Looking for authors like Sarah J. Maas? If you love Sara J. Maas novels, here’s a list of other authors you might love as well.
But first, who is Sarah J. Maas and how did she become so popular? From Manhattan’s upper east side, Maas is an American fantasy author best known for two series: Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses. Her work contains ample doses of magic, supernatural forces, paranormal romance and strong sexual content.
Maas began writing Throne of Glass when she was 16. Throughout her career, Maas has written fantasy fiction that is highly derivative of classic fairy tales. In Throne of Glass, Maas imagines that Cinderella is not a servant, but an assassin who went to the ball to kill the prince. Her series Court of Throne and Roses is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Maas’ Crescent City series continues supernatural themes with strong elements of science fiction. The series is marketed for adults, in part, Maas says, due to the prevalence of profanity and other adult content in the manuscript. At New York Comic Con (NYCC), Maas remarked that finding heroines that enjoyed having sex and weren’t afraid left a huge mark on her as a woman and as a writer. She also remarked that she was surprised that her earlier works were marketed as YA Romance considering that one of the books contained a “three day sex marathon.”
Readers who love fantasy and paranormal romance will likely love books by these authors.
Author Mary Maddox, author of our 2016 BestThrillers.com annual pick Darkroom and 2019’s exhilarating follow-up Hometown Boys, has successfully turned her masterful eye for real-world suspense to the fantasy genre.
As a shining example of Maddox’s work, the third installment in her Daemon World series finds a war on the horizon. Daemon seer Lu Darlington is desperate to save herself, her son and her dearest friend, Lisa. Bound to the daemon Talion through ritual, blood and a son, Lu finds herself enmeshed in the conflict whether she likes it or not. She cannot be possessed, but she watches helplessly as others become hapless pawns who do daemon bidding.
Battling the effects of PTSD from unspeakable horrors, Lisa is unable to truly see the daemons as Lu does. Yet she knows all too well the horrors they are capable of, despite having been saved by Lu and a daemon. Despite this, she has made the difficult choice to stay apart from the world Lu has been bound to since she was 15 years old.
But after Lisa is kidnapped, a man is killed, and she is thrust back into the memories of the horrors she once endured, she learns that her best way to stay alive is, ironically, to stick close to Lu’s side. The paradox, so meticulously set up by author Mary Maddox, creates a trove of lasting suspense that pays off again and again.
Gripping action, clever prose and drop-the-mic thought bubbles we wish came out of our own mind are abundant (one of our favorites from Lu: “I calibrate my smile a few degrees above patronizing and several degrees below haughty”).
Maddox is especially gifted at fashioning imperfect heroines whose emotional journeys readers can instantly get behind. In both Lu and Lisa’s battle with the daemons, we vividly experience the fight for life’s most precious commodity: freedom.
Bardugo is the author of several hugely successful fantasy novels that Maas fans may adore.
She is also the creator of the Grishaverse (now a Netflix original series).
Readers looking for a starting point may want to consider The Ninth House, a truly magical take on the secret society thriller.
Yale’s freshman class may look homogenous, but there’s at least one outlier within: Galaxy “Alex” Stern. Alex has survived attempted murder, loser boyfriends and a hippie upbringing.
Lightning strikes when she receives a full ride to Yale. But nothing in life is free, and Alex’s sponsors ask her to monitor Yale’s secret societies.
Anyone who follows politics has heard about Yale’s Skull and Bones society, whose members included President George Bush and Secretary of State John Kerry.
The rumors pale in comparison to what novelist Leigh Bardugo has dreamed up in The Ninth House. The book feels literally haunted, its plot brimming with black magic and suspense as thick as Turkish coffee.
In Alex, Bardugo has created a character that is at once transparent and vulnerable, while still managing to surprise with her capabilities.
Fans of Maas’ work may love The Ninth House.
McFarren injects humanity into the art of supernatural storytelling, blending the best elements of fantasy and YA thrillers into her work. As a starting point, Annihilation is hard to beat.
