No spoilers in this rapid review of Tower of Dawn. (There will be mild spoilers for the previous five books in this series. And can I even call this a rapid review since it’s so long? Sorry!) 😉 I give this book 4.5 stars. I had flashbacks to Sarah J. Maas’s glory days while reading this book. The writing style and plotting were on par with her early books (the first two in this series as well as the Assassin’s Blade novellas), which, in my opinion, are her best work. Her words immediately immersed me in this new land, full of intriguing characters and fascinating culture. And who am I kidding? It’s about my favorite Throne of Glass character, Chaol, which didn’t hurt.
Tower of Dawn takes place basically concurrently with Empire of Storms. At the end of Queen of Shadows, Chaol and Nesryn left Aelin’s group for Antica (on the Southern Continent). Chaol is now the hand of King Dorian, and Nesryn took Chaol’s former position as captain of the royal guard. They have two main purposes in Antica: try to gain allies for the coming world war and find a healer to help Chaol recover from his injuries. They are received by the royal family, though it’s not exactly a warm welcome. Tragedy has recently struck their ranks and the battleground seems far from home, so their ruler is not ready to entertain ideas of war. And while the best healers in the world hail from Antica’s Torre Cesme, there is no easy solution to what Chaol’s body and mind have endured. Chaol and Nesryn face a hard road as they try to accomplish their goals and maneuver in the Antican royal court.
Maas’s strength lies in her ability to build on foundations she laid long ago. She introduces characters and drops hints long before their usefulness is revealed and their purpose is capitalized on. We met Yrene Towers long ago in the second Assassin’s Blade novella and never thought she would become a key player later on. There were messages hidden in the tapestry in Celaena’s palace bedroom that I never dreamed had not yet been revealed. It is so fun to watch these puzzle pieces fit together as the story unfolds, and these are just the first two that spring to mind. It’s all one big wonderful jigsaw. 🙂
Yet if you go back and read my Empire of Storms review, it’s no secret that Maas has really ticked me off at times in this series. My annoyance started mildly in Heir of Fire, became full-fledged in Queen of Shadows, and grew even more in Empire of Storms. I didn’t like what she did to Chaol’s relationships, and I have grown frustrated with the person Aelin has become. I hope Aelin does things that redeem her character in my eyes in book 7. Whether or not this happens, I will give her this: Maas has created characters who feel very real to me. That’s the reason I react so strongly to them.
Two more gripes, and then I’m done. The writing was still indulgent at times, although not nearly as much so as in Empire of Storms. Maas got back much closer to her earlier tone and level of description. And while most of the story progression in Tower of Dawn was logical and natural, I found the scene where Nesryn discovers a key piece of ancient information hard to buy into. The reveal seemed quite unlikely from someone who has guarded the secret for many, many years.
Enough about the flaws already, right? I rated this book 4.5 stars after all, and I definitely recommend it!!! It is a page-turner from the beginning because of the characters, even the brand new ones. The world building in this book alone is as much as some entire YA series contain. And the drama in the climax, the tie-ins to previous books in the series, and the hints at what’s to come in the finale are simply incredible.
So will book 7 be 2,000 pages long? How can Maas give appropriate page time to each character she has created and each storyline that needs to be satisfied? I can’t wait to see how she does it! Does anyone else think a key player or two is going to die in the final installment? The cast of main characters is huge, and it will be unrealistic if they all live. I have a prediction of who might not make it. Do you? If so, please sound off in the comments! And please mark them if they contain spoilers. My prediction contains a spoiler, but I’ll share it in the comments below if anyone is interested.
One last caveat: As seems to be the trend with Maas’s recent books, the tone is not consistent with YA. While Tower of Dawn is cleaner than her last few publications, the language and adult situations are not meant for young readers!
Let us know what you think about Tower of Dawn in the comments! No spoilers on this page please. 🙂
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