Tower of Dawn Rose Above My Expectations

tower of dawn

Okay, I’m gonna start this review where I would normally end it:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

small bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall banana

Because to be abundantly clear, before I get into the nitty gritty, that I did actually have a lot of fun with this. Not entirely for the right reasons, but oh, we’ll get to that. All in all though, before I get into what I thought about this in depth, I do think this was definitely one of Maas’ better books.

As a spinoff from the Throne of Glass series, I feared it might be a bit of a waste of time. And worse still, this focused on Chaol, who (spoilers for Queen of Shadows) has had his back broken. Let’s be honest, I’ve never been a fan of this self-righteous twerp (I can’t even be bothered to be diplomatic), so a book centring on his mission for allies and a healer didn’t sound appealing.

Initially I thought I was going to be proved right. And this comes back to not liking Chaol, which meant it was a real struggle to get invested. Don’t get me wrong, this is in no way a criticism of the writing– as a character he’s entirely believable- it’s only that the gift of writing realistic characters is a double edged sword and inevitably there will be characters we do not like. Sometimes certain types (the prissy, hypocritical, judgemental kind) rub me the wrong way.  And well, quite simply Chaol does a lot of Chaol like things here– so oh gosh my notes got snarky:

 “He was Lord of Nothing. Lord of Oath-Breakers. Lord of Liars

Me in notes: true- he was a wanker. He literally (spoilers for Queen of Shadows) supported a king possessed by a demonic Valg. Because he’s a schmock.

 “It should have been me. I had always planned for it to be me instead”

Me: ah Chaol’s infamous misplaced guilt. Not the reason he sucks though.

“It was a… rough period for me. Everything I knew was trampled. Everything. And she… I think I placed the blame for a great deal of it upon her. Began to see her as a monster

Me: yeah you were a prejudicial git.

To be fair, there were random parts where he wasn’t even doing anything that I’d blurt that out “yeah but you’re still a shit”. I couldn’t even understand why other characters described him as: “This man, this noble and selfless and remarkable man”. Because he also said things to someone who’d had their family murdered like:

“I knew another woman who lost as much as you. And do you know what she did with it- that loss?… She hunted down the people responsible and obliterated them. What the hell have you bothered to do these years?”

It’s not just that it’s insensitive and cruel- it’s that he has *zero consistency*- especially cos he previously criticised the woman who hunted down her enemies… so what’s his problem?  This is why I don’t like the judgy bastard- he’s always been the worst hypocrite. He’s very good at wounding people, acting morally superior, yet he can’t seem to make up his mind over what is right and wrong. So no, unlike a lot of people, this book didn’t suddenly make me a Chaol convert.

HOWEVER (and I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to get to the positive side) I really liked the other characters. Sartaq in particular was completely gorgeous. I will say, initially whenever I read Nesryn’s name, I thought “who?” Her relationship with Chaol was totally meh and shoehorned in– still highlight for spoiler: I ended up loving her romance with Sartuq, even if it was weird for her to jump ship and to brush the other unnecessary relationship under the rug in order for it to happen.

Since this was set in a new location, I personally felt like there was a lot of infodumping in the opening, which made it tough to get into, but once it got going, there was plenty to keep me entertained. By the end the number of times I’d said “wow” was ridiculous. It was simply so SPECTACULAR my notes devolved into “oohs” and “ahhs”. Plotwise, this also had HUGE implications for the series. There were some predictable moments- for instance, highlight for spoiler: she has a tendency to repeat stories, so it was no surprise when Chaol’s back got broken again,but I really did not see that finale coming. Because, like I said, wow.

Tower of Dawn also overcame a lot of the problems I had with Empire of Storms. Maas toned down the somewhat cringey sexual content. It was still corny, but there was less of it THANK GOODESS. Moreover, the moralising I’d complained of was mostly gone. When it did turn up, the messaging was simple and less cheesy, so I didn’t have a problem with it this time round (in fact, it was pretty quotable). And as always, I appreciated a lot of the writing:

“Her magic had been a pulsing star that flared against the wall that the darkness had crafted between the top of his spine and the rest of it.”

