This post contains spoilers for the first four books (here’s my review of the first book, though)!
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?
First published: 2016
I’ve absolutely loved the Throne of Glass series ever since I started reading it in 2015 (bit late, I know), and in my opinion the series just kept getting better and better – although I know not everyone agrees with this. However, Empire of Storms is the first of these books that I’ve not given 5 stars too. *gasp* I know. It’s still gotten a solid 4,5 stars (technically 4 because of the lack of half stars on Goodreads *shakes fist*, but in my head it’s 4,5), but I didn’t wax as hysterically lyrical about this one as I did about Queen of Shadows. QoS gave me Harry Potter-like feels at the end, but EoS didn’t manage to do that for a couple of reasons.
I’ve got so much to say about this book that I’ve decided to just divide it in two sections and work with bullet points because otherwise this review is going to be a million words long and no one wants that. So, let’s get to the nitty gritty!
what I loved
- The main characters! I especially love all the women – they’re all so cool and badass and I finally really love Manon as well. In the earlier books I wasn’t really interested in her storyline – I could see she’d probably become important later on, and looked forward to that, but I was a bit impatient about her chapters. But now! I absolutely adored her in this book. And then there’s Lysandra; she’s definitely one of my favourites. Her shapeshifting ability is so cool and so useful to the story as well.
- The history and world building! We finally get to know more about Elena and Brannon and the major events that happened in Erilea ages ago. There’s such a rich history to the world, and I really loved all the exposition that happened in EoS. Although there were some things that disappointed me slightly, but we’ll get to that.
- The Fae! Those dudes are badass and cool and I love them.
- The magic! Aelin and Dorian together is like woah. Their magic takes on epic proportions and I love how Sarah J. Maas describes that – I was truly in awe. I would love to see Dorian’s magic be explored further, though, because to me his raw magic is even more fascinating than Aelin’s (which is also pretty cool).
- The villains! They are really scary and intimidating. I find Maeve especially interesting, though.
- The overall story! I love how everything is starting to come together, and some of the twists are really cool, although I have my doubts about others.
what I didn’t love
- The sex scenes BUT not because they were there but because they weren’t very good and made me snigger. I’ve seen a lot of people say that there shouldn’t be such descriptive sex scenes in a YA book series, but I don’t necessarily agree with that. When asked about it in an interview, Sarah J. Maas said something along the lines of “well, I think that if there’s so much blood and gore and violence, the characters might as well get lucky too.” And I 100% agree with this. Why be fine with all the graphic violence but not with sex? I don’t get that. That said, I thought the sex scenes were kind of ridiculous in their lack of realism. It all went a little too smoothly.
- The pairing off. It all just fits a little too perfectly with all of those couples or couples-to-be. Also; very heteronormative. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading about those romances, but it did made me sigh and roll my eyes. It’s just too easy and safe.
- The fate thing. I’m not going to say a lot about this because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but fate turns out to play a large role in things, which makes some of the experiences Aelin and others have seem of less value and a bit pointless.
- The huge reveals. Although I did like a lot of the twists, near the end of the book I started to get a bit weary of the huge reveals. Basically what kept happening was that something huge happens and it is revealed that Aelin’s been planning it in intricate detail for ages without telling anyone about it and then it all falls into place. They say “show, don’t tell”, but these reveals really felt like telling instead of showing. It seemed a little easy at times, and also made me feel a bit disconnected from Aelin as a main character. Plus, Aelin must be an absolute genius because how on earth does she manage to pull off all of those plans?
That ends things on a bit of a negative note, but all in all I did really like Empire of Storms! It just wasn’t as good as the previous books, I think, mainly due to the last two points on my “what I didn’t love”-list. I’m definitely looking forward to the sixth (and last!) book, though, and this is still one of my favourite series ever. Plus, the end of the book absolutely blew my mind – I need to know what happens next!
8 thoughts on “Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #5)”
I understand what you’re saying about the sex scenes and the violence – but I thought there was too much violence as well. 😀 Maybe not in this book, exactly (though it IS pretty bloody), but Queen of Shadows was super gory. I don’t know, these just read like NA to me since Heir of Fire and I’m not sure I like it. And yeah, I definitely sniggered at the sex scenes, too – they just threw me out of the story. I mean, they MELTED SAND with the force of their passion. *sigh*
And yes to the huge reveals thing – I felt like we were being whipped back and forth: look at THIS big plan – no, look at THIS one, it’s greater! I wonder how it will all fall together for the final part.
That I totally get! I just don’t understand the people who are completely fine or even positive about all the violence and then cringe away from the sex, saying that is not suitable for a YA audience. But I can definitely see why you would classify it as NA – I think I agree with that classification, too. The series has very visibly matured, and while I don’t mind the change in tone and atmosphere, I do understand why other people are a bit disappointed by that. 🙂
Exactly! I also think it felt a little as if the real plot is going on behind the scenes and we, as well as everyone who’s not Aelin, are just presented with something to pass the time with until another one of Aelin’s reveals. Not that I don’t like the story we do get, but I felt like the reveals undermined a lot of the experiences they just went through.
Thanks for your comment! 😀
Ahhh I totally agree with you; I actually gave this 3 stars because the negatives just really drove me up the wall. The pairing off, the lack of diversity, the “sex scenes” for exactly the reasons you mentioned, the fate thing. Also I missed Chaol. And yeah, I’m not a fan of characters going “Haha I planned this all along, look how perfectly it fits!” It feels a bit cheap. But I did really enjoy getting to know more about certain characters, the magic, and I super loved the history and worldbuilding. Book 6 is going to be bananas!
I’m so looking forward to book 6! Sarah J Maas has been referring to it as Chaol’s story, so that should be fun! 😀
I haven’t read this book yet (so thanks for the spoiler free review) but I had a feeling everyone was going to be paired off nicely – and I don’t think its something I would like either. However I have always loved Mannon’s storyline so glad to hear she plays a big part in this book 🙂 Cant wait to read it myself – despite a couple of issues it still sounds pretty epic 🙂
I’m extraordinarily late with my reply, sorry! Have you read the book in the meantime? 🙂