In case you missed it, there are approximately 3,000 editions of Empire of Storms, the fifth installment (The Assassin’s Blade aside) in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. We’re not going to talk about how I feel about there being so many editions because I already discussed that here. Just know this: I’ll be owning them all. (Yes, I’m insane, but that’s beside the point.) But since I’ll be owning all the special editions and not everyone wants to/can, I thought I’d help some people out by comparing the various editions and helping you decide which edition is best for you.
This may be entirely moot since Twitter and Tumblr have probably already informed you of what’s in each edition, and I’ve heard that they’re all sold out online and can only be bought if you find them in-store. But I’m still going to roll with it. NOW. There are three editions of Empire of Storms that feature some sort of bonus content: Barnes & Noble, Target, and WHSmith. My WHSmith copy isn’t here yet (and it’s hard to obtain anyway), so I’m going to be comparing the Barnes & Noble and Target editions.
Barnes & Noble
The exclusive fanart is on the endpapers–portraits of Manon, Aelin, Rowan, and Dorian (*cough*SHIPS*cough*).
As for the bonus short story: a little scene featuring some water magic and townspeople while the squad is in Terrasen and en route to Aelin’s home.
Consensus: I like the art, but I’d like more. I think I expected a spread, like the Target special edition of Winter. It does look elegant, though. As for the short story…I mean, it’s nice and all, but I wasn’t wowed by it or anything. It didn’t seem like something so special that I’d buy the book just for it.
I LOVE THE ART. I was basically drooling in the store because WOW. If you get this edition, you will find THIS on the back of the cover.
The short story is a deleted scene from Heir of Fire. Remember when Aelin says some fae female kept staring at Rowan and Aeline went a little overboard when she wouldn’t stop? This is THAT scene.
Consensus: So, the art is SPECTACULAR. I don’t know what I’ll do with it, personally, since I’m not sure I have it in me to put the cover in a frame. (Though I’m considering it since I have three hardcovers.) It could’ve been nice as a fold-out poster so the cover isn’t comprised, but whatever. The story was good, but any qualms I have about it are better left discussed in my Empire of Storms review. (Let’s just say that, in my opinion, the writing and feel of the story didn’t match Heir of Fire as a whole.)
If I had to choose between the Target special edition and the one from Barnes & Noble, I would definitely go with the former (which is also, by the way, cheaper). Target has the best art and the best short story, giving the ultimate win in special edition versus special edition competition.