Updated: Jan 24
Tower of Dawn
by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury
Book 6 in the Throne of Glass series
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 famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.
After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need—and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.
In this sweeping parallel novel to the New York Times bestselling Empire of Storms, Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene will have to draw on every scrap of their resilience if they wish to save their friends. But while they become entangled in the political webs of the khaganate, deep in the shadows of mighty mountains where warriors soar on legendary ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival—or doom them all . . .
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violent High-Fantasy Thrilling
Steamy New Adult Emotional
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas is the sixth book in her Throne of Glass series, and centers around three characters: Chaol Westfall, former Guard of the King, now Hand of King Dorian, Nesryn Faliq, former city guard in Rifthold, now Guard of King Dorian, and Yrene Towers, a gifted healer assumed to take over for the Healer on High at the famous Torre Cesme. While the events in Empire of Storms take place, we jump across the sea, to a new empire, where not only does Chaol seek healing from his paralysis from a very reluctant Yrene, but Nesryn and Chaol must immerse themselves into court politics, and try to convince that khaganate to fight with Aelin and Dorian. Add in the emotional turmoil from the trauma in the series to date, romantic entanglements, and new knowledge and answers that will help in the war, we get Tower of Dawn.
I was worried. Won't lie. To get the cliffhanger that we did in Empire of Storms, then to go back months in time, and write Chaol's, Nesryn's, and newcomer to the series, Yrene Towers' stories, parallel to Empire of Storms story was a risky move for Sarah J Maas, but an important one. I feel it worked out, honestly. I personally enjoy Chaol's character and his potential, and it didn't bother me to focus on his story for a bit. To focus on healing, and trying to find allies within the Khaganate, which is proving to be more than difficult. I was worried also because I never really felt a connection to Nesryn, and the idea of reading too much from her perspective filled me with boredom. Tower of Dawn's ultimate theme is healing, and turns out, Nesryn needed to heal herself, to feel freedom from a kingdom that hasn't treated her and her family kindly, to show us who she is as a person. Turns out, she is enjoyable once she finds that piece of herself. And I am always wary of newcomers, especially this far into the series. But it worked. While the story continued on another continent, the stories flowed well within one another (we get a perspective of the timeline with reports of Aelin and her doings come in). The Valg, the war, is still a heavy weight on our characters shoulders, even in what seems like a utopia, so while a large part of the book revolves around Chaol's healing, it all is connected, and the answers to long mysteries become startlingly clear. Tower of Dawn could have been boring. It could have been a filler to make the wait for the finale longer. It wasn't though.
It is essential to the series.
I know some people give Chaol's character flack, and that has always bothered me. No one is perfect. Chaol may have been guard to the King, but he wasn't doing it for the king, but for the future King, Dorian. While he knew of some of the horrible things his King did, he was left unaware of most of it. Chaol is a person of honor, and it's been obvious since the second book, that he has been deeply troubled. Broken. Felt his honor was ripped to shreds. Felt unworthy and worthless. In simple terms, Chaol has been depressed for a long time, and it was obvious from the time Celaena/Aelin tried to kill him in a fit of grief and despair. Add on top of that his injuries, being confined to a chair ... well, Chaol's journey is a dark one. This book very much goes into how mental health affects your physical health. Enter Yrene. A very gifted healer who suffers from her own trauma from the King. Very reluctant to heal Chaol, she goes through with it, as a final test from the Healer on High, and learns she herself, needs to heal from the trauma she endured. Spoiler ahead--------> I loved Yrene's and Chaol's arc, going from reluctant patient/healer, to friends, to lovers .... then married. Their chemistry was great, not forced, and I loved the journey they went on together. Not just the romance, but the healing within. I can't wait to see what the future holds for them. <--------.
Nesryn was a pleasant surprise to read, especially with her interactions with Prince Sartaq, who seems more at home with rukhin and the people who ride them, with his northern army, than he does at the palace with his blood family. Nesryn's personal journey in finding herself, embracing what makes her happy, flowed nicely with the story as a whole, so it didn't feel like we were stepping away from the focus, which is the war. --------> I also loved the romance between Nesryn and Sartaq. They seem like a perfect fit, especially after the forced chemistry between Nesryn and Chaol. Those two make better friends, and they knew it long before they found their true partners. The fact that Sartaq essentially proposes to Nesryn before they even kiss, says a lot about their love. Who knew that the strong and controlled city guard would become future empress? Seems fitting that two people who love their home so much would be chosen to lead the empire, and end the brutal traditions of rivalry between siblings. <-----------.
