Book Review: Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas

 

Caution: This Review contains SPOILERS! If you don’t want any spoilers, Click HERE

This is Book 6 of a series, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, please head to my Review page and find Throne of Glass.


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Name: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: September 5, 2017

 Synopsis

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.


Book Cover Comments

US Edition

I can’t stop fawning over the blue and gold contrast. We get to see a glimpse of Antica in a sapphire blue environment which is just gorgeous. And yes the god damn owl sigil that means so so so much in the book up to basically near the very very end

UK Edition

Best part of it? THE GOD DAMN WINGS

THOSE WINGS ARE ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS LIKE IF I CAN HAVE A PAIR OF WINGS IT’LL BE THOSE MAGNIFICENT BLUE ONES OK


The Actual Review

Should I be writing 2000 words for this thing like I did with Empire of Storms and Queen of Shadows? Maybe I really should to just keep up the GOD DAMN STANDARD.

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

Tower of Dawn is a book with a parallel timeline to Empire of Storms, happening at around the same time but taking place in the Southern Continent instead of the Northern Continent. ToD was a really different book for me, mainly probably because this story focuses on Chaol and Yrene instead of Aelin, so the entire feel was a bit lighter I suppose. Not saying that this book isn’t into some deep shit and tore my heart apart multiple times, but I think whenever we go into Aelin’s story, its just way more devastating.

“It is a reality of who you are- who we are. A choice all healers must make.”

As Sarah quoted in one of her ToD tours:
“Empire of Storms is a story of suffering…
Tower of Dawn is a story of healing.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
And because Tower of Dawn is indeed a story of healing, I have to say that this story doesn’t devastate me like Empire of Storms did. Its just really different, and both books are just absolutely magnificent.

“Know that wherever the road takes you, however dark, you will be alright.”

Sarah’s writing has never disappointed me, and I knew it was correct to stay true to my heart and ignore all the bullshit haters online about how this book that’s about Chaol is going to be absolute shit. Well, I’m here to prove you wrong because that’s not the case at all. It was also a really interesting decision to base Antica on the Mongolians, in which despite being a chicken’s body (China is often described in the shape of a rooster when including the Koreas as the beard) apart, I actually know nothing about the culture of the Mongolians other than the farmer tribes. And for Sarah to channel her grandma’s past into the book, it makes me want to understand more about the world.

Not the gold or red or blue of flame. But white like sunlight, clear and clean.
A flicker through the dark, arcing like lightning riding through the night…

Yes, as a person born in Hong Kong and have been fed Chinese history, I really don’t know enough about the Holocaust to make any judgment, but I want to learn more and understand more about what happened, and I’m happy that Sarah could bring up these types of topics. Not only is it rare to include an event that happened some time ago in history, but also to talk about such sensitive family events was really brave of her.

She had crossed mountains to be here.

There was so much healing going on in this book. Because Chaol’s book was originally meant to be a novella, I believe that the ending ended in a way that would wrap up the story to prepare for the finale, so I actually enjoyed how the ending ended in a more calming and peaceful way, and Chaol had finally untied the last of his knots in his pool of darkness.

But they had walked this far down the road. Together, She had not turned away. From any of it.
And neither would he.

Let’s start with the god damn ships. Now, because of how I read, which is, I always dead set a recurring cast for every single book I read. Let’s say my favorite girl in the entire universe is Beyonce, so whatever book I read, Feyre/Aelin/Clary/heroine will be played by Beyonce. And then let’s say my fav guy in the entire universe is Jay Z, so my main guy Rowan/lover-role is Jay Z. Now where does Chaol fit in? Unfortunately I’m greedy and I have another favorite guy in mind on par with Jay Z. You guessed it! Naruto. (jks its an example) And so I would clone Beyonce by giving her short hair (lets call her Sasha Fierce), so that Sasha Fierce would end up with Naruto. Originally I thought that the ship was going to be Chaol and Nesryn because of what happened in QoS and in the WHSmith’s EoS’s bonus story about Chaol and Nesryn near smut, then Sarah fucks up your mind by switching the tires and heading another direction. Say hello to Chaol x Yrene! I love them. I truly do love them. ITS JUST THAT FUCKING UP MY MIND WASN’T THE BEST IDEA. But reading the smut scene a few times helped.

