Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas Book Review

Updated: Jan 24

Empire of Storms

by Sarah J Maas

Published by Bloomsbury

Book 5 in the Throne of Glass Series

Kingdoms will collide.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. 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.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.


Violent High-Fantasy Thrilling

Steamy New Adult Emotional



Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas is the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series, and centers around several key players in the Throne of Glass world, but mostly, Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, and the looming war, that if she loses, not only will she lose Terrasen, but the world will be gone a.s well. Along with Aelin, we get perspectives: Prince Rowan Whitethorn, her consort. Aedion Ashryver, her cousin and loyal guard. Lysandra, now a Lady in Aelin's court, shapeshifter, and Aelin's best friend. King Dorian of Adarlan, Aelin's friend and ally. Manon, Wing Leader, and Leader of the Thirteen. Elide, a Lady in Aelin's court with ties to the witches. And finally, Lorcan, one of Mauve's blood-sworn warriors, who is on a mission to save the queen from herself. All these stories tie together beautifully in Empire of Storms.

What can I say? I'm flabbergasted. How did that awful first book turn into this ... amazing series? And it is. I understand the hype. Empire of Storms is a non-stop thrill, that takes us from the lands of Aelin's home, Terrasen, to the open seas, in search of allies in the war. I truly mean, non-stop. There was so much that happened in this book, I can't believe it all happened over 600 pages. So much story progression, so much character and relationship building. Brutal violence, bonds forged and broken, loyalties tested and betrayed, romance and sex ... this book has everything.

Before I go on to talk about my thoughts and predictions about characters, I do want to tell you that this book steers away from the young adult audience, to new adult. Whereas romance and sex was written in a way that I would be okay with my fourteen year olds reading before, Empire of Storms is definitely written for a 18+ crowd. Just, maybe read it for yourself, and let yourself be judge about what your kids are ready to read.

Note: the text between the arrows is spoilers. If you want to read them, just highlight the text. Otherwise, you can read the non-spoilery thoughts on character arcs below.

Aelin is brutal. Just brutal. Not only to her enemies, but to those she loves too. Her main issue, is control. If she would yield just a little bit. Tell her friends her plans, it would save her a lot of grief. I don't blame them for constantly being upset with her. Some secrets, like the one revealed in the final chapters, I don't blame her for keeping. If anything, she showed how far she was willing to go to save her kingdom and people. ------> Who else called that Rowan and her were mates? It was so brutally obvious! I truly got emotional when Rowan was thinking about all the time he knew that Aelin was his mate, but pushed the thoughts away, because he felt like he was betraying his "mate" who had passed on 200 years ago. To find out it was manufactured, to break him, and that he continually denied that bond between him and his true mate ... well, I will admit to tears. Not just for him, but for Aelin, who not only called in all the life debts owed to her to build an army for Terrasen, for her now husband, and king of Terrasen, but also didn't let on to the pain she must have felt with Rowan's constant battle within himself. God, I hope Rowan gets to be the one who kills Maeve. Not only for the torture she is sure to give Aelin, but she the faked mating, and murder of his previous wife and unborn child. I refuse to believe that the bitch gets to live. <-----------. Before I leave off on Aelin and Rowan, excuse me while I do a little happy dance that ------> they finally have sex. And it was all kinds of hot. <-----------

