book review, fantasy, young adult

#MaasMondays: Week 6 – Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Week six already. I am going to keep this one shorter, even though this is the longest of all of the books. It was a struggle emotionally to get through this book again, though I of course loooovvveeee Empire of Storms. It did, however, remind me of how long we have to go until the next book. And that the next book isn’t even the next book, it’s a book with Chaol on the Southern Continent that happens at the same time as EoS. So there is a whole YEAR between us and the answers we need.

I keep thinking I will wait to read the Chaol novel until right before the last book comes out… but then I realize that is fairly delusional for me. There’s no way I could stay away from spoilers that long, and the only way to battle spoilers (or the search for them) is to read it immediately. And so that is my plan. What is your plan for the next two books?

Last word of warning… spoilers ahead.

Book Blurb:

28260587.jpgThe 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.

My quick summary:

I will try to do a better job at this for this week as last weeks went REALLY long.

Manon and the Thirteen are in the closest thing there is to hell currently, wherein their freedoms are slowly being stripped away, even though they are the elite of the witches. The long and short of it — Manon betrays her grandmother, saves Dorian, kills a witch, undergoes a trial, tells her 13 to get the heck out, the 13 get scattered in the hysteria, and Manon joins up with Dorian, Aelin and the gang. Also Kaltain is a bit of a rock star and blows up a fair amount of the abominations that were the result of witch / valg experiments. And Elide takes the wyrdstone, which she doesn’t know is a wyrdstone, and starts to carry it north to Celaena. Elide doesn’t know Celaena, but she is also looking for Aelin who she DOES know from her childhood. So Elide is walking around with her limp and looking for Celaena.

Lorcan finds Elide and they end up in a promise to help each other. This is an odd relationship, especially as we know what Lorcan is sort of up to. Are they a ship? Yes, ultimately, sort of. Lorcan ends up genuinely caring for Elide, and Elide does care of Lorcan. And I sort of ended up caring about Lorcan too, even though he is a bit of a jerk.

Manon and Dorian. Manon and Abraxos. Manon and Aelin. Manon makes friendships and is a badass. If you didn’t love her by now, you should with this book. Manon also finds out that she is half Crochan. And basically the most important witch there is. But we already knew that.

Aelin’s visit to Terrasen is short-lived. The lords of the land don’t want her to be their Queen. She’s not worthy other than her bloodline. So, she has to figure out how to be queen and show that she is more than a swashbuckling assassin that has done nothing for her home country. Other than leave it as a child. And set some fires. She pays a visit to a temple, learns a bunch from Gavin (much like she had with Elena in a sort of supernatural crossover event.) Then Erawan makes himself known to Aelin. It’s not pretty. Aelin realizes she has a whole lot to learn with her magic. Skipping ahead, Aelin gets to revisit the Pirate King (from the novellas) in order to use his magic map tattoos and find the lock in the swamp. Before the swamp, they have an all out battle in the bay and Lysandra transforms herself into a sea dragon in order to hopefully get a certain people to come out of hiding and be on her side. Also a goddess takes control of Aelin’s body during the battle, and she nearly annihilates everyone. Aelin’s got a whole lot of depth to her magic, and she needs to learn to control it to keep gods and goddesses from taking over again. Aelin and Rowan seal the deal with their relationship in terms of physicality. (This is where ToG goes from YA to NA.)

Then. Lots of things happen in the swamp. Everything and everyone sort of converge and there is chaos and clarity all in one. Aelin and Manon learn the truth about the bargain Elena made–and pretty much it means that Aelin is the sacrificial lamb for the gods to get Erawan and all the gods back into another realm. We also learn that Nehemia sort of figured all of this out awhile ago, but she isn’t one of the ones in Elena’s bloodline that could complete the task. The only options are Aelin and Dorian. And Aelin was the one that was ready.

Then there is everything that comes after. And this is where it starts to hurt.

  1. We find out that Rowan and Aelin got married.
  2. All of Aelin’s old friends from the novellas start to turn up.
  3. Maeve shows up with her Armada, and lets us know that Aelin and Rowan are actual mates. His prior wife was not a mate at all. Also she lets us know that Aelin was/is probably a few years from settling as an immortal Fae. And while the battles ensues, she takes away Aelin after placing an iron mask on her, iron chains, and locking her into a coffin-like box to make sure that she can’t use her magic.
  4. We find out that Aelin had a contingency plan wherein Lysandra will now shift into Aelin’s form to help carry on the greater plan for the greater good.

There is still so much skipped in this summary, and it is still achingly long. Okay. But at least I tried.

The couple of this book?

All of them. Literally enough ships to please anyone, and yet also annoy those who don’t like it when everyone is in a relationship. We had Aelin and Rowan, Aedion and Lysandra, Dorian and Manon, Elide and Lorcan. The world is crumbling around all of them, and it seems a little natural that they realize that living for someone now will give them some comfort if the next battle could be their last. There is definitely an overhanging feeling that one of them could die at any time. And when Aelin is locked up and carted away… you can’t help but wonder how things are going to get better without getting much, much worse.

 

Instead of getting into favorite quotes, I am going to forego that until my next read through before the final book comes out. There are tender moments and realizations, bold statements and heart-and-eye-clawing-and-tears-and-agony. The iron coffin is haunting. And though I imagine that things will still turn out for the best, and that Sarah has set us up in the best way possible for the final installment, I cannot help but feel wrecked by this book.

I suppose what I loved to much about this book is how everything re-focused, re-told the story of Erawan in a new light, empowered, and utterly shattered everything. The characters are drawn together by something greater than themselves, and they can only hope that with every step they take, every action that they try to make things right, that they will have a tomorrow worth having. This book, moreso than the others, is like a whirling dervish of excitement, action, revelations, emotions, and trust. Where one breaks, the rest is on the edge of ruin.

There are a lot of fans who criticize Aelin in EoS for not trusting others with her ultimate plan. But, to be honest, did she really know that everything was going to go as it did? Did she know that the people she sent messages to would really come to her aid? I think the only thing you can really be mad at her, and LYSANDRA, for is their pact to have Lysandra act in Aelin’s stead. And even so, I believe that what happened with Maeve is part of Aelin’s plan… her plan to NOT be the sacrificial lamb, but to still win the war against Erawan. I think she knows that Rowan will come for her, and that they still have a chance.

Ugh. Anyway.

I am so ready to move on to ACOTAR tomorrow and revisit Feyre’s journey. Are you doing an ACOTAR and ACOMAF re-read? How many days are left? (Not many!)

Until next week.

TS

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