These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Review: Empire of Storms

Empire of Storms Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My reviews for all of the Throne of Glass books have been somewhat lengthy, and I fear this will be the same. In fact, I fear this may be my longest one to date. I will try to prevent such from being the case, yet I cannot promise such a thing. Thus, I apologise in advance for what is to come – not only in terms of length, but also for the lack of coherence that will probably arise the more I write.

I entered the Throne of Glass fandom extremely late. It sat on my to-read list for a very long time, yet I was never crazy about pushing it to the top of my list. When Empire of Storms came out in paperback, when it was put on offer, I nabbed it as a way to force myself into reading the series. The first one had been sitting on my bookshelf for months, after all. I needed to get around to it in the end.

Upon reading book one, I wasn’t as crazy about it as I had hoped to be. It was good enough for me to round my rating up to four stars, but I wasn’t pulled into the fandom in the way many people were. In fact, I was far too aware of the flaws. If anything, this set out my feelings for the rest of the series – being too aware of flaws that would prevent me from being a crazy mad fan. Nevertheless, I continued on. Book two had a similar effect on me, yet book three won me over. I believe the third book will always be my favourite in the series. Oddly enough, that seems to be the book that caused quite a few people issues – mainly because of sinking ships. Book four was fun, but it wasn’t the same as book three. Then there was this one. It was better than book four, but it was no book three. There were too many flaws for it to be book three – and yet, it left me with so many feels.

Honestly, the feels. I cannot begin to explain them.

The ending was a kick to the teeth, if nothing else. A way to ensure I’ll be picking up book six as soon as I can. In fact, I’m already impatient for it. As I said, I’m not one of the super fandom, but I’m desperate for the answers to how things play out. My fingers are crossed that Maas will be brave when it comes to the ending, that things will end in the darkness that makes casual appearances throughout the books. I fear, however, that she will pamper to what the fandom wants. I fear she will never slip completely into the darkness that she keeps hinting towards, the darkness that has been promised since the very start. This isn’t a bad thing per se; it’s just not what I want. I want her to finally give in to the promise that has been lingering from the start, and maybe then I will be able to say ‘yes, the series is one hundred percent worth the hype’ rather than merely saying ‘yes, I understand the hype’.

I’ll get back to the ending, though. It’s best to start at the beginning. To work through my emotions in the same way the book worked with them.

I feel as though the beginning followed the usual route for any Maas book. Things were slow, once again. I expected things to start instantly, for the action to begin straightaway. Such was not the case. We had a few chapters of nothing really happening. Then, when things started to happen, it wasn’t what had been promised. I’d been expecting a book of war. I had expected this book to be a true battleground. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that such was not to be the case. I’m holding out that the final book will do such a thing, yet I’m doubtful. I accept that Maas will write a decent enough ending, she’ll write something to bring everything together, but I doubt it will be what I want. I doubt it will be what is hinted at. As I’ve already stated, she doesn’t seem to go all out in regards to giving the readers what they want. She tries to offer up surprises, twists and turns, only to hold back on certain aspects. The war that has been building for so long will fall into that category, I fear.

Nevertheless, once I came to terms with the lack of actual battlefield scenes, I enjoyed the story that was offered up. At first there seemed to be too many different stories going on, stories that did not seem to be coming together. I’ve been enjoying the way all the different stories have existed, clearly always going to meet at one point, and yet for too long it was dragged out that they would not be crossing paths. I grew bored of certain scenes, with certain characters. Interactions were dull, clich├ęd. I grew tired of reading the same scenes from prior books being played out by different characters – the old ‘they hate each other but will come to be lovers’ and the ‘keeping secrets only to reveal them at a later date’. A lot of things read like the prior books. Things were not as new as they could have been.

I realise this review is a case of positive and negatives clashing together within paragraphs, as I said before I’m sorry. The book left me less than coherent and I’m trying hard to express everything I’m feeling in as few words as possible – thus, lack of real sense and order.

