Book: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
My Rating: 4 Stars
“But letting that glimmering, lovely light before him die out . . . In his ancient, bitter bones, he could not accept it. She had offered him a home.”
Empire of Storms, the 5th instalment in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, was a whirlwind of epicness, battles, romance, and attractive territorial fae warriors. I personally had no idea what to expect from this 700 page book, meaning that I was able to (for the most part) avoid spoilers as best as I could, which doesn’t usually happen. But there was the occasional direction of the storyline that I was able to guess right because of the amount of foreshadowing happening throughout the book. I had some problems with a few characters and at some points didn’t seem to enjoy Maas’s writing, finding her descriptions to be repetitive and just frustrating to get through. I surprisingly enjoyed and cared about the storylines of the side characters more than the main ones, which sadly means that I wasn’t really excited about the majority of the book as I kept trying to get through a number of chapters in order to get to the POVs of the minor characters I cared about.
EoS opened up its world in a way that we’ve never seen before. The world expanded right in front of our eyes as the main crew met up with old characters and visited a wide range of lands in order to plot and plan, ensuring that their side of the dark war, that’s inevitably coming, isn’t a fool’s task. All I can say is that I’m excited and a little frightened over what’s to come next in the final installment of the Throne of Glass series. It’s been a long journey, but there’s still a lot more epicness to come.
For the continuation of this review I will be talking about my spoiler thoughts and feels.
I think splitting this review up by ships is the best way to go because almost every character in EoS was matched up with someone…
Lorcan and Elide: I want to start off by saying that the highlight of this book for me was the Elide and Lorcan chapters. I had no idea before I began this book that I would be sailing on a new ship, but there I was from the very first chapter being excited at the possibility of these two characters getting together. I was loving the “we have to pretend we’re married trope, leading to the awkward sleeping arrangements trope” that Sarah included in their story. I was laughing at how Elide completely baffled Lorcan. He’s a 500 years old dark fae warrior who found himself impressed, surprised, and a little frightened by this teenage girl. I thought their little makeout session was great despite the uncomfortable location and atmosphere they were in, and when Elide sacrificed herself to save him… his reaction was so heartbreaking. Just the idea that Lorcan has probably never had anyone care for him, let alone sacrifice themselves for him, really made that scene so much more meaningful. It was definitely a defining moment in their relationship. Also, props to Sarah for including the difficulty of Elide getting her period because it was realistic and relatable!! And can we just talk about how Lorcan tore up his shirt for her to use as pads? He seriously reached a whole new level with that thoughtful gesture.
Aedion and Lysandra: I was rooting for these two to be a thing from QoS, and even though they still aren’t a couple in EoS, I don’t really mind because their relationship isn’t being rushed. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have some great moments throughout the book. I think one of my favourite parts of EoS overall was when Lysandra turned into a sea dragon at Skull’s Bay and battled all those sea-wyverns. That was completely epic! And Aedion was watching the whole time (as were everyone else) worried for her and pissed off at Aelin for putting her in that situation. Even that post-battle scene on the beach really stuck out to me. He waited there with her for hours until she had enough strength and energy to shift back into her human form. I really hope that their relationship strengthens in the last book and that Aedion puts aside his anger towards her so that they could work as a team. They had similar pasts, and I think they really need each other (even as just a friend) to be able to heal and move past the scars they possess.
Dorian and Manon: Where do I even begin? I was so excited about what was going to happen between these two from the moment I read their first meeting in QoS. They were honestly the least likely characters to get together in my mind, but that obviously changed. Now I’m not sure at this point where their relationship is headed. Being in a romantic relationship doesn’t really seem like Manon’s thing… But she’s had so much character development over the last 3 books that anything is possible at this point. It’s guaranteed that she and Dorian are lusting for one another though. I must admit, I honestly never liked Dorian from books 1-4. I didn’t understand the hype surrounding his character, but EoS somehow changed that for me. I absolutely love him now. He’s just a precious and powerful cinnamon roll and he needs to be protected at all costs. On the topic of Manon, I don’t think I’ve ever went through several emotions at once than when Astrin was about to get executed. I literally went from crying and being angry at the idea of her dying, to being surprised as I rooted for Manon to take her grandmother down.
Rowan and Aelin: This is what I’ve been dreading the most to talk about. I was so for Aelin and Rowan becoming a romantic couple in HoF & QoS, but my feelings have changed drastically. I didn’t want to admit it to myself throughout half this book, but the reality is I just really don’t care about their characters, individually and together. This is a pretty controversial opinion considering there are so many readers out there who love them, but I also know I’m not alone on this opinion because I’ve read reviews with people who have had the same. So basically Rowan is an okay character, I don’t love him or anything, he’s just there. But I literally lost count on the amount of times Aelin annoyed me throughout this book. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just didn’t feel any connection with her at all. She was always so angry, moody, and full of herself. It was honestly exhausting to read her chapters. And I just didn’t feel anything towards her relationship with Rowan. The fact that they’re mates and that they got married didn’t give me feels. I don’t know what else to say other then I just couldn’t bring myself to rate this book higher than 4 stars because Aelin and Rowan obviously played a huge role in this book, as they are the lead characters, resulting in no way of escaping them. If I felt this way towards a side character, I wouldn’t have had as much of a problem with the book because they wouldn’t have been the main focus. There is still room for improvement, perhaps my mind will change with the final book, but at this point I don’t see myself ever shipping them.
Overall, I enjoyed certain aspects of Empire of Storms more than others and despite the fact that this book was not my favourite in the series, I’m still curious to see how Sarah J. Mass will end her story in the final instalment. She is one of my favourite authors and I will continue to read all the books she releases. I guess my expectations have just been really high ever since I read A Court of Mist and Fury.