Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
First off, I have to say that flaming blue-orange contrast cover with Aelin looking incredibly more beautiful and kick-ass than ever is just downright awesome.
Second off, the one and only proper reaction to that doozy of an ending:
So. Empire of Storms.
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 in the last year or so, I wasn't quite as impressed with (certainly not on the first read) 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 - and I'm so, so, so done with the whole Rowan/Aelin ship, which built up to new romantically messed-up heights...and meanwhile, EVERYBODY ELSE pairs up with someone, heedless of sense most of the time, which pads this 700-page book unnecessarily. (Ironically, the book appears slimmer than its predecessors because it's printed on thinner paper.)
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 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 7, we can expect quite the epic finale - but first, Chaol's novel later this year. And thank God for that, because I can do without an entire book populated with Rowan now, you know what I'm saying?
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