Series: Throne of Glass #5
Published by Bloomsbury on September 6th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy
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 who 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?
Can I just start off by saying, “OH MY GOD.” Because honestly, that’s how this series makes me feel time and time again. Empire of Storms is by no means perfect, but it is nonetheless further cementing the series’ status as one of my all-time favorites that will be reread to death and recommended till the end of time.
I’m assuming that if you’re reading this review, you have a base amount of knowledge about the Throne of Glass series and you’ve probably read up to at least Queen of Shadows, so if you’re extremely averse to any kind of hint or spoiler, you may not want to read this. It’s just that otherwise I would probably not be able to talk about any of the contents of the book. So let’s get that out of the way.
First off, I felt uncomfortable listing this book as young adult. The series till now has fallen safely into that category, but Empire of Storms is, ahem, different. If you abhor sexual content, this book may disappoint you, because hoo doggie, there’s a bunch of it. I did not mind. I like my relationships a little hot and spicy, and goddammit, Rowan and Aelin have come this far and waited so long, they deserved to have their moment. I may not have expected it to be on the page or quite as vivid as it was, but hey, I got butterflies. I will say that though my shippy feels were satisfied and through the roof, these kinds of romantic scenes were by far the worst part of Sarah J. Maas’s writing to date. Honestly. Sap abounds. And if I wasn’t firmly on my ship, coming off a full series reread high, I may have taken offense to it.
Rowaelin is not the only ship that sails, however. In fact, almost every character is paired off by now. Though Sarah writes in a quality that can get my heart to flutter for basically anything, if I take a step back, I’m kind of sad she chose that route. Like, there are definitely characters who didn’t need to be paired off. I would have liked Manon being badass by herself – or better yet, being with Elide, because I didn’t read those signals wrong, right? Every ship is sadly heteronormative. And Dorian seemed completely out of character as far as his romance goes. (Honestly. What the actual hell was happening there.) Yet still. My heart fluttered a little for each ship, because Sarah is a crack shipper for her own characters and she can porno fanfic write them all to death. *cough* (But I will follow her to hell and back.)
Obvious missing character was obviously missing and I did not care for a second. I realize this massively upset certain people, but with the cast already so expanded and the different storylines that are weaving in and out of each other, it made sense not to have him in here. He would have slowed down the pacing immensely, and I just don’t care about him or his new romance at all. So good call on that one, Sarah.
But what I love so much about this series is how we see Aelin grow in each installment. In the last book, she was already rising up to her title as queen, but in this one, she goes even further. She trusts her court enough to scheme together with them, and there are such immense battles and shows of strength that just read like the most epic scenes ever. She still needs to win people over to her cause, but she does so with conviction and grace – without ever losing her Celaena swagger. Does it sometimes seem to come a bit too easy to her, with her bottomless pit of magic as a result of every majorly powerful bloodline conveniently being linked to her? Maybe. But the explanation and world building behind it all is built up like the sturdiest mansion that I certainly can’t knock over. I was so glad to finally find out more about where this series is heading. The suspense here killed me at certain points, and I was reading with knots in my stomach.
The ending is the most epic thing ever.
Honestly. I finished this book a couple weeks ago and I am still not recovered. Like. Aelin is an absolute mastermind, and she made me so proud, while she simultaneously absolutely broke my heart. Rowaelin is absolute life and no one can ever fight me about this again. Lorcan completely turned around for me, and Manon is becoming one of my favorites – I’m loving the role she’s playing now. But my foremost emotion when remembering the ending is PAIN. Absolute, glorious pain. Because how dare you end this book there, Sarah? Let me just go cry my eyes out.
Summing Up:The two main things that I’ll remember about Empire of Storms are that (1) it was so hot I can’t even believe it, although some of those scenes were beyond awkward (like, all the Fae can smell who you’ve had sex with, guys, can you like swallow your horniness for two seconds?) and (2) the ending is BRUTAL. I am not okay. And I will never be okay. I’m scared out of my mind, and my heart has shattered into a million pieces. I desperately need the last book, but at the same time I cannot bare to think that this series is ending, because I need Aelin in my life forever and ever and ever.
GIF it to me straight!
Recommended To:Fans of the series. If you weren’t before, this one won’t win you over.
And if you were, well, I hope you like hotness 😉