Author: Sarah J. Maas
Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Audiobook Length: 22 hours 39 minutes
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.
Tower of Dawn is the sixth novel in the Throne of Glass series. As the story takes place at the same time as Empire of Storms, some readers choose to read them together, Empire before Tower, or Tower before Empire. For me, I kept with the publication order and read this one after Empire of Storms. This story follows Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq who have travelled to Antica. On the Southern continent, they are seeking an alliance with the Khagan and a master healer to help Chaol’s wounds after events in Rifthold.
Since Aelin and her part of the story is not in this novel, there are readers who did not like this one. There are also those that are not fans of Chaol, which means they would not enjoy this book. For me, I liked Chaol in the beginning and felt that Maas did him a huge disservice to make him unlikable in order to push the Rowan-Aelin relationship. There are some decisions and reacations that he makes in the earlier novels where I can see how he got to this point, but there was always something off, for me. Any negatives in his personality felt very forced to make him fit just right into the master plan rather than a natural progression to get him to this point. For me, I was excited to see Maas give him some attention and, hopefully restore the character that was introduced at the beginning of the series.
Most of the story introduces new relationships and sets the stage for the final novel, so the pacing is a lot slower. It’s a fairly character-driven story compared to plot as it gives Chaol and Nesryn their next step before every character becomes involved in the conclusion. Yrene Towers is the healer assigned to assist Chaol. This character was introduced in the prequel novella, The Assassin and the Healer (a part of The Assassin’s Blade novella collection book). As all of the characters from the prequels slowly make their appearances and importances known as the series moves forward, it was amazing to finally see how Yrene fits in to everything. With her healing abilities, she is an important part of the story with great reason to be wary of Chaol. They begin as enemies, but Yrene reluctantly agrees to heal Chaol and the two of them slowly lower their guards. Without the prequel novella, this novel in itself doesn’t provide a ton of backstory into Yrene. This means that her hatred of Adarlan may not have the same impact if a reader did not complete the novella.
The King of Khagan has six children: Arghun (oldest), Sartaq (second older and leader of the Rukhin riders), Hasar (third oldest), Kashin (fourth oldest), Duva (fifth oldest), and Tumelun (the youngest). All six children play a role in some way or another in the series, but it’s Sartaq that is the focus in this one as he begins to develop a relationship with Nesryn. As the two of them spend more time together, they become closer. Since I was not a fan of Chaol and Nesryn, I enjoyed that Nesryn finally found a decent match and I greatly enjoyed their relationship.
Valgs play another role in this story where it ties together Maeve, Yrene, and many other characters. (I do not want to go into detail for fear of spoiling anything.) The story focuses on three main aspects, character/relationship development, Valgs, and politics. There is a nice mix of the three elements, but, again, it is a slower paced story. For this reason, I think in a re-read, I would switch the order and read this before Empire. The entire story, and especially Chaol and Yrene’s relationship reminded me a lot of Lord of the Rings where Éowyn and Faramir met in the Houses of Healing while the other characters marched on the Black Gate. While not the most action-packed, it is a necessary part of the overall story. I cannot wait to read the final installment and finally see how everything comes together!