Friday, October 20, 2017

Let's Talk: "Tower of Dawn" Book Review

Title: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: "Throne of Glass" #6
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Page Length: 660 pages
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Date Started: September 5, 2017
Date Finished: October 19, 2017
Rating: Infinity stars
Book 0.5 Review
Book 1 Review
Book 3 Review
Book 5 Review

Alright, so it did take me almost a month and a half to finish this book, but that is not saying that this book was slow or boring by any means. This book blew me away and totally exceeded my expectations. Why it took me so long to finish was simply because I've been so busy with school and actually having a social life on weeknights and weekends. However, even though I did hang out with my friends and watch Halloweentown last night, I cranked out over half this book and finished it before I went to bed.

As I've done in the past with my Sarah J. Maas reviews, this talk will be split into 3 different sections. The first will be a completely non-spoiler section that won't spoil ANY of the series. The second section will be semi-spoiler in that it may contain spoilers for other books in the series, but not for this installment. The third and final section will definitely contain spoilers since I need to talk about certain things that happened in the book. So I guess, without further ado, we should jump right in!

Non-Spoiler Review

This book blew me away, simple as that. It was incredibly long but there was not a moment where what was happening wasn't interesting. This book follows characters we meet throughout the entire series, but focuses primarily on Chaol, who we meet in the first two pages of the first book.

I think that this book, while it wasn't the book that I was necessarily wanting before it was published, was such a vital and amazing installment in this series. It wasn't just a filler book to dump some information on us before going into the final book like many of us expected it to be. It had information, yes, but it had depth, political games, magic, character growth, and so many feelings. I should have known that Sarah doesn't put out a book that is less than perfect. 

I didn't cry, because there wasn't really a reason for me to. I can't really imagine this book going in any other way than it did. While I know it's not the perfect ending for some people, it really is the perfect ending for me. 

I know a lot of people are confused as to how to read all the different books in this series, so I'll give a little advice before I continue on into the semi-spoiler review. I definitely recommend reading the Throne of Glass series in chronological order (starting with The Assassin's Blade). While it is not imperative that you read The Assassin's Blade before Throng of Glass or Crown of Midnight, I would definitely recommend reading it before Heir of Fire or Queen of Shadows when the world gets much bigger. The past two installments in this series really do go back to the roots and stories in The Assassin's Blade, so I think it is pretty imperative that you read the prequel novellas before Empire of Storms or Tower of Dawn. Plus, if you read the novellas, all of Sarah's foreshadowing and planning just gets so much deeper and impressive. 

And now, if you do not want to be spoiled for the other books in the Throne of Glass series, I would recommend stopping now. However, if you've read the series but not Tower of Dawn, read on!

Semi-Spoiler Review

This book follows Chaol Westfall, Nesryn Faliq, and Yrene Towers. Chaol, who as we all know was introduced in Throne of Glass, was severely injured at the end of Queen of Shadows and heads to Antica on the southern continent to seek healing. He is accompanied by Nesryn, who we meet in Queen of Shadows, and has been appointed the new Captain of the Guard for Adarlan. Not only are they in Antica to find a way to heal Chaol, but they are also tasked with trying to ally Adarlan and Terrasan with the khaghan's military. Tower of Dawn also brings back Yrene Towers, who we met in the second novella of The Assassin's Blade. Yrene is now a well-known healer at the Torre and is assigned to Chaol as his healer. That's all I really want to say about the plot of the book so as to keep everything spoiler-free.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was the new culture we got to see. We've seen a lot of different cultures throughout these novels, from the Silent Assassins to Wendlyn to Adarlan and more. I loved seeing another new culture. I think a problem that a lot of people have had with this series is that it wasn't diverse, but I think that they forget that we are looking at just one tiny corner of the world and that there is so much more out there. We get to explore that a little bit more in this novel. I does take a while to explore and build an entire world, and I think that this book, while obviously not correcting the faults some people have with the entire series, does bring a lot of diversity into Throne of Glass.