High school drama rules Samara Daemonium’s life. Rumor has it that her ex-boyfriend, Legend, broke up with her because she wouldn’t sleep with him. Stunning Samara has plenty of other options, but the sight of Legend with his new girl is eating her up inside. Nosy high school counselor Lestat Gorgon – one of the book’s most delicious characters – suggests dating someone else to make Legend jealous: “You will have that weasel begging on his knees to have you back.”
There are any number of reasons why a high school guidance counselor might care about restoring a student’s reputation. In this case, Samara is the daughter of Crighton Daemonium, the Soul Seeker whom many refer to as “Your Majesty.” Whether she likes it or not, the young royal is about to become an essential player in an epic game of power.
Annihilation, the sequel to Kaylin McFarren’s award-winning Soul Seeker, is a decidedly Shakespearean thriller. Amidst the supernatural world, the novel is essentially a classic story about love, betrayal and power between and among royal families. Ruler of Hell Queen Lucinda orders her soldiers to prepare for a doomsday war with Heaven. A key strategy in her plan is devouring the souls of gifted demonic beings so she can claim and use their abilities, but conspiracies within her ranks pose a serious threat.
Meanwhile, Samara may be a normal teenager at heart, but she’s about to be thrust into a supernatural castle coup of epic scale. Her first taste of what’s to come begins when she agrees to meet Legend at a secluded cabin to talk things out. After being forced to hide during an attack, she emerges to find the cabin littered in blood-strewn bodies. McFarren’s blatantly “human” portrayal of her youthful obsessions in the early going set her up to be both victim, royal and a star in a wholly compelling coming-of-age story.
To get the most out of Annihilation, readers may want to read Soul Seeker first.
Sarah J. Maas fans who haven’t yet discovered Victoria Aveyard are in for a treat.
Known for the Red Queen series, Glass Sword is a standout.
The book escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion?
Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
Weiss and Astor create magic together in both the YA Thriller and paranormal fiction categories.
As a starting point for paranormal romance fans, Damned is a damned-near-perfect read.
The first entry in the Magnus Blackwell series takes place on an island off the coast of Maine, more than a century after the series prequel. Architect Will Bennett has purchased Altmover Manor as a surprise for his fiancée, Lexie. After getting over the initial shock regarding the manor’s dilapidated condition, Lexie agrees to co-helm its restoration. She then learns what Will and everyone else in Maine already seems to know: the manor is famously haunted.
Authors Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor have drawn Altmover Manor with such eerie depth that the property is practically a character unto itself. Altmover is the former home of Magnus and Katherine Blackwell, who, as legend has it, were murdered.
From the get-go, it’s clear that this fixer-upper-from hell — complete with a voodoo doll in the attic — is going to put strain on Will and Lexie’s budding romance. But once Lexie starts communicating with Blackwell’s ghost, it’s evident that much more will soon hang in the balance. For long-dead purveyor of magic, Blackwell is surprisingly charismatic, thoughtful, melancholy and even sweet. For a paranormal criminal, he’s also surprisingly sympathetic.
As the plot inevitably makes its way from Maine to New Orleans, Lexie is drawn to a world of spirits, voodoo and depravity, putting everyone she cares about in danger. Once down south, the plot bursts with flavor and steadily escalating stakes, and the deepening relationship between Blackwell and Lexie is full of surprises.
List of Sarah J. Maas Books
A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015)
A Court of Mist and Fury (2016)
A Court of Wings and Ruin (2017)
A Court of Frost and Starligh (2018)
A Court of Silver Flames (2021)
House of Earth and Blood (2020)
House of Sky and Breath (2022)
Throne of Glass Series
Throne of Glass (2012)
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (2012)
The Assassin and the Desert (2012)
The Assassin and the Underworld (2012)
The Assassin and the Empire (2012)
The Assassin’s Blade (2014)
Crown of Midnight (2013)
Heir of Fire (2014)
Queen of Shadows (2015)
Empire of Storms (2016)
Tower of Dawn (2017)
Kingdom of Ash (2018)
Catwoman: Soulstealer (2018)