Empire of Storms is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series—if you have not read the first four books this review will include spoilers. You can read my review of Throne of Glass here, Crown of Midnight here, Heir of Fire here, and Queen of Shadows here.
I feel full of unpopular opinions when it comes to the latter half of this series. I know a lot of people have problems with the two most recent books, but I love them. Empire of Storms absolutely thrilled me. I was on the edge of my seat, devouring every word, never knowing what was going to happen next. I spent the whole book surrounded by all my favorite characters, and could see them all migrating, knowing that the moment they would all be together wasn’t so far off.
Plot wise, Empire of Storms is intense. There are so many things going on, so many different characters in different places. And it’s been this way for a book or two now, with all the puzzle pieces kind of shifting but not really coming together. In this book you can see them starting to line up. It was kind of reminiscent of Game of Thrones for me where you see all the different story lines moving separately but then bam! there is that episode where everything connects.
Just a clarifier on where we are here. Aelin and her crew are heading to Terrasen, so she can claim her title and start her rebellion. This is post helping Dorian, defeating the king, and making the glass dome thing. Problem is, people aren’t so comfortable giving her the title of queen just because it’s her birthright—she’s been away, didn’t come back for them, assassin, fae, don’t like her company, yada yada yada. So Aelin kind of has to find ways to prove herself and find support elsewhere for her efforts.
I loved this adventure of trying to accumulate allies, especially because every other chapter Aelin was surprising her friends with one thing or another. She is so crafty. I like how she accepted that she might not get her title, that didn’t stop her. Her personality is also a great blend of what we’ve previously known to be Celeana and Aelin. Like she never loses her penchant for dramatics, or being sassy and threatening.
Plus, her fire-wielding gets even more badass here. Her getting to use her power is amazing, and the full extent of that power starts to show itself to her here.
Okay, her and Rowan in this book. My heart literally couldn’t take it. In Queen of Shadows they are kind of tiptoeing around something more, and I can’t remember if it gets brought up or maybe ignored when it does get brought up. But here, man there really is no more ignoring it. I love them together. He is sort of stoic and the moody territorial alpha-fae, while she is just so like opposite, but they connect on some base level and as fighters. There dialogue, oh man. It’s either super saucy and witty or super steamy. Both are equally as great for me. This seems to be a kind of go-to relationship style for Maas—or I at least see it as something kind of similar to what she does in ACOTAR—and she does it really well.
Looking at our other male characters. Lorcan is still a bit of a problem in this book, let’s be honest, we all knew it was a matter of time till he realized the key they gave him was a fake. But the way he takes a more major—and maybe sympathetic—role in the story is really interesting.
Then there’s Aedion, who we now know is the son of a member of the cadre. I always love him, I don’t know if there’s too much more to say. I guess we start to see and know a little bit more about him personally and his feelings here, not just everything he’s thinking being focused on Aelin.
And Dorian! He has always been like the sweet price whose cheeks I just wanted to pinch, but damn, he grows so much in this book. And I’m not just talking like character development here, his powers get crazy intimidating. He still has sort of that lost puppy, unsure about his place feeling in the beginning, but like I said, he really grows and shows why he is there with this group and why he is King.
Now for the ladies. Manon, I am so sorry I wasn’t in love with you the first time I met you. I won’t lie, in Heir of Fire I was skimming Manon sections. I wanted to get onto my faves, and she didn’t interest me. But now, gosh. She is so cool, cold, calculating, and powerful—and really she’s had to be to make it in her world. But there are moments where humanity just shines from her. She is put in some tough situations and has to make decisions about who she wants to be, and I literally couldn’t be more excited about what she is going to do next.
And Elide. She really grew on me. She is on her way to find and serve her queen, and while she has no special power or skill like a lot of the other characters she puts herself in the same situations and refuses just to sit on the sidelines. She is a lot cleverer than I think she gets credit for and is just beyond loyal to her country.
And I think the last member of our little group is Lysandra. I love that she’s a shapeshifter. It really adds a lot of depth to her character and what she’s had to go through, even more so than just being like an “escort woman.” It is also just a great reflection of how fierce she is internally, because she then becomes all these fierce creatures. I love her and Aelin, I think she’s probably the person Aelin confides to the most—which is a turn of events from their original relationship.
To touch on the trouble brewing. We now know Erawan is in the duke and is the real bad guy in all of this. The demon just needs to die or be sealed away, and the more our faves learn the harder it looks like this is going to be. Like no one really knows how to defeat him, and in the meantime he is making this scary as hell army.
Then there’s Maeve. She is literally so annoying, she is letting her own selfishness and ambition stop her from helping—or at least not stopping—our characters from defeating like the greatest possible evil. She’s conniving, selfish, and so power-hungry.
I’m not going to say anything more, besides that ending. I mentioned that this whole book is the moving pieces being put into place and one thing after another just happening, and when it all culminates in the ending of this book it’s unbelievable. I literally just had to sit in silence for a little while afterward, I even flipped the pages to see if there was more—which is why I’m a bit disappointed the next book is a Chaol book instead of the damn ending.
Anyway, Empire of Storms is an action-packed and driven pseudo-climax to this fantastic fantasy series. All the players are on the board, the puzzle pieces are all lined up, and now the chips just need to fall where they may—and yes, I know I’m mixing metaphors.