Review: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass 6) by Sarah J. Maas

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.


Review

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*Spoilers for the Throne of Glass series ahead*

As a fiercely open advocate for Rowan Whitethorn and Aelin Ashryver Galathynius, I have no issues admitting that I was never really a member of the Chaol Westfall fan club. Enter: Sarah J. Maas, who snaps OTPs in half like they’re KitKats. You never know who you’ll end up loving or hating at the end of one of her books, and with Tower of Dawn, the novella-turned-sixth installment of the wildly popular Throne of Glass saga, she might just have changed my mind. Again.

Tower of Dawn is Chaol’s story, following the former Captain of the Guard of Adarlan as he and Nesryn travel to Antica, the ancient capital city of the Southern Continent. The land is ruled over by the Great Khagan and his children, each of whom are vying to become his chosen heir. In order to have a hope in hell of beating Erawan, Aelin and Dorian need the arms, money and might of the Great Khagan and his empire. In order to seek aid for the coming war and potentially a cure for Chaol’s spinal injury, which has left him paralysed from the waist down, Chaol and Nesryn must play the cunning games of the royal court, dodging enemies at every turn. 

I was curious about this book from the off, mainly because I wondered how on earth SJM had managed to write a 700 page book about Chaol. I was expecting a lot of whining and a lot of filler, but I was pleasantly surprised because there isn’t much of either. Instead, what I got was a tightly plotted story and intriguing new characters, many of whom I can’t wait to meet again in the next book. 

The story flits between Chaol and Nesryn’s narration, and Maas has mastered the annoyingly addictive art of making each chapter more compelling than the last. When Nesryn’s story got juicy, the narration moved back to Chaol and vice versa, which made it a damn hard book to put down for any length of time. Devious. 

As always, Maas’ world building is extraordinary in its detail, and I could almost smell the spices of the markets and feel the sunkissed breeze flowing through the open palace. ToG has been dominated by dingy taverns, unforgiving rugged landscapes and stormy oceans thus far, so it was dreamy to discover another side to Erilea. From the snowy mountain ridges home to the famed Ruk Riders, to the spiralling Torre Cesme where healers hone their gifts, I loved all of the sumptuous new locations.  

People (myself included) might have scoffed at this seemingly unecessary novella, but there is lots to like here. New characters like Prince Sartaq are introduced, and familiar faces like respected healer Yrene (who will be familiar if you’ve read the ToG prequel novellas) return. I loved the new dynamics, although the sheer amount of new characters in this story made it a little difficult to keep track of at times. It’s also worth mentioning that this is probably the most inclusive of Maas’ books thus far, featuring a lesbian couple and new PoC characters, as well as the obvious disability rep. It’s great to see that she’s taking fan feedback about the lack of diversity of her books on board. 

As someone who really couldn’t give two hoots about Chaol, I came out of this book feeling surprisingly affectionate towards him and eager to see how his journey would continue. His development in this book is incredibly well judged, and I felt like we were finally getting to know him in a way we never did in previous ToG books. His journey to come to terms with his disability is handled very frankly but sensitively and overall, is really moving. 

Although this is predominantly Chaol’s story, there are numerous nuggets of information which have massive repercussions for the wider Throne of Glass plot. Although this book was sold as a novella, its actually a pretty important instalment in its own right; with Chaol’s story running parallel to Aelin and Co’s. If you’re a ToG fan, then I suggest you get your hands on this 699 page monster immediately.

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Blogger collab: Reviews with Ebru from Ebs and Her Reads

Hey everyone!

In my latest blogger collaboration I’ve teamed up with the lovely Ebru from Ebs and Her Reads! Keep reading to find out more about Ebru and to check out her reviews of The Selection by Kiera Cass and Paper Princess by Erin Watt.

Psst: You can check out my review of M.A. Bennett’s new UKYA thriller, S.T.A.G.S, over on Ebru’s blog (as well as the rest of her wonderful posts. Go, go, go!).


