Review | Empire of Storms & Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas

I’m still working on my complete Throne of Glass reread and the next two books were Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn. A popular way to read these two has been to do a tandem read. Since Tower of Dawn mostly takes place during the events in Empire of Storms you can alternate between the books. I decided to try that for this reread. So let’s talk about my experience! There will be some spoilers!

Review | Empire of Storms & Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas

An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.
The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.
With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she's to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC on 14/02/2023
Pages: 689
Review | Empire of Storms & Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas

An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.
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 . . .

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, #6) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on 14/02/2023
Pages: 688

“But they wove a tapestry of dreams, all begging for one thing… a better world.”

Empire of Storms has a gut wrenching ending and a lot of fans were disappointed that Tower of Dawn was a full length novel from Chaol’s POV. And I have to say I wasn’t super excited about it either at first because Chaol has never been my favorite. But during my first read of the book I changed my opinion, I loved the book and thought it did a great job redeeming Chaol. To make reading Tower of Dawn more bearable (because it is necessary!!) someone came up with the tandem read where you read both books at the same time and switch every couple of chapters. I used this guide for my reread.

“And Manon understood in that moment that there were forces greater than obedience, and discipline, and brutality. Understood that she had not been born soulless; she had not been born without a heart.
For there were both, begging her not to swing that blade.”

For this reread I went with the audiobooks and I will say, since I listen mostly while driving, it was hard to keep track of the reading guide sometimes haha. All of a sudden I would be in the middle of a new chapter when I should’ve changed books already. I think it’ll be easier when you have the physical books with you as you can prepare the read with sticky notes at the spots where you have to change books. Still, it was mostly a satisfying way of reading the books. But there was one big downside for me personally. And that was so big I might not recommend going with the tandem read….

It is not such a hard thing, is it – to die for your friends.

Like I said, I loved Tower of Dawn the first time and Chaol was redeemed in my eyes. But during this tandem read I just couldn’t forgive Chaol. And I think it was because Queen of Shadows was still so fresh in my mind and you get Aelin’s perspective at the same time. Going with Empire of Storms first and then Tower of Dawn gives you a bit longer to let everything cool down. You also get into the flow of the story easier. These books already have multiple storylines and POV’s and when you combine both books that gets even worse. Tower of Dawn has two main stories, Empire of Storms has Aelin, Dorian, Manon and Elide with main storylines and then multiple POV’s for those stories. So there are at least 6 stories and I believe 11 POV’s in total. That is a lot haha.

“The world,” Aelin said, “will be saved and remade by the dreamers, Rolfe.”

But enough about my experience with the tandem read, what did I think of the actual stories? I love Empire of Storms for all of the political scheming and seeing all of it come together. But I can see why some readers find the book slow. I love a political fantasy so I don’t mind this at all. And like I said, seeing it all come together is what I live for haha. I did want to skim some of the Aelin/Rowan scenes as I don’t really care about their relationship.

A gift from a queen who had seen another woman in hell and thought to reach back a hand. With no thought of it ever being returned. A moment of kindness, a tug on a thread.

I mentioned before that I love Tower of Dawn, and that is because it expands the world so much. We get to see a whole new ‘kingdom’, they don’t have a king but a Khagan and I’m not sure what the proper terminology is haha. Is it Khaganate? Let me know in the comments ;). Anyway, I loved getting to know the land, Sarah J. Maas included so much information about their history and customs and that was just so cool. We get to see Yrene Towers again, and she is a wonderful character. I loved reading from her POV. And where I didn’t really care about Nesryn before, I adored her journey with the Ruk’s and started to appreciate her a lot more.

What did Aelin promise you?” Hasar smiled to herself. “A better world.

Overall I adore these books and really enjoyed my reread. It was interesting to try the tandem read but I’m not sure I would recommend it to be honest. I think you lose some of the enjoyment and the experience. Would love to hear from others though, so come talk to me in the comments!

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