Empire of Storms: It is Unpopular Opinion Time

empire of storms

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, the fifth installment in the Throne of Glass series, has received much praise from fans for its intricate plot, complex characters, and intense action scenes. However, only some people share this enthusiasm. 

In fact, there are a number of aspects of this book that I find problematic, and I am here to share my unpopular opinion: Empire of Storms, despite its strengths, needs to improve in several key areas that affect its overall impact.

Overwhelming focus on romance

One of the most significant issues with Empire of Storms is the overwhelming focus on romance. While romance can add depth to characters and enhance the story, the sheer volume of romantic subplots in this book often detracts from the main storyline. 

Aelin and Rowan’s relationship, in particular, takes up a substantial portion of the narrative, overshadowing other critical plot developments and character arcs. 

This focus sometimes makes the story feel more like a romance novel set in a fantasy world rather than a high-stakes epic fantasy.

What are other issues

Another issue with Empire of Storms is its pacing. The book starts strong with a fast-paced opening that promises an action-packed adventure. However, as the story progresses, the pacing becomes inconsistent. 

Some sections are dragged out with lengthy descriptions and introspective moments, while others rush through significant events without giving them the attention they deserve. This uneven pacing can make the reading experience feel disjointed and frustrating.


While the Throne of Glass series is known for its complex and evolving characters, Empire of Storms struggles with maintaining this standard. Aelin, who has been a strong and multifaceted protagonist throughout the series, sometimes comes across as one-dimensional in this book.

Her unwavering confidence and tendency to always have a secret plan up her sleeve can make her seem less relatable and more predictable. Other characters, like Dorian and Manon, also need consistent development, with their storylines feeling secondary to the main romantic plot.

How is the suspense?

One of the hallmarks of a great fantasy novel is its ability to surprise and engage the reader with unexpected twists and turns. Unfortunately, Empire of Storms often falls into the trap of predictability. Many plot points and character decisions are telegraphed well in advance, reducing the tension and suspense that are crucial for an engaging narrative. 

For example, the numerous deus ex machina moments, where seemingly insurmountable problems are resolved by last-minute interventions, can feel contrived and diminish the stakes.

Lack of focus on the main plot

The overarching plot of the Throne of Glass series is rich and intricate, involving political intrigue, ancient prophecies, and epic battles. However, Empire of Storms sometimes loses focus on these elements in favor of its romantic subplots and character pairings. 

This shift in focus can detract from the epic scope of the story and make it feel less cohesive.

Overuse of tropes

Fantasy novels often rely on certain tropes to build their worlds and characters. However, Empire of Storms leans heavily on familiar tropes without always putting a fresh spin on them.

Examples include the “chosen one” trope, the dark and brooding love interest, and the last-minute save. While these elements can be enjoyable, their overuse can make the story feel less original and more formulaic.


Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas has many strengths, including a richly detailed world, a diverse cast of characters, and thrilling action scenes. However, its overwhelming focus on romance, pacing issues, predictable plot points, and occasional lack of focus on the main storyline can detract from the overall reading experience. 

Despite its flaws, it remains a beloved book for many, but it’s important to acknowledge that it may not be for everyone.

Some Questions

Is Empire of Storms mostly about romance?

While Empire of Storms does include significant romantic subplots, it also features elements of political intrigue, epic battles, and character development. However, some readers feel that the romance can overshadow other aspects of the story.

Does Empire of Storms suffer from pacing issues?

Yes, some readers find the pacing to be inconsistent, with certain sections dragging on and others rushing through important events. This can make the narrative feel uneven.

Are the characters in Empire of Storms well-developed?

While some characters receive substantial development, others, including major ones like Aelin and Dorian, can sometimes come across as one-dimensional or predictable.

Is Empire of Storms predictable?

Many readers find certain plot points and character decisions to be predictable, which can reduce the overall tension and suspense in the story.

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