“Maybe you and I will have to learn how to live- if we survive this war.”

Chaol and Yrene’s relationship is just beyond. I would love to call it on par in a way with Rowaelin. Wait we need a ship name first. Chaolrene? Ok that’s good. Yrene never gave the look of pity to Chaol, and during the process of healing Chaol, she discovers the darkness with him, and slowly finds the method to banish that darkness within, and learns to understand the power of the darkness and the negativity inside one’s self, and is the reason that chains the people who are infected with the Valg disease down.

Here, in the heart of a foreign land… Here, with her, he was home.

Realising the power of healing and light and fire versus the darkness caused by the Valg disease was really interesting. I greatly resonated with it, and I felt a deep connection with it. I personally connect it to the manga series “Freezing”. To sum up, Freezing is about girls who are implanted with parallel-universe-technology to battle insane supernatural monsters called “Novas”. At one point, an even stronger type of Nova came, but the girls had absolutely no way to take it down. The only way was to transcend and accept all parts of one’s self. And while the book didn’t directly talk about this aspect, I kinda perceive it as this way. You co-exist with your darkness. It feeds off of you but it also sustains you. But don’t let it overtake you. And when Yrene also learns to heal herself, to accept and to understand, and then oh lords the chemistry blooms.

“Then get up.”

Chaol has been through absolutely so much. He was shattered by Celaena’s words back in Crown of Midnight. He had walls put up in front of him continuously, in Heir of Fire, in Queen of Shadows. What really held Chaol back was really himself. He didn’t face himself and in a sense, ran away, and gave himself limitations and clipped his own wings, naming himself with negativity. I was really glad to see that in that final part when Chaol healed. I really see that sort of Heir of Fire mirror effect there. Chaol faced every single event that broke him, and understands that no matter how wrong some of his decisions might be, those he hurt have forgiven him and will be always waiting for him. And that in the end, Chaol needs to accept himself and move on with everything that has happened to him. It is all a part of him that makes him Chaol.

His. She was his, and he had never had anything he could call such. Wanted to call such.

NOW ISN’T THAT TOUCHING.
IT IS.

Effing royals of Antica. Throughout the book, basically except Sartaq, none of these stupid siblings were predictable at all. All of them had their ups and downs and I wanted to die knowing that I don’t know the motive behind each of the characters. But in the end, each of us just wants to protect what’s most precious to us, and despite not belonging in the ToG world, I am forever grateful for the choices that Hasar and Kashin made.

Wind-seeker, her mother had called her.

Ok Nesryn and Sartaq hello we must not ignore this. Nestaq? Saryn? At first I was heartbroken and frustrated to see Chaol as such a dick and kissing Yrene and basically abandoning Nesryn despite shipping them, but I’m glad to see that Nesryn found her ending as well. I really enjoyed her journey in the mountains and flying with the ruks. I think that I knew from the moment she sang in that cave that she found a place that she belonged. Borte, one of the characters in the mountains, really reminds me of Mor in a way. I believe it was also her who said “welcome home”.

Borte smiled over a shoulder at Nesryn. “Then welcome home.”

(CROSS SERIES REFERENCE HAHAHA JKS) so I was really touched by that. Honestly though, preach Nesryn. She was so brave to step away from the boundaries of Chaol so that she too can possibly find her own wings and have nothing hold her down. And she did. Go female power <3Borte smiled over a shoulder at Nesryn. “Then welcome home.”

“We will go to war, Nesryn Faliq, And when the darkness is at last banished from this world… Then you and I will fly back here. Together.”
She heard the offer, the promise.
The world he laid at her feet.

Now I’m not exactly a crier, but I wanted to see tears coming out of eye sockets when Chaol’s toes wiggled, when Nesryn found Sartaq, when Chaol declared Yrene as his wife and that Yrene belongs to him and he belongs to Yrene. ESPECIALLY when Falkin, our new found shapeshifter heard the beautiful news from Nesryn. That I truly wanted to cry about. Falkin’s last ties to anyone, his niece, and how Lysandra is his last family…

“She is my family. All I have left. And I have looked for her for a very long time.”

