Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First off, this. That flaming blue-orange contrast cover with Aelin looking incredibly more beautiful and kick-ass than ever. Awesome.
Second off, the one and only proper reaction to that doozy of an ending:
So. Empire of Storms - the long-awaited fifth Throne of Glass novel.
Honestly, after Queen of Shadows with its Lovecraftian horror and demonic possessions every-freaking-where, I thought Maas had peaked. Maybe she has - the books she's put out this year, I wasn't quite as impressed with those as I was with the ones she published in 2015. ACOMAF had an infuriating beginning (especially when my initial ship got torpedoed with extreme prejudice), but built up to a high-intensity ending. EoS, meanwhile, was less infuriating, but it did have a way of boring me a bit at first, largely due to its length. Knowing Chaol wasn't in this book didn't help - he's long been a favorite of mine.
However. That ending. Oh my God. Without going into spoilers, let's just say that Victoria Aveyard might have started a trend with the ending of Glass Sword, and Maas has given us something unsettlingly similar here.
Along the way, there's a lot of sailing, a lot of wvyern fighting (now THAT was awesome!), a lot of burning (some of which is an extremely on-the-nose, yet oddly charming, visual metaphor for the current ship du jour having some heavy, explicit sex), and also a major surprise twist about 100 pages from the end - even before the Aveyardian ending. (Yes, I'm calling Aveyardian a word now.)
Looks like for Book 6, we can expect quite the epic finale. Whether or not it comes out this time next year could be up in the air - I mean, how the hey-hey did Maas manage to put out as many as 1300-plus pages' worth of new material this year? If she needed to slow down between working on ACOMAF 3 and ToG 6, I would not be surprised.
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