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

Release Date: September 6th 2016
Published By:  Bloomsbury
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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: 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?

 

Review: This review contains no spoilers for Empire of Storms. It does however contain spoilers for previous books in the Throne of Glass series.

This exciting fifth instalment in the Throne of Glass series will not disappoint fans, with the story going further than it ever has before, and an array of old friends coming back into play.

Empire of Storms brings back a lot of old friends and foes – and I loved seeing these characters return to play their part in Celaena’s/Aelin’s story. Old friends rejoice, new alliances are uneasily made and all come with some very surprising twists and turns along the way!

One of the things I have loved about this series from the beginning is the characters, their journeys and how Sarah J. Maas beautifully writes these characters, flaws and all, and then continues to give us gripping story-lines while the characters grow and develop into the characters they need to be (and we love). The character building for our old friends has been done in previous instalments, but we don’t miss out in this book, as it is still filled with fantastic character building! Our old friends continue to grow and more excitingly we get to learn more about some of the secondary characters we previously didn’t know too much about. We learn a lot more about Lorcan and Elide as they continue on their journey, and along with many others, Manon certainly has some character building going on this book too!

I cannot wait to see what happens with some of these characters in future, but I was happy with their arc in Empire of Storms. I feel that Celaena is starting to return, and I am so glad that Aelin has learnt that Celaena needs to be a part of her who she is, rather than being what she was. I loved seeing some of the sassy, cunning and confidence coming through again. But be honest, it is the secondary stories that I really enjoyed in this story. Manon, of course, is bad-ass. she totally rocks everything she does – but now it is time for her world to be rocked. Lysandra keeps growning from strength to strength with her quiet contemplation, Elide comes out of her shell and finds her own confidence along with other things, and Lorcan finds his determination waver just a little. The characters are not only starting to come into themselves, but they are cementing themselves – by defiance or alliance, choices will be made, and they are lifechanging. The events and decisions of this story will change the characters forever, and there is no turning back.

I feel that this story further delves not only in Aelin’s powers as Fae, but Fae in general. Primarily, the territorial and otherwise devoted characteristics of our Fae males. The territorial aspect can get a little old quickly, but I suppose we have to take the good with the bad when it comes to these powerful men.

Empire of Storms is certainly focused on romance just as much as anything else. Lots and lots of romanace! I still have issues with Aelin and Rowan. I love Rowan, but the whole romance thing doesn’t work for me. I don’t know if it is “the bond” which makes me feel it’s like a “sire” type issue, or if it just doesn’t flow a naturally as it did with Chaol (or Sam, or even Dorian). But other than that, there is a lot more romance in this when it comes to the number of relationships developed or developing. There seems to be a “pairing off” situation emerging in this book – so if you aren’t one who likes all characters to find themselves another half, then this may annoy you somewhat.

And speaking of romance, you certainly see a lot more of the physical romance side of things! The adult themes have been dialled up a notch or two, making this more New Adult than Young Adult with some serious Fae (and otherwise) sexual tension, teasing and sex scenes. This is either something you will like, or you won’t.

I didn’t really have a problem with that, but I did have a small issue with the amount of characters that returned to this story in a quick timeframe, but it’s only a small gripe. My main issue, and the real reason for this book losing a star, is the absence of a particular character. I spent the whole book waiting for someone I feel is crucial to the storyline – but they didn’t make an appearance – and I was shattered. To be honest, it annoyed me that a character is being completely missed out of the storyline this late in the game. I am sure there is a reason, but I don’t have to be happy with it.

The story has a great pace, beautifully written with plenty of interweaving and action to keep you entertained all the way through, but it is last 100 pages that really pack the punch! Throughout the whole book there were some twists that I didn’t see coming, and certainly some gasp-worthy and heartbreaking moments to make you smile or break your heart. There is sacrifice and deception, pain and truth, vengeance and honour – and every character a role to play, even if they don’t know what it is.

It is clear that this story is certainly starting to come full circle. You can see the circle starting to close, but after a shock revelation at towards the end, we are left unsure if this the circle closing will be a smooth blending of bringing the beginning and end together or if it will be a fiery explosion with a massive bang. My  guess is the latter.

Filled with bad-ass characters that jump from strength to strength, two evils that put everyone and everything at risk, and intricate and complex world-building, Empire of Storms is another amazing instalment in this phenomenal series that we all hold dear in our hearts.

Aelin is smart, manipulative, cunning, sassy and true to her own heart – but is heart enough to save Erilea from the war that is surely coming. Is it enough to save the kingdom she loves, the people she loves, or even herself.

Sacrifices are made, and more are still to come

War is coming.

Will fire and storms be enough to save it all?

 

 

 

What do you think?

  • Rebecca says:

    I cannot wait to get to this book. I am inundated with a pile of books on my nightstand and won’t get to it for about another month and I’m about to go crazy! I need my Fae Prince.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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  • I don’t think I loved Empire of Storms as much as you did, but I do agree that the series’ strengths are in the characters and their development. It’s incredible that Maas took a headstrong girl in Book 1 and transformed her into a Queen (and powerful magic user too) over the course of the novels.

    I’m glad to see someone else not wildly in love with Rowan+Aelin – it just doesn’t feel right to me, and I think you really nailed the reasons why. Plus, that character’s absence was quite notable – hoping that plot line can be picked up in the final novel.

    A really great review Kristy, great to see other readers’ thoughts!
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