Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

empire of storms

Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Date: 6th September 2016

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Brace yourselves…this is a long one.

I finished this book a couple of days ago and I still can’t put into words how much this blew me away. It was amazing. Everything fell into place, and I couldn’t believe how it all fit together. We were reminded of events that took place back in the first book and I was just shocked at how Sarah J. Maas had planned it all. This is a series that has had so much thought put into it, and into every character that Aelin has come into contact with from the very beginning. Empire of Storms saw some of my favourites finally meeting, under some pretty tense circumstances mind you. There will probably be some spoilers from the previous books mentioned in this review.

After finally defeating the King of Adarlan and winning the throne for Dorian, Aelin sets out to Terrasen with Rowan, Aedion and Lysandra by her side, ready to face whatever waits for her. With darkness growing in Morath, Aelin knows she must build an army if she ever hopes to defeat Erawan, but the path isn’t easy. With Prince Rowan at her side, she believes she can do anything it takes, sacrifice whatever she has to. Other forces are working against her, pushing in from all sides, and Aelin realises she will have to do the unexpected if she is to keep those she loves alive.

This is a huge book and so much happens that I’m finding it hard to figure out where to start. The world building, as always, is amazing and I loved that we got to see more of Erilea in Empire of Storms. We got to see the infamous Skull’s Bay, where there a pirates and a great battle that was too awesome for words (Lysandra really shines in this part) and we get to visit the eerie Stone Marshes where Aelin’s search for help takes her. I love the descriptions and I can always picture everything perfectly.

I won’t lie though, there were some parts of this book where I was worried. It dragged for a little during the beginning to middle, where not a lot happened. Well, it kicked into an extremely high gear once I passed the halfway point and I didn’t want to put it down. There is so much action and magic being wielded by the characters, and everyone gets their chance to shine. While Aelin is incredibly powerful, and always looking for ways to extend her magic to last longer, it was great to see more of Dorian and how he has been affected by what’s happened. His magic is probably the most interesting to me, and I hope to see more of it in the future.

I love a fantasy book with good romance, and Empire of Storms has just that (with some steamy sex scenes too). I have grown to love Aelin and Rowan together (even though I was firmly team Chaol for the first two/three books) but I felt like it was too much. Rowan was a bit too clingy and always wanting to be around her, which I understand is a Fae male thing, but I didn’t like it that much. I think my favourite would be what happens between Dorian and Manon (who is my favourite character). Ever since she saved Dorian, he has had her on his mind and I loved reading their interactions. They way he calls her Witching, and she calls him Princeling, just makes me very happy. There is a little slow burn romance going on between two characters and another love to hate one, but I don’t want to spoil the fun too much.

Empire of Storms has a huge cast of characters, and if I were to talk about every one then I would be here forever (and I don’t think you’d want to hear me rambling on). Let’s start with who is probably the most important. Aelin was…a struggle for me in this book. I want to like her but she does some stupid things and isn’t a great person at times. I just found myself getting a little bored of her and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I felt the other characters had more to offer. However, the revelation that was about her just blew my mind and I have no idea what is going to happen to her. I could feel how tense I was when reading and when I reached the end…well, I’m just annoyed that I don’t find anything out about what happens in Tower of Dawn because I know it’s just about Chaol.

Enter the second strongest female character in the series, Manon Blackbeak. I love her and everything she stands for. Her character arc was incredible in the book and I have loved seeing her grow as a woman throughout the last three books, and how her views on the world are constantly changing. Some shocking events took place that changed her in this book, mainly being renounced as the Blackbeak heir (but I won’t say how), and this is all about her finding out who she is and what she wants. It doesn’t disappoint and I hope to see a lot more of her in Kingdom of Ash.

We also see a lot more of Elide in this book, having escaped the clutches of Morath and journeying to find Celaena Sardothien, with a little help from Lorcan, one of Maeve’s subjects. They were very interesting to read about and I enjoyed learning more about them, especially because they are fairly new characters to the series. Then there was Aedion and Lysandra, two more amazing supporting characters. While Aedion is amazing and cares so much for Aelin, it is Lysandra who will truly do anything for her Queen. She goes through hell and proves just how strong she is, which was inspiring to read.

I don’t want to mention about the evil forces too much, mainly Erawan and Maeve, because I don’t want to spoil what happens, but I will say this…Maeve is the worst and a tyrant. What she does…I can’t even think about it. If you’ve read this book then you’ll know what I’m talking about. The second half of Empire of Storms is the best, and just kicks everything up a notch. We have a few surprise characters that make an appearance, which I wasn’t expecting, and we finally learn why all of it has been happening to the characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it really progressed the series. In a book this big, so much happens that it’s hard to talk about it all. I could probably go on for a while, but I can honestly say that I am so excited to read the next two and to find out what will happen. I just want a happy ending for some of the characters, that’s all I ask. I’m going to give Empire of Storms a solid four stars.

