Kingdoms collide in Sarah J. Maas's epic fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series.
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.
With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what -- and who -- to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.
- ISBN10 1619636077
- ISBN13 9781619636071
- Publish Date 8 September 2016 (first published 6 September 2016)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Imprint Bloomsbury YA
- Format Hardcover
- Pages 704
- Language English
This was my first review of 2017, and believe me, this was a complex review to type back then and worst now since I read it a second time in 2021. I’m enjoying the Throne of Glass series, and I’m sad to know I will finally finish reading this series. I’ve held off on finishing this series because I don’t want it to end, but I know it does end. If you haven’t started this series and love the Young Adult genre with fantasy elements, I recommend starting this series.
Storyline/My Thoughts: I love strong, kick-butt female characters, and Aelin Ashryver Galathynius is definitely one of those characters. Empire of Storms starts with the characters ending up in Aelin’s homeland, but unfortunately, they are not very welcoming. They believe she is not the ruler they want due to her taking so long to get back. They want to prove she can be Queen of Terrasen. They also are scared of Aelin’s power. Aelin is determined to win back Terrasen. Unfortunately, she’s going to go through so many tribulations in this book. She finds out the truth of what needs to happen to send back Erawan. She also finds out the price of what happens.
Let me just say in this story, and I love Rowan even more. He has been my favorite male character in this story due to who he has become since the third book. He is very protective of Aelin for a particular reason that will be unveiled in this book.
I do not want to go into the story much because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read this book or series. There are many action-packed and dramatic scenes in Empire of Storms and a lot of romance too. Not the too steamy kind like you will find in Adult Romance books, but it’s there.
Be prepared to be on the edge of your seat at the very end of the book. I was not prepared for how the book was going to end. I thought Erawan was the biggest issue that Aelin had to deal with, but unfortunately, she will face someone far worse.
Standalone or Part of series: It’s part of the Throne of Glass series.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. I highly recommend this book to readers that need to be distracted for a while and placed in a world of powerful Fae, evil demons, and an all-powering, loving group of characters that will follow the main character Aelin anywhere. This series has prevented me from getting into a reading slump this year, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I don’t want to finish the series. I have to because it’s been sitting on my bookshelves for so long. I held off for so long. I hope I don’t have my heart broken, but I know Sarah J. Maas will give me an epic end to this series.
*Warning that this review may contain spoilers*
My biggest issue with Empire of Storms is the same thing that bothered about Queen of Shadows. The characters are all completely rewritten from when we first met them. Rather than having grown and developed, they all just got some kind of personality transplant. Aelin is controlling, arrogant, spoiled, and manipulative. Dorian is a surly doormat. Manon has a fresh character arc, but how on earth she went from evil Irontooth witch to heroine is not really all that clear. She finds out her family history and then sort of just goes, "Hey, I'm a good guy now!" Rowan is still a broody prick, Lorcan was a broody prick, Aedion was a broody prick, the entire cadre were broody pricks, Elide was a damsel in distress, and Chaol played the role of Sir Not Appearing in this Book. The only character that was genuinely fun was Lysandra, and she got done dirty, my friends. She singlehandedly saves everyone, on multiple occasions, always puts herself in danger, and is willing to give up her sense of self to turn the tide of every single battle. But in the big sea battle when Lysandra shows her badass heroine chops, it was Aedion who gets all the accolades for making a single, lucky shot.
The personalities of every character of Empire of Storms are based around how attractive they are. Every man is chiseled, broad-shouldered, and impossibility handsome. Every female character is waifish, has *insert sensual description of* mouths, and is impossibly beautiful. Everyone's a royal. No one talks to each other. And everyone, at every point in this novel, is just down to fuck. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of erotica, but that's not what the series started as. And don't even get me started on all the "mate" bullshit which devalues every single relationship any of the characters have ever had, and also removes the element of choice from the romances of the novel (having Rowan as a "mate" completely invalidates Caelena's relationship with Sam, and I. AM. NOT. HERE. FOR. THAT). Romance seemed to be the main focus of this book. There were times when I had to roll my eyes and think, really guys, is this really the time? It felt like Maas was pushing her characters to pair up to distract us from very little actual plot development.
The plot is full of twists and turns, which is what makes Empire of Storms such an exciting read. It made me push on and desperate to turn the pages, but the problem with the twists and turns is that the way they are written is incredibly lazy. Every surprise happens because Aelin did a lot of behind the scenes scheming that Maas couldn't be bothered to write. Instead of being genuinely shocked and surprised at every new revelation, I was just annoyed. People would turn up out of nowhere to save the day, and we find out that they did that because Aelin apparently organised for them to - Maas just couldn't be bothered to actually put that in the book.
