Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Summary: 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?
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I'm going to write this review so as to make sense of my numerous feelings about book five in the Throne of Glass series.
I left Heir of Fire feeling good about where Celaena/Aelin was. She was in such a dark place after the loss of Nehemia that she needed that time to recover and find herself. I didn't like where she was in Queen of Shadows at all, and I was actually thankful for the presence of Lysandra and Manon, because they both meant there were female characters I could root for. There are many things I love about this series...and things I hate, too. I'm going to try and do a bullet-point list to make this easier (for me to write and you to read).
What I Liked
- I actually did like Aelin in this book. She still felt, in a lot of ways, like the young woman I was disgusted by in Queen of Shadows but she sacrifices so much in Empire of Storms. I just wish there was some whisper left of the girl that Sam loved.
- Manon. Oh my word. I took a long time to warm to her, but she is probably my favorite character in this series, outside of Chaol and Dorian. I love how conflicted she is, and how she actually does have a heart and a moral compass. I read some of the book when I was with my best friend, and she said I was making audible noises during the scene where everything hits the fan with Manon, her grandmother, and Asterin.
- Nehemia. Her influence is still breaking my heart.
- The way it all comes together at the end, how all those people were willing to fight for Terrasen and Aelin. It broke my heart and I did cry.
- Elide. My goodness, she is such a cinnamon roll with a streak of iron. Her reunion with Aelin and Aedion broke my heart.
- How all the other characters besides Manon described Abraxos. I laughed.
- Lysandra. I am rooting for her so much. I really hope she survives and gets to raise Evangeline.
- The plot twists. Well, all of them except one I'll mention in the next section.
- Dorian. Sweet princeling. (Well, kingling now.) I think I'm on board with his personality changes, because the poor sweet boy has been through so much, but I miss who he was. At least his humor seems to be intact...
- How everything from the previous books (including the novellas) really comes together. Still waiting for the healer to show up, though. Sarah wouldn't have included that novella if it wasn't important. But Ansel and Ilias and Rolfe are all back, and it's pretty epic.
What I Didn't Like
- This is totally personal preference, but I do not like my YA books to be that steamy. If I wanted anything beyond fade-to-black, I would read adult romance novels. Which I won't.
- The lack of Chaol was devastating. He mattered so much in the first three books and now he's just...gone. I would've loved even one chapter from his point-of-view.
- There's a lot of blood, y'all. Which I actually prefer to the steamy scenes. It just...it felt like a lot of numbing carnage and even though this is a fantasy series, I'm not sure how realistic some of the healing abilities are. There are things that these characters should not be coming back from (especially Aelin at the end).
- Still can't get behind Rowan and Aelin. That guy switches personalities so much. He is Sarah J. Maas's one writing flaw - the way he treated Aelin in HoF and even QoS was not okay. It reminded me a lot of how Tamlin treated Feyre, and I'm so glad Sarah didn't excuse Tamlin's actions, but I feel she's let Rowan off because he's favored. Then he feels like a completely different person in EoS (well, except for the territorial-ness), and it was like she was trying to write him so Chaolaena fans would like him.
- At the end of the day, I felt like there were a few too many plot twists even though I liked most of them. That's a weird thing to complain about, but there were just SO many things Aelin kept from those she trusts most and were therefore kept from the reader. But, not gonna lie, I really hate that Rowan is now king of Terrasen and he's Aelin's husband. Not on board with that at all.
The Verdict: I feel like it looks like I didn't like Empire of Storms, and I promise I did. I liked it a heck of a lot more than Queen of Shadows.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Already did.