- Page Count: 562
- Release Date: September 2, 2014
- My Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads book description:
She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one. Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.
Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.
The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight.
Fireheart – why do you cry? “Because I am lost,” she whispered onto the earth. “And I do not know the way.”
This seriously might be the most emotional book I’ve ever read. I’m going through this series for the fourth time and need to rewrite this whole fangirling review in some attempt to explain how amazing Maas is…
(There might be a minor spoiler with how I refer to Celaena in the next sentence, buuuut I’m not sure how anyone’s avoided that by this point). This is the book where it’s kind of confusing whether I should call her Celaena or Aelin because she’s both, yet neither…
The series has always been about Celaena’s journey for me, so this is definitely my favorite Throne of Glass book out of the first four! This is the point where she faces her past, tries to forgive herself, and finally accepts herself as Aelin. She completely breaks apart, finds herself at rock bottom, and rebuilds herself into a new person.
This is the book that made Celaena one of my new favorite characters. Her character growth is brutally raw and incredibly realistic. Like my personality is COMPLETELY different from hers, yet I have never connected with a character this much. You can actually feel her despair, isolation, grief, and survivor’s guilt. This whole story is an emotional rollercoaster and is still one of the few books that can make me legitimately tear up (that whole “get up” scene… omg).
Celaena spends most of the book training with Rowan, who’s also trying to heal in his own way. (And the way that Feyre & Rhys helped each other recover from Under the Mountain really reminded me of Celaena & Rowan’s journey the first time I read ACOMAF). They’re both broken but figure it out together:
”Someone who might – who did understand what it was like to be crippled at your very core, someone who was still climbing inch by inch out of that abyss. Perhaps they would never get out of it, perhaps they would never be whole again, but…
“Together she said, and took his outstretched hand.
And somewhere far and deep inside her, an ember began to glow.
All of her character growth in this book is beyond impressive and SO well executed. The last 20% of this book is intense, but the rest of it moves at a slightly slower pace (which still totally works). So the second and fourth books are a lot more action-packed, but I think this third book REALLY gives the series the character growth and substance it needs in order to be so powerful.
(I really do try to not turn every Maas review into a rant but then I hear from other people and get frustrated so here we go): people usually need to break and seriously remake themselves in order to be as strong as Aelin ends up being… otherwise it’s just some hollow facade. (Like “badass assassin” is NOT Celaena’s identity or personality. It’s a persona she adopted in order to survive. She is more than that front… complex characters are ok and nobody is making you read this series if you hate it).
Everyone else’s storylines here really pale in contrast to Celaena/Aelin’s, though. Like I seriously have the hardest time getting through the witch scenes in this book! I love Manon in the next book, but really didn’t care about much except for her scenes with Abraxos here. Her wyvern is basically Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon and they’re just straight up adorable together.
And then the characters I initially thought I wanted to see more of, like Chaol and Dorian, weren’t terribly interesting in this book either. Dorian mostly tried to find ways to hide his magic and wound up in increasingly worse situations. Chaol sat in a lot of different chairs in different locations. Aedion walked a lot… they pondered stuff. Their stories were mostly a lot of preparing for Queen of Shadows (but all totally necessary).
Things I want to see more of in Empire of Storms:
– Luca randomly mentions that they “did have a female wander in with raw magic two years ago — she could do anything she wanted, summon any element, and she was here a week before Maeve called her to Doranelle and we never heard from her again.” TELL ME MORE.
– Rowan’s cadre.
CAN I PLEASE GUSH ABOUT HOW MUCH I LOVE AEDION, THOUGH. I totally picture him as Thor… and he is the one death I could never handle.
And can someone please give Dorian a hug?!? That poor, lovable guy is so alone and ignored (even in Celaena’s flashbacks to when she met him as a kid). I adore his friendship with Celaena and how they can both see and accept each other as they are. And he knows Chaol loved a very narrow image of her:
”[Celaena] was not becoming anything different from what she always was and always had the capacity to be. You just finally saw everything. And once you saw that other part of her… you cannot pick and choose what parts of her to love.”
“As for Celaena, you do not have the right to wish she were not what she is. The only thing you have a right to do is decide whether you are her enemy or her friend.”
So Chaol is at a very confused place by the end of this book — he can no longer stand by everything he swore to defend and his entire identity is in question. People grow and change with life’s events and Maas does an absolutely amazing job with her complex characters. So, no I don’t think anyone is out of character in this book or the next. Especially Aelin:
“She didn’t know what she needed… If she felt like admitting it, she actually didn’t have the faintest clue who the hell she was anymore. All she knew was that whatever and whoever climbed out of that abyss of despair and grief would not be the same person who had plummeted in. And maybe that was a good thing.”
AND ughhh that last line (especially after reading The Assassin’s Blade):
”She was Aelin Ashryver Galathynius – and she would not be afraid.”