I was absolutely thrilled to hear we would have a novella just on Chaol. He’s one of my favorite characters from the series. And while I do have a few issues with him (mostly his prejudices), I love him above all, lol! So when Sarah announced the novella was turned into a novel, I was ecstatic!
Diving into Tower of Dawn was a bit like coming home in ways I never imagined it would be. Returning to the world of Throne of Glass and being introduced into a brand new world of the southern continent and its cultures and people… To reacquaint myself with these characters and to come out in the end as loving them more… I cannot imagine a better pleasure as a reader.
I’m going to try my hardest to keep this spoiler-free!
Title: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Release date: September 5, 2017
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 660 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “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.”
What I loved most about Tower of Dawn is that this is a book about healing. It’s about coming home in more ways than one–not just to a place, a country, a building, someone else, but to yourself and releasing the darkness you held onto, the bleak nothing that you embraced without knowing it. I found myself overwhelmed with emotion in many chapters, especially the latter ones, as I felt a deep, resounding connection during the healing process with all of the characters.
These are characters who put aside (with much difficulty and begrudging) their preconceived notions of one another in order to look at the world as a whole and what it could possibly be. Forget Crown of Midnight, forget Queen of Shadows, this book has officially become my favorite in the Throne of Glass series. I will say one thing before I continue: I cannot speak for the disabled representation in this book. If you’ve read the previous books, you know that due to his injuries, Chaol is in a wheelchair and cannot move from the waist down. While I was able to relate to many aspects of the emotional healing in this book, I am unable to say if this in accurate representation of the disabled community or individual.
I will never get over these characters–the old and the new. We’re reacquainted with Yrene Towers, a young woman we met in The Assassin’s Blade, who has worked her way as a very prominent healer. But she has darkness of her own that has settled in her heart over the years, particularly against those from Adarlan and how they stand for, and how they could have stood by the late King as he ordered thousands slaughtered, especially those with magic. I think she surprised herself in many ways. For her and the task she was given was a challenge–something she thought she could do and never look back. But she finds herself and much more.
There’s Nesryn Faliq who has family in the southern continent. My favorite parts with her were her sense of home she felt the instant she arrived. Her father is from the southern continent, while her mother was from Adarlan, and I think there’s how I related to her the most–she’s a biracial child, with ties to both countries. But Nesryn truly is home in Antica, in the myriad of cultures of the southern continent. She finds in a niche and comfort here in ways she didn’t think possible.
And there’s Chaol. How I loved his emotional and spiritual healing. There are parts of himself he buried deep within–moments where he stood by and did nothing as the late King ordered people killed left and right. Sure, Chaol was good at maneuvering around others and putting up appearances, but deep down, he was hurting, too, and it was something he never wanted to admit to anyone. The one time he opened himself up to someone, everything shattered; worlds collided and changed.
I keep saying that I’m a sucker for backstories, so hearing everything about Chaol, Nesryn, Yrene and even the royal family, I was enthralled. Maas writes amazing characters, and I absolutely love it (though it makes me incredibly emotional, lol). She also writes fantastic world-building, and the southern continent is no exception. I give her a lot of kudos for writing it so well. We’ve had 5 previous books to know about Adarlan and the surrounding countries. In Tower of Dawn, we have three contrasting characters, all with varying opinions and views about Adalarn and the southern continent respectively. However, I will admit that initially it really felt like info-dumping, but then Maas takes each of three main characters on different adventures and brings it all together.
Also, that plot twist. My world has been turned upside down.
I really wish I could give this 5 stars, but there were some writing stylistic choices that irked me. While I generally find Maas’ writing style great, there were some aspects that really crashed and burned for me. Where were the question marks when people asked–I don’t know!–questions?! I understand the stylistic choice of using a period over a question mark to convey emotion, but it was out of hand in Tower of Dawn. The same goes for making new paragraphs. It made the flow of the work feel oddly stilted. For a second, I thought we were going to be able to have one book without the phrase “vulgar gesture” but alas, I was wrong.
Yes, there were some slow parts, but it was worth it to read if it meant getting to all the parts I loved.