Tower of Dawn
Author: S J Maas
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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 Aelin shattered the glass castle, since Chaol’s men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken. Now he and Nesryn sail for Antica – the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire and of the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme.
It’s Chaol’s one shot at recovery, and with war looming back home, Dorian and Aelin’s survival could depend on Chaol and Nesryn convincing Antica’s rulers to ally with them. But what they discover there will change them both – and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.”
Running parallel to the events unfolding in Empire of Storms, Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have just reached the Southern Continent in seek of support in the upcoming war, as well as the treatment Chaol needs after the injury he sustained in the final scenes in Queen of Shadows. They have reached Antica to seek the healers of Torre Cesme and favoured to become the next Healer on High, Yrene Towers, is appointed to help Chaol with his injury, one such that only she can help with. But as darkness is enclosing in on Antica, princes and princesses are looking for who to blame as Chaol and Nesryn desperately try to find some answers and get what they came to Antica for, and then some.
I absolutely loved this book!!! While I was sceptical about what would happen regarding Chaol’s injury and was left a little disappointed with some of the things that happened in Empire of Storms, I was totally surprised and Tower of Dawn surpassed my expectations. Chaol has been a character that I grew to like, and then dislike as the series went on but after this book, I love him as a character and feel like there was a tonne of character development in this book that was sorely needed.
We meet some brilliant new characters in the book: the lovely and daring Yrene Towers who has to help a man of Adarlan, an enemy in her eyes; Sartaq and Hasar, prince and princess who are silently battling for the position of khagan against their other siblings, Kashin, Arghun and Duva. Each new addition was superbly constructed and I loved seeing the rivalry between the siblings. Flying ruks are introduced (not as cute as wyverns though) and relationships take an unexpected journey.
“It was agony and despair and fear. It was joy and laughter and rest. It was life, all of it…”
-Sarah J Maas, Tower of Dawn
Action-packed and every bit as amazing as the previous books in the series, Tower of Dawn was definitely a novella that needed turning into a full-blown novel to tell this story of Chaol! As with the usual dazzling writing and exceptional world-building and story-telling, we get to discover some vital and shocking details about the Valg and how they came to enter the world of Erilea. With some nods to elements described in the novellas in The Assassin’s Blade, Tower of Dawn is an exquisite addition to the Throne of Glass series.
A few thunderbolts of plot twists were dropped towards the end of the book and we discovered some major titbits of information regarding the Valg and other players in the war on life itself in Erilea. Ships were made (and I’m guessing will be highly defended now) and, of course, a good douse of magic was thrown in for good measure.
“It was like waking up or being born or falling out of the sky. It was an answer and a song, and she could not think or feel fast enough.”
-S J Maas, Tower of Dawn
So a few spoilers will now be mentioned since quite a few things happened in Tower of Dawn that changes a few things about how the last book in the series will be anticipated!
So the book started with Chaol seeking help from the ruler of Antica, the illustrious khagan, for support in the war as well as access to treatment from the revered healers of the Torre Cesme.
In comes Yrene Towers who is a fabulous character that was mentioned in The Assassin’s Blade whom Aelin helped in Innish, Yrene on her way to the Torre Cesme but stuck for money. It was a really cute storyline to continue with and all throughout the book I was waiting for Yrene to realise it was Aelin who helped her but only until the end did Chaol enlighten her. She’s an amazing character – strong-willed, caring with a dedication to looking after her people as well as holding to the promise she unwittingly made to Aelin to teaching herself self-defence and others.
So when the relationship between Chaol and Yrene started unfolding, I was both really excited but also a bit surprised – I honestly thought Chaol and Nesryn would be together at the end of the book! But Chaol and Yrene are actually really cute together and they totally make the other better. And when Chaol said Lady Westfall!
They totally work together!! Lord and Lady Westfall is so adorable, which brings me onto the life-bond they now share…
I had no idea what would happen in Tower of Dawn regarding Chaol’s injury. I was disappointed when the cover was revealed and he wasn’t on it, the opportunity for representation of disability completely bypassed. And I both wanted to him to get healed but also not because it’s not something that needs to get healed. However the way that Maas went about the treatment, it was actually really well done. This is a fantasy series in which magic is a centre point and so it would be a bit out of place for Chaol to not get healed with the magic of the healers of the Torre.
