Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

empire-of-stormsBook: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Author: Sarah J Maas

I was a little nervous about Empire of Storms after Queen of Shadows because I didn’t love Queen of Shadows and was worried that I wouldn’t like Empire of Storms much either. Luckily I was wrong, Empire of Storms was amazing (I mean soul-destroying, heart ripping out sad but still amazing) and I loved it almost as much as I loved Heir of Fire. It still took me a while to get through but this time it was simply because the book was so long rather than there being long dragging parts that I got bored by! Queen of Shadows felt a little off to me in terms of the characters, I think because it was the transition book, the first book where Aelin is Aelin and not Celaena, and there were lots of new characters introduced and everything was changing. In Empire of Storms the characters felt a lot more natural and so did the plot, it seemed to flow better, rather than being centred round two major events with a lot of planning and build-up in between, there was lots of stuff happening in Empire of Storms and it felt so much better paced. Here is a synopsis of the book:
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 who 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? 

The first thing I have to say about this book was that the opening was really pretty. I didn’t quite get why SJM chose that opening as it didn’t seem to have anything to do with what had been happening in QOS or any of the main characters for that matter, but later in the book it becomes clearer as to why SJM chose this particular opening and I think it works really well for setting up later events of the book.

SJM’s writing was beautiful as always, although I couldn’t help but notice there were more spelling and grammar errors than usual (because I usually don’t notice any). I guess it’s more of an editing thing, but it just jarred me a little when I spotted them.

There were lots of ships in this book, quite a bit of romance and whilst I don’t usually love romance, I’ve come to expect it in SJM books and I did love some of the ships, so it didn’t bug me as much as it sometimes does. I wasn’t expecting to like Dorian/Manon because I found the hints to it a little weird in QOS but I actually really shipped them in this book. I’m not even sure why, I just liked their dynamic (plus there was a very steamy scene with them that I actually liked, which is unusual for me!). I also really loved Lysandra and Aedion, there was a nice romantic vibe between the two of them without the need for anything sexual and I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship develops in the next book particularly with what happened at the end of Empire of Storms. I still don’t love Rowaelin but I’ve come to accept that they are here to stay.Elide/Lorcan was a very unexpected ship and I’m not sure where I stand on it. On the one hand, Lorcan is kind of an ass and does some despicable things, but yet he and Elide do have some cute scenes (and they have an OUAT reference!). The jury’s still out on this one, because I keep swinging back and forth as to whether I like Lorcan or not. We’ll see where it goes in book six.  I have to admit, I will never understand SJM’s obsession to pair up all of her characters, but hey, to each their own.

I still love Dorian and it was great to see his magic developing in this book and seeing him start to gain some control over it. I also liked that SJM didn’t just brush over what happened to him in the last book because it was a traumatic experience (and it was really interesting to hear Sarah talk about this at her event) and obviously it was going to leave a mark on him. It was nice to see Dorian playing more of a role in this book though after he kind of took a backseat in QOS. It’s amazing to me how much he and all of the other characters have grown over the course of the books, comparing Dorian in EOS to Throne of Glass, they’re like two different people! It was interesting to see him interact with Rowan as well since we haven’t really seen that all that much up until now.

I have to talk about Manon simply because she’s so freaking awesome in this book. She has some incredible scenes and more is revealed about her backstory that makes her even more awesome than she was before. It was also really cool to see how she interacted with Aelin, Rowan, Aedion, Dorian and Lysandra, since aside from Aelin, and Dorian to some extent, those dynamics have never really been explored and it feels like everyone’s storylines are finally coming together now. I feel like Manon really came into her own and shone in this book which was great to see. Manon also did something that I’d wanted her to do for a long time and all the way through this particular scene, I was screaming in my head something along the lines of “you go girl!” which Manon would totally have disapproved of but I don’t care but it was awesome. (You can totally tell I’m a Manon fangirl can’t you? I don’t even care though, SJM is a Manon fangirl too, so I’m clearly in a great club!).  I also still really love Abraxos and think his relationship with Manon is adorable. If I was being really picky, I might have liked a little more of the Thirteen because I really love them, the girl power dynamic is incredible but what we did have of the Thirteen was awesome, so I can’t complain too much, plus the balance between the different stories in this book was pretty good anyway, so maybe more of the Thirteen might have messed it up.