By now I think everyone is aware that Aelin and the rest of the characters we see in Empire of Storms are not seen in this installment. I thought that this would make it a lot more boring and that I wouldn't enjoy it as much, but I loved it even without some of my favorite characters being present. That being said, while they weren't actively involved in this novel, the characters--Aelin and Rowan specifically--were mentioned in political talks throughout the book. The events of Empire of Storms also trickle down in real-time to the characters on the southern continent. It was very interesting to see how different areas of the world viewed the events of Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms.

I don't think I can express how absolutely vital this book is to the series as a whole. I know a lot of people saw it as a filler book before reading it, as I did, but it is so much more. There are events that happen that a reader should know the background to before they are referenced in the final installment. So much changes and so much is accomplished in this book. One should read this book. even if only to know the new characters that will appear in the final installment. We get a lot of revelations, reveals, and a hell of a lot of mind f**kery that Sarah likes to play on us. It is imperative that any fan reads this book before the last one comes out next September.

The last thing I'm going to talk about in this section is Yrene Towers. I'm not going to spoil anything but let me just say how much I loved her presence in this novel. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about her since I only mildly enjoyed her novella in The Assassin's Blade, but I adore Yrene after reading this book. Seeing how she has grown from TAB and watching her growth throughout Tower of Dawn was just amazing. I can't wait to see her again in the next book.

Now here is where all of you who have not read Tower of Dawn depart unless you are willing to be spoiled on quite a few major events. I'll see you again when you finish reading it! Bon voyage!

Spoiler Review

Before I get into in depth discussions on different parts of this book, here's just some random things that I absolutely adored:
~almost every character in this installment is POC
~LGBTQ representation (even if it was in the background and wasn't Sarah's first representation, I        still loved it)
~disability representation (from not only Chaol but also Shen and the different stories of others who      were injured in similar ways)
~views that other parts of the world have when hearing about the events that have happened in              previous books
~my fleet of ships that I now have for this series
~Chapter 55 in general
~Fae history + more valg history
~Sartaq (holy jesus yes, more on this later)
~when Yrene pushed Hasar into the pool (I f**king screamed)
~the government and laws (we didn't see much of it, but of what we were told, I loved the system)

Alright, now it's time to dive into more discussion type things. This was a 660 page book full of new information and fantastic journeys, so there's a lot to discuss. I'll narrow it to some of my most mind-blowing moments or favorite events. Let's start with Yrene and Chaol

Obviously at the beginning of the book Yrene wasn't all that into the idea of healing Chaol, but she eventually gave in and look what happened. Now Chaol has a freaking wife and it isn't Nesryn (not too upset about that if I'm honest--but more on that in a minute). I just loved all of their scenes together.

A few things really popped out at me to show me just how good Chaol/Yrene are together. From the very beginning she treated him normal, or was outright off-standish. She let himself push his chair around, didn't help him unless he asked, basically let him maintain some of that alpha male stubborn pride that most SJM male characters have. The two of them never sugar coated things when talking to each other. If one of them was looking for a fight, they would fight, and their relationship turned out better because they let each other get out whatever they needed to get out. They helped each other heal and they were sounding boards for new ideas on how to heal Chaol or to deal with everything that was going on. In the end, I just loved everything about them. They keep each other in check.

One thing that I'd seen mentions of on fan-sites for Sarah's other series is how two characters could potentially bond together so that they would die at the same time. While Yrene and Chaol didn't outright go looking for this, that is their new bond. Yrene saved his life and now the two are bonded beyond just normal vows. When Yrene's magic is waning, Chaol's injuries will resurface. When either of them dies, the other will also die. It's not necessarily how I'd like to live my life, but I think that it's romantic and neither of them are mad about it.

I also am a bit annoyed that we didn't get to see another marriage. We were deprived of Aelin and Rowan's, we didn't get to see Feyre and Rhysand's, and Yrene and Chaol actually had a real marriage ceremony and afterparty and we didn't get to see it! I'm only slightly bitter. I'm more just glad that they are married.

I think this can be a good lead into the whole Chaol/Nesryn thing. At the beginning, they were still a couple, but by the end of the book, they both had new love interests. I am not mad about their relationship turning into just a friendship. I think even from when they were together in Queen of Shadows, I wasn't fully sold on their relationship. I just felt like it wasn't as good as the two of them deserved. That being said, I thought that the way it ended and they both moved on was done in a pretty realistic way. It wasn't a big blow out and then they both immediately dove into new relationships. They handled it like rational people and just dealt with the fact that they had grown out of their relationship.

