Empire of Storms by Sarah J. MaasEmpire of Storms literally brings the storm and by that I mean a shit storm of anguish like WHY?!? Seriously, I need therapy right now. I need a support group. I need all my fellow Maas-fanatics to reach out. Tweet me, DM me, email me because we need to talk...we just need to talk it out and share virtual ice-cream while we cry and gush and rage and cry some more over this glorious mess of a book. And I mean mess in the best way possible here - just a freaking STORM of feels. Oh and in case it wasn't already obvious, this review shall also be a mess...but not the glorious kind.
Throne of Glass #5
Published September 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury
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?
Before I get down to Empire of Storms, I have to put this out there: this series will go down as one of my all-time favorite series. I have mad-love for Aelin and her journey, as well as every new character that has be strewn upon her path. That being said, I had a few minor issues with this instalment. Nothing to change my love for the series but small things that I'll touch upon in this review.
So, the story picks up very nearly after the events of Queen of Shadows and we're thrown right into the thick of things with multiple POVs - seriously, the list just keeps growing. We've got Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Aedion, Lysandra Manon with new additions Elide and Lorcan rounding things out. Now don't get me wrong: I adore all of these characters and getting into their head was a real treat. BUT here's the thing. So many POVs means a lot of setup to start with. Maas needed to establish what was going on with everyone of them, which slowed down the pace considerably in the begining. And as much as every single one of these characters had my interest, I found myself missing Aelin a lot throughout this instalment. These books are HER story after all but here she definitely shares the spotlight and here I definitely felt a distance between myself as a reader and her as the MC. I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I've adored her since Throne of Glass so despite my adoration of everyone else, I missed my fire-breathing bitch-queen. But more Rowan, Dorian, Manon, Lysandra, Elide and Lorcan was SUPER welcome so unless this book had been 1000+ pages, something had to give.
And despite being character heavy, Empire of Storms ended having less character development than previous books in the series. That's because there was So.Much.Plot. Elements coming together since the first books, the novellas. ALL OF IT coalescing freaking brilliantly, and in ways I never could have imagined. I was on pins and needles through revelation and revelation until I honestly felt blown away by it all. LOTS of stuff happens here. Characters are turned inside out. Some are still reeling from what they suffered previously and yet they face mounting darkness, dismal odds and true horrors the likes of which their world has never known. This isn't a light book, there's shadows every step of the way but it makes the bright moments shine all the brighter. There's more friendship here than ever, more romance and yes more sexy times. It does seem like Maas made every character a pair but I ship every single one so who am I to complain. All of us fans shipped these pairings so Maas gave us what we craved! Honestly though, this book needed every instance of lightness to tone down the living-nightmares that threatened to take over.
The ending though. Oh gods that ending killed it. It's easily one of THE cruelest endings I've come across and it is NOT ok. I am NOT ok. I barely survived the wait for this book but waiting for ToG6? I can't even think about it. At the same time though, I can't bear for ToG6 to come out because when it does that means that ultimate sacrifices will have to be made and I can't bear any of it.
The bottom line is that Empire of Storms isn't my favorite book in the Throne of Glass series but it's still one of the best books I've read this year so I'm not docking points in my rating for my minor issues. That might seem wrong to some of you but THAT ending can not be ignored. I wonder if the book might have benefited from being split into two books but baring that, this book held my interest every step of the way and regardless of how many characters are now in play, I adore every single one of them. Now they ALL have to survive otherwise I'm doomed. And I'm serious guys, hit me up for a chat about this one because I need the support.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars