Going into this book, I had weak expectations. While Throne of Glass is one of my favorite series, it has its ups and downs. Queen of Shadows was one of those downs, primarily because of what it did to Chaol…and that was the last time we saw Chaol. Empire of Storms had our entire central cast of characters, minus Chaol and Nesryn. And since I could barely stand poor Chaol last time I read about him, and wasn’t particularly fond of Nesryn, my hopes for this book were low.
I am so very pleased to say I was wrong. Tower of Dawn might just be my favorite book of the series. The only way I’ll know for sure is by re-reading the series…something I plan to do before the final book arrives.
Chaol and Nesryn travel to the southern continent in hopes of convincing the Khagan royals to fight with Aelin & Dorian in the war against the Valg. Along with this mission, Chaol, as a now paralyzed man, hopes to find assistance from one of the healers at the legendary Torre Cesme. And the healer assigned to him happens to be Yrene Towers, a person Aelin helped during her assassin days. If you skipped over The Assassin’s Blade, you should go back and read that one before reading this. I haven’t finished The Assassin’s Blade, but fortunately did read far enough to know Yrene’s story.
Minor spoilers may follow, but I’m going to refrain from sharing big reveals.
Sarah J. Maas loves her ships. And she loves to set up ships, only to tear them apart for different endgame ships. We’ve already seen this happen with Aelin multiple times. She was in a love triangle with Dorian and Chaol, but ultimately ended up with Rowan. In this book, you expect Chaol and Nesryn to be the ship of all ships. Shortly in, you realize this is not the case. Chaol and Nesryn aren’t good for each other, and realize it. Though their mutual “break-up” is rife with under-communication, they eventually find happiness with others. Yrene makes Chaol a better man, and Nesryn finds love with the most romantic man in the world. For real. Page 525. Sartaq is the most romantic man in the world. Sarah does right by romance this time.
Tower of Dawn brings me back to the beginning of the series. We only have three narrators: Chaol, Yrene, and Nesryn. They are all my beloveds by the end of the book. So much my beloveds, in fact, that is impossible to put to words how much I love and appreciate the character developments in this story.
It’s also very mystery oriented in a way we haven’t had since before Celaena revealed her true identity. Someone hunts Yrene, and though we don’t know who until the very end, there’s plenty of build-up to the reveal. There’s also plenty of political intrigue, as Chaol and Nesryn navigate the relationships between all the would-be Heirs of the Khagan court.
It’s a lot like reading Crown of Midnight again, my thus far favorite of the series, right down to including a crushing, huge reveal at the end. Remember when we thought the Celaena identity-twist was the biggest thing the series could throw at us? We all thought wrong. Even the Fae story-line remains in this story. Just when you think Empire of Storms put forth all the big secrets you could hope for, Tower of Dawn goes ahead and adds to it. And speaking of Empire of Storms, it was a delight to be able to read this one and see exactly where the books line up timeline-wise. Sarah worked hard to make sure the books go together.
If you, like myself, were beginning to doubt Sarah’s ability to end this series well, hopefully this book will restore your faith. Empire of Storms gave me some hope, but this one gave me the rest.