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Wednesday, Dec 1, 2021

The riveting quest continues in “Empire of Storms”

Sarah J. Maas' "Empire of Storms" comes as the fifth installment of the epic "Throne of Glass" series.
Sarah J. Maas' "Empire of Storms" comes as the fifth installment of the epic "Throne of Glass" series.

New and old forces unite in the fifth and penultimate installment of Sarah Maas’ epic fantasy book series “Throne of Glass.” Released on Sept. 6, “Empire of Storms” continues the story of a lost queen’s quest to reclaim her birthright.

Aelin Galathynius has spent the past decade hiding from her real identity: the queen of Terrasen.

After her land was overtaken and her family killed, Aelin escaped and created a new life for herself as a ruthless assassin-for-hire. But when her devastating past comes back for her, she takes up the fight against the forces that ruined her family.

After returning at last to her home of Terrasen, Aelin realizes the war has only begun. She needs to gather an army of immense strength and power if she hopes to stand a chance against the demon Erawan and his dark forces that are swarming the continent.

But as harrowing realities of her heritage and role in a war that has been prophesied for centuries are revealed, Aelin and her new court must figure out a way to bring light back into the land — without extinguishing their own.

I’d been eagerly anticipating this installment for months. After reading the titular first book of the “Throne of Glass” series about a year ago, I liked each consecutive installment just a little more than the last.

The fifth book, “Empire of Storms,” was undoubtedly a well-written and engaging piece that continued the series’s upward development. The stakes were raised incredibly high, and for the most part, the characters underwent development that I found both meaningful and authentic.

Right off the bat, the band of main characters is subject to countless onslaughts of monstrous attacks and intricate power-plays, and their reactions and resolutions demonstrate their heightened maturity and the grueling effects the war has had on them all. Every chapter makes it abundantly clear that the end is nigh, and neither the characters nor the readers get a moment to rest. Their adversary Erawan is a seemingly insurmountable being that is an ancient as the world itself, and standing against him is as important as it is unlikely.

Maas finds a way to interweave multiple storylines, perspectives, and characters into a fascinating tale of transforming unimaginable loss into brilliant hope for a new future. “The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers,” Aelin promises. This is the sentiment that carries the underlying theme of the entire series, and no book better showcases it than “Empire of Storms.”

However, I can’t quite give it a perfect rating. The beginning and end were extremely strong; the middle was certainly good, but lagged in a couple parts, and I found myself confused about the plot every now and then. Regardless, I am excited and intrigued to see how this epic war resolves in the sixth and final installment, slated to come out next year.


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