Claire’s Reviews: Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

Four stars.

Since this is the fifth book in the series, I’m not going to talk much about the plot. Instead, I’ll just focus on what I liked/didn’t like about this book in comparison to the others in the series.

First, what I though could have been done better. A disclaimer: I am a proponent of showing healthy sexual relationships in YA. I don’t think it’s done often enough or realistically enough, which was part of the reason I absolutely adored A Court of Mist and Fury. In that book, Sarah J Maas depicts both healthy and unhealthy romantic relationships, but when it comes to sex she makes the focus on the woman’s pleasure. That just doesn’t happen enough in YA! The thing is though, in that series the first book contains sexually explicit scenes. If you read the first and were uncomfortable with the level of sexual content, you could opt out of reading the second.

The first four books of the Throne of Glass series show sex in a way that is more common to the YA genre, with hints and ambiguities. To then all of a sudden include graphic sex scenes in the fifth book was jarring and just didn’t fit in with the tone of the previous books. It felt like SJMaas was trying to make Empire of Storms more like the ACOTAR series and I wasn’t a fan.

Going along with this, I wish SJMaas didn’t feel like it was necessary to pair all of the characters together. I think there were moments (with Elide especially) where SJMaas had perfect opportunities to make the main cast less heteronormative but then decided to go with the same alpha-male-wrapped-around-the-finger-of-a-small-but-feisty-female narrative. I have nothing against that sort of relationship, but to have it repeated with just about every character? I would have appreciated more diversity.

Now for the good: I absolutely loved how everything from the previous four books and the novella came together in this book. I thought the plot was so wonderfully crafted and had me literally cheering at parts. Also, crying. Damn, SJMaas knows how to twist a knife in your heart. And then stab four more knives into it. (In the best way, of course.)

With this book ending as it did, I am in absolute agony waiting for the next installment. BOOK, COME TO ME.

Harry Potter Sorting | Throne of Glass Series

Hello witches and wizards, Muggles and Squibs, and everyone in between! The Hogwarts house you’re in can say a lot about who you are. Since both of us are Potterheads, we have decided to start a monthly segment where we sort characters from novels into the different Hogwarts houses. Today we are sorting characters from Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series!

 

Celaena

Lila: So I’ve thought long and hard about this and I actually think Celaena is totally a Slytherin! Here’s the thing: not all Slytherins are bad. To be a Slytherin means you’re ambitious above all and Celaena wouldn’t have become the best assassin if she wasn’t ambitious. Plus, there is the fact that she’s pretty into herself and arrogant. That doesn’t negate her good heart or desire to do good, but you’ve gotta admit she has a serious girl crush on herself.

Claire: Originally, I had thought about sorting Celaena into Gryffindor–she’s very brash and willing to jump into any situation. The more I thought about it though, the more I decided she belongs in Slytherin. It’s very tempting to put warrior-types automatically into Gryffindor, but like Lila says, Celaena is driven by her ambition. Particularly in the first two books, Celaena is largely self-centered and concerned about one thing: achieving her personal freedom. To that end, she’d stop at nothing, no matter how ruthless, to accomplish her goal.

Dorian

C: I would put Dorian in Gryffindor. At the start of the series he is extremely naive, but even so he is full of heart and always seeking to make his kingdom a better place for all subjects. As he becomes more conscientious of the corruption within Adarlan, he becomes more determined to right the wrongs his father committed. SPOILER WARNING This all culminates to the event at the end of book three, when Dorian stands up to the king and risks himself to save Chaol–an ultimate act of Gryffindor bravery and self-sacrifice. END SPOILER.

L: I think it’s really tempting to put Dorian in Gryffindor because he’s such a good guy, but ultimately I really think he’s a Hufflepuff. Here’s why: Dorian’s acts of bravery all stem from his love for and loyalty to his friends. He’s kind, he’s honest, he’s hard working–all Hufflepuff traits. But above all, his one outstanding quality is his devotion to his friends and that devotion is what drives him. So that’s my spiel on why I think he’s definitely Hufflepuff.

C: I definitely see where you’re coming from! I can easily see Dorian in Hufflepuff too.

 

Chaol

L: Okay, so here’s the thing about Chaol. He is defined completely and wholly by his morality. He has a strong set of morals and values and if you break with that, you’re wrong and the bad guy. Chaol stands for his principles no matter what, even if that causes him to break with his friends. For this reason and because he is brave when it comes to serving his morals, I think Chaol is a Gryffindor.

