Every Sarah J. Maas Book Ranked From Worst to Best

Happy Sunday to the YA blogosphere!

As you may know, Kingdom of Ash hits shelves on the 23rd of October, exactly one month from today. While I’m not actually a big fan of the Throne of Glass series (and I know this may be where I lose some of you), it’s hard not to get caught up in the massive hype for the finale. Guys, it’s going to be 992 fricking pages. Nine hundred and ninety-two. Pages. Not even George R.R. Martin writes books this size, and to be honest I’m a little scared for all those paperback spines.

Anyhow, I figured that now’s the perfect time to play the Dignified Book Critic–just kidding, there’s nothing dignified about this list–and rank every SJM book from worst to best in preparation for Kingdom of Ash. This is, of course, my personal opinion and not meant as a knock on anyone who thinks otherwise. Voilà:

12. A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1)

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hated everything about this pathetic cash grab of a novella. I want to purge it from my mind and forget that such a pointless bundle of words ever got the go ahead from a major publishing house. Nonexistent plot, overdramatic character development and clichés on every other line, A Court of Frost and Starlight is the absolute bottom of the barrel.

11. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

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The book that basically made me lose interest in the Throne of Glass series. Nothing agonisingly bad about it, unlike A Court of Frost and Starlight, but I just couldn’t get into the story as it took a huge turn from the first two books.

10. Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)

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Tower of Dawn could have been half its length and still served the same purpose. Were it properly edited, it would have been a decent read. As it is, Chaol’s novella-turned-full-length-doorstopper is a bloated mishmash of cardboard characterisation, shoehorned representation and the usual SJM clichés. At least Nesryn and Sartaq aren’t cringeworthy, unlike most other TOG couples.

9. Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)

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Considering how young and inexperienced Maas was when she wrote what would eventually become Throne of Glass, it’s no surprise that her debut is one of her shakier works. Plenty of reviewers have pointed out how she seems to be uncharacteristically addicted! To! Exclamation! Marks! in this book, as well as the plethora of silly names (yes, Chaol is actually a riff on ‘chaos’) that have lasted an entire series.

8. The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5)

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These novellas were crammed chock-full of predictable tropes, and none of them were particularly memorable, but they made for fast and enjoyable reads nonetheless. A tenfold improvement on Maas’s most recent novella, seeing as each one actually had a plot.

7. A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

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A somewhat disappointing trilogy finale that tried to incorporate too many elements and failed to develop any to full effectiveness. It was ambitious for sure, but could have used much, much more editing than I presume was done. There’s been a noticeable drop in the quality of Maas’s writing ever since she shifted to publishing two 600+ page novels a year, and it’s nowhere so evident as in A Court of Wings and Ruin.

6. Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

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Better than its predecessor, not as good as the best of the series. While many of the action sequences and plot twists are well-executed, character development is where Queen of Shadows falls short. By this point in the storyline Aelin and Rowan were both too far gone for me to care about either of them anymore, and it felt like the whole cast were unhealthily absorbed in petty rivalries. There was one very satisfying antagonist death halfway through, I’ll grant that.

5. Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

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Possibly an unpopular opinion placing it this high, but I thought that minus the widely and rightfully mocked sex scenes, Empire of Storms was quite a fun ride. That said, it suffers from the same needless length and painful dialogue plaguing most recent SJM instalments.

4. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

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I’ll admit, it might just be the nostalgia speaking when I say that Crown of Midnight had everything I was looking for from a Throne of Glass novel. Badassery, intrigue and an explosive twist that shocked me as a newly minted YA reader–essentially, it was Throne of Glass with polished writing skill.

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)

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It’s no secret that I greatly prefer ACOTAR to TOG. Even the first book, which is arguably one of Maas’s weaker publications, felt far more compelling to me than the vast majority of the TOG series. It helps that A Court of Thorns and Roses may just be the best edited of her books–compare the prose in its first chapter with the prose in the first chapter of A Court of Wings and Ruin, and tell me you don’t see a big difference in quality.

2. Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons #3)

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If A Court of Frost and Starlight killed my faith in SJM, Catwoman: Soulstealer has restored part of it for now. Boasting strong characterisation, smart twists and genuine humour when I was expecting the opposite, this entire novel was a pleasant surprise. I can only hope that Soulstealer isn’t a one-time occasion.

1. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

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At last, in my #1 spot: Sarah J. Maas’s most hyped epic, arguably the book that catapulted her into YA superstardom. I loved, loved, loved ACOMAF when it was first published, and own both the Kindle and paperback editions to show for it. I thought it was the greatest story I’d ever read. Since then, time and wider reading have somewhat put things into focus. Although I no longer consider this book one of my favourites, it’s still a testament to what SJM can do at her best.


