TOWER OF DAWN
Written by Sarah J Maas
Published by Bloomsbury, September 5, 2017
My star rating: 5 stars
Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them. But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined. Find it on Goodreads
Not gunna lie – I wasn’t really all that excited about this book. Chaol was my least favourite character (Gasp! I KNOW! Don’t kill me – read on to see what I think now!) and I wasn’t all that happy when I heard that this was just about him and Nesryn. I knew that I would miss all my other favourite characters. And it was SO long! I was expecting a novella! (yup, didn’t research it much because, like I said, I wasn’t that excited!) Then, when I picked it up in September, I hated it (please stick with me! It gets better I promise!) There was so much info dumping, world building, and character introductions going on. I was bored to tears and couldn’t keep the new characters straight. I gave up after 92 pages.
Then, I had a friend tell me to just suck it up and read it already. In fact, she said it more bluntly than that. She promised me it got better and it was worth it. So, I sat down with a notebook to write down ‘who was who’ so I could keep them straight, and decided I would read three more chapters before I gave up on it. Well, Robin, you were right – you told me so (Yes you can show this to your hubby!) It was MORE than worth it!!
Although the beginning was hard for me, once I finally got a grasp on the new characters and the setting of Antica, I fell down the SJM rabbit hole! I felt like I couldn’t read fast enough!
Like I said, before this book, Chaol wasn’t my favourite. He annoyed me to be honest. He was such a hard ass, too loyal to use his own mind, too afraid to use his voice, and seemed really just confused in general. This book he was just so soft, gentle, care free, self assured, and so much more. The time away from Adarlan and having to actually have others assist him brought him down and made him grounded. He was finally able to take a look at himself and the situation, and make up his own mind for once! It also went back and looked at who he was before and why he was such a hard ass who make hot headed decisions! I never thought I would say this but – I love Chaol!
Nesryn is a character that I can only describe as a “sleeper” character. Someone who was in the background before, but has so much power, cabibilites, strength and determination. Same with Chaol, her being away from Adarlan and her family let her come out of her shell and be herself. She was no longer weighed down with her duties and loyalties back in Adarlan, allowing her to become herself. She was another character that I thought was just ok, but being able to follow her growth was fantastic! She was so humble yet fierce!
And then there’s Yrene, who originally popped up in The Assassins Blade and seemed to be put in place only to further Celeana’s character growth. Yrene was so pure of heart. Loving, sweet, self sacrificing, and caring. But she is yet another “sleeper” character who has power and strengths that she herself needed to come to terms with.
My absolute FAVOURITE thing about this book is how all these tiny pieces of the story suddenly piece themselves together. There were so many bits of information from other books that came into play, giving me a feeling of constant deja vu. I remembered hearing of certain elements of the Valg threats, random side characters, and other creatures, but couldn’t remember why I already had that information. I ended up taking a break from Tower of Dawn to do a quick reread of Assassins Blade and that increased me enjoyment of this book 100 fold! This series has become such an elaborate puzzle, and with each piece that comes together, I fall more and more in love with Sarah J Maas’s writing! This book has filled in some holes I didn’t realize I craved, and made the whole series feel so much more complex and complete.
As I’ve already mentioned, pacing was an issue for me. The beginning felt like pure torture with all the world and character building. I expected to walk right into the middle of a story and take off like a rocket, but nope. And even throughout the book, it had a very leisurely feel to it. Nothing was rushed, there were no explosions, it was just a story. But I ended up appreciating it actually! I felt like I got all the details and the lack of action in the beginning and middle allowed me to take it all in. The last 25% though…… I just couldn’t stop!!! It was amazing!!
Safe to say that this book ended up surprising me and it may now be one of my favourites in the series! I can’t wait for the series to be completed so I can go back and reread them, knowing what I know now and picking up on things that I missed. Thanks Robin for pushing me to finish this one because it blew my expectations out of the water!!
Until next time, happy reading!