Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Previous: Queen of Shadows
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Date Released: September 6, 2016
Genre: NEW ADULT, Fantasy, Romance, Action/Adventure
Pages: 693 (Hardcover)
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?
What I first Thought:
So I’ve been waiting for this book for almost a year and the wait almost killed me. I made sure that I got this book the day it was released so that I could read it before the spoilers started pouring out all over the internet. I was actually driving back to school that day after a long weekend of packing, and I added an extra hour and a half to my drive time so that I could go to Barnes & Noble. I actually almost didn’t get it that day, because the B&N that I went to didn’t have the books out, even though their computer said it was displayed in the YA section. I was so mad because they’re usually pretty good about getting popular books out on the day of the release, but I ended up finding the book! It was just lying on the help desk, all by itself in a random stack of books, so I grabbed it and bought it. My expectations were pretty high, fueled by the wait and excitement; I absolutely love Maas’s work!
WARNING: When reading this book, I suggest you find a seatbelt and strap yourself to whatever surface you’re reading on. And please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times!
You think I’m kidding, right? No seriously, do yourself a favor and buckle yourself in for the adventure, it is one fantastic thrill ride!
Sarah J. Maas took my expectations and laughed at them as Empire of Storms stomped them into the ground and used them to lift off into space. Translation: the book was bloody fantastic and went way above what I had expected. Typically, I find that when I read long series, normally having more than three books, the later books are much weaker than the first ones. However, Sarah J. Maas has broken that norm for me. I have found that as this series progresses, it gets better and better with each book that Maas rolls out! Her writing, world, and characters improve with each installment and she leaves me craving for more and more.
This book is definitely going onto my favorites’ shelf. There are way too many reasons as to why it belongs there and why you should read this book too. I won’t be able to list everything, but I’ll try to sum things up as best as I can. And I apologize in advance if I ramble and this becomes rather long-winded!
What I love most about Maas’s stories are her characters, whether they’re main characters or minor ones, they’re always well done. This book is no different. The characters from book one are still developing, becoming more and more rounded as their journeys unfold. Her newer characters are developing beautifully as all the character storylines converge. The interactions between the vastly different characters are realistic as well. Maas shows that the stress and death is really putting a strain on the characters and their relationships. The novelty of this grand adventure pretty much disappears as the story progresses, as the characters realize just how impossible everything seems to be and how unlikely their story will end happily.
There were times in which I could see where Maas wanted to go with the story, accurately predicting certain events and character reactions. However, there were still many turns that I didn’t see coming and I enjoyed the good few shocks that I had. I thoroughly enjoyed the details and events that I saw resurface from previous books, riddles and passing words finally taking shape and making sense in this installment. I believe that this really shows how long Maas has been planning this series and that she knew what she wanted to do with it from the beginning.
I’ve also really enjoyed how much Maas has expanded her story. If she wanted to, she could just stick to Aelin’s point of view and the story would still be entertaining. However, she chooses to tell this story from more than one character from different sides of the major conflict, which really helps to round out the story more. She decides to show you what happens on the different sides instead of just telling you why something happened or that it happened. Some stories don’t really need that kind of coverage, but I think it really works out for Maas’s series, especially for Empire of Storms.
The action in Empire of Storms is non-stop, there’s hardly a break between each conflict our characters face. For some people, this may be a deterrent because it doesn’t give them enough time to absorb anything. It’s possible people might find the action too much, wanting a lot more substance between each major action sequence. For myself, I enjoyed the pace of the story and the amount of action written. If Maas added more ‘substance’ between the big sequences then the book would probably be close to 1000 pages. I wouldn’t mind a book of that size, but I’ve heard people complaining about the current books being too long already.
Last thing, I have to rant a little. This book is listed as a Young Adult book, however, I have to severely disagree with that listing. Growing up, YA never really touched on sex. Sure, there were times when it would briefly mention that the characters had sex or the main characters would talk about it. There were even times when the reader would just assume that the characters had sex based on their previous actions. But YA never really had sex scenes, and Empire of Storms definitely has sex scenes that might not be appropriate for some readers. The few sexual scenes aren’t nearly as detailed as erotica or the cheesy romance novels, but it’s more than causal too. I have no problem with these scenes, but I feel as if the marketing category should be changed to New Adult instead.
This book defied all expectations that I had. It was absolutely fantastic and the more I read Maas’s new work, the more impressed I am with how far she’s come.
If you were on the fence about Queen of Shadows read this book! Continue the series, because Empire of Storms answers so many questions and really does a wonderful job of moving the overall story along. You’re emotions will be toyed with, there may be tears of laughter or sadness, or both. It’s an intense read that won’t be easy to put down, I know I had issues getting the motivation to go to class a few times. I don’t suggest people starting this book if they know that they’ll be busy for an extended period of time.
If you really loved Queen of Shadows, then what are you waiting for? Clear your calendar, pick up the book, and dive right in! Don’t be shy! And start reading before the spoilers find their way to you and ruin your experience!
If you’ve never read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas are have been intrigued by my review, please pick up the series. The first book may be rough for you, but by Empire of Storms you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Also, it’s a good series to dive into if you have a lot of time to kill reading!
I absolutely love Sarah J. Maas’s writing, she’s one of my favorite authors at the moment, and this book is going onto my favorites list. Her characters have grown up so wonderfully, they’ve made me laugh, smile, and cry as I’ve followed their development. The interactions between the various characters were entertaining and very believable, especially as the danger really started to push in on them. I’ve been able to predict specific events, but I’ve still been surprised more often than not, which thrilled me to no end! Again and again I’ve been impressed with Maas, and she has yet to disappoint me!
Guest review contributed by Of Books and Pen. Although she has a serious addition to books and reading in general, she attempts to cure it with more reads. It’s wildly successful or unsuccessful, depending on how you look at it.