TOG Review: Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, and Kingdom of Ash

Posted October 2, 2023 / Book Reviews / 1 Comment

I recently decided to reread the Throne of Glass series in order to finally finish it off and shared some thoughts on each of the first few books in the series. Now, we’re into the books I never got around to during my first read! I remember wanting to put off Empire of Storms for a few months after finishing Queen of Shadows just because I had read all of those initial books in such a short amount of time… but I just never got to it. Ever. Somehow???

I’m glad I decided to wait though because I was introduced to the concept of tandem reading for this book and Tower of Dawn. If you’re not familiar, someone realized that because Tower of Dawn and Empire of Storms take place at the same time but involve different characters in each book, you could read them at the same time and see what was happening with EVERYONE all at once. You basically read a few chapters in one book, switch and read some in the next, and keep going back and forth according to this schedule:

I went through and bookmarked each section off so I knew when to switch back to the other book and its next set of chapters. I also kept this guide very handy just to be safe! I got both books in all formats (ebooks, hardcovers from the library, and audiobooks) so I could switch back and forth based on what I was doing. I had a weekend trip to Maine planned one weekend so I was able to bring my Kindle to read and keep the huge hardcovers both a home, but generally tried to read those because it was easier to visually see when I needed to switch over based on my tabs. I used the audiobooks for specific chunks of time when I knew I had to read a bunch of chapters of one book in a row, or listen during my shower and knock out one chapter. Despite reading them at the same time and treating them like one (HUGE) book, I’m going to review them separately below before diving into the final book review for Kingdom of Ash.

Tandem Reading Experience – Thoughts/Review

My overall thoughts on the tandem reading experience? Completely warranted and necessary based on these storylines. I wasn’t always sure why the “creator” of this reading method chose to break off at certain chapters to switch books, but it was clear during other moments why the books switched. I’ll get into it below but I think EOS would work well as a standalone while TOD is a little boring. It was totally made better by reading these two books at the same time and getting the Chaol/Nesryn story mixed in alongside all of the other characters. I think I would have been a lot more bored if I had read these simply in order. Not a lot happens in TOD (in terms of true plot-building with rising action and drama with a climax toward the end). It wouldn’t surprise me if I found out she actually intended for these two books to be one huge book and that’s how she wrote them haha. Overall, I’m thrilled that I decided to read these books in this way. It made a big difference in my reading experience. I just preferred seeing what everyone was doing simultaneously, rather than reading two books back to back that happen at the same time.


TOG Review: Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, and Kingdom of AshEmpire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Bloomsbury on September 6, 2016
Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, Throne of Glass, The Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Wings and Ruin, A Court of Frost and Starlight, A ​Court of Silver Flames , Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Hardcover (689 pages) • Source: Audible, Library, Owned
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four-stars

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

EOS was definitely my favorite of the two books within the tandem read. I’m a huge sucker for books where all the characters are off adventuring on their own side quests. The inevitable reunions are so good! There were multiple times I pumped the air with excitement. I think it’s a little silly that all of the pairs of traveling companions inevitably become romantic interests but I can’t lie… I kind of enjoy all of the ships as of this book!

It was weird not spending as much time in Aelin’s head compared to other characters and she kind of hung out in the background. It makes a bit more sense why by the end of the book, but still. I really enjoyed the ending (well – not certain parts… but other parts…). I’m so glad I didn’t have to wait around to read the final book!


TOG Review: Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, and Kingdom of AshTower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #6
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Bloomsbury on September 5, 2017
Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, Throne of Glass, The Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Wings and Ruin, A Court of Frost and Starlight, A ​Court of Silver Flames , Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Hardcover (688 pages) • Source: Audible, Library, Owned
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble
three-half-stars

Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea's last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.

After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need—and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.

In this sweeping parallel novel to the New York Times bestselling Empire of Storms, Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene will have to draw on every scrap of their resilience if they wish to save their friends. But while they become entangled in the political webs of the khaganate, deep in the shadows of mighty mountains where warriors soar on legendary ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival—or doom them all . . .

TOD was well-suited for a tandem read because it really just reads like a Chaol redemption tour. I never hated him like others who read this series, so I didn’t really NEED this book to feel less annoyed at him. It worked well mixing in these chapters with EOS because it felt like one big cohesive book. I don’t need to repeat my thoughts here, but I’ll just say that TOD is a little uneventful on its own.

I liked meeting the new characters down on the southern continent but again… everyone just out here pairing off like it’s normal to never just be FRIENDS with someone you meet. I was overall less interested in this group of characters compared to those in EOS but it still made for an interesting read.


TOG Review: Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, and Kingdom of AshKingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #7
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Bloomsbury on October 23, 2018
Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, Throne of Glass, The Assassin's Blade, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Wings and Ruin, A Court of Frost and Starlight, A ​Court of Silver Flames , Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Hardcover (922 pages) • Source: Audible, Library, Owned
GoodreadsAmazon Barnes & Noble
four-stars

Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people ― but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together at last, all must fight if Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an explosive conclusion as Aelin fights to save herself―and the promise of a better world.

It took me a few months after my tandem read to finally get around to KOS for various reasons. Obviously the major one is that it’s nearly 1,000 pages, which is kind of unprecedented for me – the longest book I’ve read prior to this was HP5 at 912 pages and this is 980. I also wanted to make sure I read it when I was feeling okay on reading progress and books overall. I decided to do ARC August and didn’t want to have this one interfere in getting that done. September ended up being the month, finally, to dive in and finish off this series!

It took me most of the month to read the book between my Kindle copy and audiobook, but it was well worth it. I really liked seeing how everyone’s stories ended and I do think SJM did a good job with it. I won’t spoil anything of course but I definitely cried on and off throughout the final 20%. Part of the reason this book was so effing long is because she had introduced SO many different characters throughout the whole series. Everyone had a story that needed to be wrapped up. However, I do think this didn’t need to be THAT long. Some scenes were repetitive and she had a lot of fluffy internal monologues that didn’t add much to the plot for me.

Overall, I truly can’t believe that this series I started reading SO many years ago has finally ended! Really proud of myself for seeing it through and completing my reread as well.

One response to “TOG Review: Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn, and Kingdom of Ash

  1. Wow, kudos to you for tandem reading EoS and ToD! I would have been too overwhelmed by their individual page counts alone to read them simultaneously. I agree with you – ToD was rather boring. I know some people swear it is one of the best of the series, but it featured characters I didn’t love and was too distanced from the main plot. I did end up really enjoying Nesryn, but I feel she is hardly featured in KoA. Who ended up being your favorite character of the series?

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