Empire of Storms Review: It’s Unpopular Opinion Time!

Greetings readers!

Sometimes I like to take a moment and think about how much easier my life would be had I not picked up Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Had I avoided this overly-hyped series and steered myself in different fantastical direction.

But no.

Rendz succumbed to the pressure and read this overly hyped, fantasy series that has gone so down in her books. So, so down.

After having tolerated Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, I avoided reading Empire of Storms since it came out. I didn’t even care if the spoilers rolled out left, right and center. I was done with this series.

Then I remember the reason I continue on with the series. I remember the character that keeps me going.

Chaol Westfall

*boos from the crowd*

You can hate him all you want. Rub his name in the dirt, but I LOVE him. He is one of the few reasons (the main reason) that I put up with this series!

I dreaded taking this book out of the library. I dreaded having to put my TLC reread on hold for this! I hated that I would sit for two hours and not even make a dent in my reading because the pages were so thin and this book was 700 pages long!!

Please prepare yourselves for a rather long and rant-y review.

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*deep breaths*

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)
via Goodreads


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 breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling 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 was never going to love – or even like – this book. I forced myself to read this. Forced. However, it would be false to say that I didn’t enjoy some parts of this book, but I definitely (as a whole) did not enjoy reading this. It was a completely different tone, mood, and overall story from the first books. I just wanted to get this agony over with.

The Very Few Things I Liked

Side Characters: (You will find the MCs in another section….down below!)

Manon: A LITERAL QUEEN. Another one of the reasons I stick around this mess, is for her. A blood thirsty, conniving and kickass witch!!! I love that despite all her “I have no heart that cares” she actually cares! She can be compassionate without being too gooey. I also loves when she tells Aelin to stop being such a sap and get over herself. (Golden moment)

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Lysandra: Another queen! After being kind of iffy about her in QoS, I absolutely adored her in this one. She is so strong, intelligent and able! She is not just a pretty thing on the side, NO. She is upfront and ready to bear her teeth if necessary! Do not disrespect Lysandra! SHAPESHIFTER FOR THE WIN!

Elide: Cinnamon roll, who you want to protect, but your efforts are futile because she can do it (mostly) herself! I liked her a lot. I found her parts of the story the most interesting and I wanted to read more about her! She is deceiving, a fast-thinker and doesn’t let her disability keep her from playing the game! I really want more of her!

Fenrys: Fenrys…Fenrys…Fenrys. I really do like him. I’m not sure exactly why. Yes he is hot, but there is something else there too. Also his past…just…heart breaking.

Gavril: He’s okay. Not really explored as a character. I do hope he makes up with Aedion though and we actually get a good parent/child relationship going on.

Lorcan: Lorcan. Lorcan. Lorcan. (I totally forgot who you were, while I was reading the first chapters of this book.) I love you, but you’ve got issues. Fix them and figure out, hun. He’s the kind of character that I want to hug and at the same time strangle. Depending on his actions or words. Still love him though!

Dorian: My poor baby. Got ZERO respect from the other characters. ZERO. I felt bad for him. He wasn’t exactly the Dorian, I remember and love, but I still liked him more than certain others.

Female Friendships: The female friendships are still going strong in this series. There isn’t just one, there are several so I really appreciate that. The ladies work strongly together, they help each other through thick and thin! They are such goals!!

Action: I will not deny the large chunks of action scenes and suspenseful events in the book. They did keep me on my toes for the most bit, so I was sucked in at points. However, I do have have to complain about the magic used in battles. It’s very vague and how it is wielded did not vary from character or type of magic. It’s all the same and it got boring.

The Longish and Rant-y List of Things I Disliked

Main Characters:

Aelin (gags):

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I just can’t muster up any sort of good feelings towards her. None. “She is so out of this world” *rolls eyes* Conniving and cunning and not to forget drop dead gorgeous *rolls eyes some more* Not gonna lie I have some respect for her and her cleverness but other than that she was nothing to me. She hasn’t been since book 3. She’s sooooo arrogant that it irks me! Like, hello the world will not fall at your feet! She’s not even remotely redeemable in my eyes and not fit to be queen, the one point I agree on Darrow with (who was in this book for 2 seconds).

