Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.
As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Rating: 1/5 stars

Darrow sneered. "Is this how you plan to rule? When you don't like someone, you'll threaten them?"[…]
“Did you enjoy the riches of Ritfold these years, Princess? Was it very easy to forget us in the North when you were buying clothes and serving the men who butchered your family and friends?”


I would like to applaud Maas for creating a nearly perfect allegory for the US election campaign, with Aelin as the dumbass dictator who will ruin her own people in her petty search for power, without giving a fuck about who or how many she has to ruin to get her way.


I knew I had two choices with this review, I could either keep on melting on the 39C° we’ve had today and let this chase me all the way to 2017 OR I could chose to write this as my last review of the year.
I figured it would be more poetic to say goodbye to a shitty year with a shitty review of a shitty book, so here we go. Shit. However and despite my determination, I’m still melting my sweaty ass off so I’m going to keep this review short and simple with me asking random questions and discussing things this book made me think about.

Why does Aelin want the throne?

This is something I’ve been asking myself since Queen of Shadows or so, and I keep on wondering… Why exactly does Aelin want to rule?

I mean, I got that at the end of Heir of Fire Celaena embraced her true identity as means to end the tyranny of the King of Adarlan (btw was it ever found if the dude had a name or was he just “generic evul King”?) but now he’s defeated, the true evil, Erawan has shed his skin and somehow we find out that demons are sexy ken dolls? Dunno, but Aelin got to meet the people that have been taking care of her people while she was gone and…

They are all really good at their jobs? I mean, yes, they haven’t been able to defeat Erawan but it’s been proven by now that the only ones who can are either Aelin or Dorian with their blood, so why if that’s all taken care of would Aelin want to take the throne?

She’s just a 19 year-old with absolutely NO experience in politics, no studies (except maybe the books she’s read but Celaena always mentioned how she better liked stories rather than “boring” books like the ones Dorian had given her?) no aptitude towards negotiation other than “stab, stab, fire, fire, these are my terms bitch”. The girl is less diplomatic than a drunk grandma at Christmas, what can she do for her people? What can she offer that other people can’t?


Aelin wants to be Queen because Maas wants to bring her ultimate avatar to ultimate power, but Aelin would be a shitty ruler. Just look at this:
She was a calamity and a commander of immortal warriors of legends. And if those allies did not join with her… she wanted them to think of today, of what she would do, and wonder if they might find her on their shores, in their harbors, one day, too.

I mean just look at how she plans to make allies, by threatening them with the choice of either “join me or die”. What kind of fucked up way is that to make allies to help you fight your cause?


You’re not making allies, you are becoming a dictator one who takes power from the weak instead of defending them, who stomps on the innocent to help the criminals that follow you, you are the villain praised as the hero.

On sex scenes and creepy sexualization:

I know that even before Empire of Storms came out people were very curious about the change of genre, from YA to NA. We knew what would happen, sex scenes were coming.

Despite the controversy I felt like I was in the minority of, maybe it’s not so bad? I mean, yes Feyre’s vagina glowing and Rhysand’s making mountains trembling when they orgasm was pretty ridiculous, but I wasn’t as bothered by the inclusion of sex scenes here simply because it had once been a YA series. I mean, teens think of sex. They probably read or watch porn and a good portion of them are having sex as well. It’s not like this would be like corrupting pure souls. I believed that, as long as the sex was consensual and it represented relationships well (with no imbalance of power or blurred lines of consent) the scenes would be a good inclusion…

That… didn’t quite happen as I expected.

I know by now that Sarah J. Maas has a certain preference for her fantasy guys, and that is the typical “macho” stereotype of a possessive dude, she’s said so herself, and although it’s not a taste I share, I’m not one to judge someone’s kinks, am I? But even though I tried, I couldn’t ignore the toxic masculinity presented in the book.

Maas has created a very toxic environment regarding the males in her world. The Fae are by nature possessive of their mates and partners; they’ll attack and be jealous of other males near their mates, they’ll protect (read=control) them which often includes following them, telling them what to do and who to be with.

I know that many people think this is fantasy and what they’ll tolerate in a book is not something they will in real life, and I’m happy you guys can do that! Enjoy your books, that’s great! But I think that after you go through this sort of thing in real life, you can’t see this behavior in writing and think it’s okay or romantic. I know I can’t.

Instead of the sex scenes, what I found most troubling was the behavior in the relationships; with the female the submissive one (even if it made no sense like Manon) and the male the brute and dominant one.

There were times when things were tried to be switched around, like with Rowan and Aelin with her going “Ugh, male being territorial watevs, we girls can kick their ass!” but try as you might, the words didn’t change the fact that the males had all the power in the relationship. Heck, Rowan was a hundred years old pedophile preying on his 19 year old cousin.

