Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas is the fifth installment in the Bestselling, YA Throne of Glass series!
This review contains a lot of SPOILERS!
“The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. 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.
With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.“
I just finished this book, and I have no idea where to begin.
If you’ve read this one already, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. The last 100 pages were devastating, full of so much sacrifice and broken characters to the point where I was left shook and broken myself.
I don’t know if there has ever been a single book that has left me in such a shape as this one has. Kingdom of Ash, I hope you get me out of this hole Sarah J. Maas just left me and all her characters to lie in, dormant for the next two weeks.
But where to begin with this review..
This is a book about history, sacrifice, and love.
If you love the steamy romance that Sarah is known for writing in the ACOTAR series, this book will definitely satisfy those cravings. Not only does Aelin and Rowan’s relationship grow to new heights, but we also get Dorian and Manon (I loved their reactions towards each other, super snarky), Lysandra and Aedion, and finally, Lorcan and Elide (which peaked once the whole ending went to pieces).
This is the part of the series where everything comes together and you can’t help but become completely captivated by. There were so many times that I found myself remembering the small actions in the beginning books (especially from The Assassin’s Blade) that start to make perfect sense in the giant scheme of things.
Such as the bits with Nehemiah and how she knew exactly what was going to happen with Aelin. And the parts with Ansel and Ilias. Those backstories were some of my favorite surprising additions to this book’s plot.
“I like this office far better than your other one, Rolfe.”
– Aelin, pg 238
Aelin is going to be the character that will continue to surprise us even after she is gone. I mean, that ending left me shook with how cunning and resourceful she has been in the planning for Terrasen’s army and ultimate future. And how she only includes people that are necessities for the larger picture in her plans is annoying, mostly for the characters, but also exciting for us readers as we can never know what’s around the corner.
“..one does not deal with Celaena Sardothien. One survives her.”
– Dorian, pg 241
So let’s talk about the characters.
Elide’s journey from being a crippled locked in a tower to the determined, strong woman that she becomes was empowering to read. I liked how she wasn’t just some helpless victim. She embraced her physical instabilities and was able completely overcome them and power through to her rightful Queen. And once Lorcan showed up in the picture, I had an itching that something was going to happen between them down the road. And boy, did they not disappoint.
Lorcan. The man who brings down the Queen without even knowing it. The stubborn, heartless man who softens as he sees the young girl in front of him turns into the beast that conquers his soul. I was rooting for them since day one, but that ending made me emotionally confused with him. Should I see his mistake as the punishment or the fact that Elide can’t look at him as punishment enough?
“I wanted to go to Perranth with you.”
– Lorcan, pg 537
Dorian seems to be the quiet character in this book. We don’t get to hear much from him, but when we do, he leaves us wanting more. And his late-night ploys with Manon are no exception. His demeanor has become super strict. He is done with human women and is going after someone he knows could destroy him. It’s hard to find the right words for how I see him. He’s just one of those characters that is so fed up with everything that he doesn’t care what happens and takes tremendous risks in his actions. And honestly, I think he’s one of the few people that will size up and talk back to Aelin. I kind of like it.
I absolutely love Manon. She’s still the brutal character that took huge risks in saving Asterion. She seems like the cold-hearted killer portrayed by the witches but inside, she has a warm heart when in comes to doing what’s right. Her strength against her grandmother and discovering her true identity was enough to shatter anyone’s livelihood, but not hers. I had no doubt she was going to eventually team up with the ‘good’ side.
“Two queens, who might control either half of this continent, two sides of one coin. Both half-breeds.”
– Fenrys, pg 503
But I did not realize that she was going to have such an impact with the Wyrdkeys and the ultimate plan to destroy Erawan. It really reminds me of Neville’s part in the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Minus the clumsy personality and add iron teeth, nails, and a biting personality. Love her.
Lysandra’s devotion is impeccable. She is literally going to do everything she can for Aelin, including wear her skin. I did not see that coming. But when you think about it, it’s genius. Using her magic throughout the book saves so many people and will be the perfect step-in while Aelin is shoved in a box, about to have a really bad time.
Aedion is also a character that doesn’t do too much in EOS. Other than chiming in here are there, his main ploy involves his true father and the discovery that he may have a bit of a grudge against him still. But Lysandra is there to help him sort all that out. And speaking of his father, Gavriel and Fenrys’ involvement was another fun twist in events. It took me a while to realize that they were the Lion and Wolf discussed later in the story.
Rowan. The Fae warrior turned husband. Page 670 did nothing to settle my soul. I will tell you in all honesty that I had to stop reading after those four words. With everything leading up to that moment, I almost couldn’t finish it. But after a little breather, I continued on, and I will say that the story began to emerge from the darkness. There is hope.
“Where’s my wife?”
– Rowan, pg 670
And the romance. The sexual content is descriptive and may not be suitable for younger readers, but it definitely depends on the reader’s preferences and maturity. I will say that Sarah pulled a ton of stunts when it came to stringing out their relationship, increasing the suspence. It took halfway through and a ton of cliffhanger chapters for them to have their not-so-private moment.
Like I kind-of mentioned before, this book contains vast amounts of romance compared to the first four books. But once the wait is over, the steamy romance doesn’t disappoint.
There is just so much that I could discuss about Aelin. She continues to have that uniquely snarky personality that can put everyone else to shame. She is able to piece more puzzles together than the rest of the crew combined, and it allows us to have a small distance between us and her. Like with the characters, she keeps secrets that when uncovered, becomes the epic plot twists that we have come to expect from her. She is understanding her limitations as the Queen and the power she has come to show their world.
And not to mention that beginning with the Terrasen leaders. Could you believe that?!?
“As of this moment, until it is otherwise decided, you shall remain a princess by blood — but not queen.”
– Darrow, pg 60
But it’s her response that takes the cake! I re-read that paragraph at least three times.
“I will put my kingdom before my pride and not kill you for this.”
– Aelin, pg 72
Overall, so much happens in this book!
We learn more about this war all those years before Aelin. There is so much more than just her attempting to take down the darkness that is Erawan. This is almost a prophesied moment for them all, and her task with the Lock and keys are hers to sacrifice over as she breaks so many hearts along the way.
Her power rages on now that magic has been restored to the country. Dark creatures arise and there are even some moderately gruesome moments when the Ilken fly into town. This book is jam-packed with fights, swords, and tons of powerful magic! It felt like the entire plot was just them all running away from a new enemy, but none of it was boring to read. In fact, I had to stop myself from reading last night because it was already 2 in the morning!
The ending left me speechless to the point where I had to walk away from the world for a little bit. I felt drained, hopeless, and heart-broken.
So much goes on that you’re left on edge page after page, and the next thing you know, you’re staring across the room with the same blank-stare that Rowan just had on the beach.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I thought ACOMAF was going to be my absolute favorite book I’ve read (besides Harry Potter of course), but I really think with the emotions I felt with this writing and rawness of the characters, that this surpasses that jaw-dropping novel.
I am not kidding you. This book is that good. I have no clue how Kingdom of Ash will commence, but as soon as it is in my hands on October 25th, I’ll be up ALL night reading it.
But you may be saying the book releases on October 23rd? Yes it does, BUT I was, thankfully, able to grab tickets to Sarah’s Kingdom of Ash tour event at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL! I have met this incredible author once before, but this time, I can finally say that I’ll be 100% caught up with this series.
And I know what you may also be thinking. There’s still Tower of Dawn to get through. And yes, I will be needing a mini break from this series after that mental-breakdown of a book. But, I truly am excited to get back into their world and see what Chaol has been up to!
Now that is a story that I have no clue how it’ll go down.
Published: 6 September 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Romance
How I Read It: Hardcover
The re-read for the series is finally over!
Are you ready for Kingdom of Ash?? Because I am! Well, at least, I hope so because Empire of Storms was a breath-taking, emotionally shattering story full of epic twists and tons of fire!
Have you read my other reviews?
- The Assassin’s Blade (#0.1-0.5)
- Throne of Glass (#1)
- Crown of Midnight (#2)
- Heir of Fire (#3)
- Queen of Shadows (#4)
If you enjoyed reading along with me, feel free to leave your comments below! What were your favorite parts of this book?
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Until next time..