By Ekta R. Garg
December 15, 2010
Rated: Bookmark it!
Wheel of Time fans are probably cheering across the world because the series we’ve loved for the last 20 years is finally coming to an end.
As much as we’ve enjoyed the anticipation and release of each book, we’ve all desperately wanted to know how things FINALLY end for Rand, Egwene, Mat, Perrin, and Nynaeve. After all, these were the five characters who left Emond’s Field way back in The Eye of the World at the behest of Moiraine, Lan, and (indirectly) Thom, and they are the ones we’ve been following ever since. We’ve met Elayne, Aviendha, Min, Gawyn, Tuon, Faile, and others along the way. But we started this journey with the first five, and we’ve all been eagerly awaiting the ends of their individual tales.
Following this line of thought, I was first shocked when Robert Jordan died and then relieved when his wife, Harriet, granted Brandon Sanderson the task of finishing the series. When I read The Gathering Storm last year, I nearly cartwheeled for joy. This magnanimous quest, I realized, would get an end it truly deserved. At that time I found it almost impossible to wait a year for the next book to come out, but come out it did.
Sanderson recounted on his blog what a daunting task it was to finish writing a story begun with such depth and breadth by another writer, but he certainly did the WoT justice with The Gathering Storm. In Towers of Midnight he continues tying up the loose ends, and while it was fun to see how far our beloved characters have come I have to say I finally learned what it means for a book to proceed at breakneck speed because that’s definitely how Towers of Midnight started and finished. One reviewer on Amazon went so far as to say that he couldn’t sit and read the book; he actually paced back and forth as he read!
In Towers of Midnight we see more of Perrin and Mat (and Sanderson finally gets Mat’s point of view, his voice, and his personality right.) Perrin is trying to figure out how to resolve the wolf inside him with the human that he is, and he and Faile come to terms with the presence of Berelain in their lives. Mat finally gets to deal with the gholam who has been stalking him and tackles the task Moiraine has set for him from beyond the “grave.” We also see progression in the storylines of our other beloved characters. Egwene continues to assert in word and deed that she is, in point of fact, the Amyrlin. Elayne is trying to resolve impending motherhood and being queen. We see hints of Lan’s journey through the blight as well as Aviendha’s to the Waste, and there are some glimpses of a few other characters.
Make no mistake, however, that Sanderson has a lot of ground to cover, and it shows in this book. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, I also wish we could have had a few more pages with some of the other minor characters. Jordan was infamous for providing details about his characters, their clothes and surroundings, but most importantly about their inner thoughts. We don’t get all of those details in this book, and I wish we could. The style of this book makes me wonder what the Wheel of Time would have been like if Sanderson had been writing from the beginning. It certainly wouldn’t have been as rich in detail, I think, as Jordan made it, and, let’s get real, folks: we may have complained about the depth of detail of the world of the Wheel of Time, but it is exactly those details that made us fall in love with the series in the first place.
On the whole, however, Towers of Midnight follows in the tradition of the rest of the Wheel of Time, and it sets up the entire story for the end, next year’s A Memory of Light. I’ll be relieved when the last book releases so I can finally have the entire story of Rand and Company on hand. I’m tempted to re-read the entire series in preparation for the final book; upon finishing Towers of Midnight I experienced severe WoT withdrawal, as always, and if I re-read the books at least I’ll be able to spend a little more time with everyone in and around the Two Rivers.
For die-hard WoT fans this is a must read, especially in preparation for the end of the entire series next year.
What the ratings mean:
Bookmark it!–Read this book and then buy it and add it to to your own collection. It’s definitely worth it!
Borrow it–Check this one out from the library; it’s a worthy read, but think twice before spending your hard-earned money on it.
Bypass it–Free time is precious. Don’t spend it on this book!