Aedion's part in this book was somewhat subdued. Aedion is ... Aedion. A warrior. My theory with him and a certain someone is panning out, I do believe. --------> He did, after all, refer to his courting Lysandra as his "last hunt", which makes me think that he believes she is his mate. Also, who else was surprised about his admission that he is bi-sexual? Him saying that attraction is attraction was wonderful, and while its been clear in this series that homosexual relationships isn't frowned upon in this world, its nice that we have one of our core characters who is bisexual, and not ashamed. <----------- Lysandra proved how loyal she is to Aelin in the last book, but she really goes above and beyond in Empire of Storms. It's amazing to see her arc from powerless, enslaved courtesan, to powerful ally, and a vital member to Aelin's court. By the end of Empire of Storms, I was impressed with her bravery and strength, while also -------> super fucking angry with her. That plan of Aelin and her's ... how did EITHER of them think that Rowan and Aedion would go along with it? I'm glad that while she is willing to play her part in the plan to a degree, she also was willing to ignore the part of it where they just forgot about Aelin. What this says for her and Aedion's future relationship though ... I don't know. It would take a lot for Aedion to forgive what was done ... and if Lysandra has true feelings for him, which I do think she does, will Aedion even trust those feelings, knowing the details of the plan. I don't know. I just don't know. <--------.

Dorian ... no, King Dorian, really comes into his own in this book. I will admit, I have always seen him as a boy. A sweet prince, but other than having raw magic, and heir to a royal bloodline, kind of ... boring. But Empire of Storms changes that. Everything that has happened, has shaped the young prince, into a king. There has always been some inconsistency with Dorian over the course of the series, and that hasn't changed. Rumors, and his admissions, of being a playboy, but from the start, he was either head over heels with Celaena, which led to innocent make out sessions, and with Sorscha, again, innocent make out sessions ... but other than him and others mentioning it from time to time, he seemed like a romantic. A sweet romantic. -------> I totally called him and Manon becoming a thing, but I did NOT think that Dorian had a dark and twisty, sexy side. The flirtation and tension between them was hot, and when Dorian and Manon finally had sex ... oh my god. By new theory for the future of the series is that Dorian will be the one to sacrifice himself and forge the key. <-------- FINALLY, FINALLY, I liked Manon's storyline. I understand now why we got so much build up for her. I love the balance, too. She might -------> be working with Aelin and her court now, even if she is somewhat their prisoner, but she is also still her. She is brutal, and honest, and while she is finally letting herself open up a bit, specifically with Dorian, she is still a ruthless witch, and I don't think that will ever change about her. <--------.

Elide and Lorcan's journey throughout this book was fascinating. In Queen of Shadows, I was a little bored with Elide's story, and Lorcan was just another enemy of Aelin's, but when their paths forge, the story gets so interesting! Elide is shown to be brilliant, despite the fact she can't read. The girl has street skills ... amazing for a girl who was locked away for 10 years. --------> As soon as Lorcan and Elide met, I suspected that there was something between them. Fate is funny sometimes. I loved Lorcan's transformation throughout the book. He still hated Aelin, till the end of course. Aelin's ultimate sacrifice for her kingdom, and for the woman he developed feelings for changed his perspective on her. But he knew Elide carried a key on her, and didn't take it. He helps her. And I think, even if Lorcan didn't find out about they key he had being a fake (that note Aelin left made me laugh), he would've helped Elide find Aelin anyway. I think the bond between them would have been too strong for him to leave her. A guy who tore up his shirt for her to use during her period ... thats frigging love. I hope Elide will be able to get over Lorcan's actions. Misinformed, and blood-bonded, a lot happened that was out of his control. <----------

You know who was missing from this book? Chaol and Nesriq. I suspect we will find out what is going on with them in the next book.

Empire of Storms was epic. Non-stop, freaking, epic. I love the more adult nature to the book, and I love where this story is heading.

Favorite Moments

  1. Aelin and Rowan making everyone uncomfortable with their scent of desire

  2. Aelin's promise to Darrow

  3. Aedion giving Evangeline a kiss goodbye on top of her head. Aww!

  4. Manon saving Dorian, and giving him information

  5. Lurcan saving Elide

  6. Meeting Brannon

  7. Manon attacking her grandmother, giving a chance for Asterin and the rest of her Thirteen a chance to escape.

  8. Aelin's entrance at Skulls Bay

  9. Lysandra saving the day at the battle at Skulls Bay.

  10. Rowan and Aelin FINALLY getting their night

  11. Abraxos bringing Manon to Aelin and crew when she was dying from her injuries

  12. The note Aelin left in the fake key Lorcan had

  13. Elide holding her own, and Lorcan and her killing the ilkens

  14. Elide telling Lorcan he will always have a place in Perranth, and their first kiss

  15. Lorcan willing to sacrifice himself as long as Elide was healed and safe

  16. Dorian and Manon ... holy hotness.

  17. Finding out the truth about everything.

Where to Buy


Paperback (Amazon)

