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Friday, 4 November 2016

Review: Empire of Storms

Empire of Storms Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Empire of Storms is the penultimate novel of the Throne of Glass series. Like many popular novels it has its flaws, but it is a novel which continues to develop the characters and the relationships between characters. Some readers may harbour a belief that Sarah J. Maas is balancing too many characters and that she does not handle this dynamic element well. Others may argue that this novel does not progress the overall plot particularly well, that they feel that Maas is simply 'making things up as she writes.' I for one find the positives of this novel contribute immensely to the running plot, and thoroughly enjoyed reading this work.

At the end of the day a review should serve a purpose. It should be the same as how teaching English should serve a purpose, or how a house should serve a purpose. If I cannot convince my students that English lessons teach them life skills then I become a poor teacher. A house without the ability to be a shelter to its owners merely becomes four walls and a roof. An excellent review, should therefore seek to convince the reader of the reason why they should or should not continue to participate in using the product. It becomes difficult then to write a review of a series of books, five books into a running series.

Why is this? It is because by this stage most people likely to read this review will be A) readers thoroughly enchanted by the series or B) disenchanted readers seeking to find any reason to continue. I propose therefore, that a review of any book in a series should aim to convince existing readers as to whether it is worthwhile for them to continue reading and to convince readers who have not read the first books in the series to begin reading. With that in mind I will suggest why you should or should not read this series.

1. Why you should read the A Throne of Glass Series:
a) Because it is popular: While this is hardly the most compelling reason to read any novel, often popularity stems from a reason. In this case, there are characters and a story world that characters have bought into and loved.
b) Hulu are making a tv series: Again, while hardly the most compelling reason to read a series, it is a reason. Who wants to be behind with a book series when the television series is releasing?
c) Because of the magic and world: A world of Faery, witches with iron teeth, assassins and evil kings is one of those fractured fairytale settings that is difficult to ignore.
d) Adventure, character development and cliffhangers: You have a group of interesting
e) The moral themes of good versus evil: Given that the main character is an inhuman assassin, yet somewhat relateable, the novels do explore a series of intriguing moral dilemmas that are worth considering in YA fiction.

2. Why you should not read the A Throne of Glass Series:
a) If YA fiction with all its tropes and archetypes is not your cup of tea: They feature in this series somewhat prominently.
b) If you cannot stand wish fulfilment: I skipped a few chapters in this particular book because they were hopelessly sappy wish-fulfilment love scenes. My personal rule of thumb when it comes to romance scenes in books is that you do not have to describe everything as it would be in life and that you should also avoid including information which takes your audience away from your characters and plot. The love scenes in this book in particular break all of those rules.
c) If the idea of a fantasy world of witches, assassins, evil kings etc. does not fascinate you then avoid this series at all costs. They are the focus of this series.

In short I believe the positives for reading this series outnumber the negatives. However, it is up to the individual to choose between whether they want to spend their time (or money) reading this, or investing elsewhere. In terms of popular YA fantasy fiction I rank it amongst the finest series I have read, but as stated it is not without its flaws.

4.5 stars

View all my reviews