Ahh I’m so excited to be posting a review for this book. I’ve been one book behind in the Throne of Glass fandom for years, because I only bought the paperbacks…but this time I pre-ordered the hardcover, so I got the book on release day! (That means my series doesn’t match anymore, but that’s a story for another day.) I’m really excited to be reviewing it. ^__^
I read most of the book on vacation at the beach, so I got some nice photos of Tower of Dawn by the ocean and on the shell pathways. 🙂
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
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.
Goodreads | 672 pages
Where I got it: Purchased on Amazon!
I really did not expect to like this book as much as I did.
I have a love-hate relationship with Sarah J. Maas books. I usually look for two things when I’m reading: characters/plot, and quality writing. While SJM is by no means a bad writer, her writing style isn’t quite for me – there are too many unnecessary swear words, dashes, and ellipses for my personal tastes. However, I can overlook things like this when I really like the characters and story. And like it or not, I’ve become enthralled with the world of Throne of Glass.
So far, I’ve rated most of the books 3 and 4 stars, with the exception of The Assassin’s Blade, which was 5 stars for me. I loved the prequels and knowing Celaena’s backstory. Probably my favorite story from that collection was “The Assassin and the Healer,” where we meet Yrene Towers. So I was delighted to have her be one of the main characters for this book. I love her character arc. She’s one of the few genuinely sweet characters in the series and I liked her chapters the best.
The plot twists had me biting my fingernails (thanks, SJM, I’m trying to break that habit). 😛 I think this book fits quite well into the overall storyline, and I can’t imagine moving onto the final book without having read this one. It’s a parallel story to Empire of Storms, so I think it was good that I’d read EoS prior to reading this one. The Throne of Glass book order is quite confusing.
I loved reading about the Southern Continent; we even get a map at the beginning! 🙂 You can tell that the author really enjoyed writing about it. The world building is phenomenal; this is something that the whole series excels at, and I was impressed at how well thought-out the Southern Continent culture was. Nothing like having to build TWO worlds for a fantasy series. I felt like I was there, and it was fantastic to explore. The Torre Cesme is awesome and I would totally love to go there, just saying. (I still am not sure how it’s intended to be pronounced, but I’m going with Torray Kesmay.)
I liked Nesryn as a character much more than I thought I would. She seems younger and more innocent than I gathered from Queen of Shadows, and I just wanted to give her a hug for the entirety of the book. I did, however, find her chapters more difficult to get through – they were sometimes dull. But I really liked her as a character.
The rest of my thoughts are SPOILERY. I’m not sure how to insert a spoiler break on WordPress, so I’ll do this:
Spoilers below this point!
Read no further if you don’t want to be spoiled!
I’ve always been a fan of Chaol, and I hated what SJM did to his character in Queen of Shadows. One of the things I don’t like about the series is how Aelin is made out to be this amazing person who can do no wrong, and if anyone disagrees with her, they’re suddenly the Bad Guy. Nobody is right ALL the time, and Aelin does some super questionable things. I don’t blame Chaol for standing up to her: he’s the only person who dared to do it! But he got made out to be this terrible person, and then the fandom started hating on him, while I remained puzzled on the sidelines. Suffice it to say that I’m a Chaol fan, so I didn’t have a problem with having an entire book about him.
I think he has a good moral compass and did bad things because he felt he didn’t have a choice. That doesn’t excuse the bad things, but I feel for him being forced into that situation. In this book, he’s trying to come to terms with his guilt. The overarching theme in this book is healing, and it’s really refreshing to find. Not only is he trying to heal his spinal injury, but also the emotional and psychological damage he’s suffered. I wasn’t expecting this aspect at ALL, so it was a wonderful surprise. It’s so important to have books that talk about things like this. It seemed very therapy-like to me, and it’s nice to have it included in such a popular book series. So major points to Sarah J. Maas for that.
This book was a solid four stars all the way through, but the ending bumped it up to five. I can’t say how much I appreciate the message at the end. Chaol isn’t completely healed at the end, but he’s content with his situation. Here’s a quote I want to plaster across the Internet:
“Using the chair is not a punishment. It is not a prison,” he said. “It never was. And I am as much as a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.”
I have mental illness, not physical, so I don’t know how wheelchair users feel about this book. I just think this is a much better message than having him be completely healed. There are people who deal with this on an everyday basis, and now there’s a character in a popular book series who does, too. And as someone who deals with anxiety and OCD on an everyday basis, it’s nice to have a character who isn’t magically cured at the end. It doesn’t make them less of a person. That’s a message I don’t see very often, but one that I really appreciate.
Spoilers are finished.
Sensitive Reader Advisory
After Empire of Storms, I was bracing myself, but I was pleasantly surprised with Tower of Dawn! There’s MUCH less swearing in this one, probably because Celaena isn’t narrating. There are some racy scenes with Chaol and his love interest, but it’s much tamer than her recent books, and I was grateful for that. Still definitely New Adult, just more tasteful.