Book Review – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Okay, so it took me longer than I intended to write the final review I had planned for this series. (I haven’t read Tower of Dawn yet, and tbh, I don’t think I will until the final book is out. I want to get the whole kit and caboodle done with at once.) But listen, y’all – if you’ve read this book, then you know why it took me eight months to formulate my thoughts on it, and then some extra days too. This one is a doozy, and I don’t necessarily mean that in a positive way.

Where do I even begin?

Okay, so. Empire of Storms. Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, Aedion, and Lysandra are walking. They need to get to Terrasen, but they can’t actually do anything there, so they need to rebuild some old alliances first. (Side note – I haven’t mentioned Lysandra yet, I don’t think, but she’s a shapeshifter who is totally badass. More on her later.) This book is a lot of walking and then some battles and then more walking and then more battles. It’s a lot to keep track of. Eventually, the group gets a ship, and Lysandra starts learning to impersonate a sea monster to help them. And Aelin and Rowan have a LOT of sex. It’s obnoxious. And Aedion and Lysandra are pairing off, but like, they’ve both worked as sex workers, so when she says she wants to be free for a while, he agrees, even though he wants her and bugs her about it all the time? Idk. Oh, and two of Rowan’s fae compatriots hunt him down because they’re supposed to kill him for their fae bitch queen. One of them is Aedion’s dad?? They all end up at this port city on Terrasen’s coast.

Meanwhile, Manon is gravely injured from a fight with her grandmother and is thrown out of the Blackbeak clan. Abraxos can sense that she’s not doing well, and when she tells him to take her somewhere safe, he finds the ship that the other group commandeered from some pirates. Well, they borrowed it. There was bartering involved. Anyway, Lysandra and the others help heal Manon’s near-fatal wounds and then she’s chained up in the ship because they don’t trust her because she and Aelin fought each other in Queen of Shadows and one of Manon’s thirteen shot Rowan and he needed a bunch of time to heal. But Dorian finds himself very attracted to Manon, so they have sex, and for the first time, Manon doesn’t eat the human man she uses for sex, and that means something?? Idk idk.

Meanwhile meanwhile, Elide is trying to find her way back to Manon, but she’s being hunted by another of Rowan’s former buddies, Lorcan. He agrees to help her find Manon for a reason I can’t remember. But he also wants to bang her?? Why does everyone have to pair up in this series?!? They also end up on the coast in Terrasen.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

So. They’re all on the coast of Terrasen now, and the fae bitch queen comes with her fleet to sack them, take her fae warriors back, and take Aelin with her in a magic-dampening coffin. Which is what happens, basically. But then! Sure, Aelin is taken away by the fae bitch queen, but she and Rowan got married in the middle of the night the night before, and Lysandra is a shapeshifter, so… everything’s fine? IDK IDK!! The books ends with Lysandra disguised as Aelin and Rowan is the consort and IDK IDK!! Ugh.

NOW CAN YOU SEE WHY THIS WAS HARD TO WRITE???

eos


3 Things I Loved

  1. Abraxos. I mean, obviously. He’s so precious.
  2. Lysandra. She is easily my new favorite character in this series. Not only is she not ashamed of the sex work she was part of for many years, but she openly states that she doesn’t want a man right now. And Aedion is mostly good about it, and good to her, and she takes his friendship and is learning to trust and I just love her. Plus, SHAPESHIFTER, obviously.
  3. The ending. This book was kind of trash, but the twist at the end was pretty fantastic.

Dislikes/Problematic Content

Well.

Aside from everything I’ve mentioned in Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, and Queen of Shadows, there’s a few additional things in this book ON TOP OF all the other stuff.

There are literally only white people in this book

Unless you count the possibility that some of the random characters they meet are POC, literally, all of these characters are white. ALL OF THEM. What kind of world is this??

Apparently everyone is straight

Aside from the allusion that maybe Aedion is bisexual – and I say allusion, because he did some sex work, so I don’t know if he chose to sleep with men or if he was told to sleep with men, which would say nothing about his actual sexual preferences – everyone pairs off heterosexually in this book and it pissed me off. Like, Manon doesn’t need to be with Dorian??? Lysandra doesn’t need Aedion, and yet that is apparently going to happen??? Ugh.

When did this stray from Young Adult into something older??

This is a YA series, supposedly. Aelin is eighteen when the series begins. BUT THIS BOOK HAS SO MUCH SEX IN IT, IT’S INSANE. Like, WOW WOW WOW. There’s no way you can still call this YA.

There are probably more things, but I’m tired.


Rating

  • Red = DNF, I hated everything
  • Orange = Ugh, no thank you
  • Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
  • Green = This was good! 
  • Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
  • Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!

Welp. You probably know where this is headed. I pretty much hated every single second of reading this book. The ending was twisty, sure, but it didn’t make up for the book as a whole. But I’m five books in now, so I’ll finish the series. Eventually. I’m just… guh. So anyway, I’m giving Empire of Storms an ORANGE rating. What a way to finish out the series!

What did y’all think of this book? Have any of you read Tower of Dawn? What did you think of that? Should I wait for the last book to come out, like I planned?

Happy reading (and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it)!

-A.

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