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.
In 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