Rowan (vomits):  *tomatoes thrown at Rendz*


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I honestly have never and will not ever see the appeal. I just don’t get why people like him so much. I don’t! I don’t even find him that attractive. Silver hair? Ummm NO. Abs? Sure. Territorial and jealous if another dude just so happens to look at his queen? Ew gross. I thought maybe in this book he might be able to keep it in his pants because let’s be honest that was his whole purpose in QoS. That so did not happen. I just don’t like him. I don’t understand him. And it irks me to see that so many people fawn over him and get all googly-eyed whereas I’m like; if he dared bite my friggin neck I chuck him out soooooo fast. That ain’t cute! I don’t care if he’s FAE, it ain’t cute!

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Romance AKA The Sudden Evolution into NA: This is no longer a YA series. Not with that amount of sexual content. Now, I know more people are opening discussion about having sex in YA: should it or should it not be done. Here is where I stand. It can, but not like it was in this book. Not with these descriptions. First of all, I don’t ship Rowaelin so I knew I wasn’t going to like this aspect of the book. Aelin and Rowan’s sexual tensions and romance scenes literally made me want to gag. It was atrocious! And for those of you thinking “Rendz isn’t mature, she can’t handle this stuff” Honey no. I have read sexy scenes, ok. From NA books. I have watched sexy scenes in movies, but you know they are targeted to older audiences!! And these scenes. Ugh. They were so cringy. I was laughing at how absolutely ridiculous they were while going through them.

All I thought about while reading, NO skimming those scenes were the two little girls, barely 12 or 13 who went to the SJM signing who were carrying this book (obviously having read or are going to read it) and thinking about them reading chapter 38 or reading about the freaking blow job (yes I said it and its in the damn book). Just nope. Nope. NOPE. Even I was scarred.

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And it’s not just Rowaelin with the sexy times, they just get a lot more of it (with more descriptions) but Manon and Dorian suddenly because sex crazy too and have to hook up. Also Lorcan and Elide (who I do ship) had to have sexy times as well, but I’m glad theirs was less detailed.

I just couldn’t people. Trust me when I say I was cringing and laughing at every sex scene. I was red in the face of embarrassment because I couldn’t believe I was reading that. It was so not what I signed up for.

And to think that this is probably going to happen in Tower of Dawn too! At least in that one, I ship the ship.

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Nothing happened: It’s not that nothing happened at all, some battles, some betrayal some conquests. But it took forever to finally feel like something was happening! The grand revelation wasn’t so grand to me. *Spoiler* I knew she was going to have to die and I won’t lie: I laughed. Laughed because I know that she probably won’t die and it will probably be Dorian and I hate that. *End spoiler*

Some epic battle scene and boom I just read 700 pages of flipping view points.

Trying to Sprinkle in the Diversity (and it’s not even that great): At least she tried. SJMs world is white. Perhaps Nesryn is a poc or she’ll just be tan. Not the sun kissed gorgeous tan of the FAE (code for sun burnt white) or the haunting porcelain white of the witches. She’ll just be tan. (So wonderfully descriptive!) Every character had to be so damn beautiful, not a single thing can mar their perfectly toned muscles and abs. Their thin bellies and lush breasts.

Then she’s starts to sprinkle (and when I mean sprinkle I mean sprinkle) lgtbq characters here and there. One side character’s bisexuality is mentioned, but not developed. Just to say “hey I like dudes and girls, ok! Moving on”. A super duper minor gay character and there you have it.

Would it have made a bigger impact to have characters of colour and different sexual orientations up front. Yes. But were they there? No.

Territorial Fae: I know that some people find these controlling relationships as sexy and oh so romantic, ya me no. I don’t want to be claimed. I don’t want to be bitten/marked as though I were a piece of land. I don’t see the appeal. I don’t find it romantic. If Lorcan and Elide end up being like that well I’ll be very disappointed!

