Friday, 19 October 2018

Throne of Glass re-read: Empire of Storms

Publication date: September 6th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Length: 693 pages

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 breath-taking fifth instalment 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.

I can't even with this book. Just. What. Even. This series keeps on improving, it's like Maas sees each excellent instalment as a challenge - "Oh I broke your heart with that book? LET ME HAVE YOUR SOUL WITH THIS ONE."
I adore "Queen of Shadows" like you wouldn't believe, but I'd not fully allowed myself to remember just how insanely brilliant "Empire of Storms" is. Whilst the fourth book takes its time to build to an earth shattering final quarter, the fifth kicks off hard and fast and brutal and doesn't let up.

All the threads that Maas has gently woven over the course of the series are pulled together and it is a sight to behold. Suddenly there are pairings you never knew you wanted, character interactions which are brilliant in so many ways, and the whole thing feels like one giant reward for all the plotting that has come before. This is a book that rewards you for your dedication and attention as everything starts to be revealed and set up for a truly amazing finale.

The confrontation in Skulls Bay at the halfway point is incredible. I love it when a plan comes together, and there is nothing quite like a team of characters working with each other. Lysandra vs. the sea wyverns honest to god gives me chills as everyone else rallies around to support her. It's just so intense and you're left completely dizzy and breathless by the end. Which all goes to show just how damn extraordinary the writing is.

Then the brief lull - although by no means boring - whilst the pieces are all moved into place for the final heart-breaking showdown, and oh boy did I cry. Even though I was expecting it this time, I still tore through the pages desperate to see how it plays out. I still had goose-bumps as everything falls into place and everyone comes together in one glorious moment. I still was in tears at the gut wrenching heartbreak and emotional sucker punch of the end.

It's incredible. The writing, the characters, the plotting, the layering that slowly unwraps and offers this stunning instalment and sets up what is sure to be an unbelievable final instalment. I adored this book, but I am so glad that I'd put off re-reading it until only a few days before the release of "Kingdom of Ash"!

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