Empire of Storms Review: Should Be Called Empire of Ships, Amirite

September 16, 2016 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Empire of Storms Review: Should Be Called Empire of Ships, AmiriteEmpire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on September 6, 2016
Source: Publisher
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.

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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.”

epilogue

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

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Thanks Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!

Jeann-Sig

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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20 responses to “Empire of Storms Review: Should Be Called Empire of Ships, Amirite

  1. Katdence

    I totally agree with you! I want Manon to be an independent female character that doesn't need a man! We need to see more of these types of girls in these books. But I ship Elide and Lorcan sososososososososososososososso MUCH!

  2. Manon has my vote! I just finished this one and definitely agree with some of the issues. Although I absolutely love this series, I noticed that everyone was being paired off to the point where I almost didn't care about the individual romances anymore. I loved all the action though so it kind of made up for it, for me. My biggest issue was that the characters felt out of character sometimes. Especially with Aelin, I just felt distanced from her and what she was thinking, especially compared to previous books.
    My recent post Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

  3. I felt pretty much the same way. While I loved the overall storyline and my goodness MANON, I didn't particularly like that everyone needed a partner or love interest. It cheapened the romance and for some reason, Rowan really got on my nerves in this one too. I love Elide but the jury is still out on Lorcan. I do like them together though. I seem to enjoy the storylines of all the female characters in the TOG far more than the males, but I missed Chaol so much. I think seeing the sex scene and how intentionally funny it was made me miss him even more. The finale is going to be absolutely explosive, I can't wait for Manon's journey. Gosh I love her character! Brilliant review Jeann, so much more eloquaint than mine <3
    My recent post Empire of Storms

    • MANON ROCKS! Yeah, it definitely felt a bit sourced particularly with Aedion and Dorian/Manon as well. Yeah, the female characters are so strong and built up, I felt like the males got in the way in this one. LOL THAT SEX SCENE SAND IN MY PARTS AND ON FIRE YAAH. Thank you Kelly! Nonsense yours is always so well written!

  4. I already liked Elide, but this book made me appreciate her even more. That girl is tough and I love how she stood up against Lorcan.

    Oh, by the way, Aedion is bisexual! 🙂 So there is some sort of diversity there, but I definitely think there is room for more. I would love to see Manon with a girl, because for some reason she gives off that vibe to me? I don't ship here with Dorian, that's for sure..
    My recent post Maas Thirteen | Empire of storms blog tour.

    • I know, she was just so strong and resourceful despite being the least gifted! Yeah, I saw that but it was kind of a passing comment instead of something that was really given some meat. I wouldn't mind seeing that with Manon too!

    • Oh my gosh Kimba, you're reminding me of my dilemma with cursed child lol. I should read that soon actually. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this one~

  5. Andria Buchanan

    I'm going to quietly admit that I haven't read any of these since the first one. But I think I might go ahead and binge read them now because I'm intrigued.

  6. Great review Jeann – you pretty much addressed everything!! I did miss my Aelin moments but I have to say Elide's journey was extraordinary. She gives us all hope that ordinary people can do amazing things!! I know what you mean by the sex scenes. It was a ship book but I did see Lysandra's coming from the end of Queen of Shadows. Love the review Jeann!!
    My recent post Empire of Storms || Sarah J Maas (Spoiler Free)

    • Yeah, Elide was the real standout in this book, I thought she has come so far from the meek crippled girl in the previous books! Lysandra, wow. Thank you Faith!

  7. Pili

    I agree that this is a book of ships and that at some point it felt a bit forced, but for me it was mostly in the beginning of Elide & Lorcan (mostly because I cannot stand Lorcan, even if I like him a bit more now because of Elorcan) even if somehow SJM managed to make me cheer for me in the end. I was a big shipper of Manorian & Lysaedion myself, so seeing those 4 progressing made me really happy!

    All the POVs worked pretty well for me because it gave us so much more detail into the action and the progress of plot & story. My one complain was simply #WhereIsChaol! I know his POV and situation might have been so different, but I wanted to hear from him!

    And Elide, I agree with you 100%!! I adore Elide and she's grown to be one of my absolute fave characters in the series. She's simply amazing!
    My recent post Vicarious by Paula Stokes Nerd Blast: Review &amp; Giveaway!!!

    • Yessss I just loved how Elide and Lorcan took over the book with their development, cos I shipped them so hard towards the end! I missed Chaol so, so much.