As hosted by The Broke & The Bookish
Today’s top ten couldn’t have come at a better time. See, the prompt this week was to talk about something I love. I’m someone who easily loves a lot of things, both book and non-book related. I love reading, I love dancing, I love binge watching tv shows, I love spaghetti and I love going to live shows. To name just a few things.
But today I’d like to talk about my love for a specific author and her book series. Because even though none of her series is actually finished at the moment, I do consider her my favorite author right now. I’m talking of course about Mrs. Sarah J. Maas!
I actually picked up my very first Sarah J. Maas book completely on a whim. About two years ago, I saw the Dutch version of Throne of Glass at a Belgian book expo, was intrigued by the blurb and cover and picked it up. At that time I was completely unaware that this was such a popular series, but I’m so glad I picked it up because I loved it so much and in a way it got me introduced to so many other great authors, which got me into more books and eventually even the book blogging community.
As soon as I finished Throne of Glass, I bought the sequels Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire and the prequel novellas The Assassin’s Blade. It was like a whole new world of fantasy opened up for me, one with kickasss heroines, lovable princes and dashing captains. Then it was waiting impatiently with the rest of the world for the next book in the series, Queen of Shadows. And when it finally came, I read it and it BLEW MY MIND. I already loved this series, but each new installment just got better and better.
So I figured I had discovered a new favorite series. However, one favorite series does not yet make a favorite author. But two favorite series might just do the trick!
And thus comes into play A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah’s second series. I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses already, but this year the sequel to that series was released and guess what? IT BLEW MY MIND. Again. That’s twice now that Sarah managed to blow my mind with her series. A Court of Mist and Fury was so good, it immediately jumped to my number one spot of books read this year. And then I’m still waiting for Empire of Storms, the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series to be released later this year. So much awesomeness in one year is almost too much for my little fangirly heart.
So what that super long intro was trying to say, is that I love Sarah J. Maas’ books. And what better way to declare my love then to put it in a nice little top ten list? Please allow me to list TEN REASONS WHY I LOVE SARAH J. MAAS’ BOOKS (without spoiling anything of course):
Flawed but rootable main characters
I don’t think I’ve ever loved a main character as much as I love Celaena Sardothien. Yes, she is an awesomely snarky and sassy assassin who can kick ass and take names, but that’s not all she is. I love that she is such a flawed character who is by no means perfect. That’s why it’s so much fun to see her grow from book to book and that’s why it’s so easy to root for her. Does she still make mistakes? Yes. Do I understand every decision she makes? No. But her flaws make her human and relatable and that’s why I love her.
The same thing goes for Feyre from the ACOTAR series. She’s not a typical strong YA heroine, but she has her own kind of strength and bravery. Especially in the second book of the series I have grown to love her and her strength so much.
Both main characters are an inspiration to not just me, but I believe to girls worldwide who wish they could be as awesome as Celaena or Feyre.
Badass female characters
Yes, we already have our two badass main characters Celaena and Feyre. But what’s so great about Sarah’s books is that they aren’t the only powerful female characters. These series are filled with girl power and what’s even better is that this girl power comes in so many forms. Whether they are human, assassin, fae, witch or something from another world, every single woman in these series is amazing and awe-inspiring, whether their strength comes from supernatural or human hearts.
My personal favorites: Manon Blackbeack and her Thirteen, the powerful and bloodthirsty witches from the Throne of Glass series and Amren, the mysterious and powerful member of the Court of Dreams in the ACOTAR series.
Amazing male characters
Just because the ladies are kick-ass, that doesn’t mean the men can’t be completely awesome too. And just like with the ladies, each and every single man in these series is so easy to fall in love with. Whether it’s with the sweet, puppy-loving prince Dorian or brooding captain of the guard Chaol, handsome fae warrior Rowan or intimidating rebel Aedion, you will fall. And don’t even get me started on ACOTAR’s High Lord of the Night Court… Let’s just say that these men put the standards for fictional men EXTREMELY high.
