October 23, 2015

Voices in Fantasy: Sarah J. Maas

I'm a big fantasy reader, if you couldn't tell from some of the incredible fantasy series I've reviewed on the blog over the years. Heck, I'm even co-hosting the Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge (which you should totally sign up for). I thought it would be a fun idea to find a creative way to talk about my love of fantasy even more when I realized: What if I asked my favorite fantasy writers some questions about the genre? Without further ado, let me present the first edition of Voices in Fantasy!

Rounding out the first edition of Voices in Fantasy, I have one of my favorite authors ever, the lovely Sarah J. Maas! I've been a stalwart fan of Sarah's from the year her first novel debuted, and every successive novel that she's released has been such a treat to read. Plus, I just think she's one of the coolest, kindest people I've ever had the fortune to meet, and I adore her! If you have yet to read her Throne of Glass series (The Assassin's Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows + 2 more) or her A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy (A Court of Thorns and Roses, the upcoming A Court of Mist and Fury and 1 more book), I suggest you remedy that because they are brilliant

Range of Ghost book cover
Alexa: Why do you love fantasy?

Sarah: Honestly? I can't even explain it to you. I've been obsessed with fantasy since I was a kid (my passion for fairytales basically evolved into wandering into the fantasy section of the bookstore). Back then, I found books that didn't have princes, or dragons, or any sort of magic to be... kinda boring. (These days, I do love me some contemporary - especially romances! - but I think my soul will always belong to fantasy.) I just adore the feeling of sliding into a new world, not knowing what characters I'm going to meet or what I'm going to see/experience... I just started reading Elizabeth Bear's RANGE OF GHOSTS, and I've pretty much been grinning throughout -- just for the sheer joy of reading/experiencing something totally new and fresh and so detailed that it FEELS like a real world. I love that feeling.

Alexa: What are the easiest/hardest aspects of writing fantasy?

Truthwitch book coverSarah: Okay, this is probably a slightly lame answer, since my easiest/hardest go hand-in-hand, but... the length. I write LONG books. I love reading LONGGG books. And if left to my own devices, all of my books would be a bajillion pages long, mostly because I love world-building and playing in the worlds that I create. SO, restraining myself, learning what details to keep, how to convey them concisely and in the most compelling way... all of that is a continual learning process for me. But a fun one.

Alexa: What would you like to see more of in fantasy novels?

Sarah: Female friendships! (*cough* like those in Susan Dennard's TRUTHWITCH *cough*) I'm all about ladies supporting each other, kicking ass, and having nuanced, complex relationships! (And saving the world while they're at it!)

Alexa: What's the first fantasy novel you remember reading and loving?

Sarah: Garth Nix's SABRIEL and Robin McKinley's THE HERO AND THE CROWN were literally my gateway drugs into fantasy. I read them when I was 12, and it made me realize 1) fantasy was my true love and 2) I wanted to WRITE fantasy novels. I owe so much to them.
Archange book cover
Alexa: What are your top five fantasy recommendations?

Sarah: Aside from the books mentioned above...

1. Anything by Sharon Shinn. She is a GODDESS of romantic fantasy. Start with ARCHANGEL -- or TROUBLED WATERS. Orrrrr MYSTIC & RIDER. I'm obsessed with all of her series.
2. Anything Patricia A. McKillip -- but especially ALPHABET OF THORNS or THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD. Reading her books is like... a glass of red wine and fancy chocolates. For your brain/heart/imagination/soul.
3. Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series. No words for how much I adore these books.
4. The Chronicles of Prydian by Lloyd Alexander. This series literally shaped and changed my life.
5. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. This entire series (Alexa's Note: The Lumatere Chronicles) shredded apart my soul. In the best way possible.

Thank you, Sarah! It is, as always, an honor to have you on the blog, and even more special to have you talking about fantasy with me. This genre will always be one of the great loves of my life. And now, thanks to you, there are a ton of new authors that I will have to check out for myself! *adds a bunch of books to my TBR* And dear readers, if you haven't already read Sarah's books, do yourself a favor and get on that! They're absolutely brilliant, and consistently surprise, inspire and amaze me.

That brings this year's edition of Voices in Fantasy to an end! I'm so grateful to the four authors who took the time to share their answers to these questions, and for everyone who has been following along this week. I plan on bringing this feature back again next year, so be sure to watch out for that!


  1. Gorgeous post Alexa. <3 I haven't read anything by Sarah yet.. but I do own all her books :D And she seems so sweet and kind. I love how many people love her books :) Adore all of her answers. <3 Thank you both so much for sharing :)

  2. this is such a fantastic post! i love sarah j. maas and she's one of my favorite authors, as well. i hope i get a chance to meet her one day; everyone talks about how nice and down-to-earth she is! i loved reading her answers, and getting a few fantasy recs while i was at it. love this, alexa! xxx

  3. Awesome interview, Alexa! Sarah J. Maas is one of my favourite authors and I may be just the teeny-tiniest bit jealous that you got to interview her. Great interview though, she seems like such a sweet and funny person.

  4. Fabulous interview, ladies! Love Sarah and her books to infinity and adored reading about her fondness for fantasy on here. I used to be intimidated by long fantasy books but reading Sarah's novels somehow cured that- in fact I found myself craving for more still. Can never get enough of her stories!


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