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Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

queen of shadows

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Date: 1st September 2015

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Before I started reading the fourth instalment of this series, I had heard that the series started to go downhill, and after loving the first three I was a bit hesitant at first. Turns out I had nothing to worry about because this book was incredible! So much happened in the 600+ pages (that’s a lot of words) and I was living for it. Especially after the ending, which has made me more excited to get around to the next two books before the final one comes out this year. Fair warning, there will be spoilers as we are well into this series now (if anything I am a bit behind).

Aelin, formerly Celaena Sardothien, has returned to Rifthold to take back what is rightfully hers, to destroy the men responsible for ruining her life, and to save the people she loves. After learning that her cousin has been taken and Dorian is under the control of a Valg Prince, she devises a plan to rescue Aedion with the help of Chaol and her former master, Arobynn. But everything comes at a price and the price of Arobynn’s help is the deliverance of a Valg to his doorstep. Soon enough help arrives in the form of Rowan, the Fae who helped her back in Wendlyn, and they all work together to help Aelin take back her Kingdom and face her foes (because there are plenty).

All the while, back in Morath the Blackbeak witches are under the rule of the King and Duke Perrington. Manon has been told by her grandmother to do as they are told and to not question anything. But when the witches are taken to be used for breeding with the Valg demons, Manon knows that something is wrong. Something dark is brewing within the walls and they soon realise that things must change.

So much happens in this book that it is hard to know where to start. The writing, as always, was incredible and captivating. When it comes to world building, Maas is one of the best and I can always visualise what is written in front of me. I am loving that we still get to read about the witches in Morath because Manon is one of my favourite characters, and it was interesting to finally read scenes with Arobynn in them (isn’t he an evil bastard?). The plot twists just keep coming with this series and the biggest one was saved for the end, which completely shocked me to my core. I don’t understand how that can still happen with a series, but it is keeping me hooked.

Something I adore about the Throne of Glass series now is that there are still the multiple perspectives, which allow us to see so much more. Again, there is so much to talk about, but I guess I will try to sum it up as much as I can. Of course we have Aelin, the badass Queen, who is still one of my favourite protagonists. She is sassy and sarcastic, as well as brutal, even when she sometimes shouldn’t be. I really enjoyed her romantic development with Rowan in this story. While I was firmly team Chaol I have been swayed, because they are the best and have some of my favourite scenes in the book. Rowan has really grown on me and I find myself always smiling when I read his snarky comments and swooning when he looks out for Aelin.

There was the introduction of a new character for me, which was Lysandra, someone who Aelin grew up with, and who was used by Arobynn as well. Throughout the story their friendship grew and after what happened with Nehemia, it was great to see that happen. Not to mention the fact that Lysandra was such a strong female character that fought for those she loved. Later on in the story some truths are revealed which makes her a better character and one that I look forward to reading about in the future.

I’m going to speak about some of the darker characters in the story now and for a time it was Dorian. His chapters were heartbreaking after everything he has gone through and now he is possessed by a Valg demon. But I liked how Chaol was always rooting for him, wanting to save him, even when others didn’t think he could be saved (looking at you Aelin). Then we have Manon. I love her. She isn’t the nicest of people, I will admit that, but she is ferocious and brutal, and her chapters are my favourites. She is such a diverse character and she really gets quite the arc in this story considering what happens at the end with Dorian.

I would say that the second half of the book is better because that is when most of the action takes place and there is so much going on. Secrets unfold, lots of people die and in the end, I would say that there was a happy ending of sorts. But you can definitely tell that something dark and sinister is lurking on the horizon and I can’t wait to find out what happens to our characters next.

Overall, Queen of Shadows was my favourite book in the series so far and I can only hope that it will continue this way. A solid five stars from me!

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Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Heir of Fire

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Date: 11th September 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

This series is incredible and it has gotten better with every book I have read. It’s been a while since I loved a series as much as this and I am so passionate about the characters and their world. I just can’t get enough! Heir of Fire is the best so far because it was tense, fast paced and I was hooked. As this is the third book in the series there will be some spoilers below so if you haven’t read the others, don’t read anymore.

Heir of Fire picks up with Celaena arriving in Wendlyn to carry out the task the King had set her, to steal military plans from the Kingdom. Going against his orders, she hides out until she meets the mysterious Fae Prince, Rowan Whitethorn, who takes her to see Queen Maeve, who can give her the answers that she seeks. But first, she must master her gifts with the help of Rowan. Together they travel to Mistborn, where the Demi-Fae live and they begin a gruelling training regime. All the while a darkness is growing in the mountains where the Ironteeth witches are gathering to help the King of Adarlan. Back in Rifthold Chaol is working with the rebels to come up with ways to help Dorian control his magic and how they can restore it to the land.

