Review of Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas

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

Tower of Dawn is a book I was hesitant to pick up. I had heard many mixed reviews from people who had adored it, to people who were struggling to make it even half way through. Empire of Storms had blown my mind and the idea of a book dedicated to Chaol Westfall, a character who had become little more than a brooding bit part, wasn’t calling out to me to be read. A parallel to the timeline in Empire of Storms, it wasn’t going to ease that emotional tidal wave either.

But pick it up I did and my word am I glad!

For me the one thing that Sarah J Maas does best, is put to paper real emotion. Chaol is angry and broken having lost everything save for Nesryn, who he pushes away. In his mind he is a traitor and an oath-breaker sent to try and convince the kingdom of Antica to help Aelin’s cause and to heal him.  This is where it is imperative that the Assassin’s blade novella’s have been read, if you’ve not read them I implore you to do it before you start Tower of Dawn, so much is integral to what happens within its pages. Yrene’s story was probably my favourite of the novella’s so I was really happy to see that she had made it to the Torre and was thriving. Chaol and Yrene both must learn to set aside their emotional baggage and as the truth finally trickles through the pages your heart will break just a little bit at a time as you learn the depth of what each had to endure.

Nesryn however is drifting away from Chaol, she is back in her homeland and finding herself travelling with an Antican prince to try and sway the powerful Ruhekin to join their war. For me this was the only time the story faltered.  The slightly more relaxed pace up to this point had been okay as it would have been wrong if attempts to heal Chaol had worked in the first five minutes, but these Nesryn based chapters for me were hard work. Yes, the change in dynamics had to be plausible but it really jarred the pace and flow up to that point.  However, shiz then got real and a mic drop worthy (thanks Rebecca Gibson) plot twist completely blew my mind.  I mean utterly world changing, shout out loud, re-read the page to make sure I had got it right PLOT TWIST.

From then on, Tower of Dawn became impossible to put down, it recaptured the urgency and the creativity or the previous books of the series, everything started to fall into place as stories intertwined with information becoming an unleashed torrent powering through every page. No spoilers here but Tower of Dawn became simply epic – and if you were thinking of missing out on this because you don’t like Chaol, you would be very very wrong to do so.  I kinda love Chaol a little again now – but no-one will take Manon’s crown as my favourite character of the series.

If I could give a rating on the last third of this book I would give it 5 stars but unfortunately the plodding middle section means that I can’t go higher than a 4*

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