Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Book Review: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)About the Book:
Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pub. Date: Sept. 6, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 693
Rating: 5/5 stars


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?


“Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.” 

This series will always hold a special place in my heart, but this novel truly made me see the power and quality of Sarah J. Maas' writing. Every single scene is gorgeously written, and I honestly have to say that this is the best she has written to date. Don't get me wrong, I think she was an amazing author to start, but this book truly blew every book out of the water. It's a sign of an outstanding author when every book they write after their first gets better and better. Suffice to say, after this book SJM owns my soul. If I could give this book 10 stars I would because it deserves that many and more. I don't even know where to begin with reviewing how breathtaking this novel was, but I'm going to try my best. 

Let's get one thing out of the way first. I know there was a lot of hate shown toward SJM when she originally announced this book because there were going to be "mature" (aka sex) scenes featured in the story. But trust me, if you read ACOMF, this is nothing. I'm not trying to make light of the situation, but honestly, this is tame compared to that book, and I honestly didn't (and still don't) see the big deal. There is absolutely no reason to skip this book because of those scenes. There are other reviews that actually list the pages that those scenes are, so if you are worried/don't like to read these types of scenes (which is perfectly fine and don't let anyone tell you differently!), you can easily skip them and it won't affect a single thing with the reading experience. But please, don't let yourself miss out on the absolutely wonderful, beautiful story that is this novel because of a few scenes. You would do yourself an incredible injustice by skipping it because this book is everything a fantasy novel should be. 
“Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, knew the time would soon come to prove just how much she'd bleed for Erilea.” 

First, I do want to say that if you haven't read The Assassin's Blade, you should do so prior to reading Empire of Storms. There are many settings/characters incorporated from those novellas into this story, and things make more sense if you have read that book since you'll have that backstory. However, you don't have to read it, but why wouldn't you? It's another SJM book in the TOG world...you're obviously going to want to read it. And if you were waiting for an excuse to read it, now's the time! Anywho, the story picks up right where we left off in the previous novel...Aelin and her court are headed to Terrasen to reclaim her rightful throne. Of course though, things don't go as planned and everyone ends up going on their own specific mission. Again (and because of the characters splitting up), the story is told from numerous POVs. Honestly, this aspect made this book in so many ways. The story would have suffered greatly if we had not had the opportunity to read from every single one of these perspectives. You gradually see everything come together and realize that every action has an effect on the conclusion. 
“It is not such a hard thing, is it - to die for your friends.” 

At first I didn't think I would like all of the different perspectives, but I would read about these characters painting a wall or watching grass grow, so I should have known that I wouldn't care what these characters were doing since I would enjoy it regardless. But I never expected to be so fully immersed in each character's world. It was interesting to be able to view Aelin through the other character's eyes, which is actually very different than how I (and probably most readers) view her. Every character gets an equal amount of time to have their voice heard, so Aelin isn't the primary POV for the story. In some ways, I didn't like this...simply because I love her character so much. But in other ways, I simply adored this because it made the scenes with her in it that much better and more cherished from my perspective. But I think the ultimate thing to realize is that this series is no longer just Aelin's story. The events that are occurring, the war that is brewing, affects every person everywhere. So it only makes sense that as the story progresses, the other characters become more heavily involved in the story and we are able to look through their eyes to see how the current events are affecting them. These multiple POVs also allows for some bombshells to be dropped (especially on Aelin's part since we all know she is the queen of big reveals). Many plot twists/points happen off the page and behind the scenes, since this is how Aelin works. And the reader is just as surprised as the character we are currently reading from when these twists come to light. 
“Aelin had promised herself, months and months ago, that she would not pretend to be anything but what she was. She had crawled through darkness and blood and despair-she had survived.” 