Tower of Dawn was a risky move for Sarah J Maas, to deviate so far from where she left Empire of Storms. This risky move worked out for her. We have answers to mysteries, more information to be decoded, and a massive army to aid in the war. And now that Chaol and Nesryn are coming home, with that army, and futures to look forward to, it brings a happy outlook to the next book, which I am sure will be treading in darker waters. With that, let's head to the final book shall we?
Yrene's and Chaol's first meeting
Yrene making it possible for Chaol to ride horses again
Chaol helping teach the girls self defense
Chaol moving his toes
Chaol and Yrene at the party
Nesryn released Chaol from any promises he made her, and flying off with Sartiq
Yrene running to Chaol's room when she was being followed because she knew he could help her despite being in a chair
Nesryn meeting Borte
Choal and Yrene going to dinner
Yrene and Chaol's fight that leads to his taking his first steps.
Yrene and Chaol's first kiss
Yrene pushing Hasar off her chair and into the pool
Chaol's gift to Yrene
Chaol and Yrene making love
Sartaq sacrificing himself to save Nesryn
Yrene healing Chaol, and declaring their love for each other
Nesryn saving Sartaq
Sartaq telling Yrene he loves her, and proposing
Chaol and Yrene getting married!
Where to Buy
Paperback (Amazon Canada)
Hardcover (Amazon Canada)
Throne of Glass Boxed Set (Chapters/Indigo)
"For wherever you need to go - and then some. The world needs more healers."
Yrene: "Are you capable of using your manhood?"
He tried not to flinch. Even Nesryn blinked at the frank questions.
he said tightly, fighting the heat rising in his cheeks.
She looked between them, assessing.
Yrene: "Have you used it to completion?"
He clenched his jaw
Chaol: "How is that relevant?"
And how had she gleaned what was between them?
Yrene only wrote something down.
Chaol: "What are you writing?"
Yrene: "I'm writing a giant no."
Which she then underlined.
Yrene: "Shall you remove your boots or shall I?"
Chaol: "I'll do it. Pants, too?"
Chaol knew he should be kind, should beseech her to help him, and yet -
Yrene: "After a drink or two, I think."
Then looked over her shoulder to a bemused Nesryn.
Chaol: "Why are you apologizing to her?"
Yrene: "I assume she has the misfortune of sharing your bed these days."
Chaol stared up at the arched, painted ceiling as Yrene poked and prodded his pectorals, the muscles of his abdomen, those along his ribs. She reached the vee of muscles leading beneath his pants, kept moving lower
Yrene shot him an incredulous look
Yrene: "Is there something you're particularly embarrassed for me to see?"
Oh, she certainly had some fight in her, this Yrene Towers from Fenharrow
Yrene: "What happened?"
Chaol: "We met someone. Who set us all down a path I fought against until is cost me and others much. Too much. So you may look at me with resentment, Yrene Towers, and I will not blame you for it. But believe me when I say there is no one in Erilea who loathes me more than I do myself."
Yrene: "For the path you found yourself forced down?"
Chaol: "For fighting that path to begin with - for the mistakes I made in doing so."
Hasar: "Ghastly beast."
Sartaq: "Hasar is still sore that Kadara tried to eat her when they first met."
Hasar rolled her eyes
Kashin: "You could hear her screeching from the harbor."
Nesryn: "The princess or the ruk?"
Sartaq laughed, a startled, bright sounds, his cool eyes lighting.
Kashin grinned at Nesryn
Yrene: "The girls are deeply shaken. There hasn't been an intruder in the Torre for a great while. I think it would go a long way if you were to join me tomorrow - to teach what you know."
For a long moment, he stared at her. Blinked.
Chaol: "You realize I'm in this chair."
Yrene: "And? Your mouth still works."
He blinked again.
Chaol: "They may not find me the most reassuring instructor -"
Yrene: "No, they'll likely be swooning and sighing over you so much they'll forget to be afraid."
Yrene: "I once lived in fear of other people. I let other people walk all over me just because I was too afraid of the consequences for refusing. I did not know how to refuse. The day I reached these shores, I cast aside that girl. And I will be damned if I let her reemerge. Or let someone tell me what to do with my life, my choices again."
Nesryn: "She and Dorian both possess considerable magic. But I would say it is their intelligence that is the stronger weapon. Brute power is useless without it."