“You must enter where you fear to tread”

All in all, I got a lot out of it than I’d hoped. So have you read this? Do you plan to? And- dare I ask- what do you think about Chaol? Let me know in the comments!

64 thoughts on “Tower of Dawn Rose Above My Expectations

  1. I love this review, and totally agree. I mean, I like Chaol, but he can be so damn annoying while trying to be edgy or whatever, haha. But I loved Sartaq so much, and how his flock *wink* will be incorporated into the ToG finale book! ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha: your rant about this character has achieved a pretty cool effect: I really have gotten curious about a character that you really don’t seem to like (unless I am thoroughly mistaking that is 😂😂). I had fun reading this post, always nice to see someone go into angry mode for a change 😀😀(without going completely overboard and still staying positive as well 😀).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad yo hear you liked this more than you thought. I have actually avoided reading this because I too, for similar anti-self-righteous-twerp reasons, do NOT like Chaol. I’m not gonna rush into this read…but this makes me more likely to pick it up (as opposed to skipping it entirely and just reading the final book when it comes out). 🙂

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  4. I’m glad you enjoyed this book, and really glad it exceeded your expectations as well. I have to admit I’m the same as you, not really a Chaol fan, and that’s probably why I’ve put off reading this book for a while. But I’ve heard great things about Tower of Dawn and the fact that you rated it four bananas despite not liking Chaol’s character tells me I should probably get around to it soon as well. 🙂
    Great review, I especially loved your notes on Chaol’s character! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually like Chaol a lot (though, that just might be a side effect of hating all the other characters so much, lol) so I decided to pick this one up, despite being a hair’s breadth from ditching this series. I also found, to my surprise, that it was better than expected. I mean, I had my issues, but I still had a much better time than the previous two Throne of Glass books. Guess with one more book in the series to go, I might as well finish it up!

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  6. I had the exact same feelings about this book as you. I never like Chaol because of his self-righteousness and how he always made Aelin out to be a monster. This book made me like him a little bit more but I am still not a massive fan of him. I loved Sartaq, I thought he was an awesome character and I think he really complimented Nesryn and made her stand out more. I can’t wait for the final book whenever it comes out. I need closure and I need to know that my fire-breathing-bitch-queen is alright. Great review!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great review! I haven’t read it yet, but have been meaning to for some time. I love the Throne of Glass books, but Chaol honestly wasn’t my favorite character. So, perhaps this is why I’ve held off read Tower of Dawn for so long. I will definitely read it sometime before the seventh book comes out though! 🙂

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  8. I’ve never read Sarah J. Maas books, but actually, your ranting and gushing made me intrigued to pick it up! Just to see if I hate the bastard as much as you do lol Brilliant review! I looove how you weave your words ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Do you think this could possibly be read without reading the throne of Glass series? I like court of thorns and roses Maas not throne of Glass maas haha. I just could not get into that series for the life of me!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m glad you like this book! I personally couldn’t really get into the series, I stopped reading at book 2. But maybe I’ll get back to it one day 😀
    P.S: I don’t really like Chaol either haha 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great review! I’ve always hated Sarah J. Maas books with a hellish passion (because most of her characters are inconsistent and unlikable as heck), but I feel like your review is fair; she does some things really well, and I have to admit that as much as I don’t want to. Haven’t read this book yet, but now I’m tempted to!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re welcome! Ah I totally get that! Nah, it’s not necessary- I read it somewhere in the middle and while it was alright and added some flavour to the stories I already knew about, I feel like it’s probably not something to start with and would ruin some of the reveals that happen as the series progresses.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. I really hope you read this in public.

    Also, excellent use of the word twerp!

    Finally – great review. I’ve read nothing by Maas but I think some of these books are in the library so I might check them out (see what I did there? Check them… ok so I thought it was funny).