Meet the blogger:

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“I am 33 years old and have beautiful 3 year old baby girl and a fantastic husband who’s my best friend and my rock in life. We live in a small town called Cochrane in Alberta, Canada. Our little town is famous for the little ice cream shop called MacKay’s, actors and actresses like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have even made a stop to go there. I love reading books, usually lean towards the romance, dystopian and historical fiction genres and a few of my favorite books are written by Lauren Layne, Paullina Simons, and Pam Jenoff. Ps: I am a nerd at heart and can’t live without re-reading the Harry Potter series at least once every couple of years.”


Mini Reviews: Selection by Kiera Cass & Paper Princess by Erin Watt (Audiobooks)

Hi guys, I’ve been doing a lot of audiobook-ing lately and decided to do mini reviews for the couple of them and share these with you.

1) The Selection by Kiera Cass

I will start by saying, I love the colours of this cover. The other day I was at the book store and bought this book just for the cover – it’s elegant and simple and just totally caught my eye so I just had to have it…

Then, I started listening to the audiobook (because personal matters, no time to read and blah blah blah). At first, I was really into it. I liked the concept and the world the author has created. I liked the different social classes and how each class is associated with a certain type of job. I liked that the life at the palace wasn’t always Roses and Butterflies but there were some political uprisings and danger as well.

I liked how Prince Maxon was portrayed as a gentleman who loves his country and would go to great depths to better it once he takes the throne. I really liked his ideals and political stance on poverty and hunger and his initiative to better it.

Now, I’m sure you’re realizing a pattern here with this review, mostly that I’ve mentioned everything and everyone that I liked and have left out our heroine America Singer.

Yes, there’s a reason for this and yes, I will share it with you. I found America’s character to be rather selfish and childish. While knowing her parents social status and financial situation, she still argues with her parents to not to get into ‘The Selection’ and only agrees after her current boyfriend tells her to do it… 🤷‍♀️ Ummm… excuse me young lady, you were just telling your parents how they can’t tell you what to do, and now you’re going to do what your boyfriend (who is a class act jerk – in my opinion) tells you to…

Anyways… and than there’s the whole, I only came here for my family and not for you Prince Maxon while she falls in love with him and acts like an entitled jerk herself…. Yeah, you get the picture, I didn’t like America Singer one bit. What I liked however was her friendship with Prince Maxon and the little stolen moments they had, when she wasn’t being a brat.

Therefore my rating for ‘The Selection’ is 3.5 stars ✨ ✨ ✨ the tree stars for Prince Maxon and half a bratty star for our heroine America.

2) Paper Princess by Erin Watt

I’ve heard and read so many mixed reviews about this book. And some of them I agree with. There’s definitely triggering behaviour in the book, this being said, I quite enjoyed listening this one. It was very fast paced and just a great flowing story for me.

I really liked our heroine Ella in this book. She’s been through a lot of hardships in her life and have managed to survive them. I felt a strange appreciation for her and the measures she went to take care of the ones she loved and herself at the very young age of 17.

Now, the Royals on the other hand were a whole bunch of jerks. They had heir preconceived ideas of Ella and would not change their ideas no matter what. What I liked about the Royal brothers though, was their relationship with each other. They would go to great deals to keep each other safe and the family reputation intact. I liked that after a while, they all started warming up to Ella and have accepted her as one of their own and took care of her as well.

The romance was burning hot between Ella and Reed, and they would set the pages on fire each time they’d be on the page together. What I thought was a bit off, was the ages of the characters and the way they’ve behaved and acted. They were all supposed to be 16 to 19 years old however the way they all acted and talked about their experiences gave me the impression of 20+ years old.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and would give it a 4 star ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ rating.

Thanks for reading! 😘


If you fancy collaborating on something fun, let me know!

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Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Synopsis

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 


Review

*Mild spoilers if you haven’t read A Court of Mist and Fury or A Court of Wings and Ruin*

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There’s nothing that quite compares to getting your hands on a book that you’ve been waiting for for over a year, amiright?!

I literally could not wait to dive back into Prythian and find out how Rhys and Feyre’s epic story would play out, knowing that this would be the last ‘proper’ book in the series that would focus on the High Lord and Lady of Night as the central characters. Sad face.