The sexualisation was another thing that creeped me out, and I can only describe it like revisiting your childhood’s favorite cartoon.
You know when, as an adult (or at least not a kid anymore) you’ll one day remember that cool cartoon/anime you watched as child and start missing it? Oh the good times you spent watching those episodes after school! So now thanks to the internet you know you can look them up and find your old friends online. You’ll also find the fanart, beautifully made by fans as nostalgic as you, you’ll find the fanfics, the video compilations and you’ll also find the creeps. That’s when your childhood and adulthood converge and you remember “crap, I forgot about the creeps” because then you’ll go through Tumblr or twitter or devianart or whatever it is that you frequent and you’ll find truly disturbing depictions of your favorite characters.

Your innocent memories will be shattered with all the depictions of highly unlikely and disturbing sexual scenarios that range from pedophilia to rape and incest. You’ll see your female characters being drawn with assets that they clearly didn’t have before like huge boobs and straps of fabric that count as clothes. And it comes a point when you just want to scream “DID YOU REALLY NEED TO DO THAT!?”

That feeling of wanting to shower both your body and mind is how this book made me feel in regards to the overly sexualisation. Just another proof of this disturbing misogyny that carries on throughout the series; women are not really participants of the story as much as they are sexual objects to lust after.

You could hardly get a description of a girl without the book telling you just how beautiful she was, how sinful her mouth was, how much the guys wanted to fuck her every time she appeared and, perhaps the weirdest of it all, how her boobs were.
I’m telling you, Maas has a really weird obsession with boobs that I simply don’t get. I have them, and they are probably the least favorite part of my body along with my brain. But here, oh boy! Boobs were mentioned All.The.Fucking.Time. Women didn’t carry chains or necklaces, no, they “hanged between her breasts”. Women couldn’t get stabbed, they always needed to be slashed through her breasts.
I’d started counting it and I almost got to 100 times the word was mentioned before I gave up.

Fifty Shades of Dorian Grey, or Why Manorian Is the Stupidest Relationship In The Series:



What was Maas thinking?! Who sees the lesbian/asexual Manon and thinks “Mmm… I’m gonna pair this man-hating demon with the Alex Karev of fantasy, IT’LL BE FUCKING GENIOUS!”
Not only the idea of them together was moronic, it also made Manon a poor little lost girl begging for Dorian’s lame dick.
Another proof that Dorian ruins EVERYTHING. (sorry, I know that many people love him but I could never stand his boring ass).

On Aedion and Lyssandra or Why Must Every Single Character be Paired with One Another Even If There’s No Chemistry?

That title pretty much explains itself, doesn’t it? I just didn’t care about their relationship because there was no depth to it. Why would they even like each other? Other than the fact that Maas has the compulsive need to pair everybody into straight couples without an inkling of like or chemistry?

Random Notes:

-I loved how Lorcan began giving a crap about Aelin when he heard she was Rowan’s mate. Not that I’m Aelin’s biggest fan, but the dude began to care when he learned that she “belonged” to Rowan. Fucking prick.

-I didn’t really care about the romance between him and Elide. They could have grown into decent friends, but Maas was pushing the romance too hard with the whole “he had seen men being gutted and their entrails being made into ribbons without even whimpering, but the fact that this girl had stubbed her toe and didn’t cry made Lorcan’s penis come to life”.

-So why can’t Dorian die? Again, I don’t love Aelin but Dorian is the fucking dead weight of this series. Dude needs to go.

-The attempt at justifying Nehemia’s death was fucking dumb. So Elena was “Oh there are two people with my bloodline and one of them (why not both? Just saying) needs to die, so you should go to that castle befriend them both and hope that they like you, then you should establish a meaningful relationship with one of them, get yourself brutally murdered and pray in the afterlife that your bond was so strong your death will cripple said person, forcing her to somehow chose to go to a very convenient place for my plan, get to meet her mate (hoping that the guy won’t kill her on sight because of how broken he is), hope they won’t kill each other, hope she embraces her fate in a convenient time, hope she discovers the thing about the weyrdkeys and gates, hope she find the mirror with the stored information and then decides to sacrifice herself.”
Instead of, you know, fucking talking about it.

-One of Rowan’s cousins is gay, and Aedion is apparently bisexual (although it’s only implied in one parragrapgh but never seen). So… ehhh yeay?

-Apparenly Aelin is Jesus now with the whole being the descendat of a God and sacrificing herself for the salvation of her people... real subtle.

In the end, a book with Trump in fantasy but with him being whipped and chained… Hmmm maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.

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