I liked Aelin so much better in this book, in QOS she was basically just a complete bitch and was fawning over Rowan all the time whereas here, she’s back to being the cheeky, arrogant, badass girl that we knew from before without the vindictive streak that she shows in QOS. She did have some crazy moments when she did some stupid things but I’ve come to enjoy those because they nearly always lead to a great fight!

I am very torn about Rowan. On the one hand he does some very cute things for Aelin and you can see how much he cares for her, but on the other hand, he’s incredibly possessive and it scares me slightly. I think that’s why I prefer Aedion, whilst he wants to protect Lysandra, he doesn’t seem quite as forceful with it as Rowan and he also seems more cheeky and laid back than Rowan. But anyway, I think Rowan’s possessiveness is part of the reason why I don’t like Rowan and Aelin’s relationship (since my friend pointed out to me the whole age difference thing is kind of hypocritical since I do like Manon and Dorian and I think their age difference is worse!) because it just doesn’t seem healthy to me. I did appreciate that there was less of the horny teenager nonsense in this book than there was in the last book, although I will say that there is still too much focus on sex, even when it’s not happening, half the characters seem to be thinking about it. These characters have so much more important things to be thinking about than sex! (mini rant over I promise). I did love SJM’s acknowledgement of the insanely large number of attractive characters in her cast though through a line that Dorian said, that was good, but I would appreciate it if half the characters weren’t trying to undress the other half with their eyes most of the time. That would be nice.

Can I just talk about Elide for a moment? I freaking love Elide! Elide is awesome. I liked her in QOS but EOS took her character to just a whole new level. She was so smart and kind and I loved how she stood up for herself with Lorcan and showed everyone who might have forgotten about her that she was worth something. I feel like she’s grown in confidence so much from QOS to this book and I can’t wait to see her character growth in the last book.

I liked that there was more humour in this book, Aelin’s always had some great sarcastic lines, but QOS just felt so bleak and so serious and whilst EOS is also pretty bleak, there were some much needed injections of humour into it, some great one liners and funny moments. I particularly loved the scene where Aelin returns to Skull’s Bay to try and get Rolfe to ally with her, it’s just s so trademark Celaena Sardothien and I laughed so hard!

Speaking of Rolfe, I loved that we got to see more familiar faces return in this book, especially a certain character who I’m not going to name because I want you to be as surprised as I was, as I was hoping we’d get to see her in the main Throne of Glass novels. I will say though if you haven’t read The Assassin’s Blade before this book then you should because otherwise this book will be all kinds of confusing.

There were so many great action scenes in this book particularly towards the end and I loved that because well, I just love a good action scene. Plus Lysandra is awesome in all of them. Can we take a second to talk about how awesome Lysandra is? I love Lysandra! She can turn into a freakin’ dragon! If she does not make it out of this series alive I will be so angry (same for Manon, Dorian, Aelin, Aedion, Elide) because I love her so much, her character has gone from being one of my least favourites (Assassin’s Blade) to most.

There was no Chaol at all in this book, which I didn’t think I’d be sad about because I never really liked him, but I did notice his absence and kind of missed him, I guess? I don’t think having him in this book would have worked though, it wouldn’t have fitted with the story, so I think SJM made the right choice not to include him and I’m sure he’ll be back in the final book.

I loved that we got to find out more about Elena this book, that was something I wasn’t expecting and I thought it was really clever how Maas tied her back into the books. I don’t really like her, for reasons that will become clear when you read this book, but I appreciated that she was there and her role is going to make for a very interesting finale.

I loved that we finally after five books got to see Eyllwe but I wish we could have seen more of it, since because a lot of this book happens at sea, you don’t really see all that much of it. I hope that maybe we might get to see a little more of it in book six?

There were some things that slightly confused me in this book, with Erawan (there’s a bit where he appears to Aelin, or he possesses someone to appear to Aelin and it’s all just a little confusing) and with something from QOS that didn’t quite fit with new information we learn in this book, although I’m sure that will probably make more sense in book six. Still it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book, so I didn’t mind the minor moments of confusion I had.

Finally the ending, oh my god, the ending. The ending killed me. That ending was painful. Possibly even more painful than Heir of Fire. I was not prepared for it. I am both dreading and looking forward to Book Six at the same time after that ending. There are things that I am interested to see how they work out, and whilst I don’t want this series to end, I am also really excited for its conclusion now! (Sorry that this review is insanely long and possibly incoherent but I have a lot of feelings!).

My Rating: 4/5

My next review will be of Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman and I should have that one up for you guys very soon!