No spoilers in this review of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas! After much consideration, I decided on an overall rating of 2.5 stars for this book. After a brief plot summary, I will dive into my rationale behind this rating.
At the end of Queen of Shadows, Aelin was approaching the border of Terrasen, her homeland. It seemed as if her reign as queen might begin soon. We learn very quickly in Empire of Storms that she still has a long road ahead of her before she can hope to ascend the throne and rule her people. She has to call on friends old and new as well as a few enemies to have any hope of triumphing over the new obstacles before her.
Since it was hard to pin down the overall rating initially, I decided to do a likes/dislikes list, just like I did for A Court of Misty and Fury:
What I like about this book:
- I like the development achieved in some characters, especially Manon and Elide.
- I love how Maas introduces characters in one book and then brings them to the forefront in the next installment. I enjoy watching secondary characters weave into the overall story arc and become important pieces of the narrative. There are two particular characters this happens with in this installment, and it was fun to get to know them better!
- I like seeing several characters from the Assassin’s Blade novellas pop up in this book.
- The ending…It did not disappoint!!! There is big payoff from previous books as well as from behind-the-scenes parts in this book.
What I don’t like about this book:
- I do not think the tone is consistent with the first four books in the series or with the YA genre in general. Strong language and suggestive comments are prevalent. There are also several very vivid adult scenes.
- I’m not as fond of the main character as I used to be. I LOVED her in the novellas and the first two books, was a little annoyed with her in book three, and have quite a few qualms about her decisions in books four and five.
- Some characters’ story lines left me wanting more. I had hoped to see much more of Dorian than what we got, and one of my favorite characters isn’t in this book at all.
- While I enjoyed the ending, it makes a few leaps I don’t feel are logical. I discussed these things with a friend who just finished the book, and we still can’t work through a few of them. Hopefully these are things that will be explained in the final installment and aren’t true plot holes.
I give the last 20% of this book 4 stars. For me, the first 80% has its high and low points. The pacing is a bit slow, but there are some great scenes and exciting developments interspersed throughout. There was enough mature content to overshadow my enjoyment of many sections as I thought about young audiences reading these parts. So I give the first 80% 2 stars. This is why, in the end, I decided on an overall rating of 2.5 stars.
I recommend this book to fans of the series. We have already come this far and want to see the story through to the end, right? But I have to qualify this recommendation to mention that this book is not intended for younger YA audiences (like the first few books were). I am obliged to include this qualification so readers (and parents of readers) can make an informed decision before picking up this book and/or this series. But I will be picking up book six when it comes out next year. I need to see how Aelin and her crew conclude their journey!
Let us know what you think about Empire of Storms in the comments! No spoilers on this page please. 🙂
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