Let’s start with a little bit of background first:
Tower of Dawn is about Chaol – a character that behaved somehow questionably in book 2, Crown of Midnight, of the Throne of Glass series (ToG). His side of the story was never told, his character forgotten for following two books. He was featured again in book 5, Empire of Storms, of this series but somehow was really ‘not in it’ so to speak.
Empire of Storms ended up very dramatically. It left me craving its sequel straight away.
Well guess what: we were told that Chaol would have a standalone book and we would have to wait for two more years for the sequel of Empire of Storms. I was not over the moon about it, that’s for sure.
I thought Tower of Dawn was just some form of filler, skipped it and started reading Kingdom of Ash – the final book of the ToG series. Only to realise I forgot majority of its characters’ names and that there were some characters I did not know about. 😉
This also happened to be during the time when I started buddy reading Kingdom of Ash with Leslie. Leslie was kind enough to tell me that Tower of Dawn is a part of this series and is kind of good to read… seriously, I am the worst buddy reader ever, consider yourself warned if you ever fancy buddy reading with me! 😉
Anyhow, off I went and grudgingly started reading about a character that I did not remember much of in order to finish the ToG series. What a great start, eh? 🙂
It may be that I am just drifting away from Maas in general but I found her overused “manhood” and “maleness” slightly disturbing and it really bothered me how “beautiful” her main characters were. It was really getting on my nerves as it was completely unnecessary. I thought that the focus on characters’ appearances distracted us from their behaviour. I found that to be rather regretful as there were all interesting characters.
Chaol is going through a tough inner battle – he is learning how to deal with his relatively new condition as well as his unresolved past. His hate aimed towards himself gets explored.
Yrene, a powerful healer, who is assigned to help him, is fighting her own battles and turns out to be a rather likeable new character. So why focus on how gorgeous she is rather than actually highlight even more her selflessness and her need to help others despite of how she feels about them?
I somehow felt that the purpose of this book is to redeem Chaol and to give him a new love interest. Sure, there was a bit of a side plot going on, but the main focus was on the tension between Chaol and Yrene.
I wanted more of Chaol. He was a soldier his entire life and due to a recently received severe injury, that identity was stripped away from him. That left him with facing a brand his new future, which was uncertain. Which automatically put him into a very vulnerable category. I felt that was a great opportunity to explore.
Yet I felt that it wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked it to be. It only touched its surface. I was also not happy that he got somehow saved by love. Sure, love heals as it connects us with others. But the most important type of love is self-love. Self-acceptance was touched on but again, it did not get fully explored.
I got a sense that Chaol grew though and I really appreciated that. I just wanted a little bit more of that inner battle, exploration of one’s fears and perhaps even a slightly different, a bit more realistic, ending.
On the other hand, Maas has this ability to draw me in. I know she is overly dramatic, her beautification of characters annoys the heck out of me yet I cannot put her books down. And I keep on buying further instalments in her series.
There is something addictive that I always get hooked on. I am saying all of those things above yet I carry on reading her books. 🙂
So I am not judging anyone who enjoys these books because I do as well. I am just purely sharing my thoughts after I had time digest what I just read.
I felt Tower of Dawn was certainly a big improvement from her previous books as it included more diverse characters, started touching on what it means having to rethink our identities and minimised the amount of sex scenes that Maas likes to indulge in and I cannot help rolling my eyes about.
Despite 600+ pages, I finished this book fairly quickly and will definitely be reading its sequel, Kingdom of Ash shortly.
Over to you my friends.
Do you enjoy Sarah J. Maas’ books?
And if so, what are your thoughts of Tower of Dawn?