Title: Empire of Storms
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: September 6th, 2016 (Bloomsbury USA)
Synopsis: 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 monsters 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.
In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.
“Nameless is my price.”
Aelin and her newly formed court are ready to head home at last – north to Terrasen. But ten years under the cruel yoke of Adarlan has not endeared her to many of the remaining lords of the realm and the welcome they receive is less warm than they expected. With Rifthold captured by the enemy in a surprise attack by the witch legions and Dorian barely escaping, Aelin knows it won’t be long before war comes to Terrasen. Even as she sets off across the continent, calling in old debts to raise an army to defend her country, her greater concern is the Wyrdkeys, and how they might be used to seal the Wyrdgate and defeat Erawan. But something bigger is at work here, and there are yet more secrets of the past to be uncovered which will change everything.
The first time I read this book, I was basically binge reading the series (or how many ever books of it were available at that point), and Empire of Storms left me with one of my worst reading slumps. This book is a complete roller coaster, and an emotional one. While perhaps not as action packed as some of the other books so far, this fifth installment has some major reveals as the final stage of a plan stretching over generations begins to unfold. It does feel at times, that there is just a little too much going on in this book in terms of plot, but I absolutely loved how things are slowly beginning to come together as one key piece to the game is finally explained.
It’s impossible to really describe the events of this book without giving away anything as the various plot lines are growing steadily more intertwined, but as always, minimal spoilers. There are so many new characters, along with really getting to know some of those who only briefly appeared in previous book. Elide is headed north in search of Aelin with a Wyrdkey in hand, entrusted to her by Kaltain – but she is being stalked by Lorcan who has recognized the familiarity of the key’s power. The completely unlikely duo join forces soon enough, though both of them are playing their cards close to the chest. Their dynamic is complex and unpredictable and entirely delightful, especially as I never expected either of these two characters to ever take centre stage.
Then there is Manon – to think I didn’t like her two books ago! It’s in Empire of Storms that Manon’s arc really gets interesting. She learns some devastating truths about herself, making her question her very identity, even as her place in the Ironteeth legions, the only life she has ever known is taken from her. I never would’ve guessed it earlier, but Dorian really is the perfect balance for her. He’s still largely recovering from being possessed by the Valg and coming to terms with what he did during that time, but he’s starting to regain his footing and also, is far more devious than he initially appears.
I absolutely adore these characters we’ve come to know over the past five books, and how each of them has such a unique and strong arc. The reappearance of several characters from the novellas was a particularly nice touch. If you haven’t read The Assassin’s Blade yet, definitely do read it before this (though I still recommend it right after Heir of Fire).
“Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, knew the time
would soon come to prove just how much she’d bleed for Erilea.”
Aelin has lost none of her swagger and sass, but with how secretive she is in this book, it’s like some part of her has always known how this may end. Even before the bombshell dropped, there was an ominous feel to the direction of the story. Erawan is just too powerful and a significant sacrifice would naturally be needed to defeat him. It was pretty obvious over the course of the past two books that there had to be a deeper reason behind why Aelin is so powerful. What really surprised me though, was just how far Aelin has thought things through, and the number of pieces she put into motion so far ahead of time.
I have been shipping Rowan and Aelin since about halfway through Heir of Fire, and I am completely delighted to be proven right by this book, including the revelations made by Maeve in those torturous final chapters. The battle scene against Maeve’s armada was simply – well, I can’t think of a better word, so awesome it is, and Rowan’s mission before the battle to do what he can to give Aelin an edge, and his dedication and loyalty to her throughout was just so touching, even as it left me on tenterhooks to see if it would actually work. I’m so glad I’ve already read Kingdom of Ash, but the two year wait the first time around was awful, having to wonder what was going to happen to Aelin after that cliffhanger 😭. If this is your first time reading this, make sure you have the next two books handy, oh and probably a box of tissues too. All in all, Empire of Storms is a heart wrenching, breathtaking read, and another epic installment in this series.
“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:
Book 1: Throne of Glass
Book 2: Crown of Midnight
Book 3: Heir of Fire
Book 4: Queen of Shadows
Book 6: Tower of Dawn
Book 7: Kingdom of Ash