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?
Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for both this book and its predecessors.You have been warned.
Why we chose it: It’s Sarah J. Maas on the cover.
Review: Despite all the good things that happened in Empire of Storms, we think we’re growing to hate it and that more than anything else (including what was printed on some of the pages) irks us.
As we’re sitting here, typing this -we can’t help, but compare ourselves to Aelin. There’s anger in our blood and fire rushing through our veins. Our hands feel hot and honestly if we could we think we’d magic ourselves on fire and burn until our irritation had simmered out. Become something less than embers because Empire of Storms was less epic and wonderful than we expected.
And it’s all because of the romance. Sex and lust and relationships that developed far too quickly were a big part of this book. For the life of us we can’t see why.
Aelin and Rowan. Rowaelin. For the most part we have absolutely no problem with how they progressed. They’ve now had three books together and they’ve gone from sort of hating each other to an extremely strong bond in Heir of Fire. They’ve gone from feeling like they were more than friends to a couple we could get behind because despite all the horrors the two had witnessed they could be vulnerable in Queen of Shadows. And now, in Empire of Storms they’ve added sex and other stuff.
For a Throne of Glass book, we thought we’d be told about the beginning of the sexual activities and then the book would kind of fade out into another scene. Instead we were treated to something we would have been more welcoming to in Sarah’s other series (A Court of Thorns and Roses). We would have relished them had we been ready for them. Do you get what we’re saying?
In Empire of Storms we think, off the top of our head that there was a total of six sex scenes. Some of them had people like Manon and Dorian in them. Another had Elide and Lorcan.
For those of you who follow us on Twitter, you’ll know we were extremely excited about where this book was going to take Manon and Dorian. Their shared scenes in Queen of Shadows were so tantalizing and addictive. Every scene they were in separately was amazing and we really looked forward to them. In this book, their shared scenes seemed wrong and some of their separate scenes were also wrong. For us anyway. In some ways they seemed less themselves and in some ways they seemed even more real.
Manon and Dorian. Lorcan and Elide. Lorcan and his Queen. Lorcan and his cadre. Lorcan, Lorcan, Lorcan.
We really could have done without him and we really could have done without his strange character development. He went from a Fae male capable of wiping out cities without doubt or emotional upheaval to someone that couldn’t bring himself to hurt our darling Elide. It really frustrated us because the change within him occurred far too fast. It was just…unbelievable.
But enough doom and gloom. Let’s focus on the positive aspects of this book.
No Chaol. We’ve never liked his character. Actually, that’s not quite true. We kind of liked him in Queen of Shadows because his whole world had been turned upside down and he came to realise he was judgmental and full of prejudice. Judgmental characters are fine as long as their fun. We’ve never found Chaol to be fun. Although his absence meant no Nesryn and we definitely would have liked to see more of her. Hopefully she’ll make an impact in book six.
With both of them gone it meant more time and page space could be devoted to another character. One of our absolute favourite characters who’s a ghost leopard and a myriad of other things. Lysandra. Finally, after falling in love with her wild spirit in Queen of Shadows we got to see some things from her perspective.
We got to see her as a sea dragon and that was utterly amazing. Not only did it show off her skills, but it proved beyond any doubt what she was willing to put herself through to protect those she loves.
Reverting back to the negative because we can’t seem to help ourselves in this review, let’s talk about the ending in the loosest terms possible because while we’ve stated quite clearly there would be spoilers in this review – we don’t want to ruin everything.
The ending fell flat and we think it’s because the ending tried to encompass so much. It tried to be shocking and informative and it tried to answer questions posed by the characters. Questions we’ve learnt we don’t actually care about. The ending also had some irritating similarities in both it’s theme and emotional threads to another work we’ve read by Sarah J. Maas. The ending gave us lots and it gave us nothing.
It’s left us wondering if we’ll feel the same excitement when September rolls round next year- the excitement that we felt for Empire of Storms. Will we feel such an emotion for Throne of Glass #6? It’s possible because we believe a final book should focus less on the romance and more on the action and conclusion.
Everyone knows of second book syndrome and now we know of penultimate book syndrome. It’s a condition that’s symptoms include being underwhelmed, feeling out of place and a general questioning of absolute everything related to the book series that the penultimate book is a part of.
To sum up. Empire of Storms delivered some things we liked, these things have been overlooked in this review because at the moment and for the foreseeable future we can only focus on what we didn’t like. What we wish had been done differently or simply not done at all. Without doubt we know we’ll be reading the next book. It’s entirely possible it will be more satisfactory and that we’ll love it so much it hurts. It’s also entirely possible it could be worse.
If you’ve read our Throne of Glass series post, know that we’ll be updating it shortly. One thing we can say about this book is that it’s inspired a whole bunch of blog posts that we’re working on.
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