Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

I’m finally caught up on the Throne of Glass books.

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Aelin goes home to Terrasen and starts to gather an army by calling in old debts to take back her kingdom and free the continent for Erawan’s control.
While I continue to enjoy the overall plot of this story and the world, it seems this one has taken a sharp left turn into adult territory. There is more violence in this one, and it’s more graphic than before, more bloody. More details are given about the battles and what happens, the characters injuries, and they always seems to be covered in blood and gore. Or vomiting gore in Lyssandra’s case.

Then there are the extremely explicit sex scenes. Prior to this, sex was something that was more or less glazed over. Celeana/Aelin had sex for the first time with Chaol in Crown of Midnight, but the scene was brief and the details hazy. No specifics were given about what actually happened, or how she felt. The same can be said for the make out scenes between Dorian and Sorcha, Dorian and Celeana, and Celeana and Sam, they would start kissing and then the scene would pick up the morning after with no details on how far they went or what happened given save for Socha and Celeana stating that they didn’t have sex. The last book seemed to up the sexual innuendo and references and allusions, some of which were out of nowhere like Chaol saying he had sex with Nesryn in an ally against a wall prior to the start of the series. But this one, oh boy. The sex first scene between Aelin and Rowan went on and on, and the detail given was so much more than I was expecting. So much more. More than I’ve seen in adult books. I had to check to make sure I was still reading the same book because I thought I was reading erotica for moment (not that I’ve read any, but I hear it’s pretty detailed). I had to finally skip to the end of the chapter because it was too much. It was making me uncomfortable, and I’m in my 30s and I know I would have been twice as uncomfortable reading this as a teen. Hell I was uncomfortable with the sex in Battlestar Galacitca when I started watching it at 18, and I thought that was graphic then, compared to this it’s tame. The next sex scene between them was the same, and the one with Dorian and Manon too. It’s such a 180 I can’t figure out what happened. I mean, did her editor cut the details from earlier scenes, and now that she’s a New York Times bestselling author say “go for it” or did she get a new editor? Or is it because YA readers aren’t just teens, a lot of them are woman in their 20s and 30s? Or is it because the character is now 19?

Which brings me to another point, I think all the characters are now over 18, some by hundreds of years, that coupled with the more graphic violence and extremely explicit sex scenes means I think it needs to be in the adult section. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t believe in censorship, but if I had a sixteen year old I would not want her reading this, and if I was a parent, that would be my right. I think the first three are still YA (although 3 is a little more intense and some might feel it too belongs in adult), Queen of Shadows is borderline in my opinion, and again I think it falls more on the adult side of the line, but this one is NOT YA.

And what’s with the Fae canine teeth and biting/nipping one another? Especially for sexual pleasure. It’s gross and disgusting and vampiric. And I’m still wondering why the Fae have elongated canines in the first place and what they are for other than to scare people. Although, since the witches are part Fae and part Valg, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fae also had some Valg in them and that’s why they have the canine teeth and were compatible with the Valg to make the witches. Or that they are from a different realm too, or even the same one. I’m sure all will be revealed by the end.

I’m going to again say there are too many POV characters. I can’t keep up with it. I don’t know how she writes so many and manages to keep them distinct. I’m going to say that Maeve is a bitch, Lorcan is a jerk who will be paying for his mistakes forever. I also have a theory that each character represents one of the Gods. Aelin is clearly Mala, but Dorian has the other half of her magic. Elide is said to be guided by Anneith, Lorcan blessed by Hellas, Manon is the Three Faced Goddess, I haven’t quite figured out the others yet.

Due to the things I mentioned above I have to give this one Three and a Half Lightsabers.

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