Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Yes, 5 of 6.
Book Depository // Amazon // Dymocks // Booktopia
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Allen & Unwin/Bloomsbury Australia in exchange for an honest review.
Needless to say, after finishing Queen of Shadows last year, Empire of Storms became one of my most anticipated books of 2016. I was over the moon when I received it, and despite its hefty size, I devoured the entire thing in three days in between working full time. Currently, I am still reeling from the emotional punches the book delivered, but I will try my best to deliver a coherent review. This will be completely spoiler-free for Empire of Storms, but will contain spoilers for its prequels.
I keep coming back to this series time and again because Sarah J. Maas is the master of page-turning action and wringer of my heartstrings. Empire of Storms is no different, filled to the brim with engaging action, careful plot twist, and amplified emotional drama. I would highly recommend reading this book over a couple of days off, as I had troubles putting it down from beginning to end.
Empire of Storms is also the book where we begin to see Sarah J. Maas’s master plan for the series fall into place, with appearances from both old friends and foes. I had always felt that the first two books of the series were disparate in both tone and spirit, making me question the fluency of the series when viewed as a whole. With this book, the issue is resolved as the plot threads left all over the series begin to tie together. The intertwining of all the narrative arcs in this book was immensely satisfying, and made me want to reach to my shelf and reread the series again from the beginning.
While we got to see familiar and well-loved faces in Empire of Storm, the book also treats us to insights to characters previously left on the sideline. I have always marveled at Sarah J. Maas’s ability to quickly develop relationships, both romantic and platonic, that I become wholly invested in. There are times in this book where I was moved to tears by characters I formerly did not care for. With every book, I love the huge cast of character a little more – and I am already mourning that I will have to say good bye to everyone in 2017 whe the series concludes.
Following the fashion of the rest of the books in the series, Empire of Storms continue to follow a multitude of point of views – treating us to numerous perspective on Aelin’s perilous journey to rebuild her kingdom. The book felt more focused than its predecessors, being honed in on Aelin’s story in particular and taking little asides to other parts of the kingdom. Consequently, some of the previous regulars received little to no page-time in this novel. While I was disappointed by the disappearance of certain characters, I have a strong feeling that we will get to see the full cast in all of their glory in the final novel – and I am willing to be patient.
Aelin absolutely shines in this novel, I grow to love her more with every passing book. While she has matured and grown into a role as the Queen of Terrasen, she also retained that Sardothien swagger and sharp-tongue. What I enjoyed the most was seeing the relationships she has forged over the years, and the length she would go to in order to protect those she loves. Although she continues to develop into the kingdom’s most powerful wielder of magic, she still retains the vulnerabilities and humanity that made her so relatable from the beginning.
Love continues to be the dominant force that drives the series, alongside with Aelin’s momentous task. As such, we are treated to an array of budding and developing romance over the course of this novel. At times, I felt that some of the pairings were unnecessary – I personally believe that a character can be happy and whole even in the absence of romantic love. Regardless, I have my shipper’s hat firmly on for a certain new pairing, they became the source of both my joy and my tears for much of this book.
Don’t mistake the abundance of romance for saccharine and safety, though. War is at hand, and this book went to very dark places. It’s definitely the most brutal and bloody of the Throne of Glass series, with numerous scenes that left me in a panic for the fate of some beloved characters. Sarah J. Maas does not pull any punches here, and we are treated to the full brunt of every difficult decision, every single act of violence.
Speaking of tears, let me tell you that fans of the series will not emerge this novel unscathed. By the end of the book, the plot, the characters, and their individual relationships, had reeled me in so completely that I spent the entirety of Sunday dazed. Some part of me wished that I discovered the series after it finished, so I would not have to deal with waiting in agony for September 2017. For now, I will content myself with rereading everything.
If you’ve read the Empire of Storms, please be mindful about posting spoilers when you’re commenting on my blog. I want everyone to be able to enjoy it at their own pace!
18 thoughts on “Book Review: Empire of Storms”
ahhh I’m so excited to read it. My pre-order just got shipped out today.
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I hope you’ll enjoy it!!
Gaaaaaah, this boooook! I’ve only picked it up two hours ago and the ONLY thing that could have induced me to put it down is, in fact, A NON-SPOILERY FANGIRLY REVIEW OF IT – just to make sure my current impressions are on point. And, y’know, my ever-constant fear that EVERYONE IS DOOMED at times. (Whoever said reading was a leisurely activity? THIS IS STRESSFUL!)
