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Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas Book Review

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

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 #Fantasy Thrilling

Steamy #NewAdult 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.

Where to Buy

Paperback (Amazon)

Hardcover (Amazon)

Paperback (Chapters/Indigo)

Hardcover (Chapters/Indigo)

Throne of Glass Box Set (Chapters/Indigo)


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?"

Fenrys: "It would have gotten me out of Doranelle. And we likely would have had far more fun, anyway. I know what a bastard Whitethorn can be when it comes to training."

Rowan: "You two would have stayed on that rooftop in Varese and drunk yourselves to death."

Aelin: "How does she do it? With Rowan, it's not ... Every order I give him, even casual ones, are his to decide what to do with. Only when I actively pull on the bond can I get him to ... yield. And even then it's more of a suggestion."

Gavriel: "It is different with her. Dependent on the ruler it is sworn to. You two took the oath to each other with love in your hearts. You had no desire to own or rule him."

Oh, gods - this. This was what drove her out of her mind - this fire between them.

They could burn the entire world to ashes with it. He was hers and she was his, and they had found each other across centuries of bloodshed and loss, across oceans and kingdoms and war.

Rowan: "Even when you're in another kingdom, Aelin, your fire is still in my blood, my mouth."

Aelin: "You said you wouldn't take me against a tree the first time. What about a chimney?"

Rowan huffed another laugh and nipped at her bottom lip

Rowan: "Remind me again why I missed you."

Aedion: "Open your gods-damned eyes."

She snarled back, but cracked open an eye.

Aedion: "You made it this far. Don't die on the rutting beach."

The eye narrowed - with a hint of female temper. He had to get the woman back. Let her take control. Or else the beast would never allow them near enough to help.

Aedion: "You can thank me when your sorry ass is healed."

Again, that eye watched him warily, temper flickering. But an animal remained.

Aedion: "The useless sentries in the watchtower are now all half in love with you. One said he wanted to marry you."

A low snarl. He yielded a foot but held eye contact with her as he grinned

Aedion: "But you know what I told them? I said they didn't stand a chance in hell. Because I am going to marry you. One day. I am going to marry you. I'll be generous and let you pick when, even if it's ten years from now. Or twenty. But one day, you are going to be my wife"

Rowan: "Perhaps that's why Mala appeared to me that morning, why she gave me her blessing."

Aelin: "Because you're the only one arrogant and insane enough to hunt a goddess?"

Rowan: "Because I'm the only one arrogant and insane enough to ask Mala Fire-Bringer to let me stay with the woman I love."

Aelin: "Perhaps you're just the only one arrogant and insane enough to love me."

Aelin: "Sometimes, I wish someone else could fight this war."

Rowan: "Ah, but who else would be able to get under Erawan's skin? Never underestimate the power of that insufferable swagger."

She chuckled

Aelin: "As far as memory serves, Prince, it was that insufferable swagger that won your cranky, immortal heart."

Rowan: "There's my fireheart."

Aelin: "Someone might come looking for us."

Rowan huffed a laugh against her neck.

Rowan: "Something tells me, you might not mind if we were discovered. If someone saw how thoroughly I plan to worship you."

Aelin: "I love you. I am in love with you, Rowan. I have been for a while. And I know there are limits to what you can give me, and I know you might need time -"

His lips crushed hers, and he said onto her mouth, dropping words more precious than rubies and emeralds and sapphires into her heart, her soul

Rowan: "I love you. There is no limit to what I can give to you, no time I need. Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will love you."

Aelin laid her palm flat on him again

Aelin: "You are mine."

Rowan's breathing started again, jagged and savage as the waves breaking around them. She flicked open the top button of his pants.

Rowan: "I'm yours."

Another button popped free.

Aelin: "And you love me."

Rowan: "To whatever end."

She popped the third and final button free, and he let go of her to toss his pants into the sand nearby, taking his undershorts with them. Her mouth went dry as she took in the sight of him.

He was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. Hers - he was hers, and -

Rowan: "You are mine."

Aelin: "I am yours."

Rowan: "And you love me."

Aelin: "To whatever end,"

She was trembling - and so was Rowan as he remained in her. He buried his face in the crook of her neck and shoulder, his uneven breath warming her skin.

Rowan: "I never ... I didn't know it could be ..."

She ran her fingers down his scarred back, over and over.

Aelin: "I know. I know."

Aelin: "You once told me that you don't bite the females of other males."

Rowan stiffened a bit.

Aelin: "Does that mean ... you'll bite your own female, then?"

Understanding flashed in those green eyes as he raised his head from her neck to study the spot where those canines had once pierced her skin.

Rowan: "That was the first time I really lost control around you, you know. I wanted to chuck you off a cliff, yet I bit you before I knew what I was doing. I think my body knew, my magic knew. And you tasted ..."

Rowan loosed a jagged breath

Rowan: "So good. I hated you for it. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'd wake up at night with that taste on my tongue - wake up thinking about your foul, beautiful mouth."

