I may hate her right now, I may be cursing her name and shaking and screaming, but deep down I love her with an unprecedented reverence. She can't be human, no, she is a terrible, brilliant and cruel deity that messes with us mortals. For the past 48 hours I've been fighting and bleeding in Erilea. Now, I'm in a daze. Powerful gusts of wind scattered my mind. Bright fire reduced my sanity to cinders. And icicles have pierced my heart. Because this book, because Empire of Storms, was stunningly, absolutely, mindblowingly, breathtalkingly, terrifyingly EPIC.
“Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, knew the time would soon come to prove just how much she'd bleed for Erilea.”
In the fifth instalment of Throne of Glass series, the fire-breathing bitch queen is trying to gather an army in order to defeat the demon king, Erawan, before Erilea will perish to Darkness. But Erawan is not her only concern. The Fae Queen, Mauve, who is after the Wyrdkeys that will gift her with unlimited power, is as dangerous, ruthless and vindictive. Her enemies had decades, centuries, to plot and scheme. Aelin has barely months. With her loyal court by her side, and the heir of a shattered throne, she is calling old debts and promises, assassins and pirates and nobles, while Manon Blackbeak is fighting a different war, a war against her vicious nature and her own kind. And a storm is coming, a great storm that will either cleanse the world or annihilate it.
“Aelin Galathynius had raised an army not just to challenge Morath, but to rattle the stars.”
The words I'm trying to utter seem poor compared to the magnitude of this book. It is my favorite in the series so far, the perfect way to set the chessboard before the final stand that will determine the fate of my heroes and their world. Fight sequences to give you goosebumps, battleships to make your heart hammer, monsters and creatures that jumped out of legends to make your jaw drop, secrets and revelations to break you. Piece by piece. Villains you hate with a loathing passion and heroes that make you laugh and bleed and weep with them. The moments of serenity were rare and precious. The moments of anguish and despair were so many and masterfully crafted that paralyzed you. Fear coiled you liked a poisonous snake, hope helped you breathe until you could not. But you were never laid to rest. Because this was a song of blood and magic composed by a Muse.
I am in awe.
“He was hers and she was his and they had found each other across centuries of bloodshed and loss, across oceans and kingdoms and war.”
Aelin is still my least favorite in this parade of amazing, badass characters. I do feel admiration and sympathy towards her, but her swagger was always provocative, her pride, arrogance and self-righteousness, her tendency to not share her plans and gamble with many lifes irritated me very, very much. And I hated that everyone seemed to worship the ground she stood and let her get away with her tantrums and her hidden agendas like it was no big deal, but when Dorian solved the riddle towards the end he was met with a fist for being reckless.
The last chapters though, they were redeeming. Excruciating. They were my undoing.
“For Terrasen. For them. For a better world.”
What can I say about the rest of the characters? That each of them was flawed and tarnished and I loved them for their weaknesses and their strengths in a way I would have never predicted? That I wept with pride for Dorian, my most precious of them all, who grew up from the carefree prince to the powerful magic-wielder, the cunning ruler that inspired respect even to those who were wary of him? That I loved dark and brooding and savage Lorcan as much as I loved Rowan and Aedion? But besides all these edible male characters, the women were a product of dreams and nightmares. A combination of beauty, sensuality and brutality.
And my queen is none other than Manon.freaking.Blackbeak.
She was a slayer. A monster. She bathed in blood and she relished it. But then she started feeling something more. It was Abraxos, and Asterin, and Elide, that made her show a vulnerable side, that made her seperate right from wrong and fight against injustice, fight against the part of her that was forged in war and gore. And Dorian knew exactly who and what she was. I didn't expect to become such Dorian/Manon trash, but I am. And I also loved the Lorcan/Elide storyline, I looked forward to their chapters and swooned at the way they started falling in love. And let's not forget the slowly blooming romance between Aedion and Lysandra, which gave me all the feels. Same way as Aelin and Rowan.
We're talking about a freaking armada. All these couples, with their sweet and scorching scenes (because there was a decent amount of smut I thoroughly enjoyed), were definitely one of the reasons that made Empire of Storms so special.
“I'd walk into the burning hell of heart itself to find you.”
And I would sell my soul to Erawan himself to get the next book in my hands. I don't know what's more devastating, the ending or the waiting until the final instalment?