*Spoiler ahead*

The Conversation of Colonialism  and Conquest: In the book, Aelin and Rowan have a literal conversation about conquering more lands after taking back Terrasen. She legit said that if she gets “bored” of being queen she will conquer and gain more land to be empress! So her damned children can inherit the stars. EXCUSE ME! How dare you even think that. If you get bored go find a fucking new hobby! How can she possibly think that she would go out to conquer? After having her own land conquered and suffering at the hands of others she would dare to think that’s she would do that to others. She can’t possibly think that people will say “yes conquer us and takes what is ours!” Hell no! They will fight and there will be blood. I was so disgusted by this scene! Horrible. At least she admits its a dumb idea, but the fact that she even considered it. IRKED. ME.

*End of Spoiler*

So yeah, I’m gonna say one more thing: After reading it (like after turning the last page) I liked it. A lot. The ending was great and I had to applaud Aelin, even Rowan for their actions. But then I simmered and thought. I found myself knocking down stars. For the reasons mentioned above. Some things were just too much for me and it ruined the story sorry.

Rating: 3 / 5 ( Tempted to lower it) 

Recommend: I stopped recommending this series after book 3, I leave it up to you to decide. O_O

I know a lot of people out there love this series, this book even more. But I just could not deal with it. If you do love this book, that’s great! I hold no rancour against you. But personally, I didn’t like this.

I only read it so I could read CHAOL’S novel, Tower of Dawn. And to be honest I’m very worried. If that book is just as sexy time filled and empty in every other aspect, I will be very disappointed.

End of rant. *pants*

Happy reading!

~ Rendz


34 thoughts on “Empire of Storms Review: It’s Unpopular Opinion Time!

Add yours

  1. Weird..but I hate Chaol for everything in QOS . I never fangirled for him or even Dorian . But that’s probably because I read the series in a weird way ( I started with HoF , QoS then , then the novellas and then the TOG and COM ) . I honestly thought the last 2 books were so much better than the first 2 . That’s just me , I guess .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest I’m a very lonely black sheep for this series. But hey! That’s me. That’s an odd way to read the series, I wonder how that worked. I’m very curious! Weren’t you a little confused here and there? I wanna know!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t worry . I’m even lonelier with me thinking that the HP series is just yet another over hyped one *ducks to escape all the tomatoes * . And yep , I was really confused . I reread the first 10 pages over and over for 3 times but I guess except for the mentions about Chaol and Nehemia and some other things about Adarlan , I understood the series pretty well .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know ! I’ve got 2 real life friends who don’t like it either 😍 And yep , I’ve read it . I tried and gave up at 30 pages . That book was a DNF and I’ve watched few of the movies . Daniel Radcliffe makes the movies so much better 😍😍

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No one in my family has watched it so it was never pushed on me. And my one friend who did read it was not a book pusher so I just never picked it up! I watched the very last movie at a Christmas cinema show one year and I had no idea what was happening so I tuned out for most of it 🙃🙃🙃

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was thinking of reading this series. I was leaning more toward to the not reading side. You have convinced me not to read the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Code for sun burnt white” – Rendz, 2k17 😂 Even though I love this book and am admittedly trash for it, I agree with you on a lot of these points. I really don’t care for Rowan. He seems kinda like the most generic SJM character. Come to think of it, I’m really not that attached to any male character in this book except Aedion because he is my love. I’m not even interested in reading Tower of Terror or whatever (I forgot the title and I’m too lazy to check) because I really don’t care for Chaol or Nesryn either. Anyway, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great rant/review! I feel the same way as you do about this series, but I stopped reading the books after Heir of Fire because for me, it all started going downhill. The only thing I liked about the books was Chaol, and after seeing spoilers from people who continued on with the series who said that Chaol’s character was butchered I was like lol nope, I’m done. Now that he gets his own book I wish I had continued on, but I don’t think I have the will to put myself through these books anymore, no matter how much I loved Chaol’s character 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *Sends giant hug* You made a good decision! I still held so much hope for him after HoF but after reading QoS his character was ruined! I still love him and always will, so I’m gonna put a brave face on for the rest of this mess! If he dies though, I will NEVER forgive SJM. E.V.E.R. I’m now very scared.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, everyone complains how SJM ruined his character just when she conveniently introduced Rowan, and I got so mad! For me, Crown of Midnight will always be the end of the series lmao 😂 I also heard that she did a very similar thing with her ACOTAR series with Tamlon and Rhysand (I only read the first book), so I honestly can’t be bothered with her books anymore. I really hope that at least she redeems herself a bit with Tower of Dawn (I’m not sure if that’s the name of Chaol’s book), but seeing how SJM is, I highly doubt it. *hugs you back* you really deserve a hug for putting yourself through 5 of her books!! That is quite an achievement 😂 The least she can do is not kill Chaol, after all the bullshit she did to his character tbh, but with SJM I guess you never know :/