These fantasy worlds are so well developed, it almost feels as if they are real. Both Erilea (Throne of Glass) and Prythian (ACOTAR) are so beautiful and vividly described, it’s like you are standing right there with the characters. I also love how you learn something new about the worlds in each book. When in book one you are already in awe with the world, book two opens up the world even further and lets you discover new and exciting things. I love how well thought out everything is and how everything just clicks together to make this amazingly real world. Take for example the descriptions of the Night Court in ACOMAF – I never knew I could actually fall in love with a fictional place before (other than Hogwarts) but I did. Also, each book has a map. I’m a big fan – I love maps!
The dazzling romances
I don’t know about you, but when I am presented with an amazing world with all these great characters, I automatically start shipping them together. I can’t help it, I’m a big romantic at heart. And though these books are not all about the romance (ACOTAR a bit more than TOG), the romance in these is just so ON POINT. You will swoon, you will cheer, you will cry. Also, though these books are technically young adult there are some scenes that are super steamy and venture way more in the new adult territory (Especially in the ACOTAR series). Which I am totally ok with, just saying!
But even more than that, I love that these romances are realistic. What you think is love at some point, may not be all that great after all. Where two characters may once have been compatible, that doesn’t automatically mean they will always stay that way.
But above all, I am team Celaena. I don’t care who she ends up with romantically, as long as my girl is happy! (I do have a clear ship where ACOTAR is concerned though, but let’s be real here: it’s the ONLY SHIP! #nospoilers)
The edge-of-your-seat action and adventure scenes
You can’t have a book series about Adarlan’s best assassin without showing exactly why she is the best. Nor can you have a series about powerful fae lords and evil fae queens without showing us what they can do and why they should be feared. And boy, do we get shown exactly that! The action and fight scenes in both these series are just so amazing, suspenseful and dramatic and they WILL have you sitting on the edge of your seat and maybe even giving a karate kick yourself! (Please always be cautious when exercising fictional karate kicks and make sure all tables, chairs and breakable items are out of the way – speaking from experience)
If there is one thing I NEED to have in my books, it’s good friendships. A book without friendships is like a book with no soul. Luckily both Throne of Glass and ACOTAR have plenty of soul. There are both epic bromances (Chaol and Dorian are my BROTP!), female friendships (Celaena and Nehemia / Feyre and Mor) and platonic male / female friendships (Feyre and Lucien). Let’s not even get me started about the pairing I love most of all, even though they are (kind of) enemies: Celaena and Manon. I so hope these crazy kids will have a lot more scenes together.
The magical creatures and magic systems
Come one, it wouldn’t be a fantasy without some magical creatures and other magic right? We have all kinds of magical creatures, some evil, some good, some somewhere in between. There’s witches and wyverns, fae queens and lords, shapeshifters, valg princes, nymphs, wraiths and so much more. Add in cool magical powers and this girl has everything she needs in a book right here! Oh, and did I already say wyverns? (Because I totally want one)
The Feelings! The empowerment!
Most of all, I love these books because of how they can make me feel. I recommend reading these books to anyone who may be feeling a little down or in a little ‘life’ slump. Because if there’s anything that will be able to pick you right back up and make you feel like you can take on the world or even… rattle the stars… it’s these books right here! These books make me feel so empowered, it’s unbelievable. Kudos and a big sincere THANK YOU to Sarah J. Maas!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that Sarah creates these amazing playlists for each book to serve as a soundtrack. And she shares them on Spotify, so you can listen to them while reading to intensify the experience a bit. Or if you’re like me, you can continue to listen to them long after finishing the book, because you’re just not ready yet to let go. (See my major ACOMAF book hangover)
Bonus: the creativity in the fandom
I love that there is so much creativity in this fandom! You can find so much amazing fan art just by looking up Throne of Glass or ACOTAR on Pinterest. (Though I wouldn’t recommend doing this before reading the books because there may be some small or not so small spoilers. But then again, who am I kidding, I can’t even refrain myself from doing this so why should I stop you?)
My personal favorites are Taratjah (check out her Tumblr for Throne of Glass and ACOTAR fanart) and PhantomRin (check out her tumblr for Throne of Glass and ACOTAR fanart). And not to forget, this amazing fan video of a scene from The Assassin’s Blade by Red Skeleton Kru.