Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas: A Rambling Review

I soared through the skies with Kadara, explored the libraries of the Tower, and slapped Chaol in the face. Kidding! Or am I?

BEWARE of some spoilers and the QUOTE HOARDING in this review. Sorry, not sorry!


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.

Published: September 5, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Young Adult
Series: 6th book, Throne of Glass

This was, as expected, a book solely for now Hand of the King Chaol Westfall accompanied by Nesryn Faliq, the new Captain of the Royal Guard. That’s why it was such a slow read for me at first, I never did like Chaol much. I tried several times and ended up back where I started on the book – Chapter 1. But after a few tries, I finally got my momentum and started reading.

Nesryn’s POV was an interesting place to be. To Chaol, the city was a strange land. But to Nesryn – it was home, a part of her soul and her heritage. The first few chapters of the book introduced the new players in the game. There was the princess with her fire-like eyes, the Prince of Spies, the Winged Prince, Kashin the loyal soldier, sweet-faced Duva and the youngest Tumelun. Another kingdom, another set of cultures and throw several gods in there you get Antica, ruled by the Great Khagan. These royals reminded me of the character from another book – Kingmaker Chronicles – of siblings trying to fight for their right to the throne.

I have to say that as much as I loved how long the Empire of Storms were, this was too long a book for me to suffer through 68 chapters of Pure Chaol. But thank god for Nesryn and Sartaq.

Yrene was one hell of a character here too. She’s strong, independent and she got there with the help of someone and her insufferable swagger. I loved her relationship with the Healer on High, the way she cares for her charge and fellow healers. As an individual character I truly liked her, but her story had always been intertwined with Chaol and it was very hard for me to get through them.

This journey has been about Chaol’s healing as much as his campaign to court the army of the kingdom of the Khagan. Of course, the healing is not a one-time magic session because how then would they have the time to develop feelings for each other… Yrene and Chaol’s romance was probably one of the major points of this book, and of course the healing gift and its might. It was a story of the redemption of oneself through the eyes of another and that not only applied to the main couple themselves.

Pure Chaol-tic madness:

  • Every gritting and steeling himself. Pride in his bones through and through. Can’t really blame the man though, he lived all his life as a soldier only to be crippled and left feeling useless.
  • I would have pitied his character if not for his constant pursuit to blame Aelin for every block he faces in his quest. “If Aelin had kept herself in check, if she’d played the part of distressed queen … It would have made his task far easier. Perhaps Aelin had cost them this war. This one shot at a future.” Was she supposed to not be who she is then, Mr. Hand of the King?

    But later on: “No one else I would trust to take on all of Morath but Aelin. Even Dorian. If there’s some way to win, she’ll find it. The costs might be high, but she’ll do it.” So he wants Aelin to make her sacrifices and win this war but she should have been a damsel in distress at first? Such double standards. This hypocrite.
  • Chaol 101 on how NOT to treat a woman like you did with Nesryn and Yrene.
  • “He was a champion bastard.” HIS WORDS NOT MINE.
  • But at least he got to the end of his long journey of healing and finally forgave himself. Even amidst the judgy eyes of people around him (and of course the readers – including me), he said that no one hated him more than himself. So, there’s that.

Sartaq and Nesryn are such lifesavers in this book.

“A warrior and a charmer. A dangerous combination.”

“The Winged Prince, they called him.”

I was ready to skip, scan and just get to the end of this book had it not been for these two. Their story and their adventure was the one to read here! Soaring through the skies, through the nest of the ruks and spiders, and meeting each other’s families. Even the characters we got to meet in their adventures provided relief for this book – Borte, Ej, Falkan and the ruks are such an interesting bunch!

Nesryn deserved the best and more – not as second best to someone else, not a substitute and a crutch – and fortunately, she got that here! Because what girl could possibly imagine that the legend that you grew up hearing of, will one day be someone you will be meeting and riding through the skies with. Here’s a girl who doesn’t draw much attention to herself, and not as famed and recognized as the others in the north, but has her own skill set – an archer fit to be with the rukhin and their Prince.

“She would have an adventure. For herself. This one time.
She would see her homeland, and smell it and breathe it in.
See it from high above, see it racing as fast as the wind.
She owed herself that much.”

A GIRL HAS NO NAME? NOPE. She’s “Neith’s Arrow” here thank you very much. She was also known as the “Wind-seeker” as her mother had called her. A fitting name for look where the wind has brought her – right into the arms of a Prince with a rogue smile, shameless flirting and long braids who just about slew with his charms.

When I say Nesryn and her company were the ones to watch out for, I mean that quite literally. Because it was basically Nesryn who discovered THAT BIG REVELATION after their near death with some nasty spiders. One name. It took just one name to make plans to reread the past books – MAEVE.

Some quotes from this side of the story which I loved:
  • “What does it feel like to be a duck, paddling beneath water but gliding so smoothly over the surface? When you eat as an animal, does the meat all fit in your human stomach? Do you have to wait between eating as an animal and shifting back into a human because of it? Do you defecate as an animal?” (Borte to Falkan the shapeshifter)
  • “Everything hurts. Remind me never to do anything heroic again.” (Falkan)

All in all, it was a very looooong book. Maybe it felt long too because of the things that I didn’t like. But this latest installment is a necessary one for the next book. As in NECESSARY because of some major revelations and of course the allies they brought from the southern kingdom.

This was a story of healing and coming home and of Ruks! I may not have enjoyed the first half of the book but it certainly made up for it in the latter part. That last chapter will make you crave for the next book as badly as your next meal! I think I will go and reread the previous books for the sake of my sanity.

Sarah J. Maas‘ writing is so easy to get into. Since reading her A Court of Thorns and Roses series and her Throne of Glass series, she has been one of my favorite authors I discovered this year. I have finally made the big girl decision to buy a physical copy of her books! The book set for her A Court of Thorns and Roses series and another one soon for her Throne of Glass series. Gotta catch them all!

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