Hardcover (Amazon)

Paperback (Chapters/Indigo)

Hardcover (Chapters/Indigo)

Throne of Glass Box Set (Chapters/Indigo)


Google Play Books

Favorite Quotes


Gavin: "We will all die before the sun is fully risen."

Elena: "We'll all die one day anyway."

Gavin: "No. I will die. Those people down there - they will die. Either by sword or time. But you ... You could live for centuries. Millennia. Do not throw it away for a doomed battle."

Elena: "I would sooner die tomorrow than live for a thousand years with a coward's shame."

Rowan: "Fireheart."

Aelin: "Buzzard."

Aelin: "You want to sling insults at me, Darrow, then go ahead. But you insult my own again, and I won't miss next time."

Aelin: "I have no plans to lose this war because some old bastard has learned he likes playing king."

Aelin: "I can't - I can't let you go -"

Rowan: "You can. And you will. When you find me again, we will have that night. I don't care where, or who is around."

He pressed a kiss to her neck

Rowan: "You are my Fireheart."

She grabbed his face in both hands, drawing him down to kiss her.

Aelin: "Judge me all you like, Ren Allsbrook. But do not fail this kingdom."

Aelin held up a hand, flame leaping at her fingertips, rain turning to steam above it. Blood snaked down her wrist from the deep cut, sibling to the other on her right hand, bright as Goldryn's ruby, peeking over her shoulder.

Aelin: "I'll make you one more promise."

She folded her bloodied hand into a fist as she lowered it before them. Darrow tensed.

Her blood dripped onto the sacred soil of Terrasen, and her smile turned lethal. Even Aedion held his breath beside her.

Aelin: "I promise you that no mater how far I go, no matter the cost, when you call for my aid, I will come. I promise you on my blood, on my family's name, that I will not turn my back on Terrasen as you have turned your back on me. I promise you, Darrow, that when the day comes and you crawl for my help, I will put my kingdom before my pride and not kill you for this. I think the true punishment will be seeing me on the throne for the rest of your miserable life."

Dorian: "Hello, witchling."

Manon: "Hello, princeling."

Elide: "You swear it? That you will protect me?"

Lorcan: "I didn't leave you to the ilken today, did I?"

She eyed him with a clarity and frankness that made him pause.

Elide: "Swear it."

He rolled his eyes

Lorcan: "I promise. I will not abandon you."

Dorian: "I've never met a pirate."

Rowan: "You met Aelin when she was still pretending to be Celaena. I can promise you Rolfe won't be much worse."

Dorian: "That's not reassuring."

Dorian: "The first time you met Aelin, did you know ... ?"

A snort.

Rowan: "No. Gods, no. We wanted to kill each other."

Lysandra: "Is it really that hard for you to just agree with me for once?"

Aedion: "I never disagree."

Lysandra: "You always have an answer for everything. It's insufferable."

Aedion grinned

Aedion: "Good to know I'm finally getting under your skin. Or is it skins?"

The staggeringly beautiful face turned positively wicked.

Lysandra: "Careful, Aedion. I bite."

Aedion leaned in a bit closer and snapped his teeth at her

Aedion: "Good thing I know how to make women purr."

Brannon: "Magic is not easy gift in any form, yet fire ... We burn not just within our magic, but also in our very souls."

Brannon: "Is the beast in the cave dead?"

Aelin: "No, but he told me that he misses you and you should pay him a visit. He's lonely out there."

Brannon chuckled again

Brannon: "We would have had fun together, you and I."

