Book Chat | Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

“He’d almost told the princess that she could keep Hellas’s Horse, but there was something to be said about the prospect of charging down Morath foot soldiers atop a horse named Butterfly.” 

Sarah J. Maas, Tower of Dawn


The Queen has returned.

A glorious empire . . .
A desperate quest . . .

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 . . . 


Caitlynn: Once again, Maas has brought so much to the Throne of Glass world with Tower of Dawn. She has managed to create more characters for me to love and worry over and is really setting up total devastation for me in Kingdom of Ash. This book was a perfect precursor to prepare us for Kingdom of Ash and I’m so glad she made the decision to switch it from a novella to a full-blown novel. 5/5 stars!

Jenn: Tower of Dawn has been a book I e been eagerly anticipating. Empire of Storms left me wanting to know more about what was happening with Chaol and the Southern Continent. This book definitely delivered. I really enjoyed it. The ending was not my favorite. But I would still rate it 5/5 stars.

Eden: I think I’ve said it at least 10 times but I did not expect to enjoy Tower of Dawn. My feelings for Chaol as a character have always been conflicted at best and outright loathing at worst. But Maas managed to invest me in his story while fleshing out an entirely new kingdom and cast of characters. Yrene Towers was a wonderful addition to our companions and I’m now hoping we get some books related to Hassar and the rest of the Khagan family. This is easily 5/5 stars for me.

Book Chat

Eden: So this was not a reread for us, so what was your thoughts on it?

Caitlynn: I had lots of thoughts about it…

Jenn: I had mixed thoughts on it.

C: Ohhh.

J: I really liked it; however, I did not like the end. I felt like a lot of the endings were very predictable, which is not something that I am used to from Maas’ novels.

C: That’s fair.

J: You could see when she planted the seeds in this book, whereas compared to other novels, I really like the effect of me not being able to predict how everything would be laid out.

C: Do you think that might be because Aelin was not the main character of this book? That is kind of her thing, making sure no one knows what she is thinking and planning throughout the process and now that it is not her…

J: I think that may be it, but I also think what I mostly chauked this up to was the fact that Maas originally planned for this to be a novella. I do think that she flushed this one out well as a novel and it needed to be a novel, but I think it still had the pacing at the end of a novella, everything happened very quickly at the end.

C: Yeah, I agree.

E: I think everything did happen pretty quickly.

E, cont.: I went into this book with very low expectations, because we all know I’m not a huge Chaol fan so my reaction at the end was very happy with. I really enjoyed this book and had not anticipated enjoying it at all. The ending didn’t bother me so much because I didn’t expect to like it altogether.

C: I really enjoyed this book. I think the hardest part for me was all the world building, but that had to happen since it was a new continent that we haven’t gotten to yet. There were some points were it felt like the story was really drug out and I felt like I could tell that there were things that she added in that weren’t crucial to the story, but helped build the world that I felt like I could have done without hearing it. However, I really enjoyed the ending and everything that came from it, so it really made up for the very few times I felt like that.

J: I can see that. I will say that I would give this book a five-star rating, I really liked it and I would definitely reread it. The one thing that was a negative for me throughout this book was the Nesryn and Sartaq storyline.

J, cont.: I’m not sure if I misconstrued who see was in the last book, but her character seemed very different in this book. I was excited to see this strong, commanding type female character from this book and I didn’t really get that from her storyline. There were bits and pieces that showed what I liked of her character, but I feel like she seemed a lot weaker throughout this book as a whole.

E: I think the issue there is that what we saw with Nesryn previously was through the eyes of Aelin or Chaol and I don’t think Maas really knew how to write her in this book to keep her the way that Aelin and Chaol portrayed her.

J: But I think it was her actions.

E: I was not a fan of the Nesryn and Sartaq story. I really wanted to get back to Yrene and Chaol’s story.

C: There were points at the beginning of this book where I couldn’t tell if this was the same person. It felt to me that a lot of stuff happened between Chaol and Nesryn on the way to the southern continent, so I had chaulked it up to their relationship dynamic changing, I didn’t see it as her as a person changing. Most of what we saw from her in this book was family related, which didn’t feel off-character to me because of Empire of Storms; but there was still something that felt like she wasn’t as strong of a character.

J: I don’t think it was her words or thoughts that made her seem that way, it was her actions. In Empire of Storms she was so into acting and doing what had to be done throughout. I get that there weren’t as many opportunities here to do that, but other characters took charge when I had hoped she would take charge.

J, cont.: I think a major part of that was her relationship with Sartaq, she did not allow for herself to take charge because of him.

C: We aren’t used to woman in Maas’ books being that way.

