Throne of Glass #5: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Read: 2 February, 2019

This book could be summed up as “You get a fey prince! And you get a fey prince! Everybody gets a fey prince!”

Nearly every important character gets matched up, and most of them get to bone. A lot. And the boning is.. eeeeeeh. It’s all about territorial marking and angry sex and wrecking beaches because the characters lose control of their powers while orgasming, and it really isn’t my thing at all.

Given that the sex scenes did nothing for me, getting through so many of them was a bit of a slog. Especially in a series that seems to have saved it up only to dump all of the sex out in one go.

I don’t know how much of the series Maas planned out when writing Throne of Glass, but this book has a whole bunch of Big Revelations. A lot of them work, and those are quite satisfying when they answer some mystery that’s been sitting in the background since the very beginning. Some, though, do feel like clunky retcon. There’s also more use of the “Aelin was secretly solving all the problems without telling anyone and while acting as though the problems were not being solved at all” plot device which is dangerous, to say the least. Sometimes, it results in a triumphant showing of her hands, as in the ending to Queen of Shadows. Sometimes, though, it reads like Maas wrote herself into a corner, and gave Aelin the deus ex machina trump card to get out of it.

Elide continues to be my favourite character. She’s so outgunned by everyone on Team Aelin, and yet she continues to hold her own. I even quite like her relationship with Lorcan. I’m not a huge fan of how Maas writes romance, but theirs works for me the best. And while she and Manon don’t get a lot of time together, their relationship continues to be one of my favourite aspects of the story.

Manon is still fantastic, and I even really like her with Dorian – as long as they aren’t having sex. As soon as they have sex, it’s all gross and angry and talking about what they could do with chains, and it just doesn’t seem to fit a relationship that is otherwise founded on mutual mercy.

A whole bunch of characters show up for the first time with obvious histories, which I assume were covered in the prequels. Having not read the prequels, I still never felt lost. The sudden influx of allies didn’t feel cheap, either, since there have been enough hints of Aelin’s past for these pre-existing relationships to be plausible.

There are still some repetition issues – everyone keeps either purring their statements, or saying them “too quietly” – but it’s still never as bad as it got in Heir of Fire.

More books in the Throne of Glass series:

  1. Throne of Glass
  2. Crown of Midnight
  3. Heir of Fire
  4. Queen of Shadows
  5. Empire of Storms
  6. Tower of Dawn
  7. Kingdom of Ash



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