She groaned a bit as she eased to her feet, and frowned at the night-dark sea crashing mere yards away. At the ancient queen across it, readying her armada.

Aelin stuck out her tongue.

Aedion: "Well, if Maeve wasn't already poised to attack, that'll certainly set her off."

Aedion: "You know, you ladies can let us males do things every now and then."

Aelin lifted a brow

Aelin: "Where would the fun be in that?"

Mornings were for practicing his magic in a jungle clearing a few miles away. Worse, Rowan made him run there and back; and when they returned at lunch, he had the "choice" of eating before or after one of Rowan's grueling workouts.

Honestly, Dorian had no idea how Aelin had survived months of this - let alone fallen in love with the warrior while she did. Though he supposed both the queen and prince possessed a sadistic streak that made them compatible.

Rolfe: "Get out of my chair."

Aelin did no such thing. She just gave Rowan a sultry sweet from foot to face. Rowan's expression remained unreadable, eyes intent - near-glowing. And then Aelin said to Rowan with a secret smile,

Aelin: "You, I don't know. But I'd like to."

Rowan's lips tugged upward.

Rowan: "I'm not on the market, unfortunately."

Aelin: "Pity."

She cocked her head as she noticed a bowl of small emeralds on Rolfe's desk.

Aelin swiped up the emeralds in a hand, picking them over as she glanced at Rowan beneath her lashes.

Aelin: "She must be a rare, staggering beauty to make you so faithful."

Gods save them all. He could have sworn Fenrys coughed behind him.

Aelin chucked the emeralds into the metal dish as if they were bits of copper, their plunking the only sound.

Aelin: "She must be clever" - plunk - "and fascinating" - plunk - "and very, very talented."

Plunk, plunk, plunk went the emeralds. She examined the four gems remaining in her hand.

Aelin: "She must be the most wonderful person who ever existed."

Another cough from behind him - from Gavriel this time. But Aelin only had eyes for Rowan.

Rowan: "She is indeed that. And more."

Aelin: "Hmmm."

Rolfe: "Rumor has it she was your Champion this fall. Do you wish to deal with this."

Dorian: "You will find, Rolfe, that one does not deal with Celaena Sardothien. One survives her."

Rolfe: "Do you know what your stunt cost me?"

Aelin flicked her eyes toward a piece of parchment on the wall, various daggers, swords, and even scissors embedded in it - target practice, apparently, for Rolfe.

Aelin: "Well, there's the bar tab I left unpaid ..."

she said of the document, which was indeed a list of items, and - holy gods, that was a large sum of money.

Aelin: "Allow you to introduce to you, Captain Rolfe, the incomparable, the beautiful, and the absolutely and all-around flawless Queen of Terrasen."

Dorian's brows creased. But footsteps sounded, and then -

The males shifted as Aelin Galathynius indeed strode into the room, clad in a dark green tunic of equal wear and dirt, her golden hair unbound, her turquoise-and-gold eyes laughing as she strode past a slack-jawed Rolfe and perched on the arm of Aelin's chair.

Dorian couldn't tell - without a Fae's sense of smell, he couldn't tell.

Rolfe: "What - what devilry is this."

Aelin and Aelin looked at each other. The one in black grinned up at the newcomer.

Aelin: "Oh, you are gorgeous, aren't you?"

Rolfe: "A queen who plays with fire is not one who makes a solid ally."

Aelin: "And a pirate whose men abandoned him at the first test of allegiance makes for a shit navel commander, yet here I am, at this table."

Rolfe; "The talk of young idealists and dreamers."

Aelin: "The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers, Rolfe."

Aedion: "I knew Dorian as a reckless, arrogant -"

Lysandra: "I knew your queen as the same. We were children then. We are allowed to make mistakes, to figure out who we wish to be."

Rowan: "Fenrys was the one who ... volunteered to train you when Maeve told us you'd come to Wendlyn."

Aelin: "Why?"