There is so much that goes on in this book that it’s hard to know where to start (and it isn’t exactly a small book either). I’m going to start off by saying that I loved the multiple POVs in this book and it was so easy to keep track of everyone’s story. My favourite, by far, was learning about Manon Blackbeak and the wyverns that had been created. I can’t even begin to explain how incredible it was to learn of their history (especially after being introduced to the Yellowlegs clan in Crown of Midnight) and Manon was one of the most badass characters I’ve seen in a while. There is definitely more than meets the eye with her and I’m excited to see where her story leads her (also, Abraxos is amazing and I got Toothless vibes).

The character growth, especially for Celaena, was amazing and learning about her past helped us to understand why she acted the way she did. I was almost crying at some parts because it was so emotional and I think it all comes down to the fact that Maas has created a character that we can all connect with in some way. The shock of finding out that she was Aelin, heir to the throne of Terrasen, stuck with me at the beginning of the novel and it was fascinating to read her interactions at Mistward and the struggles she faced regaining her power.

We were introduced to so many new characters in this novel and they all had their own voice that was distinct and unique. While Rowan seemed to be a bit of an arse in the beginning (he was just a little bit harsh to Celaena), we later grew to understand him and in the end I could feel him becoming one of my favourites. We also met Aedion, the General of one of the King’s armies, who was helping Chaol uncover the secrets of how the magic in Adarlan disappeared and how they could indeed get it back. He, too, was a bit of an arse, but in the end it all made sense and I was rooting for him, for them all really.

Dorian managed to meet someone, a healer named Sorscha, who made him happy and I couldn’t help but smile when I read his POV, although that ending had me gasping because I did not expect a thing! It was heart breaking and left me wanting to know what would happen to all my favourite characters. The last few chapters sent me spiralling and I just know that Queen of Shadows is going to start with a bang. Also, I really, really want the King to die because he’s so evil and it’s infuriating. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this strongly about an antagonist and once again, it’s all down to Maas’ writing ability.

I could go on and on about how amazing this book is and it wouldn’t do it justice. The writing is incredible as always and the world building was fantastic. We learned so much more and I could vividly picture it all. There was action, darkness, drama, romance and heartache. This book made me feel everything and I just love it. How could I not give it 5 stars?

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Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass

Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Date: August 2nd 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury

After turning the last page of this book I asked myself one question…Why on earth had I not read this book before now? It has been sat on my shelf for years, gathering dust since I bought it in 2013. For some reason I had put off reading it and then I went through a period of not picking up books at all. Finally I noticed it and made myself promise to read it and I am so glad I did. Fantasy is quickly becoming one of my favourite genres and I’m afraid I’m going to have to buy the rest of the series very soon (apologies to my bank account).

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, a deadly assassin who has been locked up in Endovier serving a life sentence, until suddenly she is offered a deal by the Captain of the Guard. If she represents the Crown Prince in a competition to become the King’s Champion, she can have her freedom back. But first she has to win the competition and that will not be an easy feat. All in all there are twenty three contestants, all of whom have been offered the same deal and who would kill for the chance to be free again. Celaena is thrust into a world where politics rule and things are not what they always seem. All she knows is that she has to win, no matter what.

After reading so many amazing reviews of this book, I am happy to say that, for me, it lived up to the hype. I didn’t want to stop reading once I had started. There were so many elements that I loved, the first of which is the world that Maas created. Her writing style made me believe that this Erilea could exist and her descriptions of the castle and the landscapes helped me picture it so vividly. This book was so addictive and I can only imagine that the rest of the series will get better with each book. It took me on an adventure that I didn’t want to end.

I can’t even begin to describe how much I love the character of Celaena. She is everything I want in a female protagonist. She is strong, witty, she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. I saw myself in her at times, making her all the more relatable and more than once I found myself smiling while reading. She may seem hard and cold on the outside, the killer assassin, but she is also kind and charming, more vulnerable than the other characters realise. I was rooting for her the whole way through and I am left wanting to know more.

Celaena wasn’t the only character that I loved. The Captain of the Guard, Chaol, grew to also be one of my favourites, even though he can be a tough nut to crack, you can see that he is caring to the people around him, especially his friend, the Crown Prince, Dorian. I can’t figure out who I prefer, Chaol or Dorian. The latter is definitely not what I expected and isn’t a shallow Prince by any means. He is complicated, not nearly as complicated as Celaena though, and I couldn’t help but love their encounters. All the friendships and relationships in the book seemed genuine and realistic, there was nothing forced about it.

I could go on and on about this book! I have a feeling that more of the world Maas has created will be explored and I am looking forward to seeing where Celaena’s story takes us. An incredible novel that I only wish I had read sooner. It gripped me from the beginning and was simply magical. And with no glaring faults, I think that this is going to be my first 5 star review on this blog!