I did the 'Throne of Glass' tandem read and gained a new appreciation for one of Sarah J. Maas' most controversial books

  • Two of the books in Sarah J. Maas' "Throne of Glass" series take place at the same time.

  • I read "Empire of Storms" and "Tower of Dawn" in tandem, and now I love the series even more.

  • Warning: This article contains spoilers for Sarah J. Maas' books.

I was uncertain about what order I wanted to read the "Throne of Glass" series in when I devoured it this fall.

I've read "Throne of Glass" before, as well as Sarah J. Maas' two other series about faeries, but I decided to reread "TOG" ahead of the release of the third installment of the "Crescent City" series, "House of Flame and Shadow," in the hopes that Aelin may make an appearance as Maas' series crossover.

As I settled into my reread, I was well aware of the debate among the "Throne of Glass" fandom about the best order to read the books in, particularly when it comes to "The Assassin's Blade, "Empire of Storms," and "Tower of Dawn."

For the first half of the eight-book series, I stuck to the same reading order I followed the first time around, saving "The Assassin's Blade" for before "Queen of Shadows" instead of reading it before "Throne of Glass." But I switched things up once I got to "Empire of Storms."

The rest of this article contains spoilers for the "Throne of Glass" series.

A headshot of Sarah J. Maas.
Sarah J. Maas wrote "Throne of Glass."Bloomsbury

I decided to read 'Empire of Storms' and 'Tower of Dawn' at the same time

"Empire of Storms" was published before "Tower of Dawn," but the two books take place at the same time in different parts of the "TOG" universe. As such, most people read one after the other, but some people read them at the same time, which the fandom refers to as "the tandem read."

I had been curious about tandem reading "Empire of Storms" and "Tower of Dawn," as it seemed logical to me because the events of the novels happen concurrently.

In "Empire of Storms," Aelin Ashryver Galathynius and her fledgling court try to rally an army to fight Erawan, and they're quickly joined by the newly crowned King of Adarlan, Dorian Havilliard, after the Valg conquer his land.

Meanwhile, in "Tower of Dawn," Chaol Westfall heads to the Southern Continent with Nesryn Faliq to beseech the empire of Antica to fight with Aelin and Dorian against the Valg. During the visit, he also works with a healer from the Torre Cesme to fix his spine, which Dorian's father, the former King of Adarlan, broke when he was possessed by a Valg demon before his death.

I was a fan of both books when I first read them, though I struggled to get through "Tower of Dawn," a book so polarizing in the Maas fandom that some readers even skip it altogether. Aelin isn't in the story at all because it follows Chaol and Nesryn, and some find it difficult to focus on their side quest, particularly after the ending of "Empire of Storms," where Aelin is taken prisoner by Queen Maeve. I was so anxious to find out what happened to Aelin that I didn't have much patience for the story, even though it ended up containing vital details for "Kingdom of Ash."

When I revisited the series, I decided to read them together in the hopes that I would be able to enjoy both plot lines more.

I knew I was taking on quite a project, as both books are long and have huge casts of characters. "Empire of Storms" is 704 pages, while "Tower of Dawn" is 672, bringing their combined total to a whopping 1,376 pages.

I read the books on my Kindle, combining them into one file so I didn't have to flip back and forth between the two novels. There are multiple guides online that can help you figure out when to switch back and forth between the texts.

It took me about two weeks to finish the books as one work — and I couldn't have been happier with the experience.

The tandem read made me appreciate both novels more

I ended up loving reading "Empire of Storms" and "Tower of Dawn" together.

It took about 100 pages before I felt like I had a firm grasp on the massive story as one work, particularly because Maas tells both narratives from several characters' perspectives. But once I knew I would be following Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Aedion, Lysandra, Manon, Chaol, Yrene, and Nesryn, I couldn't stop reading the combined novels.

For me, the biggest benefit of the tandem read was that I was able to luxuriate in "Tower of Dawn" without being anxious about Aelin's fate. I kicked my feet as Chaol and Yrene Towers fell in love, immersed myself in Maas' world-building as Nesryn and Sartaq explored the continent on his ruk Kadara, and found myself rooting for Chaol as he healed his inner wounds.

Likewise, reading "Tower of Dawn" first meant that I knew Maeve was actually a Valg queen when she took Aelin, as that information is first revealed to Nesryn by a Kharankui spider. It made Aelin's capture feel even more dramatic, something that was only intensified when Chaol finally discovered Aelin gave Yrene the money and strength to come to Antica.

I finished the tandem read covered in chills and crying, shocked that the new experience turned "Tower of Dawn" into one of my favorite Sarah J. Maas books of all time.

Plus, it made me even more excited — and prepared — to read "Kingdom of Ash" again. I was tuned in to every part of the "TOG" universe, and every important detail from the previous books was fresh on my mind as I settled in for the series' epic finale.

All in all, I can't recommend the tandem read enough. It might be slightly easier to digest if it's your second time reading the "Throne of Glass" series, but I think it would be enjoyable no matter what.

Read the original article on Insider