“Blood will run. Dreams will shatter. An army must rise.”
The Throne of Glass series has been one of my highlights of 2016, so this was one of my most anticipated reads. This book does have some ups and downs, but it was still a great read. It has the feel of a bridge book – there is definitely a lot of set up for the final book in the series, but I cannot wait to find out what happens.
***This review will not contain specific spoilers from Empire of Storms, but will reveal plot points / spoilers from the earlier books in the series.***
Maas knows how to write strong female characters, but there are a couple of standouts for me in this series; Manon and Lysandra. (Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Elide too, but if I talk too much about her, there will be spoilers galore!) I have loved reading about Manon since her first appearance in the series, and this book was no different. She faces a number of challenges in this book and I for one cannot wait to see what happens to her in the next one. I also love her connection with Abraxos – they make a great team. Lysandra is such an important member of the team and it is clear that Aelin relies on her heavily – as you read this story you will see why. Lysandra is pivotal in many of the challenges that the group faces; you would definitely want her on your team.
In fact, the strength of Manon and Lysandra often contrasts with the depiction of Aelin. There are numerous occasions where she works alone, keeping secrets from her team, which results in long descriptions of what she did, what favours she pulls in and what happens in a distant part of the land. I think this is supposed to reveal how clever and how effective a leader she is, but the reader does not get to really experience the action which left me feeling rather removed from it all. Yes, she is still smart and cunning and I do want to know what is going to happen next, I just was not as invested in her story as I was of that of Manon, Lysandra and Elide.
For me, the male characters are the supporting cast in this book. They are there and they are involved, they even take part in some really critical moments in the book, but without Aelin, Manon and Lysandra I feel that the group would have failed pretty early in the book. Overall I feel a bit undecided about them. Both Dorian and Aedion play important roles in the story, but they have not left me with particularly strong opinions of either of them. I did enjoy reading about Lorcan, a complex character who is hard to like at times.
I like Rowan, but I do not swoon over him. Anyone who has read ACOMAF knows that Maas can write some pretty swoon-worthy characters (aaah Rhys 😍, you are my favourite!), but Rowan is not that sort of character and the alpha-maleness got a bit overbearing at times. I think there are still moments from earlier in the series that do not help me to connect with him. I think Rowan has the opportunity to develop more in the sixth book though.
Due to the enormous cast of characters, at times I was confused about who was who, where they were going (I never think to look at the map!!), where they were from and why they were getting involved. This is partly because there have been a lot of characters throughout the five books and also because we have moved on sooo much from the first two books that a character merely mentioned there can become of pivotal importance now. I was glad that I had read the novellas as I would have been even more lost if I had not read them. I think I will re-read the series before I read the finale to ensure that I have all the characters and relationships in my head, otherwise it could detract from the conclusion of a great series.
Have you read Empire of Storms yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!