Honestly though all these relationships somewhat reminds me of what Bianca Del Rio said in her movie, “Hurricane Bianca”, regarding everyone knowing everyone or everyone related to everyone in some sort of way:combine_images.jpg

Onto the god damn revelations in this book. I’m going to screenshot one of my twitter convos with my buddies @SJMaasOC and @SJMaasTHL.Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 1.25.20 AM.png

Maeve is so far the biggest beef and drama in the millennium of Erilea and the Southern Continent. This prick managed to hide from everything so that the Valg Kings might never find her. However, there is a slight mix feeling about this entire situation, because number one say hello to female empowerment with Maeve being a super lit Valg Queen that overpowers three Valg Kings. Also secondly she technically wants to tell Erawan to go shit himself and fuck off. But still Maeve locked Aelin up so fml.

“We wait for the Queen of the Valg,” the spider purred, rubbing against the carving, who in this world calls herself Maeve.”

THE LAST EPILOGUE CHAPTER FIREHEART HOLY SHITTING OF MOTHER JESUS

“So that you might face it, defeat it. So you might go where you feared most to tread, and decide whether, at last, you were ready to fight back.”

When Nesryn and Sartaq were trapped in the stygian spiders’ lair and then learned all this crap, I was in shock. Literally. I wanted to yell out “what the fuck” but my mom had guests so unfortunately I couldn’t. Also swearing not encouraged for a “quiet and kind and polite girl” like me. Duvas revelation too, freaked me out. Not by a lot, but it helps fit a lot of the pieces that goes on in the story together. While not a revelation to the reader, can we take some time to appreciate the god damn ending?

“Turns out,” Hasar mused, “there are quite a few people who think highly of her. And who believe in what she’s selling.”
“Which is what?” Yrene whispered.
Hasar smiled to herself. “A better world.”

When Chaol realised that despite the tough times he has been through, despite the hatred he seemed to have received, in some way, Celaena and Aelin were always watching over him, and that despite those rough times, because of the Queen who destroys and creates, a Queen who hopes for a better world, who keeps everything to herself because of her loyalty, would be the one to tie Chaol’s thread of fate to Yrene.

He had been so afraid-so afraid of magic, of loss, of everything. He had clung so hard, had fought against it, and it had cost him everything.

I also wanted to address the fandom/non-fandom people being so sensitive about Chaol being in a wheelchair. I think its great that we include people of different situations into books. This kind of equality is really rarely seen in books, and not only do I enjoy challenging myself to imagine what a character in a wheelchair would be like, I also learn to understand those who are in a wheelchair more and think about my own past events as well. In Chaol’s situation, I just want to say that him being in a wheelchair just helped him realize so much about himself, and if it wasn’t for that, then his fate and destiny right now would never have happened. I myself have been in a wheelchair for a month because of a knee infection. I understand the feeling that Chaol goes through. I feel lonely and pathetic when I couldn’t participate in activities other could, couldn’t join other people for lunch and had to wait for it to be fetched from the cafeteria. I think the representation of Chaol being in a wheelchair in this book further assists Chaol’s emotional healing of accepting himself.

But he remained before him, still smiling faintly. Waiting.
This was not the end.
He had one promise left.

Really, if Tower of Dawn isn’t a book filled with emotional healings and acceptance, then it would never be Tower of Dawn.

It was hope that stood beside him. Hidden and protected these years in this city, and in the years before it, spirited across the earth by the gods themselves, concealed from the forces poised to destroy her.

A gift from a queen who had seen another woman in hell and thought to reach back a hand.
Every moment of despair and rage and pain.
It had led him to precisely where he needed to be.
Where he wanted to be.

Tower of Dawn is a book filled with emotional healing and the learning of accepting one’s self, to accept the darkness and the shadow of one’s self and to live alongside it. The opposite of the chaos in Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn the calm before the final storm, the eve of the war. But despite war looming ahead, Tower of Dawn the fire that lights up the paths of future, and is a beacon in the form of hope.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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