I did not want to read this. Full disclosure, I was never a fan of Chaol which is probably putting it lightly. I didn’t enjoy his romance with Celaena. I didn’t enjoy his P.O.V’s and in the books leading up to Tower of Dawn I was disliking him more and more. Yet for some maddening reason this was not set as a side story novella type, this was considered part of the main series for Throne of Glass. So, begrudgingly, the completionist in me was obligated to read it before I started Kingdom of Ash. And the thought of reading about a Chaol centered story sounded so painfully uninteresting to me that I avoided it for months – simultaneously putting off reading the series finale, which I had been looking forward to, in the process. To only add to my procrastination was the fact that the second P.O.V character was Nesryn who at that point I felt equally uninterested in.
So, I finally got around to it and then I finally got to that series finale (review later). Did I end up enjoying it? Yes. Did I enjoy having the knowledge from TOD while reading KOA? Yes. Did I find Chaol a redeemed and less dislikable character in the end? Surprisingly, yes. Was TOD necessary for the series reading itself? Not really. It really should have been a novella rather than part of the series.
But here’s what made the read worth it in the end for me:
Yrene Towers. A new culture and parts of the world of Throne of Glass which filled in a lot of gaps and made, in my opinion, a good addition to enrich the world and history. Yrene Towers and Chaol as a couple and the building of their relationship. And the way everything was tied together in the end and with the series story at large.
I thought reading this would be a chore that would add little to the series but I was gladly proven wrong. Sarah J Maas seems to have this uncanny ability to weave some magically addictive stories that apparently I can’t get enough of.
(I won’t get into everything people find offensive about Maas’s writing as I often find these opinions overly sensitive or the importance of which I feel is overly exaggerated. It’s a YA fantasy that is going to focus heavily on lusty, angsty, romance. So, forewarning, in case 5 books in you hadn’t picked up on these things; if certain representations, characterisations or descriptive sex scenes that focus heavily on “manhood” offend you to the point of rage – this is probably not your cup of tea.)
- I miraculously stopped disliking Chaol’s character. A great showcase towards Maas’s character building ability. I even have a bit of a soft spot for him after this book.
- Yrene and Chaol’s relationship and romance building was so good for me. I definitely got Celaena and Rowan vibes. The slow, hard building of a relationship and all the tension and the dynamics that make the characters likable together.
- The new culture, new part of the world and the new revelations were the main things driving me to push through the boring (other than the romance between Yrene and Chaol).
- Yrene Towers whose perspective and backstory I really enjoyed.
- Some characters were just not interesting for me (Nesryn) so I found myself annoyed at the sight of a chapter with those P.O.V’s. There were some exceptions toward the end where that P.O.V story line goes into finding out some very interesting details about the series plot – but did I care about her family and romantic life and very slow but extremely obvious dwindle of her romantic relationship with Chaol? No. In short – A lot of boring chapters that were ineffective at making me care.
- Overwhelming amount of information dump at first.
- The length of Chaol’s healing process and the length of the entire story when the main goals are to heal Chaol and get the Khagan and 6 heirs to lend their armies to war against Erawan.
- I am so charactered out by this point in the series that I really don’t care about the Khagan and the 6 heirs, whose names I can no longer recall. Honestly a lot of the characters in TOG as a whole can feel a bit interchangeable once those characters start dropping onto the page from all directions.
3/5 – A totally unnecessary “part of the series” that was surprisingly good at redeeming Chaol and making me fall in love with another character but so, so long.