‘Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, knew the time would soon come to prove just how much she’d bleed for Erilea.’
As a big-time fan of the Throne of Glass series, I was super excited for the release of Empire of Storms! I bought it on release day and began devouring it pretty much as soon as I got home from work later that day.
However, now I’ve finished it, I do have some slightly mixed thoughts on it. In many ways it’s my favourite book of the entire series, and in others it’s my least favourite. Therefore I thought the best way of reviewing this book would be to go through my likes and dislikes, and ultimately come to some sort of conclusion at the end. So here goes:
- All the characters finally came together! Hooray!
There’s nothing I love more in books than when characters who have been separated for most of the book or series finally come together! Empire of Storms finally saw a reunion for Aelin, Aedion and Elide, Aedion with his father Gavriel, and Rowan with several members of his former cadre (not that he was particularly pleased to see them at first!) and Manon finally joined the central characters (I loved her interactions with Aelin so much!). It was nice to finally see them all in one place!
- Elide is awesome!
I have liked Elide since her introduction into the series, but she really grew on me a lot more in this book. I really enjoyed reading about her travels with Lorcan, and I like how she is both sweet, but doesn’t take any nonsense. She certainly put Lorcan in his place on several occasions!
- New characters!
This late in the series, there wasn’t too many new characters introduced thankfully (there is already such a huge cast!), but I really liked the ones that were, namely Gavriel and Fenrys. They possibly appeared at one point in the earlier books, I really can’t remember, but we only meet them properly in this book and I thought they were great additions, especially Fenrys.
- Returning characters!
Something I love more than new characters? Returning characters! And there was loads of them in this book, namely those who had previously appeared in Assassin’s Blade, such as Rolfe and Ansel. Plus Lorcan from the last book not only reappeared, but became a main character, and I love how dark and complex he is!
Chaol, unfortunately was no where to be seen, but that didn’t really bother me, which is pretty odd seen as he was one of my favourite characters in the early books. I’m pretty sure his story isn’t over anyway, and that he’ll have some kind of role to play as the end of the series comes.
- The stakes were higher than ever!
The stakes were definitely ramped up in this book, with the fate of the entire world on Aelin and her friends’ shoulders, and that definitely made things tense. The book really was a page-turner, as the characters kept finding themselves in increasingly dangerous situations, and there was a few moments when I thought people weren’t going to make it!
- You get to see more of the world of the book!
Aelin and Co. certainly do their fair share of travelling in this book, so it was nice to see so much more of the world of the story, mainly Eyllwe and the Stone Marshes. I really liked the whole quest element of this book, with a group of characters I absolutely adore, basically going on the fantasy-book version of a road trip!
- Pretty much every single character in the book is coupled up…where’s all the single people at?
Literally every single character in this series seems to have been coupled up by the time it gets to Empire of Storms: Aelin and Rowan, Aedion and Lysandra, Dorian and Manon, Elide and Lorcan…it just seems to have worked out so neatly! It’s kind of just become predictable now: a male and a female go anywhere near each other in this book and they will be a couple. For example, with Elide and Lorcan – as much as I do actually like them as a couple you could just see it coming from a mile off!
- An abundance of slightly awkward sex scenes!
On the topic of relationships, there is a lot of sex scenes in this book, and whilst I’m far from a prude, some of them made me seriously cringe. Pretty much every character who has sex in the book apparently has absolutely earth-shattering sex, that generally involves moaning before anything has even happened, plus fire, and ice, and wind swirling round and all sorts of magical, over the top stuff going on, and it just felt a little…awkward.
Oddly whilst there was similar scenes in A Court of Mist and Fury (thankfully with less ice and wind and fire), it didn’t seem to bother me so much, but maybe I just felt a little uncomfortable knowing that the Throne of Glass series is marketed at a slightly younger audience than the A Court of Thorns and Roses series? There was definitely very few sex scenes (if any, if I remember rightly?) in the first book, so it just seems such a dramatic change tonally. I wasn’t a huge fan of it!
- Weird character bits
Yes, that’s super vague, but hear me out: I felt like there were some instances where characters acted oddly and out of character, and the main one that springs to mind is the first time Dorian goes to Manon’s room on the ship and things get…kind of weird? Dorian, who is generally quite gentlemanly and kind (however much of a ladies’ man he was in the first couple of books), just acts like a total a-hole for no apparent reason (yes, I’m trying not to swear on my blog, but I can’t think of a better way to describe his actions in that scene!). Plus the whole slow burning set up of their potential romantic relationship throughout the end of the last book and this book suddenly just went from 0-60 in a few seconds, and it just seemed so abrupt!
I also thought there was a few times when Aelin went a bit too far into the a-hole territory herself, and whilst I still love her as a character, I don’t think I liked her quite as much as I have in the previous books, now she’s settled into her power as queen. I thought, for example, that asking Lysandra to put herself at such an extreme risk in Skull’s Bay was very unlike the character of the early books, who would risk anything for those she loved, and never knowingly put them in danger (and was absolutely destroyed by her friend Nehemia’s death).
Anyway, despite having a few problems with the book, overall I liked more of it than I disliked, and was far from disappointed. I really loved the hyped up action and the way the relationships between the main characters developed as they all finally came together in one place.
It has taken me a while to decide whether or not I liked the ending, and I’ve concluded that I did, just in a ‘my heart is broken’ kind of way… I really can’t wait to see how it all ends in the final book anyway!
So have you read Empire of Storms yet? What did you think?