I almost decided not to do a full review for Empire of Storms, simply because I didn’t feel that there were adequate words for me to express all my thoughts on it (and I still don't think this post will express everything I'd like to say since I'm avoiding spoilers of any sort, though I'd be happy to discuss further with other people in private conversations). It kept me reading all through the night, and when I finally finished the novel the next morning, I just felt thoroughly hungover – in the best way, of course, if that’s at all possible when you think of a hangover. I just felt emotionally wrecked by the story, by what had befallen the characters I loved so much within the pages of this novel, by the way each chapter built up to that monumental ending. Honestly, Sarah J. Maas has slayed me yet again with another one of her novels, and I love the pleasure and pain that brings to my heart.
Before I go into a little more detail, let me tell you what I can about Empire of Storms. This is the fifth installment of the Throne of Glass series, and Aelin Ashryver Galathynius is ready to raise hell in order to take back her kingdom and to save the continent of Erilea from an evil fate. As she prepares herself for the biggest, toughest fight she is ever going to face, she surrounds herself with friends-turned-family and various allies to strengthen her cause. Sprinkled with revelations about the past, epic battle scenes, sass and romance, and a pretty epic journey, Empire of Storms is another solid addition.
Since I can’t really figure out all of the things I want to chat about without babbling overmuch, I decided to just go with a list format of the things I absolutely adored. (I’m cheating a little bit, because I listed all of these things in my initial thoughts on Goodreads, but hey, I’m expanding on them, so there.)
- The way Aelin’s journey continues. I have been with Aelin from the very beginning of her journey in this series. Our favorite fire-breathing bitch queen has grown so, so much. She has been through so many things, both good and bad, and they have all honed her into the woman, the queen that she is in the latest installment in the series.
- The people we’ve come to know and love. I have certainly mentioned many a time, particularly since Queen of Shadows, that the Throne of Glass gang is definitely one I’d consider #squadgoals. Aelin. Dorian. Chaol. Rowan. Aedion. Lysandra. Manon. Elide. Asterin. Lorcan. Gavriel. Fenrys. These individuals, with unique personality traits and histories, leap off the page, and it is truly fun to see them interact with one another and as part of the entire group.
- The compelling plot structure with the multiple perspectives. I am a huge fan of the way Sarah integrates a variety of perspectives into her story. I feel like it shows the different aspects of the saga and the world, and it also allows readers to really get to know the different characters we are following.
- The romance. I’m not going to talk about specific couples. Rather, I just wanted to mention how much I love that romance is incorporated as part of the story. It is, to me, totally natural to fall in love and form attachments with people, even in the face of impending battle (or doom), and I love seeing how Sarah orchestrates these connections. (Admittedly, of all the elements in this particular novel, this is also the one I was personally least invested in overall.)
- The humor and the sass. If there is one thing that has truly become clear to me with this novel, it is the fact that I absolutely love the way Sarah incorporates humor into her writing. I’m obsessed with how the brand of humor is just my cup of tea, and totally made me laugh out loud multiple times. I tabbed so many scenes just because they made me giggle.
These are just a portion of the things that I loved about Empire of Storms, and really, the series as a whole. (I actually shared twenty-six reasons I love the series, if you wanted to check that out.) I think that this novel is another brilliant addition to a series that I really do love (though I'm not without a few very, very small reservations), and I’m both really looking forward to the next one and really sad that it is going to be the very last. (Though I’m admittedly super excited about the Chaol novella, because Chaol is my favorite.) I really cannot wait to see how Sarah writes the conclusion to Aelin’s story, and I have full faith that she’s going to do it wonderfully.
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas | Series: Throne of Glass #5
Previous Books in Series: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, The Assassin's Blade, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows
Publisher: Bloomsbury | Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Hardcover purchased via Books of Wonder