Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Review: Towers of Midnight

Well, I finally got Towers of Midnight (Book 13 of The Wheel of Time series) for my birthday. And since I've had the flu for the last two weeks, I've had plenty of time to read it (it clocks in at nearly 900 pages). It's unclear how much of The Gathering Storm (the previous book) was written by Robert Jordan [1] before his death, but I think we see more of Sanderson's hand on this one than we did in that one. For one thing, the chapters are more likely to have multiple POVs than I recall Robert Jordan doing. And Sanderson was more willing to stick to the POVs of the major characters and only use sparingly POVs from secondary characters.

Whereas the last book, The Gathering Storm, focused primarily on Egwene and Rand, this one spends most of its time on Mat and Perrin. Let me just say that I find Perrin to be the least interesting of the ta'veren.[2] His plot line has never seemed to be geared toward saving the world, unlike Mat and Rand. His tasks are always smaller: save the Two Rivers from the Whitecloaks, save Faile from the Shaido, etc. But now it's finally looking like he's needed for the Last Battle and that he has a significant role yet to play. And that's satisfying.

I'm not spoiling anything [3] by saying that Mat finally goes into the Tower of Ghenjei to face off one more time against the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn. Sanderson handles the scene quite well and it was worth waiting to the end of the book for that plot thread to be resolved. And we learn a few things, including one or two that we didn't even realize were questions! (Well, at least I didn't.) The showdown with the gholam and the contents of Verin's letter were rather thrilling, too.

My verdict: Overall this was an excellent book. It moves The Wheel of Time along nicely. The Last Battle could literally be hours away. It's thrilling (and a little unbelievable) that this grandiose series will finally be wrapped up in just one more book. Sanderson seems to be up to the task, but I imagine it will still be a daunting one.


[1] For more info (and to see the chapter art from the books), see my post The Wheel of Time Chapter Art. Alas, this book doesn't have any new chapter icons. Sigh.

[2] Ta'veren are characters who have an unusual influence on people and events around them. There have been many in the universe of The Wheel of Time, but in the books themselves, there are three living: Rand, Mat, and Perrin.

[3] As much was given away by the cover art.

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