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I haven’t read anything by Maas but Chaol sounds… er… interesting 😀 Liked your quotes and despite you having some serious issues with the MC, it’s cool that you still enjoyed the book so much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear you don’t like Chaol! Honestly, most people don’t but I personally do and a lot! Probably because he’s so real and not perfect like the other characters in the series? Even if he’s immensely flawed to the point that I understand why people might not like him? I don’t know, there’s just something about him that I LOVE and always will, probably. Even if he can be a bit of a dick at times (who isn’t?) A lot more than Rowan, that’s for sure xD
    Now, I haven’t even read EoS yet so I can’t comment on that nor do I know how the story will play along but I’m very hopeful for this book. Especially after reading your review and realizing it’s very well written and has a major impact on the whole plot. Awesome news! Also, thank God the cringey sexual scenes are downplayed a bit. I don’t know why Maas thought it was a good idea in the first place *rolls eyes*
    I didn’t like Nesryn and Chaol together, although I did kind of think she was cool as a character. I thought they had zero chemistry and Maas was just randomly pushing them together because Rowaelin. But whatever, I’m open to other love interests (although, to me, he’ll always be Aelin’s one true love – look, I said it and I don’t regret it ok?)
    Amazing review, of course, and I’m super glad that you enjoyed this despite not being pro-Chaol at all! That shows a lot of commitment hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahah I always thought everyone else loved him! I think that’s fair enough. Like I said, I think that the all the characters are so well drawn, with flaws and distinct characteristics, that there’s bound to be some that you like and some that you don’t (a lot of people don’t like Celaena cos she’s good at lots of things, but Maas also made her arrogant and have a temper, which are very human flaws) Anyway, getting sidetracked, but I do hear where you’re coming from for sure. Like you said, the characters can be dicks and that’s just being human. I just don’t personally like the way he’s a dick 😉
      I definitely think that this was an improvement *and* that it was worth reading, so I’m very pleased with that. It’s a good book on its own merit! So definitely pick it up after EoS 😀 haha yes- I’m really not against sex scenes in general- I just don’t think they work in this series- and yeah, they were cringey. I’m glad they were left out tbh!
      Yeah I totally agree with you- that romance made *zero* sense- thankfully (and no spoilers) there are romances that make up for that here!
      hahaha fair enough!
      Thank you!! hehehe yes! I was really glad to have picked it up in the end 🙂


  15. The beginning part of this review made me laugh 😆 For some reason, despite being the biggest Sarah J. Maas fan before, after I reread the series and read Empire of Storms, I just lost interest in her characters and world. This has never happened to me before, but I think I just needed a break from heavy fantasy, perhaps? Anyways, your review brought Sarah J. Maas’s books back into my mind… When I’m in the mood for YA fantasy, I’ll definitely pick up Maas’s books again 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this review!! I was never a fan of Chaol even in the beginning of the series and in Queen of Shadows I was hoping someone would throw him in the river. This book gave him a wonderful heartbreaking redemption that every character deserves and I can’t wait to see how it will play in the last book.

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  17. I almost missed your review on this! So glad you liked this one. For me, Chaol was redeemed and I needed this book because I wanted to love him again so badly. He had turned into this horrible person in the other books and it broke my heart. Great review!


  18. I honestly thought that it might have been too much “cringey” sexual content that took one banana away hahah Glad you explained your relationship with this Chaol dude so much. He does sound like a despicable character who would be hard to read about and enjoy a book with him in it. Also awesome that you went into this book expecting to hate it a lot cause I think there’s nothing more satisfying than coming out of a book thinking it’ll suck only to enjoy it! 😀 Great review!

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  19. Great review! I’ve been putting of reading this book, partly because I haven’t read Empire of Storms yet, and partly because, like you, I think Chaol is a douche. You perfectly summed up how I feel about him! I’m glad that you were able to enjoy the book despite feeling this way, because I’ve been worried I won’t enjoy it because of Chaol haha!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, nope, definitely not alone in that – my hate for him really peaked in Queen of Shadows but I never liked him all that much because I just thought he was a total hypocrite. He is so judgy towards Celaena, yet he supports someone who is completely, unredeemably evil with total loyalty.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I feel the same about Chaol and you summed it up so well. Loved the culture and setting of this book as well. I don’t hate Chaol anymore but I feel his ship with that chic was rushed and they got married??? I also thought the “intimate” scenes in EOS were super corny.


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