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Review: Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas

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Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
My Rating : {★★★★★}

Young Adult Fantasy
Published September 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Source: Purchased
The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Well that was an epic book. I mean, seriously, when an author takes a story and weaves it so beautifully; when the world is given such rich life and history; when the characters and the events just feel so real like the author is simply recounting something that has already actually happened - that's EPIC.

I don't know if it's the deft and beautiful writing, the complex plot, the often heart wringing character development or the dazzling worlds that Maas builds in my mind's eye, but I am always enthralled by her books. Obsessed may be a better word actually.... I can't decide. Enthralled, obsessed, bewitched, beguiled, engrossed, consumed, tormented. Those are all good words to describe how this book completely took over my life. And this book is long. 700+ pages long. But that's just more words to love, more amazing world building, fantastic character interactions and thrilling plot turns. I LOVE IT.

The new POV characters are wonderful to get to know. Sarah J Maas does a really wonderful job of giving them such depth and creating such relatable characters that you can't help but empathise with them - whether you liked them or not in previous books. There's a deep understanding of the characters - of their pasts, their motivations and their actions and reactions and I find myself rooting for all of them, even the anti-heroes. This book changes in a way because now the story is not just centred around Aelin: The other POV characters equally carry the story and that just makes the whole thing more amazing.

Another change in this book from the previous books in the series is the fairly graphic sexual content - but for me, this definitely has its place and I like the steaminess that this adds. Whether it's too steamy for YA? I don't think so, but that's just me (I've been reading 'up' since I was a fairly young teenager sneaking off to read Loveswept romances that adorned the bookshelf). This is for an older YA reader, sure, but when you're talking about an entire series based on a world renowned assassin (assassins in general kill people) and epic fantasy full of evil and big bads - well honestly? I don't think a little sex is taking it overboard - I'm just saying. The sexual relationships are all so positive (and it's important to have positive sexual relationships in books) that it's showing the younger readers that this is what it should be like - there's so much love and loving adult relationships that this just makes sense.

One of my absolute favourite things about this book (and series) is all the wonderfully strong, clever, absolutely capable women that we encounter. There's a whole wonderful trove of them represented in these books and they are all kick-ass - diverse, flawed and dimensional and absolutely kick-ass. It's not just Celaena anymore and while each character has their own adversities and issues, they are all absolutely amazing women and they have each other's backs. #Goals

I feel I should really mention that it would be helpful to read The Assassin's Blade before embarking on this story - there's a lot of characters that appear in the novellas that are now re-introduced into this, and while you don't have to have read them it will definitely help your understanding. I also love how the backstories are now coming into play. Things that Maas set up so long ago now coming into the picture and I look back and think 'Oh! Wow!'
“The world,” Aelin said, “will be saved and remade by the dreamers, Rolfe.”
It just gets better and better with each book. This series has grown and evolved so much since the first book and I can't believe that 2017 will see the 6th and final instalment. There's so many revelations and twists in this one that I can't even see where Maas is headed with the finale. I am pretty sure it will be gut wrenching and I don't know if I will ever be prepared.
"Fight her. I am coming for you. Even if it takes me a thousand years. I will find you, I will find you, I will find you."
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) - Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)→