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup. It’s sucks and I went down hard with the ship. Super hard. I don’t exactly see how Rowan was any “better”🙄🙄 CoM was the best! I own her ACOTAR series and I’m hoping I don’t regret buying them (but I kind of do already) I’ve been so spoiled for it so I know going in that I shouldn’t get attached to literally anyone! I’m praying Tower of Dawn (you got it right!!!) is better! I went on another rant about the cover because it was disrespectful to not have him on it! Thank you for the hugs, I need them after going through this!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, it’s like you need to go into her books knowing that she changes the personality of her characters whenever she feels like, without any sort of reasoning behind that. I can understand when characters grow or change because of certain things they go through, but when it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever I’m just unable to believe that. Plus, her sex scenes are so cringey, so bear that in mind when reading ACOTAR. I can’t wait to see your rants/reviews for that series too 😂 I saw the cover and I really hated how she didn’t put him on the cover, like all of her other books feature Aelin, why not Chaol on his fucking book?! It’s just awful when a character you love gets so much bullshit and disrespect.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. OH I know all about the sexy scenes in ACOTAR, mentally trying to prepare myself. If I ship the ship maybe it will be less torturous, but still very cringey! Rants are inevitable from me when it comes to SJM books apparently 😂😂😂! There is a reason the #chaolwestfalldeservesbetter exists and it’s because he is disrespected left, right and centre! For goodness sakes! It’s the cover of his own book!!!!!!! I was so so mad! 😐😐

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this rant! Admittedly, I lowkey adored Empire of Storms and Queen of Shadows, but I only did because I literally had to pep talk myself into accepting how strangely this series turned out! The first three books are miles apart from the direction Maas took, and I’m also mourning the Chaol and Dorian we used to know 😦
    Also, totally agree about boring Rowan and the Fae territorial bullshit. It freaks me the hell out 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and No shame! If you adore it, you adore it. I applaud you! I really wished the story of the first three books hadn’t evolved into this one but…*sigh* a girl can dream (and search for fanfic) Ugh Rowan (the name has been ruined for me and it’s everywhere!)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was a bit meh about Throne of Glass so I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to continue the series, but seeing your 3/5 rating and reading your rant definitely makes me think I made the right choice by not continuing. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m telling you right now you’ve saved yourself a lot of time and money 😉 but if you ever change your mind (bc the pressure from this series is tough) I will be here for you 😂🤗


  7. OH NO, RENDZ!!! *hugs fiercely and shoos everyone else away* I’m SO sorry you had to go through all of that Rowaelin and cringey sexy scenes crap… Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this book from the start, but hearing about it just makes it all sound even worse.
    Like you, I’m only continuing the series for Chaol (and some other characters, which sound absolutely awesome in this so at least THAT to soothe my poor, wounded heart). I’ve been hearing about the diversity fails for forever but personally, I don’t even bother anymore. We know Maas is only throwing it in to appease the fans and not because she cares, so of course it wouldn’t work. I say let her have her white-washed books. It’s better than reading butchered versions of LGBT and POC characters.
    I think this series has become a shrine for Rowelin and its fans. That’s about it. The plot itself is just an excuse at this point. Every opportunity Maas gets, she focuses on her favorite pairing and forsakes everything else, because they’re oh so interesting. Erm, no, they aren’t. The relationship has become nothing short of abusive and people glorifying it is their choice, but I don’t want to have to put up with it.
    I haven’t learned much about Lorcan yet (Elide’s chapter is as far as I got into EoS) but from what I’ve seen, it sounds like he and Elide do have potential. I don’t want to get my hopes up but I will welcome anything that helps me keep going.
    Wonderful review, Rendz! ❤ I really hope Tower of Dawn and the final books in ToG will not be complete **** (but I have my doubts) Still, know that you're not alone in this! *throws tomatoes back at the offenders*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sophie *sends hugs back to you too* The sexy scenes actually made me gag 😂😂 I was laughing whilst also trying not to throw up! But it doesn’t stop at just the sexy scenes. You’re right when you say Maas takes every opportunity to bring up Rowaelins relationship. It’s starts at chapter 2!! Chapter 2 and a boner is already mentioned 🙄🙄🙄🙄 this entire novel is them trying to fight this war while simultaneously figuring out when and where they should have sex. 😑 I just keep telling myself that I’m reading this for Chaol and any other character who is still in my good side. No matter how white washed or sprinkled in the diversity is, I read it for him! I’m so glad you’re with me on this 💖💖