He traced his thumb over her lips

Rowan: "You don't want to know the depraved things I've thought about this mouth."

Aelin: "Hmmm, likewise, but you didn't answer my question."

Rowan: "Yes. Some males enjoy doing it. To mark territory, for pleasure."

Aelin: "Do females bite males?"

He began to harden again inside her as the question lingered.

Rowan: "Do you want to bite me?"

Aelin eyed his throat, his glorious body, and the face she had once so fiercely hated. And she wondered if it were possible to love someone enough to die from it. If it were possible to love someone enough that time and distance and death were of no concern.

Aelin: "Am I limited to your neck?"

Rowan's eyes flared, and his answered thrust was answer enough.

Lysandra sat in bed, face drawn but eyes narrowed at the queen.

Lysandra: "Enjoy your ride?"

Aedion didn't dare move and was giving Dorian a warning look to do the same. Rowan bit down against the rage at the sight of other males near his queen, reminding himself that they were his friends, but -

That primal rage stumbled as he felt Aelin's shuddering relief upon finding the shifter mostly healed and lucid. But his queen only shrugged.

Aelin: "Isn't that all these Fae males are good for?"

Rowan raised his brows, chuckling as he debated reminding her how she'd begged him throughout, how she'd said words like please, and oh, gods, and then a few extra pleases thrown in for good measure. He'd enjoy wringing those rarely seen manners from her again.

Aelin shot him a glare, daring him to say it.

Darkness fell as she used her own blood to etch those markings on the wooden floor.

Lysandra: "Looks like our bill of damages to this city is going to rise."

Aelin snorted

Aelin: "We'll just move the rug to cover it."

Elide: "You're in a rare good mood."

Lorcan: "Having two women and one man offer a spot in their beds tonight will do that to a person."

Elide: "I have no lands, no money, no army to offer Aelin Galathynius. But I will find her - and help her in whatever way I can. If only to keep just one girl, just one, from ever enduring what I did."

Aelin: "Your fussy nursemaid of a wyvern is fine, by the way. I don't know how you wound up with a sweet thing like that for a mount, but he's content to sprawl in the sun on the foredeck. Can't say it makes the sailors particularly happy - especially cleaning up after him.

Dorian: "I once told you to find me again - it seems like you couldn't wait to see my handsome face."

Aedion: "Awake and ready to rip out throats, it seems."

Here's hoping you discover more creative terms than "bitch" to call me when you find this.

With all my love,


Rowan: "I see you. I see every part of you. And I am not afraid."

Rowan: "I wish I had more to offer you - during this war, and beyond it."

She slid her arms around his bare waist

Aelin: "You offer me more than I ever hoped for."

Rowan: "I'd walk into the burning heart of hell itself to find you."

Aelin: "I'll always find a way back to you."

Rowan had healed the bruise on the back of her knuckles from the blow she'd dealt the witch - and she'd thanked him by locking the door to their room and getting on her knees before him. She could still feel his fingers fisted in her hair, still hear his groan -

Rowan, now a step beside her, whipped his head in her direction.

Rowan: What the hell are you thinking about?

But his pupils had flared enough that she was well aware he knew precisely where her mind had gone as they walked down to the witch's cabin. That Fenrys hung far back down the hall told her enough about the change in her scent.

Aelin: The usual things. Killing, Crocheting, how to make you emit those noises again -

Rowan's face took on a pained expression that had her grinning. Especially as his throat bobbed while he swallowed - hard.

Rowan: Round two. As soon as this is dealt with. We're having round two. This time, I get to see what noises you make.

Elide: "I want Erawan to know that the next time he sends you after me like a pack of dogs, I'll return the favor. I want Erawan to know that the next time I see him, I will carve Manon's name in his gods-damned heart."

Lorcan: "I made a promise to protect you. I will not break it, Elide. I will always find you. I promise."


She didn't know why she said it, why she felt a need or like it was worth anything to him at all, but Elide stood on her toes, kissed his stubble-rough cheek, and said

Elide: "I will always find you, too, Lorcan."

Lorcan: "Do not make the mistake of believing me to be a romantic fool. I do not hold any shred of hope for her."

Elide: "Then that does not seem like love at all."

Lorcan: "And what do you know of love?"

Elide: "I think love should make you happy. It should make you into the best possible version of yourself."

Elide: "I would hide you. In Perranth. If you .... if you do what you need to do, and need somewhere to go ... You would have a place there. With me."

His eyes snapped open, but there was nothing hard, nothing cold, about the light shining in them.

Lorcan: "I would be a dishonored male - it'd reflect poorly upon you."

Elide: "If anyone thinks that, they would have no place in Perranth."

His throat bobbed.

Lorcan: "Elide, you need to -"

But she rose up slightly, replacing her mouth where her fingers had been.

The kiss was soft, and quiet, and brief. Barely a grazing of her lips against his.

