All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Tower Of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

on January 24, 2020

Tower Of Dawn (Throne Of Glass #6)
Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury ANZ
2017, 660p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

A glorious empire. A desperate quest. An ancient secret.

Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea’s last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the legendary Torre Cesme for the wounds that Chaol received in Rifthold. 

After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help a young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need – and will honour it. But Lord Westfall carries darkness from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realise it could engulf them both.

And deep in the shadows of distant mountains, where warriors soar on mighty ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival – or doom them all. 

So I think I bought this book when it came out – well over two years ago now. But I never got around to reading it. Although I really enjoy this series and the fifth book in particular I found to be amazing, the truth is…..I just don’t like Chaol. I never really have. I wasn’t a fan of him in the first book as Captain of the Guard, I wasn’t a fan of him when he and Celaena/Aelin were a thing and when I heard that this book was going to revolve around him specifically (it takes place simultaneously with #5, in a different location) I just wasn’t into it. I couldn’t stand the thought of being in his head for some 600+ pages. And I know Nesryn is there too, to sort of balance it out but it took me a long time to finally read this. I started it about 18 months ago and read 150 or so pages before we had to move house. And then I put it down to move and just didn’t pick it up again. But with a new book from Sarah J. Maas coming out in March or April, the first in a new series, I wanted to go in with a clean slate. So that meant finishing this series and finishing this series meant finally reading Tower of Dawn so that I could then read Kingdom of Ash.

In this book, Chaol and Nesryn have sailed by ship to the Southern Continent in order to convince the ruler, the Khagan to pledge them his vast air, sea and land armies in order to help Aelin. Also the healers there are incredibly gifted and they are hoping that they may be able to help Chaol, who is still paralysed from the waist down. When they arrive, they find themselves lacking in pertinent information – the Khagan’s youngest child is dead and the family are in mourning. The remaining siblings fulfil vital roles within the Khagan’s empire (leaders of armies, head of intelligence etc) and neither of them seem particularly inclined to go to war for people they don’t know to help a country they haven’t been to. They know enough stories about the previous King and what he did, how he ruled, to make them extraordinarily wary. But the Khagan offers them hospitality and puts his healers at Chaol’s disposal. Enter Yrene, who experienced terrible things at the hands of Adarlan soldiers, so she’s pretty reluctant to help one.

I found a lot of the early interactions between Chaol and Yrene incredibly tedious. I really had to push through probably the first 200-250p of this book. Most of the Khagan’s offspring are pretty irritating too and I had only intended to read half of it on one day and then finish it the next, breaking it into two pretty reasonable 330p chunks. But I found that once I got to that 300p mark, things started getting pretty interesting. Nesryn and Sartaq (one of the Khagan’s sons and leader of their sky armies, the ruk riders) struck up a friendship I enjoyed, with the promise of more. I really like descriptions of the ruk and the bond that they share with their riders and experiencing that through Nesryn’s eyes as a novice, was fantastic. Also I always end up invested in a side romance and in this book, it was Sartaq’s “hearth-sister” and her betrothed. They are hilarious and I wish there’d been a couple more scenes featuring them. Sartaq and Nesryn are looking for information and find that the problems in the ruk rider communities are tied into the mysterious attempts on Yrene’s life and also, the greater war itself. The section with the spiders gave me anxiety but it was also the first time that I felt the plot was driven forward in a meaningful way. The first 300 or so pages is pretty slow – a lot of boring court talk, Chaol and Yrene bickering etc but get past that and they finally start getting some answers about the Valg, learn some new and definitely very important things and it’s finally revealed how the palace has been infiltrated. And so I found that once I got to that second half, I wanted to find out what was going on so I ended up reading the entire thing in a day, late into the night.

I think I ended up enjoying this more than I thought, mostly due to Nesryn and Sartaq and the overall tying together of story threads and the learning of information. I did still find the first portion a bit of a slog but I’m glad I ended up pushing through and now I’m ready to read Kingdom Of Ash next month and return to Aelin and the rest of the gang and see where this goes and how it all plays out.


Book #12 of 2020

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