Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pub Date: September 6, 2016
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Romance
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
“She was a liar, and a murderer, and a thief, and Aelin had a feeling she’d be called much worse by the end of this war.”
This is the 5th book in the Throne of Glass series, so my review will be spoiler-free. I apologize in advance for the lengthy review, but I could not review this book without talking about the series as a whole thus far.
Like so many other readers, I went into this book with low expectations. I’d read reviews filled with complete heartbreak, some with complete outrage, and others who refused to read the book (and trash the series) altogether. So I went in with a open mind. Or I tried to.
Many might agree that this series is not what it used to be. If you read my reviews on the previous books, you’ll know that Throne of Glass did not impress me. The hype was strong and many insisted that the series would improve, so I ultimately chose to continue. And you know what? I’m glad I did, because Crown of Midnight was fantastic. It’s almost like Maas read all of my criticism of the first book, and addressed it all in the second. To say I was impressed is an understatement. Heir of Fire was another story. It really was. We saw a whole new side of Celaena and a whole new style of writing from Maas. You could tell that the author was trying very hard to develop all of her characters, including all of the newly introduced ones. The attempt was appreciated, but I recall being annoyed by the constant P.O.V. switches. As soon as things would get interesting, we would be dragged across the land to another character’s boring diary entry. But I digress. Queen of Shadows is where things really took a turn for the worse (or better, depending on which side you’re on). It’s a love/hate type of book. Surprisingly, I lingered somewhere on the “love” side of the spectrum. I basically read books 2-4 in a couple of days, so you could say that I was swept up in a series high. As lengthy as QoS was, it held my interest a lot more than HoF did. And with that explosive ending, with all those new revelations, and all that magic and darkness and fire and destruction, I could not wait to see what would happen in Empire of Storms. So this brings me back to the book I am actually supposed to be reviewing today.
Empire of Storms was a good book. It was not terrible and it was not fantastic. It was just good.
All you need to know about the plot is that Aelin and her immortal friends are trying to gather forces to aid them in the inevitable dark war that’s headed their way. The entire book is basically a long filler chapter in which negotiations are being made–if you can consider Aelin telling people what to do or orchestrating her own secrets plans and not giving a shit about anyone else’s opinions as “negotiations”–and some sexual tension. This wouldn’t be a Maas book if there weren’t people growling in need for attention from the opposite sex, haha. The romance didn’t take up 90% of the story like I thought it would, but it still seems like the author tried to carry the plot with conveniently timed sex. I don’t know how else to say it, guys. This book is really just the boring in-between from all the main players being introduced earlier in the series, and the actual war that is going to happen in the final book. There’s not much else.
Now, without spoiling anything, I want to share some of my thoughts on the characters and execution of certain things.
Dorian said it best when he “welcomed” Manon into their crew: Believe it or not, this ship has an unnatural number of attractive men and women on board. You’ll fit right in. And fit in with the cranky immortals, I suppose. Right. Because that honestly describes the whole series. A ton of attractive people and cranky immortals, who are either f*cking each other or fighting each other. Sorry for my language.
And what was with that whole purely male promise or purely male smile nonsense? It honestly made me cringe. I mean, I get it. The constant growling from the territorial fae bastards (Aelin’s words, not mine) and the incessant ear nibbling were more than constant reminders that we had some dominant males in the story. No need to rub the reader’s face in it. And why has precious Dorian become one of these purely male guys? I understand his heartbreak, but it seems like each of the main characters from Throne of Glass are completely different people now. Not to mention one particular (original) character who wasn’t even present in this entire book. Why?
But back to the maleness. It was a complete turn off. And back to the ear nibbling. Is that a fetish of the author’s or just a Fae thing? The only silver lining in all of this rubbish was Aedion’s little reveal, where he nonchalantly states “attraction is attraction”. It does not make up for the entire series being ridiculously heterosexual though.
In any case, with all the little bits and pieces of the puzzle that this series has become, it’s no surprise that the ending of EoS finally lays out the final picture out for us. Now we know exactly why this war is happening, who will be fighting, and which side they will be fighting on. All there’s left to do is wait.
Despite the fact that my review seems harsh, I want you all to know that I have spent a lot of time on this series. I really did enjoy it, for the most part. And I will be reading the final book when it comes out. Heaven knows I need some closure.
My final thought is that, if you were a fan of the series like me, but hesitated in picking up Empire of Storms because of all the negative reviews, please don’t give up yet. Pick up the book and form your own opinion. Frankly, I don’t think you should read any reviews at all before you pick up EoS. Some people will like the book and some people won’t; just don’t let the opinions of others take away your enjoyment of the series. In that regard, I hope no one takes offense to my criticisms of this book. Like I said earlier, it was still a good book. I’m just hoping for a fantastic finale that will remind us all while we loved this series so much in the first place.
P.S. *One last thing that I did not address: The reason I didn’t specifically discuss any ships (of the romantic kind) is because they’re kind of irrelevant now. The books are written so you love one guy and think he’s perfect for Celaena. And then the author makes that guy unlikable. And then she makes this other guy seem lovely and perfect for Celaena. But then, yeah, she makes us hate him too. And then she brings in this other guy who you think is a solid, good friend for her, but NOPE. That has to be her soulmate now, because that’s what the author says. So don’t bother falling in love with any of the main characters. It won’t end the way you want it to. End mini-rant.
P.P.S. Lysandra is my favourite part of this whole book. What an interesting character she is. I can’t wait to see what she brings to the final book, considering her “shape” at the end of this book.