Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: September 6, 2016
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 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?
First half in bold were pre-release thoughts.
Things I want/NEED from this book:
1) Rowan to die. Horribly. The fae Mike Tyson needs to GO.
2) Manon + Dorian = MANORIAN. That’s who I ship since my old ship sunk miserably.
3) Aelin to stop being a bitch. Seriously, I prefer Celaena to the “Fire-breathing bitch queen.” *insert eye roll*
4) Less talk about how amazing and wondrous Aelin is. Because who really needs hundreds of pages of THAT after QoS?? She’s nothing more than a whore-ish ship sinker. Bitch.
5) Manon and the Thirteen. Hundreds of pages of them.
6) Chaol returned to all his former glory.
7) Less cheesy “romantic” dialogue between the almighty queen and Fae Tyson. Barf.
7a) And no more ridiculous nightgowns meant to seduce Tyson, either.
8) A GREAT BOOK THAT FITS THE SERIES.
Okay, I think we can see from above my feelings on where this series was most likely going. And how I felt about it. The utter disappointment and disaster that was QoS left me with a bad taste in my mouth. And I still stand by my initial thoughts on it, because after finishing Empire of Storms, I maintain that QoS doesn’t fit in AT ALL.
I think part of the reason QoS went south for me was all the expectations I had prior to release. I had hopes, dreams…and then I read it and it all exploded in a violent fury. So, I really had lost my desire and love of the series. I still planned to read EoS, but I just didn’t feel the same anticipation and excitement as before. This boded well, too. Without anything to really tie me to the book, I could go in and just read. Does that make sense at all?
However, there were rumors the weekend before release. Horrible ones that brought back my old anger, and I was hesitant to even go forward with EoS after all. But then as it always does, curiosity won out.
Anyway, I actually really did enjoy Empire. More than I thought was possible considering how things were left in the last installment. I found myself devouring this one just like every book before it. It almost felt like things were back on track.
I remember reading reviews of Throne of Glass ages ago, and one complaint was that Celaena was too arrogant. I never really got that vibe until she accepted/became Aelin. Now, I see it all the time. And in some scenes, I really felt she lacked the maturity she had shown before — sticking out her tongue, little quips that didn’t fit scenes, etc. Her tone in EoS annoyed me at times, and had my eyes rolling. But overall, I liked THIS Aelin far more than the one we met in QoS.
And then there’s the lovey-dovey crap. Honestly, I could really do without it. The eyes, the comments, the mind-to-mind messages…and I’m sure a part of that is because of the WHO, but really it’s awkward in places. I am over my full-blown hate of RowAelin. I’m just indifferent at this point. But the romance in this series isn’t as important as everything else.
Thankfully, the plot is nearly non-stop action. All that pointless scheming from QoS is gone. We are left with action and that I appreciated immensely. Don’t get me wrong, I love detailed plotting – especially the kind behind the scenes. But that was another issue in the last book for me. The pacing was terrible. But in EoS, there are no boring chapters to be found. Every single one counts. I was flying through this monster of a book, while also trying to slow down so it wouldn’t end.
And speaking of plotting and planning…Maas is a master! Things I’d been waiting for since book one are finally starting to happen. And yes, I’d say they were worth the wait. We finally get all the pieces to this puzzle of the WyrdKeys. We finally know HOW things will end. And we know the why it all happened to begin with. It was intricately woven, brilliantly thought out, and I was blown away for the most part.
And I’m probably in the minority here, but I really loved the new couplings that took place. One in particular, but another that I never gave thought to! That latter turned out to be some of my favorite chapters, just behind Manon and her Thirteen. Those witches will ALWAYS be my #1. ALWAYS. And once again, their chapters were the highlights for me. I can’t get enough. I’d legit read a series solely based on them. GIVE. ME. MORE. And I’m still no closer to being head-over-heels in love with Rowan than I was in HoF or QoS. It is what it is. I just don’t see him as swoony because he spouts lovey lines to Aelin, or is stupidly protective (ALPHA, whatever), or supposedly super hot, or because he has powerful magic. It takes more than that to win me over. I still feel he lacks any depth. He’s boring. I’ve read his character in 72517399565278940 romance novels (minus his magic and face tattoo). I just don’t FEEL the connection between him and Aelin. At all. It’s one of the things that still bothers me.
However…some things were too much for me. First, the sex. Look, I’m no prude by any means. But this series started out as YA and very much has remained so up until now. The scenes between Celaena and Chaol were fade to black or just mentioned in passing. And now, we have detailed sex straight out of an adult romance book. For me, it’s okay, because I’m an adult. But it’s also jarring to see it in the 5th book in a series. Unexpected. Plus, I think of parents who may not realize it. Parents who may not want their children reading such material. Mature warnings or not, I still feel that had no place here. Not now. ACOTAR and ACOMAF, sure, but that was because those books ALWAYS felt more adult. I think this was unnecessary and I’m still struggling to understand why they were added. And yes, it happens several times in the book, not just once. And then there’s the ending. I won’t mention here, but it felt like I had already read this. Oh, that’s because I had. It felt cheesy TBH. Especially since it has been done in her other series. In fact, there were several things in EoS that felt more ACOTAR/ACOMAF-ish. But the ending…I did love it! Minus that one part. I was also awaiting one other thing which I didn’t get.
But I still have a question: Maas said we’d understand why she was writing a novella for Chaol at the end of this book. I’m still scratching my head on this. Don’t get me wrong, I will read the shit out of that story, but I’m not sure I see its necessity at this point.
To sum up, I surprisingly really enjoyed Empire of Storms. There are the few issues I mentioned, but I think this book got the series back on track. So many things happen, I can’t even recollect them all here. The ending is fantastic! And it has me excited for the final book next year.
*Note: I did omit pieces here, but they can be found in my Goodreads review.*
Kelli’s Review: 4/5
Blush Factor: 4