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

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“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?”


*Empire of Storms is the 5th book in the Throne of Glass series. While I try not to go into too much detail, there will inevitably be spoilers from the first 4 books. Proceed with caution!*

thoughts

Wow. Just wow. I am still reeling from the conclusion of this book. I’ve always enjoyed these books, but Empire of Storms shows Maas maturing in both her writing and storytelling. I have to admit, it started a little slow for me. While I was happy to see all of my favorite characters again, the action didn’t really pick up for the first ~250 pages or so. But when it did pick up, it was brilliant. With each book, this series grows increasingly complex in the world-building, plot and characters. I don’t read many books where I genuinely care for as many characters as I do in this series.

This book was the first glimpse we get of the big war to come. Now that most of the lesser villains are out of the way, we see the true threat  Erawan (and arguably Maeve) presents to Aelin, her court as well as the other kingdoms. We have a few parallel story lines in the book: Aelin, Aedion, Lysandra, and Rowan travelling to Terrasen, Dorian in Ardalan, Manon in Morath and Elide after she recently escaped. While many of these story lines eventually intersect, I enjoyed seeing each of them progress individually.

I wanted to note a few things I really enjoyed about this installment. As I mentioned above, the character development was excellent. These characters have grown and matured with the series and I am starting to see the leaders they are meant to be. The relationships and friendships that developed and grew between some of the characters were lovely and I enjoyed all of the pair-ups that happened.loved all of the connections to The Assassin’s Blade in this installment! Maas tied it in beautifully and it was great seeing some old characters. That being said, I think reading The Assassin’s Blade is a must to fully enjoy this book. I also wanted to note that Maas can write some truly epic battle scenes. I often felt like I was watching a movie. Finally, that ending. It broke my heart and was perfect all at the same time.

In terms of the characters, I was thrilled to see Dorian back. I love this new Dorian. I know he has been to hell and back in QoS, but I liked this slightly hardened, crueler Dorian. And I loved his interactions with Manon. They make such an interesting pair and I am curious to see what the next book holds for them.

Manon is hands down my favorite character in this book. Her story has been slowly developing for two books now and I was happy to see some dramatic developments in her story arc. Abraxos is as sweet and lovable as always. I love those two!

Elide is another character with a great story in this book. I liked her chapters in QoS, but I admit I skimmed a little and found some of them boring. Elide really shined in this book. She is arguably one of the physically weakest characters in the book and yet she proves to be one of the strongest characters. She is smart and knows how to use it to her advantage. Lorcan crosses paths with her and I loved watching their relationship develop. It was slow and realistic. I went from hating Lorcan to loving him. Sarah J. Maas, how do you always do this with your characters!

I am also happy to see Aelin finally happy and settled in her love life! I’m pretty sure Rowan is it for her, even though it took us a few love interests to get there. As much as I enjoyed their relationship, I wasn’t a huge fan of the sex scenes. I noticed this in ACOTAR with Tamlin as well, but she tends to have a lot of “worshiping” and “saying my name like a prayer” kind of lines and it just felt cheesy. As for Aelin, I like her and don’t like her at times. I didn’t agree with every decision she made but she does redeem herself at the end of the book, so I guess I can’t criticize her too much 🙂

You will all be pleased to know that we finally get some questions answered in this book! We learn more about Erawan, Elena and Gavin through some flashbacks and we get some much needed answers that I have been wondering about for this entire series. I was also happy to see some questions about Aelin and Rowan’s relationship addressed. I also wanted to also touch on the fact that Chaol is not present in this book at all aside from a few mentions from other characters. I was completely okay with this. I know some people are not happy with the direction Chaol’s character went, but I personally think Chaol had a lot of growing to do and I have a hunch that a lot of this maturing happened over the course of this book and the next time we see Chaol he will be a different character. 

I’ve also noticed a trend in this series of characters not revealing their knowledge and plans to the reader. In the earlier installments, I enjoyed it. I had no idea what was going on and it was exciting to see Aelin had a plan the entire time. However, after the first five times this happened I got tired of it. This occurs again in this book and while it does make for an action-packed, cliffhanger finale, I’ve grown tired of this tactic.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it exceeded my expectations. It is obvious that Maas’s writing ability has dramatically matured throughout the series and the plot and characters are growing increasingly complex. I have grown quiet attached to these characters and I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.

4.5/5

What did you think of Empire of Storms? Did you enjoy it?

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6 thoughts on “Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #5)”

  1. This is a great review Alex, and I’m so glad you enjoyed this book as well. I started Empire of Storms as soon as it was released and didn’t really put it down until I’d finished it. I completely agree with you about the different story lines progressing, although as much as I loved seeing Manon, Elide and Aelin separately I did love it when they all came together towards the end.
    Manon has quickly become my favourite character of the series, and I loved seeing how Dorian developed in this book as well. God I am so excited for the sixth now!
    I didn’t actually read The Assassin’s Blade before starting this book so I feel I may have missed some of those connections, but I guess I’ll just have to read that and then re-read Empire of Storms! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Beth! I’m glad you enjoyed it too. Reading Assassin’s Blade just increased my overall appreciation of the story, so I definitely recommend picking it up. I was hesitant to read it at first because I don’t read a lot of novellas, but it was really enjoyable!
      I LOVED Manon. Her character arc in this book is what I’ve been waiting for since she was introduced 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve had it on my bookshelves for a while now but just never got around to picking it up for some reason, it’s not even that I don’t enjoy novellas because I do. But if it will increase my enjoyment of Empire of Storms them I need to get around to it ASAP! 🙂
        Oh she’s had such amazing development, makes me really excited to see what’s next for her! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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