Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Mass
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Published: September 6th, 2016
Empire of Storms is the 5th book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Mass in case you were unaware. If you have yet to pick up this series please click away or read another one of my posts! A lot has happened since the first book, Throne of Glass, and I don’t want to ruin anything for you. Come back once you’ve read the rest of the series!
Are you gone? Good! I hope so because I’m about to spoil the end of Queen of Shadows.
So a LOT happened at the end of the fourth book. Dorian kills his father and becomes King. Magic is released back into the world. Aelin is a badass and makes her presence known. Chaol is paralyzed. Elide escapes. Manon takes her first stand against her grandmother. Kaltain blows up the mountains of Morath sacrificing herself! It was a lot to process, but a good place to leave off as Aelin and her court set off on their journey back to Terrasen.
Empire of Storms picks off exactly where Queen of Shadows lets off. It follows Aelin’s journey to claim her birthright as Queen of Terrasen, which is only just beginning, and defeat Erawan and the Valg. We get the aftermath of what happens in Morath and Adarlan, and also see Elide out on her own.
I felt like I was on a journey reading this book. Not only because it was so long, but because of the subject matter. It seems the journey never ends for Aelin Galathynius. There were good times, bad times, and oh my dear Jesus what is happening times! While I enjoyed reading the book and getting back into the Throne of Glass world, I did have some issues with it. I thought the pacing could have been better. One major character was absent through the action. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the focus on romantic relationships. While I enjoyed some of it, I wished that there was more character development outside of these romances. I will go more into detail on some of these issues below in the spoiler section.
These things aside, this book was definitely packed with adventure, exciting moments, and lots of fun. Overall, I do not think it is my favorite book in the Throne of Glass series but I enjoyed reading it. It definitely sets the series up for an epic finale. One that I cannot wait to read.
Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Please do not continue reading unless you have read the book.
You have been warned.
It’s hard to really to talk about this book without spoiling it as so much happens. SO MUCH! I’m going to sort of list things that I liked, things I didn’t like, and things I just need to talk about. So let’s get into it folks.
Things I Liked
Okay, so I’m going to start with the first thing in my notes which is the SEA BATTLE! It was just so intense and brought me to the edge of my reading seat. I liked how at first the reader is led to believe that this will be a quick and easy battle. Over within minutes. After all we have Aelin, Rowan, two Fae Warriors, Aedion, Dorian and his raw magic, Lysandra as a sea monster, and Rolfe’s ships backing them up. Surely our team has got this in the bag?
As soon as the battle starts things go horribly, horribly wrong. I mean Aelin gets possessed by a Goddess, almost destroys Skulls Bay, and then Lysandra, in sea dragon form, goes up against the sea wyvrens. This battle was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Honestly, thought we were going to lose Lysandra there. Sarah did an excellent job at building tension and I thought that this specific battle was executed so well. I’m excited to see what kind of insane battles she gives us in the following book.
Next I have to talk about Manon, because my other two favorite moments of this book were related to her. When Manon was first introduced I was not sure how I felt about her. Her morals were not something I related too or agreed with. She was presented as an evil character/antagonist. That being said, it was interesting to see her perspective on the world. Now after seeing her character develop into what it is, she is my favorite character. I loved her in Queen of Shadows, and even more here. I was screaming when she stuck up to her grandmother for Astrid, her second. It showed how loyal she is to the people she cares about.
We also see Manon for the first time on her own without the Thirteen by her side. I wish we got more of her inner monologue on this hardship, along with her qualms with being the Croactian Queen (Did any of you see this coming? I certainly did not!). Separating her from her team just made the scenes of her reuniting with Elide and the Thirteen that much more meaningful. I also screamed when the Thirteen came back to save the day! Might even call it the best moment, it was everything.
Another character’s perspective I really enjoyed was Elide’s. I loved seeing her out in the world trying to find Aelin. While she spends most of the book traveling across the continent, I think Sarah does a great job at showing how smart and quick witted Elide is. It is even further exemplified when Lorcan teams up with her. Sure he keeps them alive when they are attacked, but she is the brains behind everything. Yes, Lorcan would have eventually found Aelin on his own right, but Elide is the reason they succeed on most of their journey. She makes the right decisions and puts them on the right path. Together they make a perfect team which is why the romance that builds between them is adorable. If you told me that they would be a couple after Queen of Shadows, I would be like “What the hell, um no.” Seeing it play out as it did, I am a fan. Honestly, probably my favorite romantic relationship in book.