But it wasn’t just physical healing, but emotionally as well and I am so glad because Chaol just wasn’t himself and needed to be healed from within. It wasn’t some ‘think yourself better’ rubbish or anything, it was an element to the physical healing that came with it and so the story focused on both physical and mental health and how they are hand in hand – it showed that in order for Chaol to be healed fully, he needed to embrace himself and the darkness that’s inside himself.
“You would be surprised by how closely the healing of physical wounds is tied to the healing of emotional ones.”
-S J Maas, Tower of Dawn
In the end, I was really glad with the outcome of Chaol and the injury to his spine because he was healed in every sense of the world, but due to the horrific scene where the demon inside Duva broke his back again and Yrene had to pay the cost to bring him back from the brink of death, he now shares the life-bond with Yrene. It means that Chaol is healed but when Yrene depletes her magic, his injury will come to the forefront again and he will have to use his cane or chair. It doesn’t devalue his injury or show that it’s something that absolutely has to be cured, it shows that it was more of Chaol healing himself and understanding – basically, this quote says it all:
“’Using the chair is not a punishment. It is not a prison,’ he said softly. ‘It never was. And I am as much of a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.’ He brushed away the tear that slipped down her cheek.
‘I wanted to heal you,’ she breathed.
‘You did,’ he said, smiling. ‘Yrene, in every way that truly matters . . . You did.’”
-S J Maas, Tower of Dawn
So, all in all, I’m really happy with the ending and the events in Tower of Dawn because I was a bit apprehensive that it would show disability as something that needs to be ‘healed’ but it didn’t, it showed it’s something that is embraced, another part to that person which doesn’t make them anything more or less other than who they are. It took Chaol a while to get there, and made it all the more realistic given his past and his pride for his job as Captain of the Guard. So I think Maas did a brilliant job.
But since Chaol and Yrene were getting close, what about Nesryn? I am so glad of Nesryn’s storyline in Tower of Dawn and what she did and found out about the Valg demons and securing the support of Sartaq and ruks to add to their aerie legion. She wasn’t a background character or unimportant, she took matters into her own hands and gets on with life, not just following what Chaol says or waiting around for orders. She’s another fantastic character and I love the little romance that blooms with Sartaq. They seem better suited than Nesryn and Chaol and it’s so sweet how their relationship isn’t all explosive and passionate from the off, but rather more of a slow-burn until very late in the book when they finally kiss.
The ships in this book are really cute and I was left completely happy with the resulting standings: Chaol and Yrene, Nesryn and Sartaq. I think these pairings will make for a brilliant aspect to the final book as they travel back to Adarlan.
I totally thought the demon chasing Yrene all this time was Duva’s husband though, a quiet character that was mentioned but not stressed, however when it was Duva that stepped out and was holding Hafiza hostage-
DUVA?! Sweet, innocent, pregnant Duva?? It was soooo unexpected I don’t care what anyone says, I was not thinking of Duva at all – I thought it was her husband, or someone more obvious. I either thought it would be someone obvious like Arghun who was basically a beacon of ‘I might be the demon’ or someone completely inconspicuous like Duva’s husband, completely in the shadows. But no, it was Duva and god was she evil that demon inside her, laying into Chaol and destroying all the work Yrene did with her magic. And then to find out that Duva-demon killed her sister Tumelun! I couldn’t believe it – total plot twist. Duva killing her own sister. But I am a bit flummoxed at how that baby survived that kind of fight between Duva-demon and Yrene.
But what was more of a plot twist than this was the erm, I dunno – MAEVE BEING A BLOODY VALG QUEEN!!!!!
I knew there was something else to Maeve!!!! She was just too evil and focused on in that last book for it to be something as mild as she’s just a bit evil or something. I love the disguise as being a Fae Queen and changing the memory of people to think her sisters are Mora and Mab. It just makes the whole story so much better! ESPECIALLY since Aelin is currently trapped in that coffin Maeve stuffed her in-
THE FIREHEART CHAPTER AT THE END!!!!!
IT WAS UNBE-FREAKING-LIEVEABLE!!!! Maeve opens up the coffin and says ‘let’s begin‘ to Aelin. LET’S BEGIN WHAT? WHAT DOES SHE HAVE IN STORE FOR HER?!
I am SO exited for the final book next year to finally discover what’s going to happen to Aelin, Maeve, Erawan; not to mention everybody else! There are so many players and so much happening I can’t tell what’s up or down any more. Tower of Dawn was a rollercoaster and one I’d quite happily go back on! It was brilliant and has got me completely freaking out for the last Throne of Glass book. It’s gonna be amazing!!!