“It is not such a hard thing, is it – to die for your friends.”
Blurb (Goodreads)- 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?
Thoughts- This is such a hard book review for me to write, because I have never been more disappointed by a book than Empire of Storms. This is especially heartbreaking to say because Sarah J. Maas has always been one of my favorite authors, but after this mess of a book, I’m not too sure.
To start out, I’d like to address the striking similarities between this book and Maas’s other 2016 release, A Court of Mist and Fury. I honestly felt like I was reading ACOMAF again, because the distinction between the tone and characters from both of her series have become blurred. Plus, the ending of EoS was almost the exact same plot as ACOMAF, just in a different setting, with ever so slightly different characters.
There has also been a substantial genre shift in the latest Throne of Glass installment. I am, and will always be, a fan of romance in books. However, when a series shifts from having the occasional pleasant YA romance scene to being downright NA erotica scenes at least once every 70 pages, it’s unfair to the reader. Not only did I find the majority of these vastly out of place and uncomfortable, but it creates a new tone for the series that I don’t, and I’m sure many other readers, care for.
In this book, not only is a main character completely missing from the entire book (Chaol is mentioned I believe once), but I no longer recognize or care for any of the characters Maas has created. Yes, this is the 5th book in the series, so they should be different and have grown, but people don’t shed personalities like snakes shed skins. Habits, quirks, little tendencies… they all stay behind, and I see none of those characteristics anymore. Let’s look at Dorian for example. Perhaps I’m remembering the beginning wrong because I read the first book so long ago, but the Dorian I remember is sweet, quiet, considerate. He’s the type of guy who brings book for Celaena to read. Now he’s the magic wielding (I refuse to believe he got control of his powers this quickly), sex crazy, and harsh person. The only character I really like anymore in the series is Lysandra.
Not only do I not care for the individual characters anymore, but the romances bore the heck out of me. I feel like I scanned 70% of this book because it was characters either having sex, or thinking about who they want to have sex with. I’ve never liked Rowan and Aelin to begin with, Elide and Lorcan was an interesting pairing that I don’t necessarily like, but don’t dislike either, and I thought Manon and Dorian had the chance to be really interesting, but instead I found them uncomfortable. I just don’t understand why every single person in this series has to be in a relationship. Why can’t it focus on the actual fantasy part every once and a while?
Before the book came out, Sarah J. Maas was getting a lot of hate for the lack of diversity in her series. I didn’t have any comment on it at the time, as I hadn’t read Empire of Storms yet, but now I certainly have some thoughts on it. What bothers me the most is not that this series lacks diversity (which it does), but how much it’s forced in your face that everyone is white, heterosexual (Aedion is bi, but he is still perusing Lysandra), cis, and extraordinarily beautiful. I was sick and tired of hearing how beautiful every single character is at least once a chapter, and I’m disappointed there aren’t a range of diverse characters present from such a large cast.
Honestly, I really only enjoyed the last 100 or so pages, and it’s the only reason this book is getting more than one star. In my opinion (please remember, these are my own personal opinions, you don’t have to agree but still be nice), Empire of Storms is a too long, romance novel with the occasional fantasy scene thrown in. There’s a pretty high chance I won’t finish the series, or maybe I’ll wait to see what people are saying about it.