It was also really cool to see the story lines of many of our POV characters (Manon, Elide, Aelin, etc.) converge. There has been some overlap between a few story lines, but Empire of Storms finally puts almost everyone together in the same place at the same time. It was cool to see them all finally together even if only for a short time. Sarah you cruel, cruel person! However, this leads me to one of things I didn’t like about the book. The absence of Chaol.
Things That I Wasn’t About
CHAOL (and Nesryn) WHERE WERE YOU! Chaol was never my favorite character, that being said he was always important and a central character in the series. It’s sad we do not get to see him at all in this book. The excuse Sarah gives us is that he is off getting healed after getting seriously wounded in Queen of Shadows. Maybe it was hard fitting in his story line with all the others or she felt it would be too much. However, a good chunk of the middle dragged for me. She could have taken out some of boring parts and put his story line in. It was just weird having him briefly mentioned in Dorian’s perspective and not really knowing what happened to him. Also, there is a random line at the end from either Aedion or Dorian about how Chaol’s going to rally troops in the south or something and it sort of comes out of nowhere. I understand that there will be a novella released following Chaol’s story, but wish he was included in this book. I especially wish he converged with the rest of our main characters before Sarah split them all up again. With the last book around the corner, I’m unsure if we will get another instance with them all together again and the scene where they all converged would have been that much more epic with him included.
As I mentioned earlier, the other thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was the pacing. The beginning and end were so exciting and interesting, that the middle part of the book really dragged for me. I understand that there can’t be action all the time but I wish there was more substance aside from developing the romantic relationships of our characters. Maybe this is because I’m not a huge fan of Aelin and Rowan as a couple, but I found some of their scenes boring. I wish there were more scenes developing the non-romantic relationships/friendships of our gang or character development outside of these romances. I would have loved more thoughts on Manon’s identity crisis or seen Aelin and Lysander having a heart to heart to foreshadow their big plan later. Aelin is an unreliable narrator in this book when we see things from her perspective. While the end had impact, it would have been way more devastating had there been more scenes between her and other characters that weren’t Rowan.
Something new that Empire of Storms brought to the table was the plot line about the Gods and Goddesses also being trapped in this realm. We learn that Mala sacrificed herself so they could make this lock to not only get rid of Erawan but also send the Gods back to their home. Elena misuses the lock’s power, not knowing it’s true purpose, and accidentally throws away their trip home. The Gods are pissed. Basically, another person from Mala’s bloodline has to take this lock and the keys so that they can sacrifice themselves to send the Gods home. As part of the deal the Gods are going to take Erawan and the Valg with them. Aelin is that person, “The Queen That Was Promised.” Dorian is also a candidate but Elena has put her stock in Aelin because she of her fire, of course. I’m not sure how I feel about this development.
First of all, hasn’t Aelin been through enough? She went through the slave mines, has to deal with all of this Valg shit, cannot claim her throne because Terrasan’s lords don’t want her, and so much more. Now she gets captured by Maeve, and then we learn that once she gets out of that mess (which we know/pray that she will) she has to sacrifice herself to save the world and give the Gods what they want! Sarah you can’t throw our main girl any slack?
On the other hand, the gods have always been in the background of the story so it’s kind of cool to see them brought to the forefront. Also it calls into question this idea of fate and Aelin’s destiny. I always think its interesting when a book talks about fate and if destiny is something you can defy. I’m not so sure if defying fate is at all possible here, but I’m interested to see Rowan, and the rest of the gang try. They all want Aelin to survive after everything she’s been through. Dorian could sacrifice himself as well, but I would just prefer if no one died. However, I know it is impossible to think that all of our characters will survive the next book.
It was surprising that we did not get a main/big character death in Empire of Storms. I thought Fenrys was a goner, but he pulled through. This can only mean we’re going to get a couple in the next book, right? It’d be nice if everyone survived but after that ending I don’t think Sarah is going to hold back. With everything that has been presented I feel like either Dorian or Aelin will die. I lean Dorian because at the moment he is in a dark place. He’s still not over Sorscha’s death nor his father’s. The Valg prince messed him up and I could see him using this sacrifice as a way to make all of his sins right. Of course I don’t want him to die or Aelin too for that matter. Part of me can also see Rowan finding some loophole to get away with sacrificing himself. I don’t know. At least one person is going to die though, I feel it. What do you think? Would love to here any predictions on what is going to happen in the next book whether it be character deaths, plot points, anything!
These are all of my thoughts on Empire of Storms. If you made it this far, I applaud you. Did you love this book? Did you not like it? Please share your thoughts and opinions down in the comments below. Would love to hear them!