As always with a SJM book, there’s action, magic, fight scenes and sexytimes aplenty. The High Fae are still beautiful, the High Lords still growl and snarl like wolves and Cassian and Azriel are still precious baby Illyrians. ‘Maleness’ is still SJMs favourite adjective and Tamlin is still the world’s worst loser. So, the question is, why did this final instalment fail to knock my socks off?

After setting the bar so incredibly high with ACOMAF, I was expecting something just as electric. Like third albums, third books are tricky beans, especially when they’re the final in a well-loved and much hyped-trilogy. The ability to balance readers’ desire for a relatively happy ending with a realistic plot resolution and faithful, fulfilling character arcs is HARD and in this case, I don’t think Maas got it 100% right.

I still love Feyre and I love Rhys even more than that. The Court of Dreams is still kick ass, and I am once again firmly back for Team Lucien. The world building is as gloriously rich as ever, and we’re treated to visits to the Autumn Court, the Hewn City and the Day Court, as well as a vengeful holiday in the Spring Court. The idea of the courts and the different realms was always a big pull for me as far as this series is concerned, and SJM shows absolutely no signs of running out of ideas for places I’d like to live. Sometimes with other fantasy books, I struggle to visualise the settings or places, but the description in this series has also been so vivid, and continues to be, that I almost feel like it’s more real than my living room. I’m usually very sad when I remember that isn’t the case.

The continuation of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship makes my heart happy. Even with war approaching, Tamlin being Tamlin and enemies multiplying at an alarming rate, there is no drama between them, which is good because there isn’t really the time for it, even in this 700 page monster. ACOWAR represents a turning point for the series and now at its half way point, Maas makes a conscious effort to begin to focus more on the budding romantic relationships between some of the other characters; including Nesta, Elain, Lucien, Azriel, Cassian and Mor. Despite the ‘settled’ nature of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship in this book, I was hungry for them to have more page time than they did. Much of the success of ACOMAF was down to the brilliance of the development of Rhys and Feyre’s friendship and subsequent relationship, and the chemistry that Maas created between them is lacking in any of the new partnerships, which I feel very much are powered by Maas’ trademark desire to push characters together and avoid having any single characters as opposed to anything else. It’s something that really peeved me in Throne of Glass, and I’m not keen on it here either. SOME PEOPLE ARE SINGLE. SOME PEOPLE EVEN LIKE IT. Crazy, right?

As we’ve all come to expect from this series, the plot is absolutely jam packed, which made it very difficult to put down for any length of time. There are some flashes of utter brilliance, like Ianthe’s very satisfying demise, Lucien’s first meeting with the Court of Dreams gang, Feyre’s return to the Bone Carver and the scene where (without saying too much) Rhys and Feyre reveal their own game-changing bargains on the battle field.

On the other hand, some important scenes weren’t quite as long as I would have liked, such as Feyre pulling the strings of Tamlin’s court in the very beginning. I was SO up for Feyre being the wolf in spring clothing, and although it go some way to satiating my appetite for revenge over Tamlin, I would have liked it to be a little more drawn out. For me, badass Feyre took a bit more of a back seat in this book, especially when it came to the real down and dirty action that took place on the battle fields. I understood what Maas was trying to do, but I missed her fire and her rage, and I found myself longing for another epic ‘Defender of the Rainbow’ scene, which sadly never came.

The stakes for the characters are never quite high enough in ACOWAR, and despite the battles raging around our cast of characters, I never truly feared for Rhys, Feyre, or even Tamlin. Whilst I love Maas’ storytelling, and I applaud her insane skill for writing adventure and building rich, vivid worlds in which those adventures exist, ACOWAR never fully gets off the ground. The chemistry oozing from the pages of ACOMAF is missing here, and with the focus shifting away from the High Lord of Lady of Night, the series has lost its spark. I hope Maas can rekindle it.

 

In Summary…

  • Rating: 3-stars
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
  • Pages: 699

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