Review: Empire of Storms, Sarah J Maas

September 9, 2016 Reviews 4 ★★★★½

Review: Empire of Storms, Sarah J MaasEmpire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Published by Bloomsbury on September 6, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 689
Source: Publisher
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository • Bookworld
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four-half-stars

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius.

Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.
As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

angelyas_reviewAt last, the fifth book in Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series, Empire of Storms, has arrived. This series is turning into an epic tale, the threads of which are weaving together in this penultimate book.

Although I loved reading it, there were a few things that I didn’t like so much. I’ll begin this review with a non-spoilery look at what you can expect from this book, and put all my spoilery ranting further below.

Firstly, I’d recommend reading the prequel novellas collected in The Assassin’s Blade before starting Empire of Storms, if you haven’t already. Some characters make a reappearance from waaaay back at the start, and while it’s not essential to know their back story, it helps to know why they’re in the picture now. Also, the novellas are pretty cool.

If, like me, you didn’t like the way Aelin’s personality changed so thoroughly during Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, then you might be pleased to hear that the Celaena of old makes more of an appearance in EoS. I still think she is treating her court badly and basking in her awesomeness a little too often, but she is more bearable in this book.

If you’ve been listening to our podcast then you might have heard my feelings towards a certain Captain of the Guard, but Chaol Westfall does not appear in this book, which made me very sad. The other characters do miss him at times, and it would have been nice to at least hear something from him, but fear not! Sarah announced earlier in the year that Chaol would be getting his own novella. I hope that, since he didn’t make an appearance in EoS, the novella will be telling the story of what has been happening to Chaol and Nesryn in the Southern Continent. We’ll wait and see what Sarah and Bloomsbury have to say about it in the next few months.

If you’re a ‘Rowaelin’ shipper, this book is for you. I’m not such a fan of Rowan. I find him pushy, overprotective and unpleasant. I’m not alone in my discomfort with their relationship, either. Take a look at this post by Warners on Tumblr (caution: spoilers for A Court of Mist and Fury and Queen of Shadows) – it’s an excellent explanation of the concept that the ‘territorial Fae bullshit’ that Aelin seems to find attractive, is actually kind of unhealthy, relationship-wise. I’m not sure that being a hormonal Fae is a very good excuse for it.

To be honest, the thing that really made me love this book was the secondary characters and their stories. It gets almost to the point where it feels like we get very few chapters from Aelin’s point of view. Now there’s not just Dorian, Manon, Elide, Rowan, Lysandra and Aedion, but also other Fae in Rowan’s ‘cadre’ – Gavriel, Fenrys and Lorcan – all having pivotal parts to play in the larger story and have their own complex character development. Their stories were what made this book so compelling.

Each of the threads in this story are finally starting to weave together into a final book that promises to be truly amazing. I just hope Sarah can pull it all off in less than 1000 pages!

Sword

Warning: There be spoilers below!

Sword
When I first finished reading this book, all I could think was that Sarah should not be writing the Throne of Glass and ACOTAR series at the same time. There are so many similarities between them, especially EoS and ACOMAF, with the secret weddings and mate reveals. I wasn’t surprised by any of the revelations at the end of this book, although they were heartbreaking and dramatic.

My understanding (which I liked) was that Rowan had already had a mate and that he and Aelin were together because they wanted to be, rather than because it was ordained by fate. I was willing to accept that Fae were allowed to have more than one mate in their immortal existence, but apparently not.

I’ve already outlined my reservations about Rowan, so I won’t go over it again, but Rowan suddenly becoming the King of Terrasen and having Lysandra impersonate Aelin was just weird, and seems like a bit of a difficult way to go about things. Hannah made an excellent point in her review of this book: If Aelin really believed that no-one would come to rescue her, why not just set it up for Aedion to inherit the throne? Does she really expect the people of Terrasen just to accept Rowan as their king?

One thing I did really like about the way Aelin’s story progressed was that they left Terrasen again so quickly. It wouldn’t have been much of a story if they had just strode into Orynth and been welcomed. I was almost happy when the lords rejected Aelin’s claim – it gives her an excellent opportunity to prove her worth once again – this time to her people.

Lysandra is awesome! Love her to pieces. As I said earlier, I loved all the secondary characters and their development, especially Lorcan and Elide’s journey, both as individuals and as a couple. I ship them.

The only character that developed in a way I didn’t expect was Dorian. I know, he was changed and broken by the Valg, but now that he is starting to heal from that, he seems to have become a dark, quiet figure. I was looking forward to his relationship with Manon, but that happened a lot more quickly than I expected and their scenes together seemed rushed and under-developed. Bring back some of his cheeky spark from the earlier books, please!

So, everyone paired up again, just like in ACOMAF. I don’t actually really hate this, because Sarah is so great at writing sweet romances, but I wonder does everyone really have to pair up?

Okay, I think I’m just about done. This review has turned into an epic on its own! What did you think of EoS?

throne of glass crownofmidnight heiroffire
queenofshadows_au empireofstorms  ? 2017

I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury Australia in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Bloomsbury!

Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

4 Responses to “Review: Empire of Storms, Sarah J Maas”

  1. Diem

    I agree with everything in your review. I love it so much but gosh, some things just make me roll my eyes. I ship all the ships because Sarah J. Maas writes romance so well but honestly, I’d like at least one person to be single.

    Also, the territorial male Fae stuff. I hate it, I hate it. I hate it in the ACOTAR series and I hate it in this series. It’s just icky. In this book, there are references to ‘territorial male nonsense’ and ‘territorial Fae bastard’ which I think is a way of Maas mitigating this but gosh, I still hate it.
    Diem recently posted…Mini Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane MoriartyMy Profile

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