  8. Honestly if you all ACTUALLY CONTINUED TO READ the series you’d see what happens with Chaol…. gosh you fussed about something you hadn’t even read yet. That’s ridiculous. Next.. yes like or dislike whoever you want but be FAIR. Aelin is an aggrogant smartass who used to think she was Adarlans greatest assassin. Not just her words, but Arobynns and the people around her. And dangit, she bad ass! And brilliant!
    But her character grows, like every single character in ToG series and she is tortured, but through trials and tribulations she accepts herself, forgives herself and she LOVES so fiercely. But I guess you all (who honestly I think have an opposing opinion on this series just be different) missed ALL of that. Chaol isn’t hated… maybe by some. But he was used to a simpler way of life and had to grow and understand different types of people, that the world was so much more than what it seemed. I loved his transition.

    Next Rowan… sheesh yall it’s a FANTASY novel. The “claiming, biting, mate, carranam” stuff is all MUTUAL. He is a brooding, selfless, Fae prince who is In Love with his queen. What’s not to get?

    Only part I agree with you on is the love you showed for Lysandra, Manon etc. Every person is different in this book. Oh yes and having more diversity in the series yes. I can agree with that.

    This series has evolved and turned out for the better in this larger more detailed world of other continents, fae beings, witches, valg, millenia old prophecy coming to an end and you wanted… what?? The original 3 characters to be stuck playing 7 minutes if heaven and fighting in tournaments in Rifthold for all time??? No. No, Sarah did it right. She created a world that we could visualize, characters of all backgrounds, all beliefs and brought it to life.

    I’d say… if you hate it that much, seriously dont waste hours of your life reading it to just give it a bad review. We don’t need that negativity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well hi.
      This review is about a year old. Meaning I did continue on with the series and I know what happens with Chaol, thank you very much.
      I’m not an idiot. I know what character growth is and I can see it in Aelin. But plain and simple, she rubs me the wrong way. You can write me another huge comment about her “brilliance” and I wouldn’t care, sorry! In my review I stated that I have some respect her, but that doesn’t mean I like her or ever will.
      What is Rowan’s personality???? Does he have one besides being broody and devoted to his queen? And I get that this is fantasy and they’re fae, but that doesn’t mean I will like all the territorial smuttiness in the romance.
      And lastly, I’D SAY…that if you love this series so much, you shouldn’t WASTE HOURS OF YOUR LIFE reading negative reviews and ranting in the comments about how I don’t get this or that.
      It’s a difference of opinion and I don’t need your negativity.
      But the again I am not one to tell others what to do on their own platforms. So if I want to read these books and tell the world I didn’t like it, I will. And if you want to endlessly search for the negative reviews and comment on them to say how wrong they are about everything, then go ahead.
      Have a nice day, Candice.


  9. So, I’m late to the party. Just started the series recently and I’m on Empire of Storms now and I CAN NOT STAND the cringy, totally weird and inappropriate (for YA) sex scenes! “Velvet wrapped steel” BARF. And so far it’s pretty much this entire book.
    I DON’T ship ANY of these people together. I liked Chaol and Celeana – but Aelin has turned into a love sick puppy whose thoughts revolve around Bae every turn. Who IS she right now? Baaaaarrrrfff. I like Elide, Manon, and Lysandra – and that’s about it.
    But thank you, I had to find someone else that agreed with me.

    Liked by 1 person

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