Aelin is meant to be the good guy. She is even meant to have anti-hero elements to her character. But in Empire of Storms, she's just a manipulative brat and a bully. We're meant to think her aunt Maeve is the villain in this book, but honestly, Aelin doesn't seem much better. She'll kill, betray, and manipulate anyone she needs to, so long as it gets her what she wants. She continually goes behind her friends' backs, not trusting them with her plans, but still expecting them to fight and die for her. She bosses everyone around, even though she doesn't actually have any rank over the other royals in her little band of not-so-merry-men. She lays claim to other human (and Fae) beings as if they're property, and literally asks her friends to perpetuate a lie, possibly forever, forcing a populace she claims to care about to follow a false queen without any choice in the matter.
And that brings me to the casual sexism that is present in every single element of Empire of Storms. All the men lay claim to their women. All the women are sensual. The language employed throughout the whole novel is steeped in the idea that men are great and powerful, and women become puddles of sex jelly around their amazing "maleness." On the surface, our female protags seem like strong, badass women, but let's be honest, the way that Maas writes then, they're all about the D.
So how did I still give this three stars? Because against my better judgement Empire of Storms was just ridiculously fun the read. It had issues. So many issues. But god, when the beginning slump was over, I just could not put that shit down! That probably says more about me than anything. I enjoyed it the same way I enjoy a trashy romance novel. But for me, that's part of the problem. A series that started so amazingly and really felt like it was starting to mature has turned into nothing but new adult erotica.
Other than that the story was still great and I loved the other characters manon, Elide lorcan ect let's hope Alein redeems herself in the last book
But I made a step in the right direction by finishing this one !!
And well, as expected, I LOVED it. So great to see all of them coming together and the battles and woow that ending !!!
Now I hope I will like / be able to get through Tower of Dawn.
I absolutely loved this book, however, it felt as if Sarah J Maas suddenly discovered that she liked writing sex scenes, and she went for it. Personally, I do not mind sex scenes and I think they are often underrepresented in YA novels as if we do not know that teens have sex. However, it became a bit too much in this book. We already know that Aelin had sex before, that was described in the second book of this series if I am not mistaken, but somehow she changed into this always horny person, who did not care who knew or saw it. And it was not just her, it was everyone. I do not mind that Manon and Dorian started out this way, with just having sex without talking about what it means because that happens. It just annoyed me that when they were almost in a battle or preparing for a battle, some people, *cough* Aelin, could only think about sex. Even if it was that good, we get it. Oh, and what is with all the pain sex, dominant sex, and everyone forgetting their names during sex? Surely everyone cannot be that great...
This did not really annoy me, but it did feel ridiculous, especially because the wedding is not described at all! We have enough pages about sex, so why can't we get just one page about Aelin and Rowan marrying? Even after it had happened, just a longer description would have been nice, and this is coming from someone who is not even a fan of Aelin and Rowan being together.
The main reason why this I did not give this book five stars is the fact that everyone is paired up with someone. It annoys me so much! Not everyone finds love in real life. Not everyone is cut out for a relationship. Stop pairing people up. I hope some characters die / break up / whatever just so we do not have this situation where a book ends and everyone is paired up in one big group of friends. It is just not realistic and can make some romances feel forced, like Elide and Lorcan's romance. Oh, and why is everyone royal all of a sudden? I mean, I loved it, but what...?
However, I really loved this book and most of the things I am pointing out above are things that made me realize that some parts are ridiculous, but still highly enjoyable. I love how this series started out very normal, nothing special, and turned into a complete network of things that are woven together, that are complicated but still work well for the story.
I did not find Empire of Storms to be a bad book by any means. I simply found it to be a bit of a bridge book. To me, the novel truly feels like it's setting the stage for the big series finale. Journeys had to be made, secrets from the past had to be revealed, and different POV characters had to finally be brought together in order to fully prepare for what I assume will be a final and epic showdown in the next book. Sure, there seemed to be some filler, and I definitely found myself less engaged than I have been with Maas' books in this series in the past. However, I found that the last 150 pages were quite exciting and action packed and indicative of a strong next book to come. I also think it's worth noting that since I haven't yet read The Assassin's Blade, a lot of exciting character appearances were a bit lost on me. I'm sure those who have read novellas will be a lot more excited while reading the novel.
One of the main reasons I was able to continue on with this series after my lukewarm feelings about the first book is the major character growth Aelin undergoes in Heir of Fire. I loved seeing her transition from Celaena to Aelin and reclaim her heritage and history, and therefore the character growth that happens in this series is A-OK with me. I love seeing Aelin become more and more of a queen with each passing book. I love seeing how she is learning to put her court before herself, weighing each member with equal value from Elide to Lysandra. I love that her journey back to the throne will be much harder than it seemed at the end of Queen of Shadows since the Lords of Terrassen think of her only as an arrogant child, because it will force her to push herself to be clever and cruel and scheme and prove to herself how much she wants to protect her people.
