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I have a love/hate relationship with Sarah J. Maas. I love the worlds she builds, with their magics and customs and diverse people groups. I love the interesting characters she invents and the emotional journeys they go through. Her monsters are original and creepy AF. Book plots (for the most part) are fast paced and keep me on the edge of me seat. Her writing style is easy to read. And her male characters?
But then there’s a lot that drives me crazy. The absurd amount of vowels she uses-Chaol, Celaena, Eyllwe. That her main characters (and most of her secondary ones) are, without fail, spectacularly good looking. Aelin Galathynius, who I want to throat punch pretty much any time she opens her mouth, is in a hate category all of her own. Her characters’ decisions and actions are often inconsistent, or she changes their personality completely (see: Tamlin). The fact that Empire of Storms and A Court of Mists and Fury were basically the same book. Her sex scenes, which are either cringe-worthy or unwittingly hilarious (see: Rowan’s lightning orgasm).
So my expectations going into Tower of Dawn were exceedingly low. I despaired at the direction she took Chaol in after Heir of Fire, and was mentally bracing myself for Maas to keep royally screwing him. And while spending time with Aelin (and her enormous ego) had become nigh unbearable, I wasn’t sure how Maas would keep up the momentum while totally abandoning Aelin and Co’s storyline. But to my utter surprise…I liked it. I really liked it.
A partially paralyzed, wheelchair-bound Chaol and his
consolation prize once-and-potential-flame Nesryn departed for the southern continent in the beginning of Empire of Storms, n’er to be heard from again. Their mission was two-fold: convince the Khagan (aka emperor) of the southern continent to aid them in their war against Erawan, and implore their famed school of healers to heal the injury to Chaol’s spine. Tower of Dawn opens as they arrive in the capitol city of Antica and meet the Khagan and his five adult children. They receive a less-than-warm welcome from the royal family, but it’s not nearly as chilly as the reception Chaol gets from the healer assigned to cure him-a young woman from his own country with a hefty grudge against the king he used to serve. Things are not looking good for the delegation from Adarlan.
I won’t give too much away, but I will tell you that there is a lot of crucial information in this book, so if you were thinking about skipping it, think again! We learn more about Erawan and encounter different types of Valg demons. We also learn a HUGE secret about a character from the main Throne of Glass novels. I would highly recommend reading the novella The Assassin and the Healer if you haven’t already, as a character from that plays an important role in Tower of Dawn. There’s also an appearance by a character from the novella The Assassin’s Blade, but that background information is less crucial.
Exciting new information aside, Tower of Dawn is just a damn good story. Chaol’s struggle with his injuries is a main theme, and Maas does a great job of exploring the frustration, shame, and feelings of helplessness that can accompany a physical disability. She delves into emotional wounds, and the fact that they can be just as paralyzing as physical ones. And where the last few ToG novels have felt almost frenetic in their pacing and action and information, Tower of Dawn slows things down and concentrates on character development. And Maas earns back major points with me by giving Chaol and Nesryn the love story they deserve…though not with each other. The sex scenes are much more tasteful, and completely lacking in geological and meteorologic disturbances.
It’s official; I’m a solid Sarah J. Maas fan again. She’s super relieved, I’m sure. You can buy Tower of Dawn Here!
Have you read it yet? What did you think? Tell me how much you heart Chaol.
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