A shot of Sarah Moss during an interview, imposed over a row of her book covers.

Here Are the 10 Best Books Ever Published by Sarah J. Maas

Faes, witches and magic everywhere.

Sarah J. Maas and her works are everywhere on the bookish side of every social media. The characters of her three series—Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and Crescent City—have become recognizable even to those who don’t count themselves among Maas’ fans. I know you know who Rhysand and the Bat Boys are.

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So far, Maas’ total body of work—also known as the Maasiverse, since it’s been recently confirmed to be all interconnected in a multiverse type of situation—consists of sixteen titles between novels and novellas. I have read all of them—out of curiosity at first and then because I felt like I was in too deep not to know how the story ended. While they’re not my favorite books, they’re perfect easy-reading entertainment seasoned with dazzling magic and stupidly beautiful characters.

Because of that, I feel perfectly within my rights to count down my top ten Sarah J. Maas books. This list will, of course, reflect a good deal of my personal taste, even though I have tried to also look at all the titles here below with an eye that is as objective as possible. Each entry’s description will touch on some of that book’s major plot points, so beware of spoilers if you aren’t all caught up!

10. House of Earth and Blood (2020)

House of Earth and Blood is the first installment of the Crescent City series—the most recent out of the three Maas has published over the years. It takes a sharp turn from her usual Medieval-esque inspired fantasy and dives right into the realm of urban fantasy, with the story set in the modern, highly technological city of Lunathion—the titular Crescent City—where all sorts of magical creatures coexist, order takeout pizza and stalk each other on social media.

While I’m not the biggest fan of fantasy set in contemporary or contemporary-adjacent times and I also believe this series to be the most chaotic out of all the ones Maas has written, HOEAB earns a spot on this list solely thanks to its heroine, Bryce Quinlan. We love a fierce plus-size redhead who collects unicorn memorabilia.

9. A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015)

ACOTAR is hands down Maas’s most popular series and with good reason. I think this is the genre she excels in: steamy romantasy with lots of character drama that shouldn’t be too concerned with big, sweeping plots. I mean, the big, sweeping plot is still there but it definitely takes a step back in favor of the romances. 

All that said, though, ACOTAR remains my least favorite of the entire series. Maybe it’s because of the Great Love Interest Twist™, maybe it’s because I find the whole premise of Feyre’s family despising her incredibly forced, maybe it’s because the Night Court really does own the Spring Court in every possible way. Still, it’s very entertaining. Love that Feyre is the literal embodiment of “Hey I’m Jared I’m nineteen and I’ve never learned how to read”. 

8. A Court of Wings and Ruin (2017)

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the final installment of the first trilogy in ACOTAR, centering around Feyre and the fight against the evil King of Hybern. Sure, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the overarching plot in ACOTAR—I’m here for the Inner Circle shenanigans and that only—but the entertainment was there.

I particularly loved the newly-appointed High Lady of the Night Court Feyre playing the spy in the Spring Court, and how she absolutely owns that sneaky priestess Ianthe. And that brief Nessian moment during the final battle, setting up their entire story.

7. Crown of Midnight (2013)

Crown of Midnight is the second installment of the Throne of Glass series and the last one where Celaena actually goes by Celaena before going through the process of accepting her real identity and her heritage. 

While I do prefer the later books in this series—especially as soon as the witches come in—I have a soft spot for Celaena and Chaol, whom I always liked more as a pairing to Celaena and Dorian. And of course, that final reveal at the end makes sure that Crown of Midnight has a spot on this list.

6. Empire of Storms (2016)

I will admit that Throne of Glass is my favorite out of all of Maas’ series—there were some truly interesting elements there, even though I think we can all agree it’s not the sweeping epic fantasy it sets out to be. 

Empire of Storms—the fifth installment in the series—features the development of one of my favorite ships of this universe, namely Elide and her big brooding fae Lorcan, as well as what is arguably the twist ending of the entire saga. Sure, Chaol figuring out that Celaena is actually Aelin Galathynius was one thing, but the evil queen Maeve delivering the double punch of the reveal that she manipulated the mating bond between Aelin and Rowan and then trapping Aelin in her iron box to carry her away is another one entirely. 

5. The Assassin’s Blade (2014)

The Assassin’s Blade is part of the Throne of Glass series and acts as its prequel—all of its five novellas tell a story from Celaena’s time as Adarlan’s Assassin and also set up characters and situations that will return during the main series.

I particularly loved her meeting with Yrene Towers in The Assassin and the Healer, since Yrene becomes an instrumental part of the plot in Tower of Dawn—and she gets to where she is precisely thanks to Celaena. And then, of course, there’s The Assassin and the Empire, which follows the tragic ending of Celaena’s first love Sam and explains how exactly she ended up in the mines of Endovier, where she is when Throne of Glass begins.

4. A Court of Silver Flames (2021)

So, a premise. I think A Court of Silver Flames is a very chaotic book, where the magic system and the plot—which were already very flimsy in the first three ACOTAR books—become even more so. Then why is this book so high up on this list, you might wonder? Because of its main character.

I’ve been a Nesta stan since the beginning. She’s mean, bitchy, complicated and as easy to get close to as a feral cat and characters like this simply have my entire heart, so I loved seeing her step into the leading lady role in “her” book. Sure, I’m not the biggest fan of how everyone gangs up on her when it’s clear that her mental health is down the drain and I despised how she is depicted as the one in the wrong for revealing to Fear the complications that come with her pregnancy, but I’ll take what I can get.

3. Queen of Shadows (2015)

Queen of Shadows is the fourth part of the Throne of Glass series, right before Empire of Storms and after Heir of Fire, which is—spoiler—the second entry on this list. The reasons for why Queen of Shadows sits here on the podium are two and they’re quickly explained.

First of all, I love how the book ends with Aelin and Dorian absolutely annihilating the castle at Rifthold and Dorian ascending to the throne in the place of his horrible, horrible father—and also getting free of the demon collar which tormented him for the entire book. But mostly, this book has so much Manon. And every page where Manon is front and center is very dear to my heart. More on her and the witches later, but let’s just say that to me they are hands down the absolute best part of this universe.

2. Heir of Fire (2014)

Heir of Fire is the third installment of the Throne of Glass series and the first novel where the story follows the change that its main character goes through, taking a very sharp twist and broadening up with all its epic aspirations. That’s because Celaena reaches the lands of Wendlyn and begins training with her fae instructor—soon-to-be love interest—Rowan. She eventually accepts her history and her past and stops hiding under the persona of Celaena Sardothien, returning to her birth name, Aelin Ahryver Galathynius, the lost Queen of Terrasen.

But Heir of Fire is also our introduction to the clans of Ironteeth witches, and boy oh boy do I love those iron-clawed, wyvern-riding, ruthless women. Manon and her Thirteen immediately shot a hole through my heart and stayed there, making Heir of Fire my favorite out of the Throne of Glass books.

1. A Court of Mist and Fury (2016)

The majority of this list will obviously change from person to person, of course, but I think this entry might actually be shared by a good chunk of Sarah J. Maas fans—and that’s because A Court of Mist and Fury simply is that book. It solidified a lot of what have become staples of the Maasiverse, from the cocky and charming love interest with some degree of control over shadows and other night-adjacent powers to the fact that said love interest isn’t the one that appears in the first book of the series.

The romance between Feyre and Rhysand—with its good amount of spice, I mean, we all know what Chapter 55 is—is undoubtedly what conquered a lot of the readers who are now diehard Maas fans and remains, in my opinion, the most iconic she has ever written. And so in the very first position it goes. 

(featured image: Bloomsbury Publishing, NBC)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.