Oh, and my beloved secondary characters. Yes, there are a LOT of different POV characters at this stage in the series, but I find that each one contributes something necessary to the story. Such as Manon, who's character arc I found to be the most compelling in the entire novel, with her shocking heritage and her choice of alliance. She is the ultimate bad bitch and I am in awe of her even more than I am of Aelin. Or Elide, who sort of bugged me in Queen of Shadows but I now appreciate as a female character who is not a sword-wielding warrior like so many others, but shows her strong female strength in other ways, from her ability to blend in, collect information, and survive. Even Lorcan, who I thought was a total troll after the last book, contributed to the plot in a compelling way, and provided a different insight into what it's like to be Fae, especially one who's not a "chosen one" like Aelin or Rowan.
And Rowan. Oh, Rowan. As my boyfriend likes to call him, my (secondary) fictional "one true bae" (Rhysand is the first, obviously). I really, really enjoyed the growth between Rowan and Aelin in this book because it's the first time I really think they've acted like a "couple." Sure, some of the scenes may have seemed silly because they were in the middle of a war, but in times of distress those human/animal/fae yearnings for companionship and intimacy don't just turn off. I like that in this series Aelin has had multiple relationships and losses before she ends up with her final companion. It shows growth and it's realistic.
Like I mentioned earlier, I felt that the ending of the book really made up for the slow pacing in the beginning and middle. There's not much I can say without heading into spoiler territory, but it was perhaps one of the most brutal and heartbreaking scenes of this series so far. However, the "revelations" that were made in a certain object that was found didn't feel as original as they perhaps could have, as I noticed some similarities to Harry Potter, but then again, Harry Potter borrows heavily on many, many classical fantasy writings that came before it. Be warned, this book ends on a total cliffhanger, and it's anyone's guess as to what will happen in the last book, and how generous or cruel Maas will be with our feelings.
Overall: Empire of Storms is a solid fantasy book, but it isn't my favorite in this series due to the slower pacing. Taking place heavily with the characters journeying at sea, it feels like a bridge book that has the primary duty of setting up for the end of the series.This review was originally posted on Girl in the Pages
I cannot wait for the next book! After reading Empire of Storms, I feel so pumped for the next one.
I didn't see the ending coming and while it is a cliff hanger, it's not a bad one. Everything about this specific book was well done. There wasn't any slowness, nothing dragged. No confusing pov's. An all around fantastic read!
Oh, what about the sexy time? See, this book is way more than that! Yes, there were a few pages of characters getting it on, but I think they were done just fine. No vulgar language, even though it was very detailed.
With those scenes and the romances, none of that took away from the plot of this story. Towards the end, I forgot about the sexy times! Sarah J Maas, did not solely focus on the sexy time scenes, she stayed true to the story line.
I know sometimes authors do that in books.
Again, this book is beautifully well done! Utterly fantastic! By far, my favorite in the series!
every book in this series just gets better than the last. this was just BRILLIANT and Maas’ plotting was top-notch. the best part of these books is Aelin’s insane machinations & plotting and it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous but i’m with them 100%. i did not see any of Maas’ twists (and trust me, there are several and they are pretty huge)—it’s why i stayed up until 3:30 am finishing this sucker.
i thought for sure this book would take place entirely in Terrasen, but it doesn’t and i like that there was still a lot of build-up required before the big battle we all know is coming.
the ending was completely devastating, though it felt kinda Harry Potter- / Game of Thrones-esque to me at the end there when Aelin gets put in the box. totally sobbed through that part and if Rowan does not find her i will never forgive Sarah J. Maas.
while i loved the developments with Lysandra and Aedion, Lorcan and Elide, and Manon and Dorian, i also kind of don’t like how everyone is pairing off?? it just feels so neat and tidy and i feel like that could have been handled a little more subtly perhaps. speaking of ships though, i am 100% Team Rowan and have been since the beginnings of [b:Heir of Fire|20613470|Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)|Sarah J. Maas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1460846511s/20613470.jpg|25128502] so the outcry about this book baffles me a little. i never saw Celaena and Chaol as endgame and that other people are still so hung up on that relationship is kinda confusing to me. i liked that they had some distance in this instalment. the echoes of [b:A Court of Mist and Fury|17927395|A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)|Sarah J. Maas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1485259138s/17927395.jpg|25126749] in this book were maybe a little too parallel for my taste, but it’s a formula Maas does really, really well, and for now i like it okay???.
to me, this is an absolute triumph. part of me wants to be more critical but at the same time Maas’ plotting is so insane that i literally can’t stop to think about anything else at all when reading her books. she never takes a misstep with her books and after Empire of Storms, it’s clear the last book is going to be an insane little ball of explosive fire that will wreck us all.
anyway, my heart is in tatters and waiting till next September is going to be excruciating. BUT IT’S WORTH IT. over & out.