Aelin never ceases to amaze me. There is a return of the air of mystery her character had so much of in the first couple of books since we aren't fully reading from her perspective. While I didn't connect with her as much as I did in previous books, I actually didn't care that much because I know that she always has a plan and is thinking 5 steps ahead of everyone else. So when something doesn't look like it's going the right way, I can trust that Aelin will have worked out some sort of plan already (well at least I hope). I think it shows a lot about SJM's writing to be able to trust a character like that so implicitly and feel as if this person is a part of yourself. One of the greatest things about Aelin's character is that most readers can connect and relate to her on some level. Aelin has been dealt one of the toughest hands a person can be dealt, but she takes this hand in stride. She doesn't let it defeat and conquer her. Instead, she becomes tougher, fiercer, and more resilient. Additionally, Aelin becomes more complex and mature as the story progresses, as the rightful queen of Terrasen should, but she still is that incredibly selfless and brave character we have known since the very first book. She is determined to see her plan to fruition and god forbid anyone gets in her way. Rowan was amazing as ever and honestly he is so perfect for Aelin, I can't imagine her with anyone else. Every other character has grown so much since the first book, and I couldn't have asked for anything better. Mannon was bloody brilliant, Elide became stronger and fiercer, and Aedion grew into the man that I knew he could be. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed by the character development of each secondary character. It's not often that authors put so much time and effort into crafting such well-developed secondary characters as if they are just as important as the main character. But what makes this book and series special is that SJM makes you feel that every single character is the main character. While the first 3 novels primarily focused on Caelena/Aelin, the 4th book and on has shown that every character is crucial to the story and that no one is more important than the other. Every person has his/her own place in the story that will continue to evolve and grow as the story progresses. To me, that just shows the true talent of SJM.
“Remember who you are. Every step of the way down, and every step of the way back. Remember who you are. And that you're mine.” 

Dorian is back and better than ever in this book, and I honestly loved that my ship of him and Mannon is starting to sail! Some people felt their relationship was out of place, but I think they fit perfectly together. Dorian is a changed man and has endured much struggle. It is clear that the events of the last books are still weighing heavily on him. He and Mannon can relate to each other in many ways, and each is a beacon in the darkness that is their lives. I know a lot of people were upset that Chaol wasn't in this book at all, but I didn't think his character (especially how his character's mindset was after the events in the last book) fit with this story. We haven't seen the last of Chaol, and I didn't really miss him in this novel (and that takes a lot for me to say especially with how much I love Chaol in general). 
“Do not be afraid of what makes you shine brightly.” 

Empire of Storms set the board for the finale. There is still a lot that needs to be worked out, but you can see the pieces starting to fall into place. All I know is that the next book is going to be epic! There is so much to love about this book, and I could honestly go on for days (I'm sure you think I already have considering the length of this review). This book is inspirational in so many ways, and the ending was truly mind-blowing and amazing! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for the next book! There was a certain bombshell at the end of the book that left me cheering and awestruck, but I seriously wouldn't have wanted this particular twist to be revealed in any other way. Read (or re-read) this as soon as you can because it is not one to be missed!

And just one more quote of Aelin being the awesome badass she is:
“I’ll make one more promise,” she said, folding her bloodied hand into a fist as she lowered it before them. Darrow tensed.
Her blood dripped onto the sacred soil of Terrasen, and her smile turned lethal. Even Aedion held his breath beside her.
Aelin said, “I promise you that no matter how far I go, no matter the cost, when you call for my aid, I will come. I promise you on my blood, on my family’s name, that I will not turn my back on Terrasen as you have turned your back on me. I promise you, Darrow, that when the day comes and you crawl for my help, I will put my kingdom before my pride and not kill you for this. I think the true punishment will be seeing me on the throne for the rest of your miserable life.” 

Happy reading :)



  1. It is so exciting to see a series that seems to get better and better as it goes! So many series fall flat somewhere in the middle. I also think the multiple perspectives must be really interesting...I'll have to revisit the series!
    Kate @Read and Dream

    1. You definitely should! This is a series that gets better and better as you go. I know a lot of people didn't like how "fantasy" the series has become, but I personally think that's what the series so great!