Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J Maas
Published: 6th of September, 2016 by Bloomsbury.
Goodreads rating: 4.63
My Rating: 3.5
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?
[Warning :: This review will contain some minor spoilers, but not big reveals. E.g. “Things go bad at this point.” As opposed to: “On page 323 Celaena kills ….”]
We all know that Empire of Storms is a loooong book and because I can only catch time to read when my daughter is napping, it actually took me a while to finish this one. But after a month of reading (yes it took that long!) I finally reached the end of the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series.
My thoughts upon finishing?
The ending was an emotional roller-coaster, full of twists and heartbreak for so many characters. Maas takes the reader on a sprint in the last 30% of the novel, filling her chapters with outlandish twists and gripping action sequences. BUT… does 30% of awesomeness atone for 70% sporadically engaging filler? Don’t get me wrong, I loved Elide, Lorcan, Dorian and Manon’s sections, but I rolled my eyes every-time Aelin bragged about her awesomeness or went overboard threatening everyone because she has the power to do whatever she wants.
‘I am the Fire Queen, Fireheart, Wildfire, Assassin Queen, Flame in the Darkness, etc, etc.’
I have thoroughly enjoyed these books; the world building is excellent, the characters are multi-faceted and the romantic tension is done consistently well, but despite how much I have tried I have never liked Celaena/Aelin. I do admire Sarah J Maas for creating a female character so much more interesting than a Mary-Sue type and while I like reading about Aelin kicking-ass, I do not like her as a person if that makes sense?
I actually wrote about why Celaena is a great, but not likeable character in my Heir of Fire review here. Celaena/Aelin is a breath of fresh air in YA fiction, but my goodness she is frustrating at times!
I was actually a little gobsmacked at some of the things Aelin said during the course of EoS. Spoilers below (scroll past to avoid):
- That she wasn’t using protection with Rowan because she didn’t think she could get pregnant easily and even if she could she wants heirs in case she dies?! Really?! you want to bring a baby into this shit storm?! Have to deal with pregnancy while fighting the forces of darkness and consequently putting everyone’s lives in more danger? And you decided not to tell him you weren’t using protection until he asked?!
- That she might consider one day building an empire and TAKING OVER THE WORLD. But that’s ok with everyone because Aelin is just so damn perfect…
The only part of the book that redeemed Aelin in my eyes was her behaviour at the end of the book, which was well-written to devastating effect.
Despite her main character’s faults, Maas uses her supporting cast to excellent effect. I disliked Manon until partway through Queen of Shadows, but now I am invested in her storyline so much I want to skip Aelin’s chapters. Dorian is wonderfully dark in this book, but I wish there was more scenes from his perspective. Elide’s journey was gripping and her and Lorcan’s character development showcased Maas’ prowess as a writer. Lysandra is fierce and frankly too smart and independent for Aedion (Sorry! But why must everyone in this series be paired up?!)
Another issue some reviewers (myself included) had with this novel was the amount of sex scenes it contained. Some of these were very good, some weren’t. But there were a bit too many for young adult fiction. Towards the end it reminded me a bit of 50 shades, i.e. plot development->sex->plot development->sex and so on. Of course whenever Aelin has sex it is just so damn amazing…MOVE ON!
Don’t be too discouraged by these negative thoughts, although EoS is not my favourite book in this series, it is still great. Sarah J Maas is a talented author, with a penchant for tense action and witty dialogue. She knows what readers want and weaves together her plot threads for maximum suspense and satisfying resolutions. Maas will make you care about characters who aren’t even likeable, stacking the emotional investment until you are eagerly awaiting her next book.
Speaking of the next book…
Things that need to happen in Book 6 (BIG spoilers for EoS ahead):
- Aelin and Rowan reunite and slay Erawan.
- Elide kicks some ass.
- Manon as undisputed Crochan/Ironteeth Queen.
- Manon and Dorian have a little witch baby.
- Lorcan does something brave and amazing to atone for his betrayal in EoS and wins Elide back.
- Maeve slain by Rowan.
- Lysandra and Aedion NOT together at the end.
- Chaol appearing even once?!
What did you think of EoS?
Thanks for reading!