I don’t know how to start this review.
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series. When I first started this series, I never would have guessed it would have grown to such epic proportions. SJM does YA fantasy like no one else. Her characters are strong-willed badasses with big hearts deep down, and the setting of Erilea, where they dwell, is diverse and exotic. This series has become such a well-rounded story with multiple plot threads weaving in and out as the story progresses, leaving the reader wanting more and more.
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?
I love the characters in this series. Who knew I’d be cheering for the merciless witch Manon Blackbeak? Who knew my heart would squeeze in sympathy for the bloodthirsty fae Lorcan? However, even I knew I’d fall even more in love with Aelin and Rowan. Their relationship went to a whole other level in this book, and because of that, I think this is my favorite book of the series so far. They are so good together. I ship them so hard. They are powerful and beautifully broken. They are vulnerable but hard as steel. Gah! I love them. There are multiple scenes where they each help the other control their power when it gets overwhelming, and I loved those scenes. It brought to the surface their true feelings and revealed hidden parts of themselves.
Other than Aelin and Rowan, there are other secondary characters coupling up and I’m all for it. The tension between Manon and Dorian was off the charts. The desperation and desire between Aedion and Lysandra was practically painful to watch. My heart is too full with wanting…for them to be together…for them to be safe…for them to stay alive despite the horrible obstacles they must overcome in the books to come. And there will be more books (according to goodreads) and I’m both overjoyed to have more to read but full of despair because I must know how this story ends. Now.
Empire of Storms was the best kind of roller coaster. There were tender, character building moments and then action-packed battles where at any moment tragedy could strike. Whether it was a fight scene or a love scene, my heart was pounding just the same. SJM can create the most delicious and torturous tension and anticipation, whether it relate to matters of the heart or the sword. I particularly enjoyed the wyverns and the last minute turn of the tide that “saves” the day. Unfortunately, last minute seems to be the theme in this book and sometimes last minute is too late.
The ending of this book tore my heart out. It just sat there, on the floor, pumping a few times before falling still. (Okay, dramatic much?) The ending was devastating but there is a hope for the future. This book delivers some hard truths that are difficult to swallow and I’m already preparing my half-dead heart for the impact of what may come. (I’m PRAYING that SJM doesn’t go all Divergent on us.)
In the end, SJM can produce a tale of good v. evil in a fantasy setting like no other. Her words are magic and her storytelling is masterful. I love, love, love this series and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
STARS: 5 out of 5