Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Page count: 693 pages
Released: September 6th, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
“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.
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?”
I remember the day Sarah J. Maas stepped into my life. I remember the day Celaena Sardothien stepped into my life, too.
My step mum, always happy to listen to me ramble on about whichever book I’d read most recently, had kindly bought me three new books to take on our holiday with me in 2012. She chose them thinking that Throne of Glass was similar to my all time favourite book, so I would fall in love with it too. At the time I was skeptical, not wanting to read something that was too similar for fear of hating it in comparison. I put Throne of Glass to the side and didn’t even take it on the holiday.
But when I got home I read it, and I read it straight through. I adored it! It was just as good as my step mum had expected it to be, and I instantly fell in love with Celaena. Each year since I’ve patiently waited for the next book to come out. Empire of Storms was no different. By now I’m used to the waiting of summer each year, the eager anticipation of college starting just because a new Sarah J. Maas book comes out the same week. I pre-ordered the signed version of Empire of Storms, so I was extra super excited for this one.
The beginning picks up exactly where it left off in Queen of Shadows, and it didn’t take long for the action to start. Having explored far more of the land in this book than in the others, I was reminded of how much I love diving head first into a book and becoming completely immersed in their world and land and laws. Every time I picked this book up I was able to jump straight back in, and every time I stopped, my thoughts were still with the characters, wherever they were.
Because this is the fifth book, there is less building to do, and more get-to-the-point action. While I enjoyed this, there were a few things I’d forgotten about the series which did make my experience a little worse. There’s still romance in this one; not the slow burning, intense romance of the others, just simple, “this is what’s happening” couples. I didn’t hate this but I do feel like certain (no spoilers!) people should have taken things slower.
The biggest downfall of this book is that I felt some of the characters weren’t themselves anymore. Celaena is one of my favourite characters of any book, but she was lacking something this time. I found that my favourite characters were Manon and Elide, and I spent a lot of the time longing for their chapters, desperately waiting for everything to click together. I also missed Chaol, despite not really liking him in Queen of Shadows.
Despite that, the twists in this book were completely up the normal Sarah J. Maas standards, and I definitely didn’t see half of it coming! The last 150 pages or so were 5 star worthy, but the lack of character depth has to bring the rest of the book down. I still loved it, and I’m already counting down until next year! That one’s going to be the killer.