Tower of Dawn
This is a bad streak.
Chaol and Nesryn are on the search for two things: an alliance with the Southern Continent, and a magical cure for Chaol’s spine. Yrene, a healer in Antica at the Torre Cesme, is charged with healing Chaol, but his people are the whole reason she fled to the Southern Continent in the first place. In the meantime, the forces threatening Erilea have infiltrated the Southern Continent, and no one is safe.
I fucking hate Chaol and I knew there was a reason I hadn’t read this book in the two years since I bought it. I didn’t care that Chaol was missing from the last one, and this book would’ve been so much better if Nesryn had thrown him off the side of the boat. He is so insufferable.
Chaol Westfall is an awful character who deserves only suffering, and Yrene deserved so much better. All of the twists? Nothing original to this series. Everything was super overdone and cliche in this series in particular.
Nesryn deserved so much better. She is an amazing archer, carries the entire POC character label on her back before this book and after Nehemia’s death, and yet always has to defer to the men she’s paired with. She plays second fiddle to Chaol, even though he’s a dick, and then to Sartaq. It’s just so frustrating that she’s not allowed to stand on her own two feet, and honestly that’s a comment on all the women in this series. All of them are super powerful, but they are only allowed to be simpering and sassy side characters to the male maleness of the men. It’s infuriating, because between Yrene, Nesryn, Nehemia (rip, I miss her), Aelin, and Lysandra, they could take on everyone no problem.
The blatant and sickening ableism in this book? Disgusting. Even towards the end when Chaol “accepts himself” and is “magically healed,” (oh look at that! the ableist trope of a character that isn’t allowed to stay disabled because there’s magic and being disabled is so, so bad always) you can’t just erase the 500 pages of absolutely abhorrent ableism that Chaol spouted. Yrene should’ve smacked him upside the head when he first came to her and left. Or ended up with Nesryn. If their lives weren’t intertwined I would GLADLY read the next one at mach speed just to get to his death, but I guess I’ll just have to suffer through it.
The ending was so rushed. It was all slowburn, kinda enemies to lovers, and then THEY’RE MARRIED and NESRYN’S MOVED ON AND ENGAGED?? and THIS and THIS! All very suddenly after a snail’s pace of 300 pages. The only reason I didn’t DNF is because I would’ve been upset that I let a book, especially one by SJM, beat me, and I’d already spent 8.5 hours slogging through it. I will be reading the next one, but it’s just so I can end my own suffering.
The smut is bad. It’s so bad. There’s better writing out there, and Maas needs to stop with the sex scenes because they’re all the same, they’re all boring, and they make me want to gag and not in the good way.
Also also, sad to say this was the most diverse book so far because most of the characters were POC (Chaol and Yrene withstanding) and there was a singular gay couple (Hasar and Renia for the win, even if Renia was a cardboard cutout of a character and Hasar was an actual tyrant! Can we get one gay character, PLEASE, that isn’t an asshole? Or old?). Anyway. I did not have a good time.
Trigger warnings: ABLEISM, death, grief, blood, sexual content, violence, body shaming, child death, drug use, pregnancy, suicide, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempt, torture, war, cursing, miscarriage, gore, confinement, gaslighting