C: Lol, our answers for Dorian and Chaol are flipped, because I would sort Chaol as a Hufflepuff. I think, beyond his sense of morality, Chaol is defined by his love and loyalty for Dorian.There is a quote in Heir of Fire where Chaol says SPOILER ALERT “There is one true king in this room–there always has been. And he is not sitting on that throne.” END SPOILER I think pretty much every action Chaol has done is tied to his loyalty for Dorian and his hopes for seeing him on the throne. Although I definitely understand the argument for Gryffindor (TBH I considered putting every person on this list in Gryffindor), I think ultimately Chaol belongs in Hufflepuff.

L: Haha, that’s funny how we flipped! I see your points, but I think I’m going to stick with Gryffindor because I feel like if Dorian’s morals didn’t match up with Chaol’s, Chaol would definitely break with Dorian.

 

Nehemia

C: I had a really hard time sorting Nehemia, largely due to the fact that I remember the first two books least. From what I do remember though, I would definitely put Nehemia in either Gryffindor or Hufflepuff. Nehemia’s overarching goal is freedom for her people, and to that end she is a very self-sacrificing and brave character. Actually, now that I think of it, she was also manipulative in how she used that self-sacrifice, so maybe she could be a Slytherin, too? Whatever house she belongs in, I think she’d definitely be a hatstall. For now (until maybe I’ve reread the books and can place her more accurately), I’d say Nehemia is a Gryffindor.  

L: Yeah, I think for me, from what I remember, she’s solidly a Gryffindor for the exact reasons you said. Because even if she was manipulative to a point, that manipulativeness wasn’t self serving, it didn’t come from a personal desire to get ahead, but rather from a desire to do what is best for her people. So I think Slytherin is ruled out. She is loyal and smart, but I think her love for her people and her selflessness is what truly drives her and that puts her solidly in Gryffindor.

C: Excellent points, Gryffindor it is!

 

Rowan

L: I had a tough time with Rowan because he’s so stoic and we don’t know all that much about him. From what I do know, I think he’s Gryffindor because he’s a warrior and that’s what defines him as a person. But that’s kinda all that I feel I know about him, which isn’t much.

C: I also had a hard time placing Rowan. Ultimately, I decided to place him into Ravenclaw. In terms of warrior-style, I feel like he’s the type of person to fully examine the situation from every angle and analyze each of his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses before making a move. So while yes, he is a warrior, I think his style of fighting is very Ravenclaw. And in the third book, he demonstrates a lot of foresight in manipulating a series of events in preparation for a Celaena’s final confrontation with Maeve. Also, BIRDS.

L: Oooh, those are great points! I think you could add onto that line of arguement that when we first meet Rowan it’s as a teacher–the quintissential Ravenclaw job. I think I could compromise and say he’s a Gryffinclaw.

 

Manon

L: Can I just say before anything that I totally am in support of putting Manon in Hufflepuff not because she actually belongs there (in my opinion), but because I would pay good money to see her reaction to that?

C: Bahaha, at first when you were typing that I was like “WHAAAATT??” but now it all makes good sense. I would loveeeee to read a fanfic/see fanart of that happening, especially because Asterin would be in Hufflepuff and she would be so excited that Manon was in the same house as her.

L: And Elide would probably be in Hufflepuff too and she and Asterin would totally gang up on Manon!

C: Yesssss! So true. Unfortunately, I think Manon is pretty solidly a Slytherin. She’s all about ambition–seeing the Thirteen rise to the top of the Blackbeaks at every challenge–and she has shown that she’d do just about anything to make that happen. I think we do see some character development throughout the books where she starts leaning away from this behavior somewhat, but at the end of the day she is still a Slytherin. Loyal to her pack and ruthlessly cunning in order to ensure their place in the hierarchy.

L: Agreed. The girl is in it to win it. But I think this is a particularly interesting placement in that it completes the parallel between Manon and Celaena.

C: THEY NEED TO HAVE MORE SCENES TOGETHER. What we got, while awesome and slightly terrifying, was not nearly enough.

L: Yes, yes, and yes to that sentiment!

 

Lysandra

L: I actually think Lysandra is also a Slytherin. If you’ve read The Assassin’s Blade, you saw the brutal competition between her and Celaena. But also, Lysandra is very driven by the pure desire to survive, and that’s a form of ambition in and of itself in my opinion.

C: And once again, we end in agreement. I have Lysandra pegged as a Slytherin. I think she’s much more cunning than anyone gives her credit for, and that sense of cunning has made her one of my favorite characters. She’s an expert at manipulation–like Lila says, she’s had to learn these skills in order to accomplish her main goal: survival.

L: Very true! So that’s a wrap folks! Let us know if you want us to sort any particular characters and we shall try to do it! Until next time!