Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: 6th September 2016
“This thing between them, the force of it, could devour the world. And if they picked it, picked them, it might very well cause the end of it.”
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 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.
We all know by now that I LOVE this series and Sarah J. Maas, and this book was certainly no exception. However, I am going to be completely honest in this review, and say that it took me a little while to buy into this instalment. I wasn’t as excited about the release of EoS as I have been about the previous books, and Queen of Shadows left me quite a bit dissatisfied, so my hopes weren’t super high. But once I got really into it, I was so blown away, that it nearly beat Heir of Fire as my favourite in the series. Nearly!
I loved the plot of this fifth instalment (how are we at book five already!!??). It had very much of a Lord of the Rings vibe to it, which was brilliant. There was a lot of wandering around, but because I love these characters so much, they weren’t dull to read. And when the action really starts, it is so intense and satisfying! The pace is quite slow in the first half, but it feels necessary for the large range of perspectives, characters and locations involved.
The characters have grown so much throughout the series: Aelin through her confidence and assurance of her self and her role in this war, Rowan through his love for Aelin, Dorian as a result of the events of the previous two books. But I also appreciated that the side characters had as much of a story as the main ones. In fact, I felt that this story was mostly told by those side characters, and the main ones had far less page time than I would have expected. But I strangely liked it that way. I actually started to get a little bored when Aelin’s or Rowan’s scenes came in the earlier parts of the book, and found myself longing to read about Elide and Lorcan and Manon. But when the storylines converge, it is just magical!
Relationships abounded in this book, and without wanting to spoil anything, I’ll just say: some were good, some were not. Some I was really rooting for, and some felt kind of forced to me. It did seem a little like this book was just some kind of dating show for a while! But most of them worked, and Sarah’s romances are some of my favourites of all time, and part of why I love her books so much, so I’m not complaining! Also, just to warn younger readers, this book has more mature content than previous books. We’re not talking ACOTAR level, but it’s still there. I personally found it mostly unnecessary, and forced, and there seemed to be a weird blend of detailed description and glossing over it, that just ended up a bit awkward and uncomfortable. But it is only quite short, and you won’t miss anything if you skip it.
There were a lot of emotional moments in this book, and I was brought close to tears a few times! I’m so glad that this book made me feel really connected to this series again, after Queen of Shadows, which didn’t really make me feel anything. I’m hoping that the improvement in this book is a promising hope for an amazing finale. Although I am really highly anticipating what will happen in the end, I feel that I can wait that year, if only to prolong the inevitable goodbye to possibly my favourite series ever; one that I have spent the last four years reading and waiting for. I have so many hopes and expectations, but the ending of EoS sets up some very interesting potential plot lines and dynamics for book six, and I know I am going to be eagerly awaiting every little bit of news and every reveal, in the months to come!