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?
OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD
What have you done to me, Sarah J. Maas? You pretty much ripped out my heart and stomped on it. You tore my poor little heart into pieces. You put me through all that torture and just expect me to be okay? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?
I have definitely, without a doubt, come to the conclusion that Sarah J. Maas is a true literary queen. An utter genius. She is a genius literary queen. And nobody can tell me different. Because there has been no other author that has taken hold of my emotions like she does. This is not a wild ride. This is a torture that I willingly submit myself to. Why? Because Sarah J. Maas knows what she is doing. This woman can write! She can weave a story so beautifully, adding so many twists and turns and heartache, and still surprise me after six Throne of Glass books and two A Court of Thorns and Roses books.
I know a lot of people have a problem with Sarah J. Maas, and whilst I understand these reasons I will forever love these books. I understand that they can sometimes be problematic (and I plan to do a blog post in the next few days/week to talk about these issues). This post, however, will be focusing on my absolute love for these books. Because you can still absolutely love a series, and not be blind to the problems that it may have. That doesn’t say anything about you as a person.
Why am I using a Buffy gif? Because she pretty much embodies Aelin in this scene. And sets us up for how the rest of the review will go.
My Thoughts About Each Character:
Aelin: I will forever and always love this girl. She is one of my all time favourite literary characters because I have enjoyed her growth throughout the whole series. Aelin is definitely still her badass self, despite wanting to be more open with her court. She still manipulates situations, she still makes plans that seem almost impossible and she keeps a number of the characters in the dark about these plans. I love Aelin’s intelligence, and Empire of Storms continues to capture that aspect of her character. She is strong and loyal and compassionate — but she is also powerful and determined and a little scary. Though, whilst I love Aelin by herself, I absolutely love her relationships with her court. Her friendship with Lysandra is definitely my favourite, but I love her relationships with Aedion and Dorian, and also Manon.
I think the only problem that I have with her is her relationship with Rowan. Yes, I know, everyone ships them, and this being one of my favourite series, I suppose I should ship them too. But I just can’t. I’m a hopeless Chaol supporter and the awkward sex scenes and the whole “claiming” thing really grossed me out. Anyone else with me of this one?
Rowan: I have to be honest, Rowan is probably my least favourite character. I love that Rowan is supportive and loving towards Aelin, and that he has such an interesting friendship with both Aedion and Dorian, but… the whole fae male jealously thing is just stupid. (This is something that I’m going to go into more in my second review of this book.)
Lysandra: OH MY GOD LYSANDRA IS JUST AMAZING AND FANTASTIC AND AWESOME! I absolutely love Lysandra and her story arc was pure awesomeness. I love that Empire of Storms got the chance to really showcase how badass Lysandra is, especially when she transformed into that sea dragon and destroyed all those ships. I’m interested to see how the next book develops her and her relationship with Aedion. Those two are precious, so freaking precious.
Aedion: I have always loved Aedion. His character has always put a smile on my face, but this book really delved into his character and I appreciate that so damn much. It was heartbreaking to find out that he had never really wanted anything for himself his entire life, and the one thing he did want was given to Rowan. But I love how much he wants to be with Lysandra, but is taking things between them slowly because he respects her enough to do that. Also, his relationship with his father? Golden. I love that he didn’t immediately want to have a relationship with him, which made that arc so much more believable. Also, he has been canonically revealed as bisexual!
Manon: OR OTHERWISE KNOWN AS MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE CHARACTER IN THIS SERIES? Manon has grown and developed so much throughout the series. Yes, this girl is absolutely terrifying, but she managed to break my heart more than once in this book. Manon and her Thirteen were wonderful as always, but the growing relationship with Dorian was a great addition. I’m very unsure about whether or not I actually want them together or whether I ship them, but I am interested to see how they develop in the last book. As long as Manon remains her absolute awesome self, I will not complain!
Dorian: I’ve always loved Dorian, even back in the first book and I shipped Aelin with Chaol. I wanted Dorian to find happiness and become king and live happily ever after. Did Sarah give me that? Um, no. *cries* I’m a little upset that now that he is King, he doesn’t really have a lot of say around Aelin. I really wanted him to take charge and be the King we know he can be. But, saying that, he is still healing from everything that has happened to him previously. And he’s a little darker too.
Elide: I was unsure about how to react to Elide in the last book, but this time? I thought she was awesome and I want to know more about her and I want a novella dedicated to Elide so we don’t have to let her go. Her relationship with Lorcan was actually kind of sweet. But my favourite thing about Elide is her strength and determination. She doesn’t let people walk all over her and she will stand up for herself and those that she cares about without hesitation. That is definitely something to admire. My only problem? Well, Sarah J. Maas why didn’t you include her in this series sooner?!
Lorcan: This character really, really surprised me. I love him and I kind of hate him? I don’t really have a lot to say other than I definitely ship him with Elide. AND I don’t want him going back to Maeve. EVER. EVER.
Can you tell that I’m an utter mess because of these characters?
SARAH J. MAAS, THIS IS FOR YOU:
Because you have broken me, and I don’t want to wait until next year for the last book. Because how you ended it was utterly cruel. I desperately need to find out what happens, because I need these characters to be safe from your evil clutches. Um, anyway.
What else did I love about this book? It has strong depictions of female characters. It highlights female friendship. THERE ARE QUEENS! You may think the romance is cliche, but it really sucks you in. MAGIC AND MAGICAL CREATURES. People make mistakes and then have to live with the consequences. So many characters made a comeback. We got more backstory. We went back in time.
Things I didn’t love, but will write about in more detail in my second post about this book: The awkward sex scenes, like, really? They were just gross. I wanted even more Manon (not really a problem, just me complaining). Chaol was not there. Sometimes all the romantic, heterosexual relationships felt the same. Any homosexual relationships were only seen in minor characters that were hardly in the book. Chaol was not there. Oh, wait, did I say that already?
So, as you can tell, I loved this book. And I really, really, really want the next book now. But I have this horrible feeling that it is going to crush me even more than this book did. So, in Leslie Knope fashion, I am definitely going to tell my friend to do this: