📚 Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below this review. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Throne of Glass #5

Description⎮Reviewed Sep. 2016

Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Length: 25h 23m
Publisher: Audible Inc.⎮2016

4.75★ Audiobook⎮That ending gave me chills!

As my earlier reviews indicate, I didn’t start out as a huge fan of the series. For me, it was an acquired taste. I still have issues with it (detailed below), but I’ve made it this far and I seem to be enjoying each installment more than the last.

Empire of Storms is one of the longest audiobooks I’ve heard. 25 hours is a whole lot of listening, but somehow it didn’t feel like that at all. The first 20% or so was a rocky start. Maas creates incredibly complex worlds and doesn’t offer many “memory refreshers”. For those like me who don’t have spare time to reread previous installments before new releases, it can be rough. Like trying to remember how to ride a bicycle when you haven’t done it in years. It comes back to you eventually, but the beginning is still frustrating.

That has been my experience with every Maas book. Her world building and character development are excellent, but also a little too complicated. My only complaint (let’s take care of it now) is that it’s all just too much. There’s too much to remember.  Too many characters and too many places. I consider myself fairly intelligent, with an adequate memory, but her books make me feel ridiculously overwhelmed. I’m sure super fans who eat, breathe, and sleep Throne of Glass have a very different experience, but for an average fan like myself, it would be nice if she lightened up on the pressure a bit and made things easier to follow along with from book to book.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, I’ll tell you why I still rated Empire of Storms so highly. Because it was freaking awesome. Diving back into this world was like pulling a blanket over my head and making the real world go away. Fantasy offers the best kind of escapism. I really feel like Maas is in tune with what her fans want and is more than willing to oblige. Which probably explains why she has so many fans! You can tell that she loves her readers, as well as her characters.

There were several milestone moments in Empire of Storms that I won’t describe (as River Song would say “Spoilers!”), but it was a unifying experience to know that everyone else reading this story was most likely “fangirling” right along with me.

By the way, I’ve vowed to start rethinking the way I categorize certain titles. If this is to be considered “Young Adult”, it is without a doubt “Upper YA“. I’m not even sure anything Maas is a YA author. There tends to be age-related confusion surrounding that label. Maas’ series also tend to contain pretty graphic sexual content. I don’t know exactly where the line between YA and NA (New Adult) is, but I’m pretty sure Empire of Storms toes it. Just FYI.

Narrator Review: Elizabeth Evans returned to narrate her fifth audiobook in this series. Her narration isn’t necessarily something I have acquired a taste for as much as the story. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s definitely tolerable and she provides passable character distinction, which is definitely better than none. I’ve heard samples of her narration for other audiobooks and I much preferred them. The tone she takes for the Throne of Glass series is hard and flat. She changes it up for some characters, but the majority of the audiobook’s narration is not pleasing to my ears. I get that she is probably channeling the feel of the story, but I wish she would soften her narration a bit outside of the dialogue. If I were rating the narration separately, I’d give it 4 stars. ♣︎

$ Available at Audible/Amazon and The Book Depository

Let me know what you think!