Overall, the first part of the book did very little for me. I was constantly left wanting more. I was enjoying it… and yet it wasn’t enough. I was confused as to how Maas planned to bring everything together. This is supposed to be the penultimate book and yet very much seemed to be happening. In fact, some aspects of the story seemed to be missing entirely. The events of certain characters seemed to have been forgotten about, and will probably be dumped on us out of the blue in the next book. Certain scenes could have been cut out as they didn’t really add much, could have been replaced with those missing details or simply removed to cut down the length of the book. Yes, things were occurring, but nothing seemed to be shifting towards a conclusion. How was the story to be brought to a close when nothing much was happening? If anything, more questions were coming about than being answered.

In fact, such a thing continued throughout the entire book. There were a lot of answers given, as so many things were explained. We get to see how things are really being brought together. Throughout the series, you have been able to see how things have been coming together, and this book does a lot to emphasise that. Such a thing is great, even if a lot of things were nowhere near as shocking as they could have been. It’s as though dragging certain things out has lessened the impact. I do not deny that it’s a wonderful way of connecting the details and that it is very well done… but I just wasn’t as impressed as I could have been if things had been handled somewhat differently. It simply wasn’t the world imploding reveal that it should have been. There was more build up and delay than was really necessary, especially with characters holding back information from one another. It was rather petty, actually.

That, actually, brings me rather nicely to my next point. My feelings towards characters in this book and the interactions that occurred.

Since book one I’ve admitted to a lack of interest in the romantic elements. If a romance fails to grab me, I’m not going to care. I’ve recently started to feel a slight ship… but that changed in this book. In this book, we were back to too much romance and I wanted it all gone. I wanted the focus to be on the war, not on the bedroom events. The scenes in this book… they were just a big no for me.

Maas depicts bedroom events as being life-changing events. Sparks fly. True love conquers all. The usual romantic drivel. I may not be an expert in the realm of bedroom events, but I’m more than aware that it does not play out the way Maas paints it to be. I’ve read cringe worthy free erotica that paints a more accurate description. I cannot help but think that Maas has fallen into the young adult trap where the little reads are brainwashed into believing the way things will play out in the bedroom will shift the earth. It simply doesn’t happen like that. Moreover, I cringe when reading it. Physically cringe at the words. It just… no. I felt the same way in regards to the scenes in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. This just felt like much of the same.

It didn’t help that characters seemed to change so that we could reply the events from her other series. We have the sweet world shifting acts. We have the smutty and salty acts. We have the slow burners. We have the conquests. Basically, there’s a lot of bodily collision that I did not care for. It was unnecessary. I understand that the fear of death would have them wanting to do such a thing – but I wanted to read the details of the war and not their awkward bedroom scenes. I really could have done without it. It’s not even that I’m a prude – I’ve got enough erotica on my Kindle to show otherwise – it’s simply that I find the scenes Maas writes to be rather awkward. I get it that she will put romance in all of her books, but the sex can be removed and I’m sure things will work much better. Especially with how her sex scenes simply work to show how the sky will alight when the bodies collide.

Despite how critical I’m sounding, I did enjoy this book. Hence the four star rating.

The story did move forward. So many answered were given, and things did come together in many wonderful ways. Things weren’t as shocking as they could have been, but many things were great. It has left me with hope for what the last book will bring, even if I am tentative about whether or not Maas will manage to deliver. The ending in particular hit me hard. It was my favourite thing about the book, actually. One aspect reminded me far too much of her other series – secrets and romantic elements that I rolled my eyes at – but I like to pretend this aspect didn’t happen. It was so imbedded in all the action that was going on that I allowed myself not to be distracted by it. Had I allowed myself to be distracted I would have been super annoyed by how Maas has basically copied the ending of a book from her other series and altered it slightly.

Honestly, though, there is such promise for the last book. If you’ve come this far then you need to continue. How could you not continue? There is so much to come. In all honesty, I’m not sure how she’s going to cram it all into one book. I fear it will go one of three ways. Way one is that the book is ridiculously long, think Game of Thrones long – you know, the way some of those books go on and on and on. Way two is that more books are added to the series, which happens more often than people seem to realise and seems rather likely here considering all the loose ends that need to be tied up. Way three is that things are not address and we’re left with a less than perfect ending, but with the way Maas has being bringing things together I very much doubt this is what will happen.

Overall, I’m super curious to see what the last book brings us. This one didn’t end in the way I had anticipated, and whilst many aspects of the book did annoy me, as a whole it was a lot of fun. I’m more than a little bit impatient to pick up the final book – bring it on.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment