Whether you’re a lifelong fan of Sarah J. Maas or you’re a newbie who stumbled on the “Maasverse” thanks to BookTok, we can all agree on one universal truth: After finishing an SJM book, you’re in for a serious book hangover. You know what I’m talking about—that feeling you get after reading a book so good you don’t think anything else could live up to the hype. If you’ve ever read ACOTAR, then you absolutely know what I mean.
Now, with the release of House of Flame and Shadow, the third book in the Crescent City series, it’s only a matter of time before you feel that inevitable book hangover once again—so we must prepare. Because what better way to get over one fantasy world than to hop into another?
If you’re looking for another unique fantasy set in a magical city with a massive secret mission and the slowest of slow burns, then Cities of Smoke and Starlight should be your next read. The story follows Kase Shackley, a hover pilot facing serious charges after a new pilot nearly dies on his watch, and Hallie Walker, a top scholar at the University now desperately searching for a way to make money to pay for school after losing her job. The solution for both? A top-secret, dangerous government mission that could hopefully save their city—and their realm—from the brink of war.
Named one of TIME’s top 100 fantasy books of all time, Jade City is the story of the Kaul family as they battle rival clans to protect their districts and the jade market. Jade is a powerful substance that is mined, traded, and sold to enhance magical abilities and protect their island from invasion. But when a powerful new drug emerges that allows anyone to wield jade, a violent clan war erupts that could change the island’s fate.
Diem Bellator has been told her whole life to stay away from the Descended, the powerful magical people living in her mortal world. But when her mother disappears without any explanation, Diem uncovers secrets about her past that lead her right into the world of Descended royalty. Her work as a healer has her assigned to aid the dying magical King, where she crosses paths with Luther, the dark and mysterious heir to the throne. As she gets closer to the Descended royals, she begins to question the alliances she’s made with the mortals back in her village and discovers the magic hidden deep within herself that never had a chance to spark.
Poetic and moving, A River Enchanted is for fans who love a sprawling fantasy that doesn’t have to include all-out epic war. The story follows Jack Tamerlaine, a bard who is summoned from the mainland back to the magical island he once called home by the leader of his clan. Only to discover that his childhood nemesis and heir to the throne, Adaira, was actually the one to summon him. Girls have been disappearing within their clan, and Adaira feels Jack is the only one who could save them. As the two work together to uncover what really happened to those girls, they unearth even darker secrets among their lands that go beyond their usual strife with the enemy clan beyond the boundary.
Elspeth Spindle lives in a kingdom infected with dark magic, and the only way she can survive is by turning to the Nightmare—the ancient monster spirit in her head. When a mysterious highwayman on a forest road enters her life, things dramatically change, and she finds herself on a quest to cure her kingdom from the dark magic that consumes it. But there are problems: The highwayman, who is guilty of high treason, is none other than the King’s nephew, and she has no way to stop the Nightmare from taking over her mind completely.
A forbidden love between a powerful prince and an ordinary girl, set in a kingdom with grueling rules and powerful beings? Yes, and yes. Paedyn Gray is an Ordinary, a person born without any special abilities like the magical Elites. When the king decrees that all Ordinaries are to be banished, Paedyn is thrust into a life of crime to survive. She poses as a Psychic in the city to blend in with the Elites, and in the process, unsuspectingly saves a prince and is thrust into a brutal competition to showcase the Elite powers she pretended to have. Will she survive? And will the prince she’s falling for learn the truth about who she really is?
Evangeline Fox always thought she believed in true love until her one true love agrees to marry someone else. Desperate to stop the wedding, Evangeline makes a deal with the wicked Prince of Hearts in exchange for a simple price: three kisses, given at the time and place of his choosing. But after her first kiss with the immortal, Evangeline realizes there’s more than meets the eye in this dangerous game she’s playing, and the happily ever after she thought was always meant for her might all go up in flames.
Robin Blyth has lived responsibly and by the book his whole life. But when an administrative mistake leads him to be named the civil service liaison for a hidden magical society, he discovers a whole new reality he never knew existed. In his new role, he faces a cold and prickly Edwin Courcey, who would much rather Robin be anywhere else. Until Robin’s predecessor disappears. Now, the two men must work together to uncover the truth of what really happened and face the dangers that could threaten every magician in the British Isles.
Mary E. Pearson
The patriarch of the Ballenger empire has died, making his son Jase the new leader of a powerful kingdom. A new young queen threatens the power of this dynasty and sends a young thief, Kazi, to investigate problems with their new settlements. As Kazi enters the forbidden land of Ballenger and encounters Jase, she finds there is more to the new leader than meets the eye. The two are forced together in unexpected ways yet have to hold back on revealing the truth behind the secret missions that put them together in the first place.
If you’re looking for another heroine with light magic like our girl Bryce Quinlan, then The Hurricane Wars should be your next read. Talasyn grew up an orphan in a nation ruled by the Night Emperor, and all this time has kept her powerful light magic a secret. The emperor’s only son, Prince Alaric, has been tasked to eliminate any threats to his rule with his shadow magic. When he discovers Talasyn and her light magic, he knows that she is a threat and is set to kill her. But when their powers come together, it creates a magical force—the likes of which have never been seen before. Will the two be able to work together to overcome the greater danger that threatens them, or will they destroy each other in the process?
Tisaanah was ripped from her homeland as a child and had to learn how to survive using her magic and wit. But the night she tries to buy her freedom, disaster strikes, and she is determined to save her best friend as she journeys to the Orders, the powerful organizations of magic wielders. To do so, she must complete an apprenticeship with a fire-wielder named Maxantarius Farlione. While the Orders’ intentions are cryptic, Tisaanah does everything it takes to prove herself and save her friend… even when feelings for Maxantarius get in the way.
A clever retelling of King Midas, Gild follows the story of Auren, a woman he plucked from the slums, turned to gold, and placed on a pedestal. He is powerful, and she is protected, and everything feels safe… until war breaks out within the kingdom, and a new deal is struck that causes Auren to challenge her love for the king, whom she thought she could trust.
It’s 1926 in Shanghai, and Juliette Cai has returned to her role as the heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals in a blood feud with the White Flowers, run by the first love who betrayed her, Roma Montagov. Yet their feud comes to a halt when a powerful monster in the shadows causes problems for both gangs, forcing the two to set aside their past to save the city they love from mayhem.
Ever since she was orphaned as a child, Signa has been cared for by a string of guardians, all interested in one thing: her wealth. Yet each one has come to an untimely end, and she is finally left with her remaining relatives: the elusive Hawthornes. As she lives her days with them at the Thorn Grove estate, the late mother’s restless spirit comes to her and claims that she had been poisoned. Realizing her new family could be in grave danger, Signa enlists help from a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer and ends up having to ally with Death himself to find the answers she’s looking for.
At every harvest moon, the Witch Collector rides into the valley to take one of the mortals to the home of the immortal Frost King. It’s finally Collecting Day, and Raina Bloodgood has one goal: Kill the Frost King and the Witch Collector who stole her sister from her. But the Collector, Alexus Thibault, might be the only person that could save her sister. To save her, Raina must abandon her vow to kill him as they work together to challenge the empire.