10 November 2010

Towers of Midnight (Book 13 of The Wheel of Time)


I finally managed to get a hold of The Towers of Midnight, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.  It’s the latest in the Wheel of Time series, book 13 of 14, written mostly by Brandon Sanderson from notes left by Robert Jordan after he passed away in 2007.

I had been looking forward to the book for some months, after completing the prior 12 Wheel of Time books in a rather intense bout of marathon reading this past summer.  Each book is intricately linked with the ones prior to it, so, if anyone actually reads this, my apologies if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

First of all, after seeing Rand’s descent into madness in The Gathering Storm, we got a wonderful pay-off in the Rand scenes in this book.  He has become what we all wanted him to be, the hero that the world needs him to be, and we got to watch his journey all the way.  It’s an immensely satisfying part of the book, and, surprisingly, I didn’t realize how wonderful it would be until I was reading it.

Large swathes of the book were dedicated to following Perrin and Galad in their confrontation, and Mat and crew in their quest to rescue Moiraine.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed these a great deal, probably because they resolved so many things, rather than creating new mysteries and questions.  It was good to see Perrin come into his own as a leader, great in fact, and good to see him stop whining.  Mat, on the other hand, whines as usual, but he seems to be growing into a somewhat more noble figure, staring a sacrifice in the face rather than merely making it as a last resort.  I particularly enjoyed the letter he wrote to Elayne.

Aviendha didn’t get much time in the book, but she did have a few very significant chapters.  I look forward to seeing her more in the next (and last) book.  Egwene had a good number of pages devoted to her, but she seemed somehow diminished to me, convinced of her own correctness and walking down the path of pride that Elaida walked before her.  It surprises me that she can be so convinced she knows what will defeat the Dark One better than the Dragon Reborn does, but it’s been a common thread in the series that those in power become smugly self-confident.  Rand did it, and now Egwene is doing it, as is Elayne to some point, though thankfully she was made to see reason in regards to the Two Rivers – by her own mother, for that matter!  And speaking of which, I was glad to see Morgase finally revealed to the world.

There was so much in the book I enjoyed.  The pacing was exquisite, never a dull moment – much like the exciting early books in the series.  It was truly a rewarding read, and I can’t believe I have to wait until March 2012 for the final book to come out.  The wait will be awful.

There is much I am looking forward to seeing resolved in the final book, and it will be very interesting to see which threads are left dangling for the readers to imagine, and which are definitively settled.  It’s been a great ride, and I can’t wait for it to continue – sad as it will be for it to end.

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Books: Finished The Towers of Midnight.  I also finished Life, the Universe and Everything before starting on Towers of Midnight, but that will probably come in tomorrow’s post.  Currently reading So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

Bottles: Drinking some Alamos Malbec 2009, the latest vintage of one of my favorite table wines.  I will post about it later as well.

Writing: 1600 words on the novella; finished the first half of third chapter, started on the second half of the chapter, the aftermath of the waterboarding.

Guitar: Had a lesson last night, working on “Hey You”.  Didn’t practice today since work was so long, but I’ll have plenty of time tomorrow.  I look forward to working on “Hey You” as well as more songs from The Wall.  Also studying the Major Blues scale.