E: I also took how she interacted with Sartaq as her view to the royal family and that she would defer to them from that.

C: I agree with that, it was such a big thing growing up and hearing about the royal family, so that played a role in her deferring to Sartaq a lot.

J: I just wasn’t expecting it.

J, cont.: Caitlynn, I agree with what you said about we don’t see the women in these novels acting that way, I’m used to Maas making sure the women are taking charge and doing what they think is right at the moment, so it made Nesryn seem more demur than what I expected her to be.

E: Yeah. I think that is a fair analysis on it.

J: Especially if you compare her to Yrene throughout the novel.

E: Two totally different characters.

J: You would expect it to be the opposite!

E: When you meet Yrene, my immediate thought was that she…

C: Kind of how Elide was portrayed to begin with.

E: Yeah, that’s a really good comparison. When we meet her and you see this fiery personality, it is pleasantly surprising.

C: Maas continues to surprise me with how different each of her characters are, but still have such similar characteristics. Like each of the women she introduces are all strong in their own way.

E: I like the idea that Yrene is strong because she brings life to people, she doesn’t take life away. We see in all of these other women are mentally or physically strong, whereas Yrene is strong because she focuses on how she can save people rather than end them.

J: She is ultimately the mage in an RPG.

E: She is the complete opposite mentally than Aelin.

J: I think what I really appreciated about Yrene was that she was everything that I loved about Chaol and Aelin. She was strong and logical, but she was also not going to stray from her morality and just go along with what is expected of her.

E: What did you guys think of the royal family of the Southern Continent?

J: I would like a book from Hasar’s perspective, I would really like to be inside of her mind because I think it would be a very twisted place.

C: I agree!

E: I went through the book hating Hasar, she uses people and is sneaky… but at the end of the book I ended up really liking her.

C: I really liked the dynamic of the family. I am really confused with their tradition with the heir. Do they HAVE to kill the siblings that weren’t chosen? At the end of the book, it seemed like a big thing that they all agreed not to kill all of the siblings. I would love to see a novella from this family.

E: Throughout the novel, I really felt like Hasar’s girlfriend was only with her because she saved her from some shitty life, but then at the end when I found out she just genuinely liked Hasar I was just like, oh…

C: I really enjoyed the scene with Yrene and Hasar in the oasis.

J: I was just about to say the same thing.

E: I really enjoyed that moment.

C: There were a lot of scenes in this book that I really enjoyed reading and was able to visualize well. It is probably one of the biggest pluses from Maas changing this from a novella to a novel, even though the ending went quickly, I was able to visualize that scene so well and really enjoyed it.

E: I agree with you on that.

C: I was looking at my text messages earlier because I texted Eden as soon as I was done with the book since I knew she was done… I freaked out about the ending so bad. I sent a text to Eden that was just about how excited I was that everyone was happy and that there was so much goodness in this book, they are going off to war, so I know they aren’t going to stay that way. I know that a ending with everyone so happy is Jenn’s least favorite thing, but we are all good right now and I don’t want anything bad to happen to them.

E: You’re definitely right, that everyone was happy at the end.

C: Everyone got what they needed!

E: But you are also definitely right that they can’t remain happy.

C: War doesn’t bring happiness!

J: I wanted a lot more death.

E: I don’t think that any deaths would have really made sense.

J: I really wanted Chaol to be confined to the wheelchair the whole time.

C: I really liked how Maas handled it, I actually looked up Brittany from Reverie and Ink’s panel with SJM after I read this to see what someone who has a disability thought about the way Maas handled his situation in this book and she was very positive about how it was handled.

J: I just don’t want it to turn into it being a tactical move so that Chaol is able-bodied during a critical plot point.

C: I am hoping in the next book that he experiences the opposite and is faced with an important plot point and finds a way to solve the problem with his disability.

J: I am excited to see Kingdom of Ash.

E: As someone who is not a fan of Chaol and really dreaded this book, I really enjoyed it. It was nice to kind of get away from our typical story and getting a different point of view from a different area in the world and how it is affecting them. I really enjoyed it.

J: I also really, really enjoyed it. I could nitpick and find things that I would want to change, I think it was perfect for what it was, and it grew the world. I am happy that she decided to change it from a novella to a novel, it would not have had the effect it had as a novella.

C: I agree, this book really set up a lot for me to go into Kingdom of Ash for. I am really looking forward to KoA because this book is bringing so many more important people and perspectives. I think that is also why I’m dreading reading KoA, because I know everyone can’t survive it. There are a lot of people that I really care about, and this novel did not help in that aspect.

Have you read Tower of Dawn? What did you think?

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