Book Review: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5) by Sarah J. Maas

28260587Title: Empire of  Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pub Date: September 6, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 704
Source: Purchased
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: ★★★
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Book Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas (together in one edition for the first time) Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

My review:

“She would tuck Sam into her heart, a bright light for her to take out whenever things were darkest.”

Where do I begin? This book (a compilation of five novellas) takes us back to a time long before Celaena is brought into the glass castle to fight for her “freedom”. It was quite nice getting to see how Adarlan’s Assassin came to be who she is today. Some novellas were slower than others (“The Assassin and the Underworld” was my favourite) and frankly, much longer than they needed to be, but I was still grateful that there was more of this world to read about. I needed somethinganythingto hold me over until the release of Empire of Storms. Unfortunately, I was hoping for a little more about her childhood in Terrasen.

In the other books, Celaena is painted to be quite merciless when it comes to her occupation. These novellas paint a completely different picture. Each novella is a portrait of her humanity. They show her compassion, wit, dignity, strength, and vulnerabilities. After reading these, I’m not quite sure why we’re forced to believe that she’s always been ruthless. If anything, I feel like she’s forever been a hero with a rebel heart. She’s always tried to do good, no matter the circumstance. I liked seeing this side of her.

More importantly, we finally get to read about how Celaena and Sam fell in love. These two alone make the book a must-read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Throne of Glass. It’s so nice finally getting to read about the little adventures that are hinted at throughout the TOG series. It’s like the final pieces of the puzzle coming together.

★★★★ (4 stars) because of my dear, dear Sam. My heart hurts for you.

 

Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

My review:

“She could forgive the girl who had needed a captain of the guard to offer stability after a year in hell; forgive the girl who had needed a captain to be her champion. But she was her own champion now.”

There’s not much I can say about the plot without giving away spoilers. Bad things will happen to the characters that you love. People will die. There are so many players in the game now, it’s sometimes hard to remember who you’re supposed to love and who you’re supposed to hate. I’ll leave it at that.

This is by far my favourite book of the series! I thought Crown of Midnight was good, but gods-damned, this must be what hellfire feels like. I’m so fired up. Again, I am sorry for the excessive references to flames but they are difficult to avoid when fire is so significant in this story.

If I had to describe how this book made me feel: “It was like dying a little every day. It was like being alive, too. It was joy so complete it was pain. It destroyed me and unmade me and forged me. I hated it, because I knew I couldn’t escape it, and knew it would forever change me.”

I loved reading the interactions between Aedion, Rowan, and Aelin. Aedion’s really grown on me in that annoying (but lovable) big brother kind of way. And let’s face it, everyone is waiting for Rowan to put his moves on Aelin. The tension is real.

I also wanted to highlight a question posed by Manon: “Do you believe monsters are born, or made?” — I’ve been thinking about this a lot today, but that’s a conversation for another time.

★★★★ (4.5 stars) because now I know what all the fuss is about! Empire of Storms needs to come out sooner.

Book Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

My review:

“You collect scars because you want proof that you are paying for whatever sins you’ve committed.”

This book was filled with a lot more despair and angst than I anticipated. Where there was once motivation and tyrannical arrogance in our Fireheart, there is now constant self-doubt and misery. Hopelessness. It was quite a drastic change from the Celaena we first met.

Just as Celaena’s will to fight—and her will to live—was dissipating amongst the ashes of her heartbreak, the usual excitement of the plot was also withering away. Burnt out. No sparks. Please forgive me for my puns. It’s hard not to think of flames after reading this book, haha.

There are a couple of things that I did not like. First, time seemed to go slower during this book. In fact, most of it dragged (particularly the beginning). It also felt like Celaena was in Wendlyn for several months, while Chaol and the others were in Adarlan for only a few days. The timeline was just weird to me. Second, the constant change of narrator was annoying. I mean, I get why it was done. Seeing as the main characters have been separated across faraway lands, the P.O.V. changes allow the reader to see what is conspiring against each of them in their respective lands. It just bothered me because Celaena’s P.O.V. was the only one that never bored me. Sometimes it felt like I was reading a diary entry, but just when things were about to get interesting, it would switch into the beginning of someone else’s boring entry. Does that make sense? I hope so. Either way, I appreciated the effort that was made to develop other characters, particularly the new additions. Shoutout to Aedion and Rowan and Manon! I’m really looking forward to seeing how their characters come into play once things get badass again.

On another note: You know the plot is lacking when the only thing that’s keeping you reading is the possibility of a “romantic” scene happening. Seriously. There was not enough action, be it the killing kind, or the sexy kind. (I actually cringed at myself while I wrote that, but it’s true.)

All in all, this was a little disappointing but I still can’t wait to read the next book… so clearly some things were done right.

★★★ (3.5 stars) because the next book has potential to rattle the stars.

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

My review:

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

This could have been great. Like, really great. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy reading this book. I did enjoy it. It just could have been so much better.

Yes, Celaena’s arrogance is annoying, but this behaviour wouldn’t have put me off so much if the assassin was a guy. In fact, it might have made him one of those cute, arrogant jerks. This is why I tried not to let it bother me. I do not want to support a double standard. Although irksome, it was also refreshing to have a YA heroine who is actually sure of herself. That being said, this could have been done without her constantly seeking validation from everyone around her. She knew she was good, but she wanted other people to acknowledge how good she was. Always. And narcissism is an unattractive trait no matter what gender you are. In any case, I got over it.

The basic premise of this book has been done many times over, but that did not deter me from reading it. I just wanted to bear witness to this epic love triangle that everyone flips out about. And I have to say, this triangle can hardly be called a shape. There was no substance. I know that instalove and several males vying for your attention is a commonly used plot device, but usually they are still fun to read. This was so boring. Where was the romance? It just seemed so tame. I’d probably be 10x more satisfied if Chaol and Dorian just ran off together. That would have been less predictable.

I know this may seem like I am writing a negative review, but that’s only because there was nothing very special happening. It was just a good book that didn’t excite me. Another book crushed by hype, perhaps?

In any case, I will be continuing with the series. I’m still not sure if I support the sailing of any of these “ships” though.

★★★ (3.5 stars) because #Chaorian #Doriol.