Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series, and each book seems to get more intense.
Just a heads up, if you haven’t read the previous books in the series (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, and Queen of Shadows), this review will include spoilers for those books (but not this one).
TRIGGER WARNING: gore, murder, torture, slavery
Kingdoms will collide.
The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. 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.
With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as masters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
Aelin will have to choose what — and who — to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.
Celaena was a tough character, especially because of her history of losing everyone and everything she cared about. And while the same woman is Aelin, they’re such different characters. Aelin still has Celaena’s talent for deception, manipulation, and lethal assassin skills, but in addition, she has her magic, a crew of people she trusts to have her back, and a male who ensures that she has someone to look out for her and love her. This is exactly what she needs as she works to defeat dark forces and reclaim her throne. She needs to call in every single favor that is outstanding to achieve her goals.
“Aelin was insane, Dorian realized. Brilliant and wicked, but insane. And perhaps the greatest, most unremorseful liar he’d ever encountered.”
“Today her message would thunder across the realms. She was not a rebel princess, shattering enemy castles and killing kings. She was a force of nature. She was a calamity and a commander of immortal warriors of legend.”
Rowan — oh man, where do I even start? I swear, he’s basically the perfect male. He’s protective, loving (to Aelin, at least), fierce, and romantic. I honestly didn’t think he had a romantic side before this book. But lo and behold, his romantic side is just as intense as the rest of him.
“All Rowan now had to offer his queen were the strength of his sword, the depth of his magic, and the loyalty of his heart.”
“‘I love you. There is no limit to what I can give you, no time I need. Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will love you.’”
I love the breadth of the magic system in this series. There are so many types of magic, but it’s still easy to grasp. The fact that there is a cost to such magic makes it even more believable. Aside from the risk of burnout, there is also a need for massive calories, exhaustion, fatigue, and inability to heal when magic is depleted is as realistic as you can get when talking about the kind of powers described.
“Gods, the females in his court ate more than he did. He supposed the magic burned through their energy reserves so fast it was a miracle they weren’t constantly biting his head off.”
The story itself is probably the most intense in the series thus far. The long game is starting to show itself, although if I expect anything from this series, it is that there are many, many more plot twists to be had. There’s so much action in this book that I flew through it. I couldn’t put the book down, and I was heartbroken when I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to read the last 4 pages before I fell asleep, only to pick it up as soon as my eyes opened.
There’s two books left in the series, and while I want to read them immediately, part of me wants to take my time with them because I don’t want to let this story go just yet. There’s so much romance in this book compared to the others, and the slow-burn romance that has gone on for two books finally provides some resolution. And boy is it worth it! I’d gladly wait for another 2 books to see that — and while it is steamy and sexy as hell, it’s not trashy or overly descriptive (this is YA, of course). It’s done perfectly. The whispers of other romantic relationships are brewing, and it’s amazing to see.
I was practically breathless when I finished reading this book, and in complete shock at the cliffhanger. After finishing a book is when I finally read the summary of the next book in the series, and I’m not happy to realize that I will probably have to wait for the book after that to find out what really happens. But, at the same time, that will be the final book in the series, so I’m not really sure how I feel about that. But judging from what I know of Sarah J. Maas and her books, I won’t be disappointed.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn't an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 25
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars