Guilty as charged, but when I found out that instead of getting the conclusion to the Throne of glass series we would be getting a full 700 page Chaol novel, I wasn’t thrilled. Since the first Throne of Glass novel, I just never really clicked with him? I tend to prefer my book characters to be in the grey with regards to their morality, like Aelin from this very series or Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows for instance. I don’t tend to enjoy characters who are just one thing, in Chaol’s instance: he is a solider who likes to protect everyone and has very moral views on the world and what is right and wrong. He was very serious and sulky and that was my problem: he was just too serious and sulky. Since he first met Aelin, he has been the typical brooding, stoic soldier character, whilst I did enjoy his dynamics with Dorian (one of my favourite characters) he was a bit boring? And then we have what happened between him and Aelin. I absolutely adore Aelin. I know some find her deplorable, she does what she wants, doesn’t tell anyone her plans, can be selfish and loves herself. But I love her character traits, the fact that she knows she is beautiful I admire. The fact that some readers don’t like her because of this just demonstrates that we as a society don’t love ourselves enough, it was nice to read a character that knew she was attractive for once. As oppose to the everyday ‘needs to meet a man who then tells her she is beautiful so then she believes it’. No Aelin knows she is beautiful and I love it!. I digress, Chaol and Aelin’s relationship was very flawed (not that Rowan and Aelin’s relationship is perfect, far from it) and I then started to dislike Chaol even more because of how much I like Aelin (petty? maybe!)
So back to my original point, I always just found Chaol a bit boring and I wasn’t too excited for Tower of Dawn aka a whole book dedicated to someone I didn’t really like. I hate to suddenly be that person, but once again Sarah J Maas has proved me wrong. Cynical I was, yet here I am sat here admitting: I-actually-kind-of-really-like-Chaol-now. Miracles do happen. In Tower of Dawn, Sarah J Maas turns the Throne of Glass series from a fantasy epic wild enough to challenge Lord of the Rings into a character driven novel that is ultimately about relationships.
Picking up from Queen of Shadows (book four) tower of dawn follows Chaol, who was seriously wounded during the destruction of the Glass Castle, and is now King Dorian’s ambassador. Travelling with Nesryn Faliq, successor as Captain of the Adarlan Royal Guard. Together they arrive at the Khagan’s Court, a potential ally against the demon armies on the continent of Erilea. Also to bring now wheelchair bound Chaol to the best healers of Antica, he comes under the care of Yrene Towers, a gifted healer. To treat Chaol, both himself and Yrene must confront their anger and each other. There is intrigue at court and negotiations for weapons and allies are very complicated. With a malevolent presence walking the halls of the Khagan empire and seemingly after Yrene, is it connected to Chaol’s mission to stop the dark forces they need the allies for? a lot of build up and tension in TOD stems from the fact that we now know things other characters don’t and what will happen when everyone finally comes together. Romance is also involved in Tower Of Dawn, playing a larger role than it has to date in the other novels. Mainly due to Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene — being more bound by how they treat the people they love than Aelin.
Although it is ‘Chaol’s Novel’ the female characters is where TOD is really good. Yrene Towers - which readers will recognise from one of the stories in The Assassin’s Blade, Nesryn Faliq, the archer who joined Aelin’s crew. Even Borte, the bawdy ruk rider, who I adored. All of the women come together and form a diverse and broad cast of women. I loved all of them.
I adored the fact that we now see Yrene thrive, and I actually got goosebumps and all kinds of emotions when Chaol gave Yrene the locket for her birthday. This then led to Yrene telling Chaol her full story about the mysterious stranger who saved her - we know it is Aelin- and what she carries in her pocket is the note Aelin wrote Yrene. It is now placed in Chaol’s locket, so in some way Chaol and Aelin have worked together to give Yrene her new life and I think that is beautiful. One of my favourite quotes is during this exchange when Chaol tells Yrene ‘whoever she is, I will be forever grateful’ as they still don’t know it was Aelin (but we do and I loved this fact so much, one of my favourite bits of the whole novel, maybe series?)
So I have tried to keep this review mainly spoiler free, which is why I have left our glaringly obvious plot devices and a lot of important things that happened. This review would also be 1000 pages long. Sarah J Maas yet again triumphs and astounds me with inspirational female characters and a whole host of new characters to love! I highly recommend Tower of Dawn and think it is one of the best books in the Throne of Glass series, so get reading!