She thought Lorcan might have been trembling as she pulled back. As heat bloomed across her cheeks. But she made herself say, surprised to find her voice steady,

Elide: "You don't need to answer me now. Or ever. You could show up on my doorstep in ten years, and the offer would still stand. But there is a place for you, in Perranth - if you should ever need or wish for it."

Manon: "You're as powerful as she is. You could wield them. Why not?"

Dorian: "Why not? Because I was the one who did it."

She waited.

His sapphire eyes were chips of ice.

Dorian: "I killed my father. I shattered the castle. I purged my own court. So if I had the keys, Wing Leader, I have no doubt that I would to the same once more - across this continent."

Manon: "Why?"

Dorian: "Because she died. And even before she did, this world saw to it that she suffered, and was afraid, and alone. And even though no one will remember who she was, I do. I will never forget the color of her eyes, or the way she smiled. And I will never forgive them for taking it away."

Manon: "Good."

Aelin: "I have no defenses against such offers. Especially those made by such a pretty male."

He scowled at pretty, nipping at her ear with his canines.

Rowan: "I keep a tally, you know, Princess. To remind myself to repay you the next time we're alone for all the truly wonderful things you say,"

Aelin: "I certainly hope you make me beg for it."

Rowan: "Remember who you are. Every step of the way down, and every step of the way back. Remember who you are. And that you're mine."

Lorcan: "You heal her, and then we continue -"

Elide: "No."

Not for this, not for her -

Lorcan's onyx eyes were unreadable as he scanned her face.

Lorcan: "I wanted to go to Perranth with you."

Lorcan dropped the shield.

Lorcan had been born from and gifted with darkness. Returning to it was not a difficult task.

But letting that glimmering, lovely light before him die out ... In his ancient, bitter bones, he could no accept it.

She had been forgotten - by everyone and everything. And still she had hoped. And still she had been kind to him.

And still she had offered him a glimpse of peace in the time he'd known her.

She had offered him a home.

Manon: "Careful, Majesty. With your power reduced to embers, you'll have to fight me the old-fashioned way again."

Aelin: "You know, I've been hoping for round two."

Rowan: "Ladies."

They both turned, giving Rowan horrifyingly innocent smiles. The Fae Prince, to his credit, only winced after they looked away again.

Lorcan: "You don't give me orders, witch. And you have no say in what is between us."

Elide frowned at him

Elide: "You're making it worse."

Aelin: "We like to call it 'territorial male nonsense,' or 'territorial Fae bastard' works just as nicely."

The Fae Prince coughed pointedly behind her.

The queen looked over a shoulder, brows raised

Aelin: "Am I forgetting another term of endearment?"

Rowan: "I think you covered it."

Rowan: "I assume I won't be able to persuade you to stay behind the lines."

Aelin: "You know better than to even try."

Rowan: "Where would the fun be, anyway, if I got to win all the glory while you sat on your ass? I'd never let you hear the end of it."

Rowan: "Sometimes I wish I knew every thought in that head, each scheme and plot. Then I remember how much it delights me when you reveal it - usually when it's most likely to make my heart stop dead in my chest."

Aelin: "I knew you were a sadist."

Manon: "What are you doing here?"

Dorian: "You don't have chains anymore."

Manon: "Is it more enticing for you if they're on?"

Dorian: "Sometimes it is."

Dorian: "This was supposed to take the edge off."

Manon: "And did it?"

He traced her lower lip with his thumb and shuddered as she sucked it into her mouth, flicked it with her tongue.

Dorian: "No. Not even close."

Aelin: "This wasn't my plan."

Dorian: "I know. That's why you don't like it."

Aedion: "I want you to run."

Lysandra turned a fuzzy head toward him, pale green eyes narrowing slightly.

Aedion: "You turn into a bird or a moth or a fish - I don't rutting care - and you go. If we're about to fall, you run. That's an order."

She hissed as if to say, You don't give me orders.

Aedion: "I technically outrank you. So you'll run. Or I'll kick your ass in the Afterworld."

Aelin: "Tell the others ... Tell the others that I am sorry. Tell Lysandra to remember her promise, and that I will never stop being grateful. Tell Aedion ... Tell him it is not his fault, and that ... I wish he'd been able to take the oath, but Terrasen will look to him now, and the lines must not break."

Elide nodded, tears sliding down her blood-splattered face.

Aelin: "And tell Rowan that I'm sorry I lied. But tell him it was all borrowed time anyway. Even before today, I knew it was all just borrowed time, but I still wish we'd had more of it. Tell him he has to fight. He must save Terrasen, and remember the vows he made to me. And tell him ... tell him thank you - for walking that dark path with me back to the light."

Time - she was grateful Elena had given her that stolen time.

Grateful she had met them all, that she had seen some small part of the world, had heard such lovely music, had danced and laughed and known true friendship. Grateful that she had found Rowan..

She was grateful.

Dorian: "The quest does not end here."

Manon shook her head. And he knew she meant more than the keys, than the war.

Manon: "No, it does not."


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