Empire of Storms: The end was the best part

Let me start off with a brief explanation about my relationship with the Throne of Glass series. I read the first book around May of last year. I fell in love with the characters and the plot immediately. I flew through the rest of the books like there was no tomorrow. When the fourth book, titled Queen of Shadows was released last September, everything started to go downhill. But as I recently discovered the fifth book, Empire of Storms, was even worse. It is possibly the most disappointing book I’ve ever read.

One of the main issues I had with this book was the utter lack of diversity. The world of this series is big and there are so many characters. You would think that there would be a few people of color or a variety of sexuality within this story, but there is zero. Sure, there’s one character who is revealed to be bisexual, but it is only mentioned in a small section and has no more relevance.

Aelin, the main female protagonist of the series, was once a relatable, snarky, loyal and an overall amazing heroine. She is now nothing more than an insufferable, rude, and whiny character. I felt disconnected with her in this book and incredibly annoyed with her too-good-for-you attitude and lack of compassion for others. What was even more irritating was how her love interest helped her to always get her way. He doesn’t really serve any other purpose besides being her romantic partner. When he was first introduced in the series, he told Aelin she should’ve died as a child and proceeds to punch her in the face and beats her down emotionally and physically when she was already broken inside. He doesn’t hurt her or lay a hand on her after the third book, but the problem is that it was never addressed afterward. He never apologized for it, and it’s just brushed aside like it was nothing.

The other characters were more interesting, yet I still found myself growing to not really care for them as much as I used to. In Empire of Storms most of them were focused on getting into relationships, even though they were all playing parts in a large war that was taking place. None of the relationships within this series are even very appealing, and have grown to become carbon copies of each other. Seriously, there was way too much elaboration on how perfect and flawless these characters are. Sarah J. Maas tries to give her characters flaws by setting them all up with tragic backstories, but in the end, the way the characters were handled puts them into a flawless light anyway.

Characters are supposed to have flaws. It’s what makes them so relatable and likeable. Flawless characters emit a feeling of disconnection and lack of empathy. Character development was thrown out the window in order to create multiple relationships just so there would be steamy scenes. For a young adult series, this book had far too explicit scenes that made me question how on earth it was allowed to be published when people as young as thirteen are reading it.

The only thing I enjoyed about this book was getting to end of the dreadful thing with knowledge that I could now focus my attention on pursuing decent literature again. If you wish to give this series a try, I recommend only reading the first two books and the novella bind-up unless you wish to witness your favorite characters being remolded into the complete opposite of what they once were and the beautiful foreshadowing being tossed aside in order for an overhyped character with no appeal whatsoever to steal the spotlight while other ones are tossed onto the backburner. What was once such a lush and inspiring series to me has quickly turned into the most overhyped and frustrating books I have ever read.