Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pub date: Sep. 2017 (read Sep. 2017)
It’s only been a year since I read Tower of Dawn, and it’s my least favourite book of the series, so I decided not to re-read it prior to Kingdom of Ash. Instead I read this recap of the book to remind myself of any major plot points I might have forgotten. But since I did write a review for Tower of Dawn last year that I never published on my blog (only goodreads), I decided to do a few edits and post here prior to Kingdom of Ash! Disclaimer, it is a bit of scathing review… this really wasn’t my favourite book.
Well this book was pretty much exactly what I expected. I was skeptical about the whole novella-turned-novel idea; this story absolutely didn’t fit in Empire of Storms, but it also didn’t need a whole 700 page novel devoted too it.
This book was just straight up too long. I feel like Maas has lost her ability to write 400 page books. She’s had so much success (and deservedly so, I love both her series), but she doesn’t seem to be able to cap things off anymore and understand that sometimes less is actually more. Just because you can write 700 pages, doesn’t mean you should. The book picked up a lot in the second half, but the first half was pretty slow moving and honestly, pretty boring. I think we all knew it was going to take a long time for Chaol to heal physically and emotionally, but god it just dragged on and on.
I absolutely loved Chaol in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, but I haven’t been that much of a fan in the later books and his character doesn’t improve in Tower of Dawn. I just really don’t like the way Maas wrote him. Chaol had a sorry lot handed to him in Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, so I sympathized with him, but I didn’t buy into his supposed “growth” in this book. I was happy to see him forgive himself for everything that happened in the series (Nehemia’s death, the death of his men, Dorian) – he blamed himself for a lot of things that really weren’t his fault and I thought Aelin blamed him unfairly too. But despite all his growth, he was really awful to both Nesryn and Yrene.
I wasn’t too sorry or surprised to see things go sideways with Nesryn so quickly because I never really bought their relationship and always thought she was a bit of a rebound for Chaol and a way for Maas to console her readers after immediately hooking Aelin up with Rowan. But Chaol was pretty shitty to both Nesryn and Yrene in Tower of Dawn. I know he was so caught up in feeling sorry for himself, but that was no excuse for the way he treated the only 2 people in his life that cared about him. Am I just supposed to pretend like it doesn’t matter that he broke all of his promises to Nesryn just because she fell in love with someone else too? Hell no! Nesryn knew Chaol was using her to fill a void in his life and yet she still helped him and didn’t pursue anything with Sartaq until after she returned to Antica. She deserved better Chaol! Plus I found his whole relationship with Yrene possessive. I do not dig the whole “She is mine and I am hers” thing Maas has going on with the characters in half her books (Aelin/Rowan, Feyre/Rhys). Honestly, I don’t know how the same author who wrote the feminist, dreamboat of a character that is Rhysand could write Chaol so poorly.
Props for Nesryn and Yrene though. I really liked Nesryn in this book. I found her kind of forgettable in the past and I liked how she really came into herself in this book.
That said, Tower of Dawn had some fun elements to it. The whole creeping around the library was reminiscent of the first book and I liked the mystery aspect. It’s hard to keep up though, every time I think I have all these ancient kings and queens figured out and think I might know where the book is going, Maas throws me for a total loop. I don’t know if things might be a little too convoluted? We’ll have to wait and see how she clues things up in the final book.
Anyways, there were definitely aspects of the book that I liked, but overall, TOO LONG. I won’t be sorry to return to Aelin in Kingdom of Ash.