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Sarah J. Maas is back and with good news: Crescent City 3

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

House of Sky and Breath, the final book of the trilogy House of Flame and Shadow, will be released in the United States on January 30th, 2024 – and the fandom might want to prepare (spoilers ahead!).

Big book alert!

The last two books by the author – House of Earth and Blood (2020) and House of Sky and Breath (2022) – were each eight hundred pages, and it is very likely that this one is huge as well. The thing is, for a full experience of the story, the fans may have to re-read the first two Crescent City books, as, in a great Sarah J. Maas style, to really catch on the foreshadowing, you must pay attention to all the details. On top of that, the ending of House of Sky and Breath promises lots of twists and turns in the plot.

who’s Sarah and why is she the moment?

The #1 New York Times bestseller, Sarah Janet Maas, is an American fantasy author. Her other super famous book series include Throne of Glass (TOG) and A Court of Thorns and Roses (Acotar), international successes that have been translated into more than 30 languages and sold millions of copies.

Maas debuted writing online fanfics when she was sixteen years old, posting the initial drafts of what would be her first published novel. In 2012, at 26 years old, the author published Throne of Glass and started her conquest in the field of Young Adult Fiction. Now she’s moving into Adult Fiction, with the last two Acotar books and the Crescent City trilogy, bringing the legion of fans with her.

That being said, what makes Sarah’s stories so compelling? Well, many arguments could be made, but, perhaps, the two most important are the use of a specific language and how she builds up her characters and the fantasy worlds they live in. Having roots in fanfiction means that there is an underlying understanding of what the reader wants from any given story since fanfiction is a way of direct interaction and aggregating of stories, characters and fiction universes. The author’s work is shaped by fulfilling a need. It is an intense, absorbing and emotional narrative that doesn’t rely on difficult words or too much description for creating a fantastical world. There is something about the way the author writes: she holds the story onto emotion, creating a unique atmosphere and dynamic to her books.

her characters are iconic

It is impossible to read Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses and Crescent City without falling in love with the characters. They all have one thing in common: a sad and traumatic background story. However, these characters are still determined, strong, intelligent and, sometimes, a little mischievous.

The magical thing about Sarah J. Maas’ characters is that, even in worlds with dragons, witches, fae and magic, they are incredibly relatable; they live with such truth and intensity that it’s impossible not to suffer and laugh with them. Furthermore, she focuses a lot on building heartbreaking storylines along with relationships that the fans root for – all of this happening in a mix of action, spice, connection and high-stakes battles that make us readers go crazy.

what about this new trilogy?

The most remarkable difference between Crescent City and what the author has written before is that, in the new trilogy, the story takes place in modern days, with cell phones, cars, parties, colleges and gyms (something we never got before in her books!). It’s a new challenge to hold on to the mystical beings and the ever presence of magic while following the everyday life of the protagonists. Most times it’s more acceptable to readers to pair dragons and fae with a medieval setting, although many authors before brought the fantastical into real life and famous shows modernized werewolves, mermaids, vampires, angels and demons. It’s a very clever way of connecting with the audience, as it brings the fans closer to fantasy. However, it’s not an easy thing to do.

This new modern and dystopian wannabe world has divided the fandom. On one hand, many claim that they will like anything that Sarah J. Maas publishes. On the other, some fans didn’t vibe so much with how the author built this new world. The main complaints are about the first two hundred pages of House of Earth and Blood (2020) in which the rules, details and hierarchy of the society are established. Many found this worldbuilding too convoluted, which made the story hard to follow and even tiring at times. All the info-dumping made it so that it took some time to warm up to the characters, on top of the constant switching of points of view. It’s important to say though, that in Goodreads, the first book has 4.48 stars and the second has 4.51, which indicates that these problems didn’t prevent the fans from enjoying the book. 

It’s hard to own a place in the hearts of millions of people already deeply in love with previous characters, but it seems Sarah’s formula has once again paid off, even with some trouble in the new scenario. In the long run, our main character, Bryce Quinlan, and her team are great at partying and at detective/spy work.

some theories

In the final chapter of the second book, the protagonist wakes up in a world she doesn’t know, without her mate, Hunt Athalar, and not knowing who to trust, desperately trying to get back home. But the fandom is not all that worried about her, as the world she has fallen into is very well adored and known by the fans. They all belong in the loved A Court of Thorns and Roses universe (omg yes!). Hunt, on the other hand, has found himself in big trouble: he is trapped in the Asteri’s, the big bad villains’ dungeons, and with no clue of Bryce’s whereabouts. House of Flame and Shadow promises another page-turning suspense, action, and romance.

Combining this with the mingling of Crescent City and A Court of Thorns and Roses, the stakes are very high. Some fans are over the moon that they finally get to see their beloved Acotar characters again, others aren’t really thrilled to see Crescent City crack into already-established storylines. Since House of Sky and Breath was published in 2022, the fandom has been all over the place, thinking out new theories every day and having about a million questions. Are some characters from somehow related to A Court of Thorns and Roses‘ characters? Could the Asteri be linked with the Valg from Throne of Glass? Perhaps Midgard is really Earth? How can all of these stories be connected?

There is no doubt that Sarah J. Maas is going to blow all of us away like she has done it many times before. But it is really exciting to see where she is going to go with this since the Acotar series isn’t finished yet and Throne of Glass, unfortunately, is very well tied. Until then, we’ll be waiting and ferociously re-reading the series and counting down the days to January 30th, 2024.


The article above was edited by Giulia De Demo Assis

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Anna Cândida Xavier

Casper Libero '27

Majoring in Journalism and Social Sciences, also, I am a huge fangirl