Book Review: Empire of Storms

Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date of Publication 6th September 2016
Purchase From: Amazon, Booktopia, Book Depository
Source: Review copy courtesy of Bloomsbury Australia
Genre: Fantasy/Mature YA

Throne of Glass
Crown of Midnight
Heir of Fire
Queen of Shadows

Warning: This review is likely to contain spoilers for previous books in the series.

Aelin has claimed her birthright and has started assembling her court, but she is still without a kingdom. Without the support of the Lords of Terrasen, she is a Queen in name only. Dorian is still coming to terms with his losses when yet another tragedy strikes his kingdom. Manon is unsure of the purpose for which the witches are being used in the North, and her doubt will cost her dearly.

This fifth instalment in the Throne of Glass series maintains the tension of the previous book and ramps it up even further. This series is a tapestry, with threads being woven, layer upon layer, and it is now, as we come towards the end, that we can start to see the intricacy of the picture that has been woven.

The major highlight of this book for me was the witches. In Heir of Fire I wasn't fond of Manon's chapters and didn't really see the point of them. In Queen of Shadows she came into her own and I really came to like her story, but in Empire of Storms she practically steals the show, and may now be my favourite character (although she has some stiff competition from Lysandra). She has one scene in particularly which is just jaw dropping.

There are no fewer than three queens, a prince, a king and several lords in this book, so political wrangling makes up a large part of the plot. Aelin needs allies if she is to hold the throne, and it's time to call in some of the favours she is owed. Although there are several powerful men in this book, some of whom get their own point of view chapters, this is all about the women. They are the ones who are not only scheming behind the scenes, but doing what needs to be done to win the war against darkness.

Empire of Storms kept me turning pages, and I read it in two days. It's a compelling read and an exciting addition to the series, but it also, in some ways, is a departure point. Where Throne of Glass started as YA fantasy, Empire of Storms sits more comfortably in the realm of adult fantasy/paranormal romance. From the middle of the book onward there are quite a few sex scenes, and these are detailed enough to warrant the caution that this is not for younger readers. While I don't mind reading books with adult content, some of these scenes felt gratuitous and out of place when compared to previous books in the series.

Fans of Chaol will be disappointed that he gets no more than a mention in this book, but as he is getting his own novella, this will hopefully explain his absence and fill us in on what has happened to him after Queen of Shadows, where he was left in a precarious position.

I still have a lot of love for this series, but Empire of Storms doesn't quite live up to the standard of the previous books. That said, it's still a highly enjoyable read and the climax left me reeling. I can't wait to find out how it all ends.


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 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?