Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Brilliant. Beautiful. Unexpected.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas is the fifth novel in the Throne of Glass series and a parallel novel to Empire of Storms, meaning it’s happening simultaneously in the timeline, which also means that we don’t get the usual snarky badass of Aelin and her gang because it follows Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq. I seriously missed Aelin’s storyline but I fell in love with this novel.

31450852.jpgIn the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

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.

I typically strongly dislike any kind of companion novel or prequel novella. In fact, despite being a serious SJM fangirl, it wasn’t until recently that I purchased Assassin’s Blade to read The Assassin and the Healer novella in prep for this novel, which I’d recommend for anyone about to read Tower of Dawn. If you’re like me and typically don’t like books outside of the main narrative, I’d strongly suggest you read Tower of Dawn because a lot is revealed about the overall plot that’s important to the finale. However, I’m sure SJM will slide in all those truths as a refresher in the next book.

Let me tell you why Tower of Dawn was an unexpected delight. It had all the makings of an epic SJM novel with high stakes, masterful storytelling, and love-conquers-all romance. Toward the beginning of this series, I was seriously #TeamChaol (until, ya know, Rowan showed up), so I was fine with an entire book devoted to him, where he battles his inner demons and finds love. However, imagine my surprise when, yet again, another male swoops in and steals my heart *cough* Sartaq *cough*. I’ll admit that I was never a fan of Nesryn, but throw in a little Sartaq and I’m ALL about that storyline. There’s a specific scene when they are fighting beasts in the mountains and all looks dire and words are spoken and I couldn’t contain my emotions. I was running around the house like a crazy person screeching “It’s so beautiful!” as I tried to calm my thundering heart. I’m officially obsessed with the Ruks, the eagle-like birds, and their riders. The excitement of Nesryn and Sartaq’s adventure into the mountains was probably my favorite part of this novel, which was very unexpected.

Chaol’s storyline was more subtle, focusing on character development as he heals both inside and out from his injury and accepts his new reality. He and Yrene search for answers in the Torre’s library as opposed to the heart-stopping, death-defying adventure of Nesryn and Sartaq. Chaol’s enemies-to-lovers relationship with Yrene was a slow burn, but it worked. I loved how they bonded over each other’s mutual pain. The plot twist of the significance of Yrene’s healing ability was a great surprise. I’m interested in seeing what happens next. Overall, both love stories were so well crafted. Gah! So good!

Like all the cities SJM creates, Antica was an awe-inspiring setting with the Torre and the palace and the city itself. It made me want to go there but it also explained so much about the royal family and how that made them who they are. The setting was a great place for this story to unfold and I hope to revisit it.

My favorite thing about the ending was the sneak peek chapter from Fireheart’s POV. It didn’t give us much but it was enough to leave me salivating for the final installment in this epic series.

STARS: 5 out of 5

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Tower of Dawn by SJM Book Tour Event

Last Tuesday, I hoofed it up to Nashville on a weeknight to see my favorite author – Sarah J. Maas – for the release of Tower of Dawn, the sixth Throne of Glass novel and parallel narrative to Empire of Storms. As much as I was ready for another book from SJM, I was really there to get the deets on the ACOTAR spin-off, and luckily my question was one of the few answered at the event where hundreds of fangirls sat in a private school auditorium hanging on SJM’s every word.

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After a standing ovation once SJM was introduced, I scribbled notes furiously so I could document all the goods as a special gift to you, dear readers. Here’s what I know:

Tower of Dawn

  • Tower of Dawn is one of SJM’s “top 3” books she’s ever written and it was an emotional journey (similar to writing Heir of Fire).
  • Yrene is one of her favorite characters to write and she’s been planning her reintroduction since the story The Assassin and the Healer for years.
  • She did a lot of research on those with a disability to make Chaol’s journey a realistic one.

ACOTAR Spin-Off

I practically squealed when I heard my non-question read (It literally said: I NEED details on the ACOTAR spin-off, pretty please.) and her answer did not disappoint.