Let's Talk (1)

So that was a pretty long list, and there were a lot of instances where I could easily have swapped books a couple of places. I’d love to hear what all of you SJM readers out there think of my rankings. Accurate? Completely crazy? If you have thoughts on where I’ve put her books or, even better, where you’d rank them yourself, I’d be thrilled if you left a comment!

To everyone counting down for Kingdom of Ash, you’re in the home stretch now. To everyone not, there are a whole bunch of other great books coming out this October to be excited for.

As usual, thanks for reading!

27 thoughts on “Every Sarah J. Maas Book Ranked From Worst to Best

  1. Now that’s an interesting post! I haven’t read all of her books yet, only a few, but I plan to. I’m a big fan of hers, but I can recognize there are some issues with her novels, unfortunately.
    I would probably rank ACOFAS as one of the worst ones as well, although I actually really enjoyed that read. Totally a money grabber though, literally nothing happens, but since what I enjoy the most are her characters, I didn’t mind it too much 😄
    P.S. I hadn’t heard about the size of Kingdom of Ash yet… I’m both excited and terrified! 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah I just got the page count from Goodreads page lol, I checked up on it to get my info correct for the post, saw the crazy number and just had to say something about it haha. I get how you feel about SJM–even if she’s controversial and gotten in hot water for various rep issues, there’s no denying that she’s had such a large impact on the direction of the YA genre nowadays. For that reason alone I can’t disregard anything she writes, even if I didn’t like it very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true, she’s like the YA queen of controversy 😂
        That’s how I feel about Cassandra Clare, although I don’t like her at all (and couldn’t even finish the one book I tried to read), I have to recognise her impact on YA literature 🤷🏻‍♀️ I feel like it’s the right attitude to have when it comes to stuff like this 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a fun post, I really enjoyed reading your opinions! I honestly don’t remember the TOG books well enough to distinguish between them, but I do remember being 100 % done with Aelin and Rowan in book 4. ACOMAF is by far my favorite SJM novel as well and you’ve made me very hopeful for Soulstealer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha same, tbh a lot of the TOG books’ details have blurred in my mind and I went mostly off my lingering impressions (shh…) I hope you pick up Soulstealer, it’s a strong story in my opinion and I look forward to seeing what you think about it!

      Like

  3. I had so much fun reading this post even though I’ve never read an SJM book, haha! I’m honestly too afraid to start them at this point because I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a LOT of issues with them😅 Also, I really liked this idea; would you mind if I did a similar post about a different author at some point? I would definitely credit you for the inspiration 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha fair play, hell there are plenty of mega popular series that I’ve never read. Of course I’d be thrilled if you did this post for another author! I’ve been similarly inspired by articles like ‘all [actor’s] movies ranked from Worst to Best’ so it’s not my unique idea by any means 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I quite agree with your list. For me, ACOTAR series is just so much fun to read! I was so hyped for each of the sequels that I gobbled up all of it happily during my first read and then later in hindsight acknowledged all the flaws. This series is by no means anywhere near the best of fantasy I’ve read but I sure enjoyed it a lot more than some of the best written pieces of fantasy. Especially ACOMAF. That book absolutely stole my heart. It’s not perfect, yes. But it got me hook line and sinker. In comparison, TOG just felt so unnecessarily extended to me. I lost my interest during the third book. And I need to read Soulstealer soon!

    Apologies for the long rant. SJM brings it out of me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SAME lol, I feel you so much on this: ‘I was so hyped for each of the sequels that I gobbled up all of it happily during my first read and then later in hindsight acknowledged all the flaws.’ I was just so excited for both ACOMAF and ACOWAR that they felt like the best books ever while i was reading them, even ACOWAR, which obviously faded with time and perspective. Pretty sure SJM has that effect on lots of readers; whether you love her or hate her, her impact on the YA genre is undeniably pivotal. So rant on, I’m with you on that haha.

      I’d absolutely recommend Soulstealer, I’m not sure if it’s as good as Wonder Woman: Warbringer but I’d rate it higher than Batman: Nightwalker for sure. Check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, Tower of Dawn should have stayed a novella in my opinion, instead of becoming long and bloated and taking up the release spot when Kingdom of Ash should already have been released. At least SJM isn’t like George R.R. Martin and her books, albeit becoming bloated, still get finished lol. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am working on reading ALL her books, it has been collecting dust on my shelf. 🙈🙈, so far I am making huge progress… and now seeing that no. 1 spot. I had been told it was the strongest ever. After Kingdom of Ash I just might jump back into the ACOTAR series.

    Lovely post btw, I am really curious about that last place too. I had head earful things about it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy ACOTAR if you do get back into it, and of course hope Kingdom of Ash works out for everybody who has time to read it–which is probably not me at the moment considering how busy I am with uni!

      Like

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