It seems as though no one who has crossed paths with Aelin Galathynius ever comes away unscathed - not even her allies. Chaol, reluctant Lord of Westfall has sailed to the city of Antica to seek out the Khagan as a potential ally - but also to seek out the famed healers of the Torre Cesme. It is difficult to see which is more pressing, gaining support from the Khagan and his vast armies, or seeking help from the Torre to heal the injuries Chaol suffered in Rifthold. With Nesryn at his side Chaol is prepared to beg, but when they arrive they discover that a member of the ruling family has died and the grief weighs heavily upon the family. With the Khagan avoiding him Chaol hopes to attempt his healing, but the healer the Torre sends is hostile and reluctant to help the man who represents the hate, pain, and loss of the land she left behind.
Yrene came to Antica to learn how to use her healing powers, the very powers that marked her mother for death at the hands of the King of Adarlan - the very king that Chaol served loyally as the Captain of the Guard. It takes all of her will to be professional and attempt to heal the young Lord, but the darkness she finds within his injury is like nothing she has ever encountered - it seems almost aware and alive. When attempts to heal Chaol lead her into danger it becomes clear that there is more at stake than whether he will walk again. Walking a knife's edge with the Khagan and his family, Chaol is feeling increasingly desperate to gain support for the war building on the horizon, and it seems as though fate is determined to stop him from succeeding. When their enemy makes a bold move Chaol and Nesryn discover just how deep the darkness goes - but will it be enough to gain the support of the Khagan for their cause?
I have been looking forward to the next book in the Throne of glass series since reading Empire of storms, and while I was a little disappointed to find out this was a novel set in the world rather than the 'next book in the series' I wasn't disappointed for long! After reading Tower of dawn I can see why it was a standalone novel slotted in between the fifth and seventh books as it adds a layer of background and understanding that would have been lost in the main storyline or come across as awkward or rushed if it had been crammed into a few chapters. Chaol is an interesting character and while he is one of the main characters, his story has been pushed to the side a little in the other books because the focus has been on Aelin and Dorian (understandably) so to have a novel dedicated to him and his story was a real treat, as well as a valuable part of understanding the Throne of glass world and what is coming.
This is one of those books that you really should try and read in one sitting - not only because it deserves to be read in one sitting, but also because I had to wait to read the last 60 or so pages and it was torture because the story was building to something and then I had to stop for work! I have not been shy about praising Sarah J. Maas for her writing, mainly because she doesn't shy away from topics that other writers avoid, and this time was no different with Chaol facing what can only be described as PTSD, as does the healer Yrene. As she has many times, Maas has brought to life a topic that is often shied away from not only in literature, but also in life, and she has given a voice and provided an understanding of people who have faced trauma in their lives. For many of her readers it may not have been war or the murder of a parent by soldiers, but teenagers and adults who have faced abuse or violence will find echoes of their emotions and self doubts, along with the anger and coping mechanisms of people who have lived through trauma.
Maas doesn't baby her readers, and that respect for her readers makes me love this series even more - even if school librarians don't know quite where to put her books because they have sex scenes. Now all we have to do is wait for 2018 so we can see what is next for the Throne of glass world.
Throne of glass series:
- Throne of glass by Sarah J. Maas
- Crown of midnight by Sarah J. Maas
- Heir of fire by Sarah J. Maas
- Queen of shadows by Sarah J. Maas
- Empire of storms by Sarah J. Maas
- Tower of dawn by Sarah J. Maas
If you like this book then try:
- A court of thorns and roses by Sarah J. Maas
- Ink and bone by Rachel Caine
- Arrows of the queen by Mercedes Lackey
- The kiss of deception by Mary E. Pearson
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Grave mercy by Robin LaFevers
- The hunt by Andrew Fukuda
- Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
- The pledge by Kimberly Derting
- Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
- Daughter of smoke and bone by Laini Taylor
- The demon trapper's daughter by Jana Oliver
Reviewed by Brilla