  • In May, a novella told from Feyre and Rhysand’s perspective (**Fangirling**) will come out to bridge the gap from the original ACOTAR trilogy and the spin-off.
  • Here’s the synopsis:

Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated – scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

  • The spin-off books will be about different pairings, and some of those characters may be ones we’ve already met (*cross-my-heart-hope-to-die for Azriel’s happy ever after*).
  • The first full-length spin-off book will come out in 2019.

Other revealing details.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an influence for writing strong, female characters that fall in and out of love, and reinforced that it’s “okay to grow out of a relationship.”
  • Someone asked a question about what a chapter narrated by the wyvern Abraxos would be like, and she basically described it as a chill chapter where nothing bad happens and Abraxos smells flowers and follows a bee around. LOL Sweet little Abraxos.
  • She described herself as an “indoor cat” and I feel her on a spiritual level.
  • Her best writing advice: When people tell you you can’t do it, use that anger to prove them wrong. Don’t listen to them. Getting published is a hard journey but it’s possible.
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My friend Brittney and I at the Tower of Dawn book event.

Overall, SJM is hilarious and I want to be her new bestie. She told some crazy stories from high school and how the haters fueled her drive to write. I also realized that I’ve been saying Manon wrong this. Whole. Time. It’s Ma-NAWN. I’ve been saying it like MAN-EN. *facepalm* I guess I’ll never pronounce any of this right.

I wasn’t one of the lucky few that got to “meet” SJM to get the book personalized and take a picture, but I was just glad to get my signed copy and hear her speak. Also, shout out to Parnassus Books in Nashville that puts on these awesome author events!

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

I just finished A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, the final installment of Feyre’s story. I want to sing and dance and laugh and cry. But mostly, I am content. I want for nothing.

23766634Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

I abhor spoilers so I will try my best to review this magnificent story without telling you anything. I know this review will not do it justice because it is SJM’s very words and spellbinding storytelling that make this series my favorite series of all time. Just know that it is a fitting end, a story that is satisfying without being bittersweet even knowing it will be the last.

The manipulation and deception in the first part of ACOWAR was so well done. My favorite scene at the wall is when Feyre reveals her badass fighting skills to Lucien. So. Epic. In fact, all the battle scenes had my blood thundering in my veins, that primal bloodlust simmering to the surface. With the very lives of everyone Feyre loves — that we, the reader, love — on the line, I almost couldn’t bear it, putting the book down just to catch my breath. It was an absolute honor to witness Cassian and Azriel fight. From the moment Cassian bellowed “SHIELDS!” as he led his army into certain death, it made my heart race. I’m getting goosebumps again just thinking about it.

And the BONE CARVER! Guys, that twist was spectacular. It’s like a gift from SJM to her readers. And I, for one, am grateful.

The scenes between Rhysand and Feyre I will always hold close to my heart, from their eventual reunion to standing together at the last. Rhysand’s heart-breaking words to his mate echo still, ringing in the deepest depths of my heart.

“Remember you are a wolf. And you cannot be caged.”

I don’t know if I can say anything else. I cried, oh I cried, and I hoped, a painful kind of hope that fills you up too much, until desperation is pouring through your very skin. There is pain and terror and devastation, but there is also redemption, reconciliation, and for some characters, faint flickers of a fated future, one that may just come to pass.

My one request is I want MORE. There are so many unresolved relationships and new ones I didn’t even know about til now that I SHIP SO HARD! I hope to God that SJM will write more on these individuals.

ACOWAR is everything I wanted it to be and more. I’m in awe of SJM’s masterful writing and epic twists. However, it was the quieter twists in this book that stole my heart. How SJM finds quiet moments to capitalize on, where it isn’t the battle scenes and fights to the death that steal the spotlight, but the battles within ourselves, that are the hardest to fight but must be won before a blade can even be drawn.

I am sad that Feyre’s story is over, but I am content. It was well told, my heart bursting with a comfortable kind of satisfaction. However, knowing there will be a spin-off in 2018 makes the end easier to swallow.

READ this book. It may very well change your life. It did mine.

STARS: 5 out of 5

 

Releases and Recommendations: A Court of Wings and Ruin

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, which will be released on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

23766634Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

I am so effing exciting for this book that it requires a gif to fully explain the extent of my ecstatic, so-excited-I’m-crying state-of-mind.

