Series: Throne of Glass #5
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on September 6, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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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 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?
Emerging from my Empire of Storms slumber, I rise and attempt to tell you my jumbled thoughts about it.
I’m constantly in awe of this expansive fantasy world that Sarah J Maas has created, filled with wyverns, magic, fae lords, witches, pirate lords, hidden armies and evil. Following multiple characters across Erilea, we see witches fighting for their clan leader. Fae lords oppressed by an evil fae queen. A wanted human girl, fighting to survive with a broken leg. And one fae queen, Aelin Galathynius, leading her court across Erilea to raise an invisible army.
We already know Aelin has survived the toughest conditions, that she’s broken and come back from darkness, that she’s found her trusty court and is the harbringer of hope to the lands. Therefore, there wasn’t much more character development that was offered for her in this book. Aelin felt a bit too overpowered here, as the firestorm that she can summon from the tip of her hands can defeat entire armies. There were times when it felt like there was little to no consequence for that amount of power. The Aelin that we’ve grown to love and adore felt slightly unrecognisable in this book, with that cockiness fading away into sappy sex scenes.
There’s so many character point of views here, that some of the characters started merging into others. Aelin was unrecognisable, Rowan was lacklustre, and I sorely missed Chaol who was conveniently missing from the book. While I appreciated the addition and development of new characters, there were others that were completely ignored.
This isn’t an Aelin book, but instead, it’s about Elide’s journey to find her queen while surviving all odds, Manon’s defining moment and Lysandra finding a purpose after the worst hell imaginable. I loved and hated that about Empire of Storms, with so many character point of views, only a few really excelled while others fell by the wayside.
I have a newfound respect for Elide after this book; she’s the least gifted person in the whole cast of characters, but only if you missed her sense of charisma, level of deceit and courage. I was thoroughly impressed at how she could deceive Lorcan, all powerful fae senses and everything, and rise to be his equal. I loved this ship and seeing them develop from hate to romance, how they grew to trust one another and shared their secrets. My heart ached for them so much in the book and I grew to love them over the course of their tentative and transformative journey.
They could burn the entire world to ashes with it. He was hers and she was his, and they had found each other across centuries of bloodshed and loss, across oceans and kingdoms and war.
Manon’s courage in the face of everything that she’s ever believed in for her entire life was the favourite part of the book for me. She’s so incredibly fierce as the leader of her Thirteen, and would do absolutely anything to ensure their protection. Although she’s a complete badass, I love how she reveals her vulnerability in this book, especially when everything turns upside down. Manon is a queen.#ManonforPresident
Lysandra’s loyalty to her queen was so unwavering, as she puts herself at risk time and time again throughout the book. Her abilities are truly legendary and I loved how she put her queen first and everything else, a distant second. As someone who has survived being a courtesan, forced to become a prostitute since she was young, I actually felt like a large chunk of her character development was missing. There was a transition into a romance that we didn’t want to see, and I felt like she would’ve done better without it.
If you haven’t guessed, this is a book of ships. Absolutely everyone is paired off and it felt rather forced at times, with some romances eventuating into lust and others out of necessity. For the amount of girl power and feminism in this series, having a happily ever after for every single female character out there felt rather unrealistic. I for one, would rather see Manon thrive with her Thirteen Ironteeth clan, than take a tumble in the sheets. The book is overpowered by sex scenes, with the advancement of plot as a secondary afterthought.
Speaking of the ships, every single character here is straight, white, attractive and overwhelmingly so. As a fantasy book, it wouldn’t be hard pressed to at least add a bit of diversity (even though I acknowledge the attempt to address this with Aedion).
“She must be a rare, staggering beauty to make you so faithful.”
Overall, Empire of Storms sent my senses reeling and my thoughts into overdrive. I’m an emotional wreck after reading it and it’d take a while to recollect my thoughts on the book. While it was overpowered by sex scenes and romance, I just loved the installment into my favourite cast of badass characters. Despite the heavy romance and smut in this installment, there were so many legendary moments that will forever define these characters. I will never forget Manon and her defiance against everything that she’s ever lead to believe in. I will never forget Lysandra and the sacrifices she continues to make for her queen. I will never forget Elide, pulling herself to full height even as a cripple, and passing off as the most powerful of witches. And I will never forget Aelin, for everything that she’s endured and machinated for Terrasen.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thanks Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!