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This review contains minor spoilers.
I really, really enjoyed this. I love going back into this world and Empire of Storms was no exception. One of the best things about this edition is getting to visit, or in some cases revisit, different places than we are used to. I really like discovering other parts to this world. I also really liked the character development and the increased focus on some characters. The only thing that lets it down for me is the absence of Chaol. He doesn't make a single appearance and is barely mentioned by anyone else. I've made no secret of the fact I don't really ship Aelin and Rowan and but it's not just about that - I've come to accept that it's not going to happen with Chaol - it just feels really odd that such a major character would be completely absent. I still expected his presence in the book even if he's not with the main group. I can only hope that something epic is planned for him in the final instalment to make up for it!
There is lots of other action happening throughout the book apart from Rowan and Aelin and I'm really excited about all of the new relationships. Some are unexpected, some have been hinted at before, and I am completely on board with them all. It's not all plain sailing but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment as I love a good complication!
Elide has become a character that I really like. We didn't really get to know her enough before but being on a tough journey this time around is perfect for letting her attributes shine through. I really admired her strength. Lorcan has fast become one of my favourite characters of the series; I found myself rooting for him more and more as the story progressed. Manon and Lysandra are still two badass females that are total #squadgoals. Manon in particular does something so amazing that will have you on the edge of your seat. Her chapters along with Elide and Lorcan’s were my favourite this time around. Dorian gets a bit more to do this time around and I'm just so happy he's out of that collar and starting to get his life back. It's intriguing to see him getting to grips with his magic. I think it's fair to say that I absolutely loved the development of all of the “side” characters and that the focus wasn't just on Aelin and Rowan and their relationship. (Although there is plenty of development there too for all you shippers). There is also a small revelation about Aedion which is casually mentioned and not treated like a big deal which I also really loved.
This latest installment has everything I've come to expect from Maas: plenty of action, twists, impressive plot and character development all woven together to create a completely unputdownable fantasy that I crave. The lack of Chaol is disappointing but the new couples to ship and a completely evil cliffhanger (what else would we get from Maas?!) guarantee I'm already itching for the next book.
Have you read this latest installment yet? What did you think?!