Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – REVIEW
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 instalment of the New York Timesbestselling 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.
“A court that wouldn’t just change the world. It would start the world over.”
Reading this so soon after Queen of Shadows, the contrast in pacing was evident. Empire of Storms was much slower paced and, at times, I found it too slow. There were whole chapters where very little happened and characters seemed stuck in stasis. I felt it could have done with trimming down to enhance the pacing. However, the setting is as awe-inspiring as ever – Sarah J Maas certainly knows how to create a world that is both plausible and highly detailed. The downside of reading so many of Sarah J Maas’s books in one go is that I’ve found some of her language to be a bit repetitive. Instead of showing the reader why a character has a particular quality, it often seems like we are told it over and over again. This is just a really small niggle though and probably not noticeable when reading the books over a longer period of time.
“She was a force of nature. She was a calamity and a commander of immortal warriors of legend.”
The character growth in this book is nowhere more obvious than in Manon. She is definitely my favourite character alongside Abraxos and the Thirteen. Manon’s turmoil is clearly portrayed and her painful choices and discoveries are something she learns to embrace. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that I liked her relationship with Dorian, who has become a much more interesting character, especially when exploring his struggle with the consequences of his violation by the Valg Prince.
“The world,” Aelin said, “will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”
However, I still haven’t connected with Lorcan and I wonder if redemption is even possible for him at this point. Just because he loves Elide, doesn’t mean he gets a free pass for all his awful behaviour. Elide might not have magical powers but she demonstrates a strength of moral character that Lorcan lacks. Lysandra is another great female character and her friendship with Aelin is definitely a high point in the books. Aelin has matured so much compared to Throne of Glass. She demonstrates behaviour expected of a Queen and is willing to sacrifice herself for her kingdom. She’s still just as snarky though, which I love. I have also reconciled to her relationship with Rowan, mainly because of how much Aelin loves and respects him.
“Do not be afraid of what makes you shine brightly.”
My binge-read of this series has now come to an end and I can’t wait for the next book. The absence of Chaol in this book was a bonus for me so I’m not looking forward to Tower of Dawn unless Chaol turns out to have matured a lot. I would like to see his character become more likeable again so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the book is worthwhile. With the cliffhanger of this book, I’m eager for the next book focused on Aelin. I’ve really enjoyed this series, almost as much as the ACOTAR series, and would definitely recommend it to fantasy fans.
A bit too slow at times but promises great things to come.
About the Author
SARAH J. MAAS is the New York Timesbestselling author of the Throne of Glass series: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, and the series’ prequel, The Assassin’s Blade; and the Court of Thorns and Roses series: A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.