Review: Tower of Dawn | Sarah J. Maas

TOWER OF DAWN | Sarah J. Maas


Series: Throne of Glass; #6

Paperback: 660 pgs.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: September 5, 2017


Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea’s last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.

After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need—and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.

In this sweeping parallel novel to the New York Times bestselling Empire of Storms, Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene will have to draw on every scrap of their resilience if they wish to save their friends. But while they become entangled in the political webs of the khaganate, deep in the shadows of mighty mountains where warriors soar on legendary ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival—or doom them all . . .

It was agony and despair and fear. It was joy and laughter and rest. It was life, all of it…”

Thank you Sarah J. Maas for saving Chaol Westfall. Tower of Dawn, though a detour from the main storyline, is a much needed installment that revives Chaol’s image in the eyes of the reader. And for that, I adore this book.

Queen of Shadows was the complete and utter destruction of Chaol. His actions and venomous words toward Aelin and her court along with his blossoming self-loathing resulted in his ultimate downfall. Thankfully by the end of QOS, Chaol begins to redeem himself, but he is mortally wounded afterward. Tower of Dawn follows both Chaol and Nesryn to the Southern Continent where both characters walk down a path of healing and renewal.

I am amazed by how well Maas navigates Chaol’s mental and physical journey to wellness while also managing to tie in and tie up some loose threads that have been hanging about in the past few books. Maas does well in emphasizing that healing is just as much a mental battle as it is a physical one. And Chaol’s struggles in bettering himself not only comes from his need to walk once more but in his need to face his internal darkness and forgive himself for his mistakes.

‘Using the chair is not a punishment. It is not a prison,’ he said softly.

Joining him in his healing process is Yrene Towers, who I think is one of the strongest female characters in the series. Her struggle to learn and enhance her healing abilities in order to help those in need and to finally return home to offer aid to Terrasen is just as poignant and difficult as Chaol’s struggle. She, however, is not perfect in that she holds prejudice against the people of Adarlan. She, too, must overcome her negatives and reach a new place that benefits her and the people around her. She is smart and passionate and imperfect and altogether a nicely balanced character who is far too easy to love.

Chaol and Yrene’s relationship progresses nicely over the course of the novel and I feel as if their connection developed naturally considering the circumstances. While Chaol might not be the most likable character, I think his and Yrene’s healing bond is the one of the more organic relationships in the series.

Every step. Every curve into darkness. Every moment of despair and rage and pain. It had led him to precisely where he needed to be. Where he wanted to be.”

While the book is mostly about Chaol and Yrene, Nesryn gets some time to shine. Before, she had been more of a placeholder in Chaol’s life and finally in TOD she is given an opportunity to star in her own adventure and be her own person. I was never bored with her chapters and I was thankful that she was finally given her own story to tell. And not only that, her narrative is extremely important to the overall plot.

This book is not just about healing and Nesryn’s big adventure. There are some court politics and a mysterious murder. The khagan and the khaganate royal siblings are introduced and they become integral to the welfare of Terrasen and Aelin. Each sibling plays a different part in both Chaol and Yrene’s story and the mystifying goings-on within the court prove to be one of the more intriguing aspects of the book.

Tower of Dawn, overall, is a fantastic addition to the series. It may drag in some places and some descriptions are long-winded, but overall, TOD works. The new setting is refreshing, Chaol travels his redemptive road, Yrene strives and achieves a better version of herself and her abilities, Nesryn becomes an individual, mystery and deception permeate the court, and the plot finally advances in an assortment of ways. A winner, this one.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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