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I love SJM. She’s the bee’s knees. ACOTAR was amazing, and ACOMAF is my favorite book of ALL TIME! I am sitting on pins and needles waiting for ACOWAR to release. My heart is in shreds after that cliff hanger and I need me some SJM to patch it back up with her badassery. If you haven’t started this series, please do. It’s the best thing you will every do.

Monthly Recap and Book of the Month

In October, I read at a glacial pace even though I wanted to read at high speed.

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 Book of the Month*

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Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas- 5 star review

This shouldn’t surprise anyone! I love SJM. Her stories are the best.

*based on books reviewed this month

September Reviews (Total-3)

Stinger by Mia Sheridan

The Hard Count by Ginger Scott

Anticipated Releases

Crimson Death by LKH

Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Other Posts

5 Book Quotes That Help Me With Anxiety

 2016 Reading Challenge Progress

2016 Reading Challenge

I have read 98 out of 100 books. (Read 7 books this month.)

TWO BOOKS AWAY FROM MY GOODREADS GOAL!

Currently Reading

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Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I love almost everything JLA writes. However, I was surprised how much I am digging this trilogy.

Next on my TBR

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I’m finally getting around to reading this one.

What I’m Watching

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Feel free to judge me because lord knows I judge myself. I recently completed my five season binge of Scandal and decided to check out The Vampire Diaries since I’m a huge fan of The Originals. Subsequently, I’m now obsessed and have seven seasons to catch up on, which leaves very little time for reading.

What I’m Writing

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IT’S TIME!!! National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is back to plague me as one of the only ways that motivates me to write. This year, I’m writing a New Adult Romance based on a real life event, where a guy tracked me down after meeting me at a bachelorette party by emailing the bride-to-be. Although flattered, it was a bit creepy not to mention that I was super married at the time. (Why don’t guys check for a wedding ring before pursuing women?) Either way, I appreciate his leap of faith because it will make for an awesome beginning to my novel.

Monthly Recap and Book of the Month

In September, I read at a leisurely pace while drinking tea (which I didn’t used to enjoy but now I do with a crap-ton of honey) and sipping with my pinky in the air (optional, of course).

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 Book of the Month*

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – 5 star review

This book blew my mind and I’ll be reading more from this author soon.

*based on books reviewed this month

September Reviews (Total-4)

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen

The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

 Anticipated Releases

The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Upcoming Reviews

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Stinger by Mia Sheridan

 2016 Reading Challenge Progress

2016 Reading Challenge

I have read 90 out of 100 books. (Read 6 books this month.)

Currently Reading

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Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

This book has already made me laugh, cheer and cry at work on my lunch break. I feel a book hangover coming on. DAMN YOU, SARAH! WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME!

Next on my TBR

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I’m in a Young Adult Fantasy mood and this one looks awesome. I’m always down for a fight to the death.

What I’m Watching

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So if you’re like me and loved Downton Abbey, then you have a gaping hole in your life since it ended. It took me awhile to fill the void, and perhaps you are looking for something to fill yours. Look no further, because Poldark will do the trick. This PBS show is based on the novels by Winston Graham. It is a period piece filled with men both honorable and not, and uniquely relatable heroines. There is love and loss and drama, OH THE DRAMA! Season 2 just started so binge season one on Amazon Prime while you can.

What I’m Listening To

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I’m only a few chapters in, and this angst-filled novel has me sucked in with a bajillion questions. I’m very much intrigued. Plus, it’s narrated by two of my favorite voice actors, so it’s that much more enjoyable.

Current Bookish Obsession

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I’ve been trolling pinterest looking for badass quotes to hang in my library. Here’s a gem I found.

Releases and Recommendations: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

Today, I’m anticipating the release of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, which comes out on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 (which is today! Yeeeeeaah!).

28260587The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

This book is a no-brainer. I love Sarah J. Maas. She’s my favorite author. When she comes out with a new book, it’s a shut-up-and-take-my-money kind of moment. I loved Heir of Fire, and I can’t wait to see what Maas comes up with next.