If you read YA Fantasy, I can almost be guaranteed that you have heard of this author. You most likely have read (a.k.a devoured) one, if not both of her fantasy series. And I have even joined at least one social media fan page and watched her interviews with Booktubers. Sarah J. Maas is the author of best selling series Throne of Glass (TOG) and A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR), a new fantasy series Crescent City, and stand-alone for the DC Icons Series, Catwoman: Soulstealer.
My son introduced me to the TOG series in 2017, when six of the eight books in this now completed series had been published. By book three, I began to twitch if I had to wait too long between reading sessions!
And I know I am not the only one! On FaceBook alone she has over 85k followers and 19 groups dedicated to her and her books with members in the thousands. Readers love her.
Let me tell you what I love about her storytelling!
I read a ton of YA Fantasy, so when I started Throne of Glass, the first installment of the series named after it, I was very familiar with the usual troupes presented.
Where Maas’ series got me was in her development of her protagonist Celaena Sardothien, an orphaned teenage assassin in a corrupt kingdom, inspired by the tale of Cinderella, with a twist. Like Cinderella, she is orphaned by tragedy, living in the dark underbelly of the Kingdom (cinders) after her evil benefactor (stepmother) turns her into an infamous assassin, who is headed to a castle for a prince (this one is beautiful but not charming) for an event (an assassin competition not a ball). Celaena is strong, sassy, full of unrealized power, and broken. You don’t always like her, but you want to know what she is going to do next!
The other primary characters are equally well-rounded, with detailed backstories and important roles in Celaena’s character growth and success in her adventures. As a writer, I learned the importance of and the “how-to” of creating complex characters without shifting the focus from your protagonist's primary plotline.
Maas also presented a master class in worldbuilding, in the TOG series! From setting descriptions to political movements and creature creation, the world of Erilea is fully realized and a fantastic place to get lost in.
The most important thing I learned, as a writer-reader, was that despite what many other authors do when their series become super popular, Maas concluded her TOG series when her Protagonist met the Goals established in the first book! She did not contrive situations to continue the series past its natural conclusion due to reader popularity.
Many series I have read and fallen in love with, I have fallen out of love hard with when the authors installed book after book wearing out the believability of the character’s adventures and lacking any real growth in the character arcs. I commend Maas for not falling under the pressure of fans and potentially from publishers for more of their beloved favorites. For me when authors do those novels tend to equate to “fluff” to me that lacks the depth of the series I fell in love with.
There is a reason most fairy tales end with Happily Ever After.
I have not had the opportunity to read Maas’ latest series, Crescent City, or her ACOTAR series. ACOTAR too garners a huge fan base and is in the works to become a miniseries on Hulu, which I am excited to watch when it launches.
To learn more about Sarah J Maas and her many other works visit her website at https://sarahjmaas.com/ .
Links* to where you can purchase her works on Amazon are provided by clicking on the highlighted titles in this post.