Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book review: "Towers of Midnight" by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Finally and thankfully, I have found some time to write my review of "Towers of Midnight". Almost two weeks passed since I finished reading it. But never mind, better now than never. First, as in "The Gathering Storm" post, I plan to do this without any spoilers for ToM, and spoilers for other books will be kept to minimum. Of course, I will presume that reader has read at least few of WoT books. If you are looking for spoilers and talk about particular events in the book, go to this page. It is a spoiler-review of ToM by Leigh Butler. I agree with her in all points, in various degrees (except third point; I read the glossary after reading the book).

Best recommendation to this book I can give is to say that I have finished in minimum time. For me, that is. When I was in college, I could afford to spend two or three days solely on reading. I remember finishing "A Clash of Kings" in two days when I read it first time. But in last two or three years, my time per book rose to week or two (depending how much I like the book and its actual size). ToM I finished in four days: Saturday afternoon (4-6) hours, Sunday (13 hours - this definitely isn't good for my neck anymore), Monday evening (4 hours) and Tuesday after work (2 hours - I tried to finish it at Monday, but I read till 1 AM, and I wake at 6 AM). I JUST COULDN'T PUT DOWN THE BOOK!

Really, this is a great book! And one of best books in whole in whole WoT series; I don't like putting books (or songs) in absolutely ordered list, but one of the best. After very dark and straining TGS, this is gloriously bright book. That doesn't mean that everything goes in favor of the good guys. But many plots and themes started in previous books are concluded in this books (e.g.: an important prophecy long ago in "The Eye of the World"; satisfactory and sadly at same time). You really have to credit Jordan for his skills in for-shadowing events: check this link for examples.

While last book was mostly about Rand and then Egwene, in ToM all characters get their share. We get explanations of Rand's inner changes after TGS, although not from his point of view. Leigh Butler discusses the nature of these changes at greater length in her post; I will just say that while I agree with her in general view, I don't mind the present Rand. If I wanted character to behave as I want them, I would play Sims. I say this as WoT-fan; as objective reviewer I would understand her objections. I like Egwene's moves here, but I must say that I don't like her position in regard to other characters - she is too much removed from them. Although this is understandable considering her political position. Aviendha has two short appearances at the beginning and the end of the book, but second one is very important. This is one of best written parts of the book, but I can't imagine any WoT fan actually enjoying it - it is too much gruesome. Elayne and Nyneve also have some nice parts. Rodel Ituralde, who didn't have any major scenes (in length, not in quality or importance) has few extremely good scenes I really enjoyed. I also have to note Lan's two or three scenes, which are very funny but also very emotional at the same time. Gawyin, Galad, Morgase, Min, etc. are all present, but mostly as support-characters.

Although I wouldn't name them as central characters of "Towers of Midnight", I would like to separate Mat and Perrin. Mat is finally well written here, in contrast to TGS. While he is not as good as when Jordan wrote him, this is nothing that can be pin-pointed. Even if not best possibly written, his parts are still great. And most fans will forgive Sanderson any flaws in exchange for final deliverance of long-due promises (I am referring to prophecy I mentioned before). And Perrin, after being slightly vex in last few books, is at his best ever. He has great action scenes (really great!) but not just that. He finally finds his balance in both mundane and supernatural aspects.

As I said, this book is mostly positive (that why is said glorious), but this is not just the preparation for happy end. If you look careful, you will notice many things that don't bode well for the good side. Last book ("A Memory of Light") is bound to be intense and I already can't wait for it. It is announced for early spring of 2012.

In the end, I would just like to repeat that "Towers of Midnight" is one of best Wheel of Time books and recommend it to every fan!

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