Empire of Strangers and Deja Vu | Empire of Storms Critique

Empire of StormsRating: 4 Teacups
Title: Empire of Storms
Series: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Format: Kindle/Audiobook
# of Pages: 704

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 just want to say that despite my [few] problems with this novel, I really enjoyed reading it and I cannot believe that I [still] have to wait over a year for the finale. *sigh* I’ve got a lot to say about this book, so let’s jump right into it. (I swear this is when being a BookTuber would come in handy.)

**There aren’t any spoilers until I get to the plot. I’ve marked and hidden them.**

Brief Thoughts

  • My best advice is to read The Assassin’s Blade first just because events are referenced (as they are in the other books) and it’d be good to have background information.
  • I enjoyed most of the character development in the book, however it felt stunted for a couple characters.
  • The pacing was weird; while it felt like there was nonstop action, it also kind of dragged. It took me a while to finish this book.
  • I felt like I was lied to a lot in this book; both by characters and Sarah.
  • The ending felt like it was recycled from another book I’ve read and loved (you will know which one the minute you’re done).
  • Lysandra’s loyalty and courage makes a huge appearance in this book and I just love her so much.

The Pouting Prince, King of Adarlan, and Company

AEDION. What the hell happened to him? Literally. Both he and Lysandra take a backseat to the other characters’ story arcs and development. Whenever we do see Aedion, he’s pouting (at least that’s what it felt like to me) or mad for whatever reason. There are a couple parts where I found myself laughing, but I think that was attributed more to the situation than Aedion himself. There’s a little bit of development in his relationship with Lysandra and it’s safe to say that the ship sets sail (or tries to at least) but because of everything that’s happening in the novel (and the fact that they become so irrelevant) it doesn’t really go anywhere. When that isn’t happening, Aedion’s busy undermining Aelin and going back to the pouting that I mentioned earlier, either because she withholds information from him or (god forbid) makes a mistake. Overall, I just didn’t like him in this book which is a shame because he’s been one of my favorite characters in the past.

DORIAN. *sigh* His development is also not something I’m the biggest fan of in this book. I know that everyone loved how he comes into his own, but I didn’t get that all in this book. Yes, Dorian has a little more control of his powers thanks to Rowan but overall I got a serious ‘bachelor without bravado’ vibe from him. Once again, I feel like his character is thrust into the background to make room for others. I somewhat enjoyed the idea of him with Manon, but their relationship felt forced in this novel without a real basis. Then all of a sudden Dorian felt completely out of character. Actually, he felt out of character for the entirety of the book, but it became more prevalent whenever Manon was around.

MANON. When Manon first appeared in Heir of Fire, I could not stand reading her chapters. In fact, I was so annoyed that I had to leave Aelin in Doranelle for her chapters that I considered skipping them, or I’d put the book down altogether. BUT, after Queen of Shadows and now Empire of Storms, I freaking love her character. She and Elide had the most development in the book and we get to see more of her humanity peeking through. She finds herself amongst people she would’ve immediately killed two books ago and learns how to work with them. Her pairing with Dorian is a good one; she is someone he doesn’t have to worry about hurting and he keeps her humanity intact. Don’t even get me started about her relationship with Elide; I love how protective Manon is and I also think that helps to keep the edge off of her urge to kill everything. It’s quite different from what she was raised to do and/or be.

ELIDE. Out of all the characters, Elide surprised me the most. She often feels inferior to those who are in Aelin’s court, but she actually has a lot to offer. She’s incredibly clever and I loved reading her story to see how she got herself in and out of situations. Plus Lorcan. Her relationship with him is just so much fun to read about because she isn’t afraid of him which I think surprises him.

COMPANY. I know, this is such an easy cop-out but this review is getting long and I haven’t even touched on the plot yet. Aelin was still Aelin, but her story kind of took a backseat to say…Elide or Manon. I found that her sections were good, but not the ones I wanted to dive back into; not like the other books in the series. Rowan was also still Rowan; as protective as ever (which I didn’t mind) and fiercely loyal to his Queen. Fenrys was a lot of fun to read about and he really started to grow on me toward the end of the book. Gavriel. I felt for him and I really didn’t think he deserved the treatment that he received. Lorcan. Ah, Lorcan I really enjoyed your character development in this book and the relationship you forged with Elide. I think you two balance each other out well.

Lots of politics & love fests.

The book is split up into two sections where the first half of the book is more political and planning while the second half is the execution of the plans. As a result of this format, most (if not all) of the action was jammed into the last one or two-hundred pages of the book. Aside from pacing, I didn’t mind the political stuff and enjoyed seeing plans being laid out as well as characters resurfacing from the past. Here’s where my problems with the plot kind of start; I don’t understand why each characters is paired up. Each and every one of them. While I’m usually all about the ships, at this point I feel like I’m watching Oprah and SJM is just going, ’You get a ship! And you get a ship! And YOU get a ship!’ *sigh* I loved watching pieces of their plan come together, as is the usual when it comes to Sarah’s novels, BUT I have read this ending before. [Spoiler] She literally recycled everything from ACOMAF. Aelin and Rowan get married in secret, Aelin is kidnapped and taken away, two characters are forced to suddenly change sides, etc. I was PISSED when I read that they got married and we didn’t get to read it. Like literally almost in tears I was so mad because she did that to me AGAIN. [End Spoiler] So while the ending of the book left me reeling and ready to cry over my year-long wait, that quickly passed once I realized why I was reeling and where those residual feelings came from.

In Short

There was an odd shift of characters in this book, but I would still recommend it. It isn’t my favorite in the series (Heir of Fire still holds that place), but it’s still enjoyable and really sets us up for a lot to go down in the final book. I’m super excited to see where Chaol’s book takes us and see how it’ll all come to an end..

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