Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas {Book Review}

This past July, I ripped through the Throne of Glass series (up to Empire of Storms) in just over a week. And, as I mentioned already, I absolutely loved it. After I finished EoS, I decided that I needed a break from the chaos of the TOG universe, and instead re-read the Divergent series for the tenth time, and then the Selection series for the third time because I am a creature of habit and I take comfort in knowing exactly what is going to happen in a book. One of the main reasons why I delayed Tower of Dawn, however, was because I was sure I would rip through it as well, and then have to wait in agony for a few months before Kingdom of Ash was released.

Caution: minor spoilers, but this book is over a year old so I feel like at this point it’s not a spoiler because you should have read it already.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
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.
— Goodreads

To be entirely candid, I did not rip through Tower of Dawn. It wasn’t for lack of trying; I am really invested in Chaol’s character and the role that he plays in the overall story, and since this book was almost entirely about his journey, it should have been a no-brainer.

Reader, it was not a no-brainer.

I found the first third of the book to be heavy in words but light in story, and I slogged through it a few pages at a time when I could find the attention span for it. It felt like it was a LOT, like it was trying so hard to be the connector between the first five books and the final installment that it became too much. The timeline didn’t make sense to me until the last third of the book when Aelin and the pirates are mentioned, and even then the entire book spans only a few months but so much happens that it’s overwhelming. At the same time, though, it wasn’t enough. New plot points and characters were introduced so rapidly that it felt like a standalone book, with this new world that had to be built, rather than the sixth in a series.

But. BUT.

By the last third I was entirely hooked, and I loved the way the characters grew and changed and adapted by the end of the story. And that’s the point, isn’t it? The second-to-last book is the setup for the game-winning spike, and as long as you get there and it’s a successful setup, that’s what counts. This book was necessary in order to get Chaol’s character to the point where he can and will fight for the world in the last book, and to finally end the Chaol-Celaena romantic connection once and for all, but in the end I didn’t love it as much as I had expected to.

My rating: on it’s own, I’d say this was a 3 star book. In the context of the series, however, I’d bump it up to 3.5 stars because it did what it needed to do in order for Kingdom of Ash to happen.