see coming, and excuse me, I need to go and lie down.

Which order should I read Sarah J Maas books?

You can technically read the series in whichever order you like, but my personal rec? Start with ACOTAR. Whether you read ToG or CC next is up to you (knowing what I do now, I'd go Crescent City second, but it's your call). But ACOTAR is my pick for your first foray.

Why? Maas' first series, Throne of Glass, is brilliant, but it’s a long slog. A worthwhile one, for sure, but very involved. CC takes a while to get into, too, because the world building is so intricate. ACOTAR is the happy medium, bringing the fantasy, the adventure, the magic and (ofc) the spice in a way that feels totally achievable, and hooking you in so you just can't get enough.

And just know that I’m jealous of you getting to experience this all for the first time.

Have you read Sarah J Maas' books? What do you think?! Let me know in the comments below! 

Alix Nicholson is Mamamia's Weekend Editor, and when she's not reading romantasy novels, she's probably sending fan art on TikTok to her equally obsessed cousin. Take a peek at her Instagram here (no fan art, promise).

Feature image: Supplied.

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This story was originally published in January 2024, and has since been updated.