Tower of Dawn ~ Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #6)
In honor of my review of Empire of Storms, I have decided to rename every book in this series:
0.5 The Assassin's Blade AKA Celaena Sardothien and the Cross-Country Murder Spree
1 Throne of Glass AKA Celaena Sardothien and the Weakest Love Triangle
2 Crown of Midnight AKA Celaena Sardothien and the Most Mood-Swings
3 Heir of Fire AKA Celaena Sardothien and the Book She Remembered What Her Real Name Was
4 Queen of Shadows AKA Aelin Galathynius and the Sudden Romance With a Previously Platonic Character
5 Empire of Storms AKA Aelin Galathynius and the Horniest Road Trip Ever
6 Tower of Dawn AKA Chaol Westfall and the Book That Was Good Because Aelin Wasn't In It
Ok, but in all seriousness, this book was good. And not just because Aelin was only physically present in the very last chapter as a teaser for the final book. It was good because it took everything that was effective in all the previous books—the sneaking and sleuthing from ToG and CoM, the self-discovery and battles against personal demons (quite literally in this case) from HoF, and well, not much from EoS because it was mostly atrocious and the few things that were good were really just okay—and joined them into one volume. It felt like a return to form, but smoother and better.
The inclusion of more diverse characters with the Khagan's children and Nesryn's family was much appreciated. I am not usually too bothered by a lack of diversity, but when Maas established this world as somewhat of a real-world 1700s equivalent with the fashion and technology, and with vast empires and globalization, it really was a problem that there wasn't much diversity, because in such a world, there would be a great deal of diversity.
The characters were fantastic. They felt so real and believable, with understandable motivations and intentions. Chaol has always been a favorite of mine, being just about the only character who wasn't an idiot in all the previous books, and his absence from EoS might have contributed to it being trash, and in this book, he only got better.
He had not healed. Unmoored and raging, he had not wanted to heal.Not really. His body, yes, but even that...Some part of him had whispered it was deserved.And the soul-wound... He had been content to let it fester.
His battle with the demon residue left in him from his epic battle with the Adarlanian king (did he have a name? I really can't remember him having a name) was reminiscent of Celaena's in HoF when she reclaimed herself as Aelin. HoF was my previous favorite book in the series for that fact alone (as Celaena/Aelin was at her least annoying then), besides the lack of much obnoxious romance other than the short-lived and rather forced Sorscha crap which brought my rating down a star. I've felt what Chaol felt before, that self-loathing that makes you want to curl up and wither away, and his perseverance over it, both on his own and with much-needed help, was fantastic.
Nesryn was interesting, because she had not been a perspective character before, and her reserved nature had made her seem rather boring in QoS, but she really became a new favorite, because I found myself relating to her a lot as well. She was complex and introverted, not boring. While her romance with Sartaq felt a tad forced and stalker-y, her character growth felt natural.
Yrene was also a great character, which surprised me because her introduction in The Assassin and the Healer was kind of boring tbh, and she was just too similar to Sorscha (a healer from Fenharrow who's a love interest for an Adarlanian) but much to my surprise, she become an interesting person, not just someone for Celaena to ~astound~ and ~utterly mystify~ with her ~gloriousness~
I was worried I wouldn't like this book, because of EoS bringing down my expectations, and because I disagreed wholeheartedly with Celaena in CoM when she hated him for what he "did" that allowed Nehemia's death. I was afraid this would be a pity party book, not for Chaol, but for Aelin. That he would feel so bad for her, when she's actually just a crazy person. But it wasn't. It was a journey of self-discovery. Of learning to rely on yourself, but also to rely on others. To learn what the balance must be between the two. It was exactly what I needed right now, and I'm so glad I read it.
This review went on for too long lol but I LOVED IT SO I'M NOT GOING TO APOLOGIZE
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