Sartaq: "It's dangerous without it."
Sartaq: "There is beauty in my father's lands, but there is much lurking beneath the surface, too."
Chaol: "So, that's the line. You can stomach helping me, but I can't return the favor. Or can't do anything that steps beyond your idea of what - who I am."
Aelin would likely have laughed to see him now. The man who had stumbled out of her room after she'd declared that her cycle had arrived. Now sitting in this fine room, mostly naked and not giving a shit about it.
Yrene: "You're as stubborn as an ass."
Chaol: "I've been called worst."
There had been a moment, when he had hurled his sword into the Avery. When he had been unable to bear it's weight at his side, in his hand, and had chucked it and everything the Captain of the Guard had been, had meant, into the dark, eddying waters.
He'd been sinking and drowning since. Long before his spine.
He wasn't even certain if he'd even tried to swim. Not since that sword had gone into the river.
Yrene: "The Torre is a place of learning and people with your injury do not come often - not when we usually have to go to them. I was showing the acolytes things that might help with untold numbers of patients in the future."
Chaol: "Yes, your prized, shattered horse. Look how well broken I am to you. How docile."
Yrene: "I did not mean that, and you know it."
He ripped off his shirt, nearly tearing it at the seam as he hauled it over his head.
Chaol: "Was it some sort of punishment? For serving the king? For being from Adarlan?"
Yrene: "No. It was precisely what I just said: I wanted to show them."
Chaol: "I didn't want you to show them."
Chaol: "I didn't want you to parade me around. To let them handle me. Do you have any idea what it is like? To go from that -"
He waved a hand toward her, her body, her legs, her spine -
Chaol: " - to this?"
Yrene had the sense of the ground sliding from beneath her.
Yrene: "I know it is hard -"
Chaol: "It is. But you made it harder today. You make me sit here mostly naked in this room, and yet I have never felt more bare than I did this morning."
Yrene: "I - I'm sorry."
His throat bobbed
Chaol: "Everything I thought, everything I had planned and wanted ... it's gone. All I have left if my king, and this ridiculous, slim scrap of hope that we survive this war and I can find a way to make something of it."
Yrene: "Of what?"
Chaol: "Of everything that crumbled in my hands. Everything."
Chaol: "She wakes."
Yrene: "You rode here?"
Chaol: "All by myself."
She only arched a brow at the white mare beside his
Yrene: "And you brought the other horse?"
Chaol: "A gentleman through and through."
Yrene: "Don't mistake my kindness for stupidity. If you have had any progress, or regressions, I will find them out."
Chaol: "If this is your kindness, then I'd hate to see your bad side."
Chaol: "I hadn't realized that I was a firm no."
She glared at him, hauling herself onto her mare.
Yrene: "I don't share a bed with patients. And you're with Captain Faliq. And you're-"
Chaol: "Not in fit form to pleasure a woman?"
Yrene: "No. Certainly not that. But you're ... you."
Chaol: "I'm trying not to be insulted."
Yrene: "She will make life very difficult if I do not appear to get you to warm to me."
Chaol: "I would think you'd already done that, Yrene Towers."
Sartaq: "Kadara is my family. The rukhin, they are my family. My bloodline, though ... It's hard to love one another, when we will one day contend with each other. Love cannot exist without trust. I trust Kadara with my life. I would die for her, and she for me. Can I say the same of my siblings? My own parents?"
Nesryn: "It's a shame."
Sartaq: "At least I have her. And my riders. Pity my siblings, who have none of those blessings."
Sartaq: I was praying to the Eternal Sky and all thirty-sex gods that you'd say yes."
She smiled, even if he couldn't see it
Nesryn: "So was I."
Yrene: "We'd better be quick. I'm sure the volume I need for your chronic toe fungus is down here somewhere, and I'm growing hungry."
Chaol gave her an incredulous look. She offered him an apologetic wince in return.
But laughter danced in his eyes as he began pulling books into his lap.
Chaol: "Don't you waste one heartbeat being afraid of a coward who hunts women in the darkness."
The thing on the other side of the door growled. The doorknob rattled.
Chaol only held her stare
Chaol: "your fear grants it power over you."
He approached her, lowering his dagger and sword into his lap. Yrene flinched, about to warn him not to lower his weapons. But Chaol stopped before her. Too her face in his hands, his back wholly to the door now. Even though she knew he monitored every sound and movement behind it.