Also, I’ve never met anyone who (ALSO!) thought the first two books were sort of disjointed and discordant in terms of tone and pacing compared to the rest of it. I’m just so gratified to see it all pay off in SUUUUUUCH A MAJOR WAY now. ❤ The world has expanded so much, and now it's finally sort of circling back to that inception to bring it all together.
And with every new book, it's walloping me over the head more and more the PHRASING, the carefully-selected words, the way every sentence both propels the story onward (so it's not surplus and it doesn't feel like filler), but it as the same time so intricately crafted and beautiful and powerful. You know? It isn't just that amazing things are happening, it's that they're amazingly portrayed, too. As half the fandom implodes over ship wars, random accusations and nonsense, here I am, in awe of Sarah J. Maas and hunting for allies. ❤
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I think SJM gets more flak than she deserves just because the fandom size is so huge. I enjoy that this series is so female centric – sure, a lot of YA are, but this one in particular deliberately sidelines the male characters so many times to give its ladies the limelight. It’s definitely something I don’t see too often, even in YA. I do have a lot of problems with the series, but I enjoy the pacing and the way she captures my emotions a lot. I think the books are getting better in terms of cohesion, flow, and writing as well, I really did not enjoy the first book at all.
I only read the first book of the series and wasn’t really that impressed. It was really good–but the romance put me off of it so much I ended up giving it 3 stars. Reading your review makes me want to continue the series now because if it gets better with the later books then yes I am willing to give it another try!
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I really hated Throne of Glass hahahaha, but trust me it gets better.
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I’ve been apprehensive but excited to start this book, so I’m happy to see such a high rating. My copy comes today! Great review 😊
Oh wowowoow you’re review says so much about the book without revealing anything at all! I officially consider myself pumped to read Empire of Storms! I know what you mean about the first 2 books in the series feeling a bit like a seperate entity and I’m so glad to see someone who feels the same that the series is improving. I know many people who prefer the first 2 books to the most recent installments but I’m the total oposite – Queen of Shadows had me from a casual reader to a rabid fan. There was something about the darkness and the epic twists about the QOS that felt like a total game changer to me.
Fantastic review ❤
I skimmed your review because I’m too afraid of spoilers (I haven’t read it yet) but I can tell that you loved it and I’m so glad! I love this series so much and I don’t know if I could bear it if it turned out to be a not-so-stellar book. I can’t wait to read it!
Brilliant, brilliant review. I can’t wait to see the reappearances of characters from the earlier books, because they were so memorable and well drawn. And its always awesome to see how previous throwaway comments and plot threads are all pulled together – it speaks to really careful plotting and planning. I do feel sorry for the author, she’s catching a lot of hate by disappointed shippers, but I think it cheapens the series to reduce it solely to its romantic angles. There’s a lot of incredible commentary on different kinds of female strength and friendship, which really stands out for me.
So glad you loved it!!! I think I might give up on this series because I was really not a fan of Heir of Fire, but I do love ACOTAR and ACOMAF. Sarah J. Maas is basically a goddess.
Just received the audiobook copy to review today! Can’t wait to dive in.
Oh, seriously! I need to get my hands on this one real soon or I think I’m gonna go crazy!
Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG
I am sooo excited for this book! I haven’t read it yet but now that it’s out I can finally buy it and get to it 😀
I’ve only skimmed your review because I’m weird and don’t like to read reviews of books I want to read but haven’t read yet. It sounds like it’s just as amazing as the rest of the series! This series has been getting better and better with each book though, each book is such a page turner so I think I’ll have to start reading this over the weekend instead lol.
Glad to hear it’s just as amazing!
Jordon @ Simply Adrift
Yes, yes 1000000000 times yes. I completely agree with your assessment of Empire of Storms. I hope you’re thinking of the same pairing I am because they were such a source of glee and smiles for me until the end. I regret finishing it as well for the sheer fact that it hurts and 2017 is not here yet. But damn if this wasn’t an incredible novel.
I haven’t read this series yet, but I’m getting curious with all this hype! 🙈 I might just wait to finish it because I started ACOTAR and am dying for the final book. 😆
I just finished reading this book, and I was torn to bits as I finally pieced together everything Sarah J. Mass threw at us. I was halfway to tears for the last 75 pages and then I was just shattered. I have to say, I think this is really a masterpiece, and I don’t know how I’m going to survive a whole year without knowing the rest of the story. I know I’ll be broken because it’s the last book, but I already want to know how it turns out!