Empire of Storms
Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass #4
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?
*Courtesy Note: I understand that I fall into the small percentage of SJM readers who absolutely hated this book but it’s my opinion and I mean no harm or insult to you or to SJM. Thank you for respecting my opinion, just as I respect yours. I also apologize if the review is messy and disorganized, I had trouble writing it lol. This review will contain spoilers, so if you haven’t read EoS, I wrote a TL;WR below*
*Too long, won’t read (haha): I didn’t enjoy it. The book starts off promising but then crashes. There’s too much light shed on “shipping” and pairing off the characters than the war they’re all a part of. I’ve lost interest in the characters and no longer care for their outcome, save for Dorian. Chaol wasn’t even in the book. Dorian is completely changed, which depresses me to no end. Aelin just annoyed me. Manon and Dorian were the only ones who remotely did anything for me. I won’t even tell you about the other characters because I can’t stand them all. If you’ve read A Court of Mist and Fury, be prepared to read parts of it in Empire of Storms.
No, no, no, no. This review has been a long time coming. I read this month — months — ago. Every attempt to write it left me really angry. I have been a loyal reader to SJM’s books. I always pre-ordered and always bought fandom merch for them. I felt terrible when I rated Queen of Shadows so low last time but I can’t feel that way anymore. I honestly give up. I’m going to just accept the fact that the Throne of Glass series ended for me after Heir of Fire. I’ll think up my own ending. If you read my QoS review, then you could probably guess that I wouldn’t enjoy EoS. Even with zero expectations, SJM managed to let me down. To be honest, the start of the book was the most promising for me. I swallowed my feelings about Rowan and Aelin and just pushed through. It started going down for me when Maas made Dorian into the damsel in distress again and sent Rowan and Manon to rescue him. Seriously?! It gets even worse when battle is happening and Aelin says that it is “no place for a king”. That’s right. It was a direct quote from the book. I don’t know. Did Aelin forget that it was Dorian that saved her from the king of Adarlan/valg at the end of QoS. That it was him that shattered the glass castle. That he is actually powerful and very capable to stand on his own. Oh wait, was it Aelin who forgot or SJM? I understand wanting to emphasize feminine power and all the women here are indeed powerful, but you shoot down other characters. Also, these very powerful women .. are pretty sexually submissive. What is that? And when did Throne of Glass switch from high fantasy to erotica?!
*sits here impatiently waiting for Dorian to be treated right*
I also had to swallow my feelings about the whole Manon/Dorian thing going on but whatever. Fine I can get over it since they’re apparently the only ones I like left in the series … them and Chaol but GUESS WHAT?! He’s not even in the book. He was mentioned just 3 times. Don’t give me the whole he’s getting a novella. Oh yay! A novella all about him! Oh boy! *drips with sarcasm* Seriously? A main character gets put aside to a sideline book. Give me a break. I guess he didn’t fit into the macho, broad-shouldered, sexy niche now that he’s disabled. It’s crazy how this book is 700 pages long but it’s filled with absolutely nothing. 700 pages and not one point of view was dedicated to Chaol. 700 pages and more was dedicated to sex and pairings instead of the looming war. I swear no male or female can be friends in this series and everybody needs to be dating and having sexual tension. My goodness, I’m wishing that Erawan just finish off all these characters, except bae.
Things started picking up again when this showdown happened with Manon. I loved it! It was one of the best plot twists. I was so excited and then really after that, I felt duped. I wanted so many things to be different in EoS. I wanted to see how Aelin was going to handle having a court and taking back Terrasen. I can care less what she did, all I remember is the secrets she kept from her court yet again. What leadership skills! And as much as I wanted to just forgot about Rowaelin, I couldn’t because it was like being shoved down my throat plus, we’re still on that “OMG Freak out Rowan is a god” descriptions of him. I got enough of that in QoS, I think everyone knows by now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the novella on Chaol surrounds the “maleness” of Rowan and pretty much every male Fae there.
Oh! Did anybody notice how Dorian somehow switched body types? Going from the slender prince who spent time playing with puppies then becoming a broad shouldered Christian Grey. I absolutely hate what has been done to Dorian’s character. There was a sliver of the old Dorian in this book, where he talked about Sorcha. But other than that, this is a new Dorian. I understand that he went through some crazy trauma but this is like completely not him at all. I just felt like all characters were terribly written here. I didn’t care for the characters anymore, again save for Dorian. I couldn’t care less if they all died. I actually enjoyed the ending. I wanted that ending to stick. Good riddance Aelin. You’re such a piece of crap, sorry excuse queen of Terrasen. She is arrogant and entitled. Where’s your humility? How can you expect people to respect you when you act like a spoiled 2-year-old brat? It amazes me that the characters still like her and think that she’s fit to run Terrasen.
Continuing with the characters. Manon, you remember her. Very powerful leader of the Thirteen. She was very asexual. She hated me. She had fun torturing them and killing them. The only ones she really showed any love for was Elide and Asterin and of course her Thirteen. Yet…. she falls in love with Dorian?! And not only that, she’s submissive to Dorian AND actually begs for sex. Like okay, I get it’s Dorian. I love him, too but come on! You’re Manon motherfreaking Blackbeak. You don’t need to beg and you definitely would not be submissive. Then there’s Rowan. I hate your guts so much. You remind me so much of Tamlin. Oh how about that bullsh*t about how Maeve hid Rowan and Aelin being mate. I guess being mated really isn’t all that powerful, eh? I honestly really miss Celaena. I think that Celaena switching over to Aelin was really SJM’s excuse to start over with the series because there is nothing here that can be connected to the first couple of books.
Last thing I want to point out, I actually really liked Darrow because he stood up to Aelin and told her the truth. Okay, I’ll admit, I don’t 100% know if he’s trying to keep his position in Terrasen but there was truth to what he said.
“You can hardly expect us to allow a 19-year-old assassin to come into our kingdom and start yapping orders, regardless of her bloodline.”
Aelin can’t expect everything to go her way now that she’s back. She’s been missing what? 10 years or so? Even more so, they know she was the notorious assassin. And not once did she try going back to Terrasen to help out. Even in ToG, she wanted escape from her duties. She wanted freedom. She never talked about going back to Terrasen in ToG. But now that she wants it, they just have to drop everything and let her back in. I understand that you want to help now but don’t hate the people who did try to do something in your absence. Way to get allies! Oh! And she threatens Darrow. So is this how you’re going to rule Terrasen? Keep secrets from your court, ignore advice from people who have more experience than you in battle, and threatening to kill and harm hose who don’t agree with you?! Is she supposed to be the villain or Erawan/Maeve? I honestly can’t tell the difference anymore. What’s even worse is that her “court” think her behavior is okay.
I honestly am done with this series. I will be reading the 6th book but only to see if Dorian is okay, if Chaol is present, and if Aelin or Rowan die. I want Manon and her thirteen safe, and of course Abraxos! I also want to see what happens with Lysandra, even with Aedion (even though he hated Dorian because of his father’s actions wtf – you do know he was tortured by said father. Screw you.) I can’t believe I’m actually hoping for the main characters to die. There very little that Empire of Storms offered me and it read like fanfiction.