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.
For some reason I’d been ignoring this book while waiting for the final Throne of Glass novel to come out. I’m not sure why because it’s part of the main series. I think because she switched up protagonists and we’re along for the ride with Chaol in this volume and I’m not particularly fond of Chaol. Oh, but don’t worry, that all changed by the end of this book.
Now, it’s no secret that I have a bit of a love/meh relationship with this series. I found the first two or so kind of silly at times and there were definitely some technical issues with some of the writing (why do you keep telling us she’s a bad-ass assassin but we never actually see her being a bad-ass anything?) BUT. I couldn’t stop reading them because, nonetheless, they were engaging reads. And not only that but suddenly the story got really Epic (yes, with a capital ‘E’ on purpose). So, if you’re thinking about picking up this series, or have only read the first book or two and thought ‘nah’, just know that they do get a lot better as they go on.
Ok, so now back to Tower of Dawn. I guess I should have prepped myself going into this one, because it’s been a while since I’d read the last book and I didn’t remember all the details going in. There are a ton of players involved in the overall story at this point in the series, lots of moving parts, and I found myself trying to remember exactly where we were, who everyone was, and what their stakes were in the big picture. Despite all that, I got up to speed pretty fast and quickly got invested in the story and characters.
One thing Maas has become great at is making you care about her characters. I don’t always care about all of the big picture stuff like the politics and the war, but damn if I don’t care what happens to the characters in this world. Not only that, but she took one of my least favorite characters from the series and made me love him. How did she do it? Well, showing the story from his perspective helped. It also helped that we get to see a bit of a different side to Chaol in this story. He’s injured and in a foreign land, having to navigate all kinds of new things while being completely out of his element. This allowed for a certain vulnerability on his part to shine through, despite all his efforts to the contrary. We get to see some great character growth on his part, but also from a few of the other characters like Yrene. Oh man, I LOVE Yrene.
Ok, let’s face it, I’m here for the romance-y bits–epic wars and battles be damned. I could not have been happier with the way Maas wrote this romance. Was it a bit cliche? Yeah. But it was still super sweet and I love the way the two characters played off of each other. They’re so much better because of the things they learn from one another. So toothache-ingly sweet. Love it.
There was a bunch of other stuff that happened in this book, things that advanced the story toward the final volume and (I’m hoping) its epic conclusion. Overall I was pretty happy with this volume of the series and liked it a lot more than I thought I would. 4/5 stars.
19 thoughts on “Book Review: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas”
I’m glad you enjoyed this book. I only read the first book in the series and I wasn’t a fan of being told the MC is a badass, but never saw her in action. Great review!
Yeah that really rankled me in the first book or two! It did suddenly get much better though so I’m happy I stuck with it. 🙂
I am not reading this series, but it must be really long because I keep seeing more books, like this one, that seemed to pop up out of nowhere! Glad you enjoyed it😁
I think 6 or 7 books? I’ve listened to them all on audio and I think the last one is something like 33 hours and I was like ‘I’m gonna have to wait for the next new year on this one, got too much other stuff to read’ haha. Thanks!
Great review! Chaol has long been one of my least favorites but I’m happy to hear he shows character development in this one.
Yep, same! I really did like him by the end. 🙂
Yeah, this book has a weird place in the series in that it’s part of the main series but also isn’t. I think the decision to leave out Chaol from the previous book was so she could go over the events again but from his POV and where he is, which I thought was a great move, but then again, unlike a lot of folks, I actually like Chaol! Considering all of Maas’ characters have such issues, sometimes I think he’s the most tolerable one, lol. Yeah, I’ve had my ups and downs with this series too 😛
Yeah, with all the moving parts going on, it was a good choice the way she handled it in the end. I just remember being like ‘ugh, should I read this?’ at the time when this came out, haha. 🙂 Chaol isn’t terrible, it’s not like I hated him, just that I like a lot of others better. But now I’m a fan. 🙂
This is another author I want to read eventually. Glad you were happy with this one
Thanks! It was a ride! 😀
Yeah I was reluctant to read this too cos I’m not crazy-keen on Chaol. And yeah I definitely had similar issues at first, but they’re very engaging reads. I was definitely invested in the characters and loved the romance in this too- glad you liked it for all its toothaching sweetness 😉 Awesome review!!
Thanks! Glad to hear of a similar reading experience. Yay, I’m not alone! 😀
I’ve not read any of these books tbh and so they’ve kind of passed me by now.
The first few are kind of rough tbh, but they got a lot better after that but it’s a time commitment and you may be better off passing on them at this point. 🙂
I felt EXACTLY the same way about Tower of Dawn, (and your overall comments about the series as well actually, particularly the whole telling-us-she’s-badass-but-not-showing). I procrastinated reading this installment because I’ve never liked Chaol, but I like Yrene so much and she’s a huge part of the book. She even made me like Chaol more. 😀
Yes, exactly! Yrene is just so likable, it would be tough *not* to love her. 🙂
I think I also just generally have a soft spot for healing magic in high fantasy too, which helps!
That didn’t even occur to me but now that you mention it, I do too so that makes a lot of sense!