Read at www.theguardian.com
House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J Maas has become a major bestseller in the UK, selling 44,761 copies in its launch week. The book is part of the Crescent City series and follows the hybrid heroine Bryce Quinlan. The success of the book follows a surge in popularity of the romantasy genre, which combines elements of romance and fantasy. Social media, particularly TikTok, has played a significant role in promoting the genre, with videos related to Maas being viewed over 14 billion times.
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.
The hype around House of Flame and Shadow translated into real-life events, with large crowds of fans gathering at bookshops and Maas surprising readers in New York City stores. Waterstones ran midnight publication parties and held ticketed celebrations on publication day, experiencing high demand and exceeding expectations. Nessa Urquhart, genre fiction buyer at Waterstones, said that the launch was a moment of pure celebration and that demand has continued to be high since publication.
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.