Tower of Dawn is part of the Throne of Glass series and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous books.
When I first heard that Sarah J Maas was writing a book just about Chaol I was pretty excited. He was one of my favourite characters in the earlier books and I had been disappointed he hadn’t featured much of late. Whilst there was definitely some story worth reading about there just wasn’t enough to warrant 660 pages of it.
Anyone who thinks the Fae are prancing creatures given to poetry and singing needs a history lesson.
After his spinal injury at the hands of the Valg, Chaol travels south to Antica, home of the famed healers of the Torre. With him, the new captain of the guard, Nesryn who also shares his bed. The healer assigned to him hates the very idea of him, a man who serves the kingdom who killed her mother. Yet she is professional and she agrees to assist him.
Antica is a much more modern society than Ardalan, they have free education and healthcare. Nesryn who has suffered prejudice in the north is much more at home here, where cultures and races mix freely. The khaganate has an interesting rule of succession, with the heir chosen by the current khagan but tradition suggests that the heirs that weren’t picked should be removed to prevent problems. This is important for some of the character relationships as no one really wants to be attached to someone with such an unreliable future.
I am starting to regret not finishing all the novellas as characters from them having been popping up in the last few books and this is no exception. Yrene Towers does not know she has crossed paths with Aelin, and I didn’t know either until it’s revealed, but you would know if you had read The Assassin and the Healer.
Anyway, when it comes to Yrene, the lady doth protest too much and it’s so obvious what will happen. She starts to get to know Chaol and that maybe not everyone form Ardalan is evil. There is so much repetition in the first half, with the healer constantly reminding us of her reasoning. And Chaol is so grouchy. People in the book seem to be very good at reading entire sentences from a single look, even people they don’t know very well.
It’s important to bear in mind that Chaol’s injury is partly magical because I don’t think there’s much medical accuracy is his recovery. Yrene discovers the shadow of something evil lurking inside him, preventing her from healing him fully. I found the healing scenes got a bit tedious after the first one or two.
It is really set up for Chaol and Nesryn to break up. SJM seems obsessed with pairing up all her characters romantically and I know some readers love this but it’s starting to make things very predictable. Plus, they are at war, can they concentrate on defeating the Valg first?
This sea where no ships would ever sail, some men would look upon it and see only burning death. He saw only quiet – and clean. And slow creeping life. Untamed, savage beauty.
There were things I liked and part two got much better, with a little bit more focus on Nesryn, the ruk riders and some more insight to the ongoing series stuff. The ruks are giant birds, and one of the princes leads an army of ruk riders. They are a bit like a much friendlier version of the Iron Witches, with similar bonds between rider and animal. There are also evil giant spiders.
The book is worth reading for revelations! Some good stuff but it was a long slog to get to it and I’m sure the returning characters can easily inform the others of these in a quick conversation. Hey, Chaol went to get healed and he also discovered some stuff whilst he was there, it’s really useful.
But I am really excited for the next Aelin book now, I cannot wait to find out what happens with her and Maeve. I just kind of wish this had been half the length, why did her editors let her do this? I suppose because it will sell no matter what.
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Book Source: Purchased