Published: September 6, 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 704 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
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?
Easily one of the most highly anticipated YA Fantasy releases of the year, Empire of Storms easily lived up to its lofty expectations. I am always a bit nervous when extremely hyped sequels are released because I fear they’ll be terrible disappointments, but Empire of Storms was actually fairly well done. I wasn’t expecting the plot to unfold the way it did, but boy did it make me even more psyched for the finale!
I find that my favorite character has switched from Aelin to Manon and for good reason- Manon is ever changing, whereas Aelin is predictable. Aelin is all wildfire and hot anger, but Manon is colder, harder temper and her loyalty is to her sisterhood rather than her latest love interest. Speaking of love interests, am I the only one who noticed that almost every single character was infatuated with another? It was okay at first when Aelin/Celaena kept vacillating between Chaol and Dorian and then stopped when Rowan was obviously the dominant male she needed in her life *sarcasm*. Whatever, they’re the power couple- ice and fire and all that, but does everyone else need an OTP (one true pairing)? Elide was doing just fine without swooning over some idiot male. Oh, and Aedion was cooler before he fell in love too. Seriously, I don’t remember him being interested in Lysandra in the previous book. Manon and Dorian? Please don’t ruin Manon’s awesomeness by making her emotionally dependent on Dorian! For real though, can we not have a YA where everyone falls in love? I feel like Empire of Storms was about to become a Court of Terrasen orgy or something with all the hormones raging and sexual tension building!!
The plot was going really well for me in this book until somewhere around 1:00am. As the events neared the culmination, I began getting a little frustrated (maybe I was just cranky and sleep deprived). Things started happening that I felt were thrown in because they conveniently and lazily steered the plot in the direction it was intended to go. For example- a huge faerie armada shows up, but somehow, Rowan convinces his family members (who are never discussed before with any significance) to turn their backs on mighty and terrible Maeve and attack their own ships. Overall, I really enjoyed the book- SJMaas always writes such engaging storylines and I stay up way too late reading! Her writing style pulls me in the middle of the story and I feel like I’m right there in the midst of the action, but some aspects are a little frustrating and take away from the integrity of the characters. They go from being characters you can admire to being generic YA genre bad-a** women or men (more like teenagers) with swords and magical powers.
Despite my criticism, Empire of Storms was one of those books that you think about for days after you finish reading, leaving a lasting emotional impact. I can only hope the final book will make up for any shortcomings and be a masterpiece of YA fantasy. The cover for Empire of Storms is also my favorite thus far and I was surprised to see that they crammed nearly 700 pages into a book that’s actually much smaller than Queen of Shadows. It was like an ultra-dense bookish black hole. Seriously though, I liked this book a lot- I didn’t love it, but it was great anyways!