House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J Maas races to the top of bestseller chart | Books

House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J Maas races to the top of bestseller chart | Books


The story of a half fairy, half human woman has gripped UK book buyers this week, as a novel about the hybrid heroine shot to the top of the bestseller chart.

House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J Maas, the third book in the Crescent City series featuring Bryce Quinlan, has become the third fastest-selling science fiction and fantasy title since records began since its publication on 30 January.

House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J Maas.
House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J Maas. Photograph: Bloomsbury

Maas sold 44,761 copies of the new title in the week of its launch, coming in behind Terry Pratchett’s 2011 book Snuff with 54,687 launch week sales and Rebecca Yarros’s Iron Flame which saw a record-setting 57,055 sales last November, according to the Bookseller.

Maas and Yarros are driving a surge in popularity of the “romantasy” genre, which blends elements of romance and fantasy and has attracted huge numbers of readers through social media recommendations, particularly via TikTok. Videos with hashtags related to Maas have been viewed more than 14bn times, her publisher Bloomsbury said.

Maas has “always had a solid and loyal fanbase” said Philip Stone of Nielsen BookData, which compiles data on bestsellers. “But TikTok has certainly helped romantasy become the hottest trend in the book industry.”

The online hype translates to real life: large crowds of Maas fans gathered at bookshops on the publication night for House of Flame and Shadow, and Maas visited New York City stores to surprise readers. Nine branches of Waterstones ran midnight publication parties, with others opening early and holding ticketed celebrations on publication day.

“Excitement was high from the moment of announcement, and we were keen to make the launch of House of Flame and Shadow a moment of pure celebration,” said Nessa Urquhart, genre fiction buyer at Waterstones. There were “impressive” pre-orders which exceeded “already high expectations”. Since publication, “demand has continued to be high and led many more readers to visit our shops”.

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Maas taking the top spot marks the third consecutive week that a romantasy title has been the overall bestseller, after Georgia Summers’ The City of Stardust and Saara El-Arifi’s Facebound reached No 1 in the previous two weeks. This marks the first time that three science fiction and fantasy titles have become overall bestsellers consecutively since records began in 1998.

The new sales take Maas’s total worldwide sales for all her books to over 40m copies across 38 languages. “We could not be more delighted with the response,” said Kathleen Farrar, managing director of group sales and marketing at Bloomsbury.

“We know how much Sarah’s immersive storytelling and sizzling romances have meant to readers for over a decade,” and these “incredible” first-week sales “reinforce her position as one of the most popular authors writing today”, Farrar added.

Eight of Maas’s novels appeared in the top 250 bestseller chart last week, including A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first of her popular five-book series, which placed 23rd.



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