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Monday, 12 December 2016
Review: Empire Of Storms
Empire of Storms
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.
As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?
Buckle up kiddies, it's going to be a bumpy ride because we're boarding the unpopular opinion train. This review has been so hard for me to write. It took me like over a week to read this book and I'm not sure why. I'm not sure if it's because I was nearing a slump because I've been burning myself out trying to get through everything, or if it's because I was dreading the inevitable cliffhanger at the end, or if because some things in the book where bothering me and making it hard for me to read. I mean, once I picked it up and started reading, I was glued to the page, but then it would be a day or two without reading and without really being compelled to read it. Then it's taken me a good few days to write this because I knew it was going to be difficult.
First off I'll start with what I did like, and first up is Elide. I really liked Elide in the last book and I liked getting to see more of her in this book and getting to know her more. I admire her and her perseverance a lot. We open with an interesting flashback, and when we join the story it's about three days since the end of QoS, and I'm not going to lie, I'd forgotten a lot of the finer nuances of what had happened in the last book, so I struggled a bit in the beginning with remembering things BUT I'm not going to lie, I loved getting to see more of the world and jumping right in. I seriously loved Skull's Bay, the whole pirates and Pirate Lord and Sea Dragon aspects to it. I do love me some pirates and dragons!
I liked meeting and getting to know more new characters like Gavriel, and Fenrys and I really liked the two of them, particularly Fenrys. I feel for the guy and he was trying to help Aelin and I really hope to get to see more of him in the next book, as well as his twin! Gavriel was an interesting contrast to Fenrys and Rowan and the others as well, and his interactions with Aedion where interesting. I loved the banter between Gavriel, Fenrys and Rowan, it had me chuckling and I liked the dynamic between the three of them and was sad to see them split up at the end of the book. It did cement the fact that Lorcan is the grump of the group! I also loved how Rowan was all "Gods help them all if Fenrys and Aedion ever sat in a room together" I was sat there like, whatever do you mean Rowan? It's a capital idea, yaaaasss! Bring it! I'm so here for the Cadre. OH and we get some backstory to the Cadre and its members.
We actually get a lot of new characters in this book, and all of them are interesting, and I loved most of them. Except for Darrow. I hated Darrow. I loved meeting the Cadre properly, I loved Ansel another new character, she had me cackling and I loved the plot twist with her, I can't wait to see more of her especially as there's this whole thing with her at the end with a new character which is going to be interesting to see what's that all about. There's a few new characters at the end that I'm intrigued to see more of, especially Galan, as he popped up to play at the end!
We get to learn a bit more about Elena and the past and what happened in the past with everything. I actually hated Elena at one point but then I ended up feeling for her because it's all very understandable. She tried to give Aelin more time too, to be fair. Lorcan was also a love/hate character actually. I hated him at points, but then at other points I really liked him and felt for him. I'm so intrigued by Lorcan and his past. I was a bit sad that while we got all the Manon and Abraxos feels, we didn't get to see much of Manon's Thirteen, because I really love Manon's second!
POV wise we get Aelin, obviously, Rowan, Dorian, Manon, Aedion, Lysandra, Elide and Lorcan in varying different chapter lengths. I love the switching of the POVs as it's necessary and always well done. But I will admit there where points when I preferred some POV's over the others as not much was happening or I wasn't that interested or invested. There's a lot of travelling in this book. And therein is one of my issues with the book.
There is no Chaol in this book. Aside from the fact that as you've probably seen people arguing, as soon as he becomes a character that isn't physically perfect and is disabled, he's not present in the book. Now. I was under the assumption that so much must happen in this book that there just wasn't room to fit his story in without making the book thousands of pages. I know it's a flimsy excuse, but I figured Chaol's getting his novella with what happened, sure I want to know what he was doing NOW, but I'd have to deal. But as I read, there was so much that I feel could have been taken out and replaced with Chaol's narrative. Like I said, there's a lot of travelling in the book, and I think that some of it wasn't really necessary and unpopular opinion time...some of the space used for the romances could have had Chaol's narrative too.
I love romance. I do. I really do. But there was just so much in this book. Like it seemed everyone had to be paired up, and any time things quietened down the characters where getting hot and steamy. I feel like in ACOMAF it was perfectly done but in this all the romance was just overkill. Sure I love my cute, heart stopping romance moments, but I'm reading this like...okay. But....all of this is going on and we're getting another sex scene? Or another "ship getting to know each other" scene. When you consider the fact that Chaol's narrative has been removed from this book it just seems a little bit superfluous. But that's just me. I mean there's so many ships, and I really liked Elide and Lorcan I'm not going to lie, even if some of there stuff I wasn't all that riveted to.
So, so many ships spring up this book. I liked seeing some of my previous ships develop more, especially ones that I knew where close to happening anyway, and like I said...I do love the romance, it just seemed a bit much this book, and there was a really big focus on it. Everyone paired up, and then I was waiting for someone to die, or something bad to happen to mess with all of them, I knew it was coming, I had that feeling, and then it did! Now, I love Manon, but I'm really not getting this whole thing with her and Dorian, that's one of the romances that seemed to me to be randomly shoved in there for me to give Dorian and Manon someone. I just don't ship it as much as the other ships. I'm also not sure what's going on with Fenrys like does he have a serious thing for Aelin or?
And I have to mention the language used for the romance/sex scenes because there's only so many times I can hear certain phrases before it starts to make me cringe a little bit. You know what ones I mean, they're in every romance scene ever. It didn't help with the overkill thing.
So yes. Unpopular opinion I know, but I just can't help how I feel about the book. I still love the characters and the world of the book, I just feel like this had some huge shift to romance and while I love Rowan and Aelin, and Aedion and Lysandra and Elide and Lorcan and everything, I was reading all these scenes like...but Chaol could have slotted in there. Or there.
So much happened at the end of the book and was revealed, I loved watching the characters see more of the world of the book and interact with each other, and get to know more about pretty much everything! But damn those last chapters. I can't even with it. It was like 4am and no-one was awake and I was glued to the pages, and I honestly wanted to cry. My heart broke. I mean at least nobody died which I was expecting, but still. Actual cracks could be heard from my chest. My poor Aedion and Rowan...and Lorcan. I'll give him that, even though I wanted to smack him one. I do so love watching Elide interact with the Thirteen though!
So yes. EoS was a bit of a mixed bag for me, and it's kind of overshadowed by the fact it took me over a week to read it and I can't put my finger on why. Like I read ACOMAF and QoS in like two days each. So this was really unusual for me. I'm leaning towards burnout but yes. I would be very interested in everyone else's opinions on the Manon x Dorian thing, as well as the lack of Chaol and so on, so feel free to lay it out in the comments!