What I'm actually obsessed with is Sartaq and Nesryn's relationship. I love it. I knew I liked  Sartaq from the beginning and then his whole storyline with Nesryn just made me obsessed. Just another Sarah J. Maas character to add to my list of book boyfriends. I just thought that they blended so well together from the moment they left Antica to go visit the ruks. I think she's going to make a pretty good Empress, if I do say so myself. I'm not going to get too into it because it's the small things that made me absolutely fall in love, but I just overall think that the two of them are such a good match.

Let's get into the ruks. I love that we now have creatures who can fight the wyverns. I just adore the whole idea of the ruks. I also love Kadara. Plus the fact that Nesryn now has a ruk to. Also, Borte is a new favorite female badass character. Just everything about this part of the story was great.

I'm only going to say a quick work on Falkan. From the moment he was introduced I knew he was the merchant from The Assassin's Blade. We never got his name, but I knew it was him. I can't wait for him to be reunited with both Lysandra (who's his f**king niece!) and Aelin. And the fact that he's a freaking shapeshifter and shapeshifted into the kharankui to save Sartaq and Nesryn is just...I love it.

Speaking of the kharankui, they're basically the sisters of Stidian spiders, except they only destroy and eat people, unlike the Stidian spiders who made spidersilk. There was a big showdown with them that ended with them all getting burnt to a crisp (yay). But most importantly, they revealed the background of the Valg and the biggest reveal (in my opinion) of the series.

Maeve is a Valg Queen.


I screamed when we discovered that (making a total fool of myself in front of my friends by the way). Like, holy shit. I knew she was evil, but a Valg queen? WHAT. I can see it now but shit. I still can't formulate words on that. So I'm going to move onto another big reveal...

Healers can remove Valg from possessed people. Yrene freaking got rid of the Valg that was possessing Duva and saved her. SHIT. This changes the whole freaking ball game. I can't wait to see how this information is handled as we move into the last book.

Speaking of Duva, let's talk about the khaghan's children. I loved their presence in this story. Now, some of them were rude bastards but in the end, I actually ended up liking most of them, especially Sartaq. Kashin is still on my good list and so is Hasar. Arghun has to prove himself a bit more. And Duva, well we didn't get to see her actual personality so I can't speak on my feelings about her yet. Overall, I didn't think I would like any of them but I ended up loving them

Finally, I'm bringing it back to Chaol. This book was about healing and growth and so much more. Not only did Chaol get mostly healed, but he grew as a person. And I grew back into loving him. He is 100% redeemed in my eyes. He isn't fully healed at the end, with the whole bond he now has with Yrene, but he's completely okay with that and just the fact that he's ok with it shows how much he changed and makes me love him even more (wow that was a severe run-on sentence).

Chaol figured out that Aelin was the one who saved Yrene and gave her the means of coming to the southern continent to be a healer. And that whole reveal he was so emotional and his view of Aelin completely changed and I love it. I also think it'll be heartbreaking when he finally finds out that Aelin is locked in an iron box.

Speaking of Aelin being locked in an iron box...we had a two page chapter from her POV and it almost made me cry. I've had a year to somewhat come to terms with what is happening to Aelin, but it still hurts like a bitch. This chapter, while I was able to not cry, was just a huge kick in the gut that I wasn't expecting.

Final Thoughts

To sum up this review, I absolutely loved Tower of Dawn. I thought it was a great story of healing and character growth. There was magic and adventures and political intrigue. Overall this book raised my love for this series even more and revealed some pretty big things that will be coming into play in the next novel.

I can't wait for the next book. In fact, I'm planning a full series re-read in preparation, with one book being read each month up until the final book is released. I also just really need the next book to be 800 or more pages. With all the different possible character POV's and all the different events that can happen, I just need it to be long. Ideally, I'd say 1,000 pages is a good length, but even if we just hit 700 I'll be happy. I just want it to be detailed and full of feelings and amazing writing. And a happy ending, of course.


Thank you for sticking around to finish reading my super long and heart-wrenching review!


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