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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas


Book: Empire of Storms, Sarah J. Mass
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: September 6th, 2016

 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?

 *minor spoilers*
I want to go rock my body in a corner with tears running down my face, kick Sarah J Maas for making me feel in this way, and then give her a massive hug. My emotions are all over the place.

I don’t know what I can say about this book that hasn’t been said in a hundred other reviews of this book. It was crazy. There was action, there was suspense, there was love, there was lust; there was hate. There were shocking developments and massive surprise guests, and all the while you’re just sitting there with tears rolling down your face from the emotion of it all.

I'm going to start with the characters. First – Aelin. She is still one of the most badass literary characters written in this decade. I love her, and I did love her in this book… However, she did annoy me. Ever since she accepted her past and left Celaena Sardothien in the dust and fully embraced being Queen of Terrasen to win back her land and her kingdom, she has fallen into the role of being a leader beautifully. She has soldiers who will follow and listen to her and respect her. Except that in this book she kept a lot of secrets. Whenever their group met someone and they told them something cryptic, only Aelin understood what they were talking about, and never told the group what it meant. She just locked herself in her room and wouldn’t even tell Rowan! She also never told the group that she was attempting to get other armies to join their cause. There is one part where we meet a character from one of the novellas and everyone in her group, including me, thought it was the enemy. Only Aelin knew that the fleet were coming to help. And I found extremely irritating! I understand why she did it, to an extent: she was afraid of failing, and having her group see her failure. Except that her group are not just her soldiers – they are her friends, her family. And she needs to learn to trust them. They already know she is not perfect. She may not be human, but she still makes mistakes. Aelin needs to realise that she does not need to be perfect for them. Even though all her secret plans eventually come to fruition by the end, I wish she could’ve confided in Rowan and Aedion at least so they wouldn’t be so in the dark.

There’s not much I can say about Rowan and Aelin as a couple that hasn’t already been said in a hundred different reviews already. Type their names into Tumblr and you’ll get loads of fanart depicting the love these two have for each other. The quotes between the two of them declaring their love for each other, how they’ll always be there for each other, the strength they have between them, it makes me want to cry. 

“Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.”

I remember in Crown of Midnight (my favourite in the series), Aelin (while she was still Celaena) was with Chaol, and they were wonderful together. However, when you compare their love to the love Aelin and Rowan have for one another… well there is no comparison. They are like two puzzle pieces that are perfectly aligned. Chaol and Aelin weren’t a perfect match - close, but not in the way she is with Rowan. It’s just beautiful reading about them. I’m sure other people will have a lot more to say about them, but just know that I love them, and reading about them is sure to put this big goofy smile on your face.

Now I need to talk about other characters. Namely, Elide. In the previous books I adored Manon’s chapters, but here, it was Elide’s voice I wanted to hear the most. She is a girl that has been through so much in her life, so much torture and pain, and never truly experienced love. Despite that, she is the strongest person I have ever read about.

Aelin knows she’s strong – she’s arrogant, she knows what she wants and she gets it. You love her for it.
Manon also knows who she is – she’s a leader of her Thirteen and she’ll do whatever it takes to protect them, whatever needs to be done.

Elide has a quiet strength. She’s been tortured; she’s got a shitty ankle that she limps on. She has no idea what it’s like to come from a stable home and have people support her. Does this make her a weak, unstable person? HELL NO. She is clever! She may not be able to read, she may be emotionally scarred, but she is a very smart person and she uses it to her advantage. When she gets paired with Lorcan to find Aelin, he is completely impressed by her, and is shocked at how strong she is despite being a frail human. He is so used to people being afraid of him and running away, that he’s in shock at how Elide always puts him in his place. She didn’t take any of his shit and wasn’t afraid of him and I loved her for it!
Besides all these kick ass characters, the story was very well done. Aelin is still on the hunt for the Wyrdkeys to lock Erawan away and there was plenty of action sequences and development between the characters. All our ships have their moments and I just pray that Sarah will keep them floating until the end of the final book. I need my characters to have their happy ever afters!

I did think the book was a little long, and it was really daunting to try and finish a 700 page book. And knowing Sarah, the last book will be even longer.

However, I still loved this book and series and count it as one of the best high fantasy book series ever written. Pick this up as soon as you can!

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