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?
Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Number of Pages: 693
Publishing Date: Sept. 6th, 2016
I once again find myself speed-reading through one of my favorite author’s new books, only to finish it within a matter of days. I went through this with A Court of Mist and Fury and, here I am, finishing Empire of Storms and realizing that I have to wait a whole year for the next book. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to strive on for the next few months because between ACOMAF and EOS, my emotions are obliterated and I am experiencing the worst book-hangover of my life.
Empire of Storms has definitely become my favorite book from the Throne of Glass series. I really, really, massively adore where Sarah J. Maas has taken this story. The character development in this novel was astonishing. Every chapter was absolutely breathtaking. The ending of this book was so intense that I couldn’t set the book down at all because I was so caught up in the plot of this story and I basically just cried through the last three or four chapters of the book. So, to sum up my general feelings revolving around this book—I absolutely loved and adored this brilliant novel.
The rest of this review contains spoilers!
The plot of this book gripped me from the first chapter. Since there were a few different plot lines within this novel (that eventually converged perfectly), I’m going to be breaking down my thoughts on each of them, as well as saying what I think about each character because this is a very plot-centric book and I don’t think I could review the development of each character without talking about main plot points and vice versa.
I never thought it would be possible to go from absolutely loathing a character (Lorcan) to absolutely loving a character (also Lorcan) within the span of a few chapters, but then Sarah J. Maas comes along and proves me wrong. The scenes featuring Elide and Lorcan were some of my favorites from this book. I loved seeing the development of Lorcan and the relationship between him and Elide was asdfghjkl. I ship it. I SHIP IT. Lorcan’s character transformation was amazing and I feel like him and Elide being a couple was really unexpected for me but then when it began to happen I fell in love with the idea of them together…? I loved the plot line they had and their travel to get to Aelin was action-packed and I really enjoyed it.
“Lorcan reached out, grasping her chin and forcing her to look at him. Hopeless, bleak eyes met his. He brushed away a stray tear with his thumb. “I made a promise to protect you. I will not break it, Elide.”
“I will always find you,” he swore to her.
Her throat bobbed.
Lorcan whispered, “I promise.”
Manon Blackbeak aka my ultimate witch queen. Can we please talk about Manon trying to kill her grandmother so the rest of the Thirteen could get free? I’ve loved Manon since she was first introduced but now she’s one of my favorites from this series. Her character development is such an obvious factor in this story and, by the end of this novel, I love how dedicated she and her Thirteen are to helping Aelin. And then Dorian and Manon. I definitely saw that coming and, just like Elide and Lorcan, I SHIP IT. I’ve found that Sarah J. Maas puts couples that balance each other out together and I think that Dorian and Manon will definitely balance each other out. I’m interested to see where their relationship goes in the next (and last *cries*) book in this series. (Shoutout to Abraxos, my favorite little cinnamon bun of a wyvern.)
I really loved the relationship that developed between Aedion and Lysandra. He literally sat with her for hours as she healed on the beach after the huge (and massively intense) fight scene in Skulls Bay and that in of itself really displayed the immense friendship and/or romantic relationship forming between them and I loved it so much. I will admit though, Aedion had his moments in this novel where he annoyed me a bit. I guess his intentions were in the right place, but I could tell there was a difference with his character when put into comparison with how he was in Queen of Shadows. I love Lysandra so, so much. She’s definitely become one of my favorites.
Gavriel and Fenrys; oh, how I really loved these two. Gavriel is so chill about everything and he seems like one of those wise, old characters that gives great advice while Fenrys is just Fenrys and I really fell in love with both of their characters. That scene where Aedion put Gavriel in his place? Holy crap, I loved it so much. But, I also felt really bad for Gavriel and I’m really hoping Aedion is a bit more lenient towards him in the next book. I’m ready for some father-and-son-butt-kicking with Aedion and Gavriel and I’m really hoping Fenrys is able to help Aelin.
I love Dorian. So, so, so much. While his storyline wasn’t as epic or action-packed as it’s previously been, I liked seeing him interact with others in an environment that was outside of his comfort zone (aka his castle and kingdom). He was always ready to fight when needed and I just, YES, I love Dorian so much. And, as I mentioned previously, I really loved seeing him and Manon connect with each other.
Well, I’d love to talk about Chaol but he wasn’t in this book. He was mentioned a few times, but there was nothing directly about him. At first I was disappointed because I was looking forward to seeing what he was up to, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a purposeful move on Sarah J. Maas’s part and whatever she’s concocting with Chaol and Nesryn is probably going to be epic. (Although I was hoping that Chaol would show up on the beach with everyone else at the end of the book, but that didn’t happen. Meaning he’ll have to show up eventually in the next book and I am ready for it.)
Ah yes, we’ve come to the part of the plot that emotionally destroyed me numerous times. Aelin and Rowan. One of the most epic couples that I’ve ever shipped. Between the flirting and romantic scenes, I was a mess because ROWAELIN. I kind of suspected that perhaps Aelin was Rowan’s second mate and it was this rare thing that could happen, but no Aelin is literally Rowan’s mate. GAH, I love them so much and I can’t get over them getting married like okay, just throw that at me and leave me to deal with my mess of emotions, thanks Sarah J. Maas. Can we please talk about Aelin acting like Celaena again when she first talks to Rolfe? And the flirting that occurred between her and Rowan? I loved that so much. It’s that kind of sass and shameless flirting that I love in Sarah J. Maas’s writing, especially when it comes from Aelin. I could probably go on and on about how much I loved Aelin in this book because of her perfect planning and willingness to be captured in order to save her kingdom (and probably the entire continent), but then I’d be writing for hours and nobody wants to read my rambling about my love for Aelin so I will just say that Aelin slays and Rowan is my favorite and I love them both immensely, okay? Okay.
“Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.”
The last few chapters of this book had me reeling and I could not get over Aelin being all “I’m grateful for the time that I had with Rowan,” and I was freaking out because I honestly thought she was going to sacrifice herself right then and there or something but no, she let Maeve take her and I just, no, I can’t. She let them whip her and she refused to count and I was just a huge mess of emotions at that point.
I think that Lorcan will have a lot of character developing to do in order to get people to forgive him (especially Elide), so I’m already theorizing what he’s going to do in the next novel. I know that Elide won’t immediately forgive him (and I don’t blame her), so I think he’ll do something that massively helps them in finding Aelin in order to renew himself.
I absolutely loved how so many people from Aelin’s past showed up to help and I already know that something is bound to go wrong with Lysandra pretending to be Aelin. (Look at me, already worrying about fictional characters and the eventual struggles that they’re going to face in a book that won’t be released for another year.)
The last chapter of this book was so emotional, but I also found it so beautiful. Sarah J. Maas’s writing just keeps getting better and better and Rowan being determined to find his wife and mate was just so YES. (Also, can we talk about the parallels between this ending and the ending of ACOMAF? Is Sarah J. Maas doing this on purpose or is she just using the same emotionally destroying technique? Either way I loved both endings and I’m so ready for the next books in each series.)
As always, Sarah J. Maas’s writing style is fluidly brilliant. As soon as I read a few sentences of her writing, I find myself completely enveloped within the worlds that she creates and I love every single second of it.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It’s become my favorite from this series (I’m sorry Heir of Fire, I promise I still love you) and I cannot fathom waiting an entire year for the next TOG book. I know I’ll have the next ACOTAR book to hold me over, but I’m still experiencing a massive book-hangover from this novel, so it’s going to be a very long wait.
Review Update: I’m leaving my original review up above as it displays all of my thoughts immediately after reading this novel. However, since finishing this book quite a few months ago, my feelings regarding it have definitely changed. This book isn’t my favorite within the TOG series (Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire have reclaimed their original spots within my TOG favorites) and I felt as if the characters that I grew to love so much had changed so erratically and the plots full of twists and action had gone in a direction that I didn’t expect. While I still really, really enjoyed this book, I’m changing my rating from five stars to four stars. Also, please read here as I talk about the problematic elements within Sarah’s books that I personally felt I needed to acknowledge.
So, have you read Empire of Storms? What did you think about it? Comment below!