Empire of Storms
To be completely honest, I am at a loss for words: I don’t think I could have ever envisioned a better continuation for the Throne of Glass series than what EMPIRE OF STORMS delivered. I was really nervous to read this, having heard rumors about some characters and the possible plot, but I am so glad it did not turn me away from reading. I was really glad and pleasantly surprised with the way everything turned out. I actually expected the novel to focus on the war and Aelin just getting more allies, and even though, yes, this was indeed a huge part of this book, I think that the real focus here was on the personal growth of all the characters we’ve grown to love our throughout the entire Throne of Glass series.
Thinking about the book as a whole, every small detail in the earlier books suddenly made sense --- the eye of Elena, Nehemia’s death, why Aelin and Dorian had to have met, why Aelin and Rowan met, why Rowan had (and lost) Lyria, even why Aelin became an assassin --- it all made sense. I was blown away by how much information I didn’t know I needed in order to understand Aelin’s real purpose in defeating the Valg king and saving Terrassen. Magical battles featuring mythical ilkens and wyverns adorn the pages, showcasing not only everyone’s strengths but also weaknesses.
"I don’t think I could have ever envisioned a better continuation for the Throne of Glass series than what EMPIRE OF STORMS delivered. In terms of character developed and plot depth, Sarah J. Maas has really outdone herself...."
What I could have seen less of, though, was the constant reminder that Rowan and Aelin were so in love. Don’t get me wrong, I love Aelin and Rowan together, they’re great --- but there’s a real issue here of having smut or explicit details written out at moments when you don’t expect them (i.e. anytime I was ever out in public reading this book, thanks SJM!). In all seriousness, though, this is probably just a personal preference, but I really don’t enjoy reading about other characters’ sexual encounters in grand detail. However, apart from that debacle, Aelin and Rowan were so cute it was just to die for. I thought QUEEN OF SHADOWS was enough to make me love Rowan, but as soon as these two realized they were mates, the change in their behavior towards each other was so heartwarming and nice to read. I love how much these two balance each other out, and I don’t see Aelin with anyone but him.
Another interesting person in this book for me was Dorian. I honestly had forgotten Dorian a little bit, but I really enjoyed seeing him evolve in controlling his magic. Especially later in the book, we see him really struggled with containing his magic (just like Aelin has trouble containing her flames).
As the book jumped around from story to story, there was only one that took me much longer than I’d like to admit to get used to --- Elide and Lorcan’s adventure to get to Aelin and their pseudo-romance just didn’t really appeal to me. I loved Elide’s character; she proved to be determined and resilient through all the perils around her. Lorcan --- a Fae who Maeve has sent Gavriel and Fenrys to kill --- has always been a mystery that slowly made more sense to me as I progressed into the series, but I honestly still am not a huge fan of him. His character is so closed off from revealing too much about himself; however, he looks like he could be a key character in a future faceoff between Aelin’s allies and Maeve. He actually feels the same to as Manon did to me in HEIR OF FIRE, but the fact he knows a lot about Wyrdkeys and is accustomed to dealing with Maeve will definitely be really helpful.
Talking about Manon, I really did not expect any of what happened in this installment to happen to her. I was just absolutely awe-struck. In the earlier books, she felt like a bit of a nuisance to me, but I love her right now! EMPIRE OF STORMS really shows how important she will be in overtaking Erawan and his equally insanely powerful Valg army in the next book.
The one thing that bothered me the most was the lack of Chaol. Why wasn’t Chaol in this book? He’s not exactly my favorite character, but he definitely should have been mentioned more than once in this book, especially since he could have been with Aelin and help her with negotiations with potential allies instead of having Aelin rely on Aedion.
EMPIRE OF STORMS is like one giant pep rally for the next book in the Throne of Glass series, and it was a pep rally worth attending, that’s for sure. There’s just so much information and depth added to the characters that is necessary to know in order to understand them better. In terms of character developed and plot depth, Sarah J. Maas has really outdone herself in EMPIRE OF STORMS.
Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member on July 8, 2016