Book review: Towers of Midnight

Towers of Midnight

Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson

Towers of Midnight is the much anticipated 13th book of Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time and marks the second collaborative effort by Brandon Sanderson since Jordan’s death in 2007.

In this penultimate chapter, signs of the Last Battle are everywhere as crops spoil, armies gather and hideous shadowspawn pour from the Blight to engulf the borderland nations.

Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn and prophesied savior of the world, makes final preparations to defeat the Dark One and spare the world another breaking.

Saidin, the male half of the One Power is finally clean, but can Rand convince the world to trust him long enough to lead them to the final conflict?

The Dragon’s childhood friends and prophesied allies Perrin Aybara, a blacksmith turned lord with the ability to speak to wolves and Matrim Cauthon, perhaps the luckiest man alive and filled with the memories of history’s greatest generals, both face their destiny.

Perrin must choose between the axe and the hammer, the man or the wolf and finally stand judgment for his actions on that fateful night when two Whitecloak soldiers were murdered.

Matrim prepares to enter the fabled Tower of Ghenjei to make a daring rescue of Moiraine Sedai.

But the unstoppable gholam has turned its attention to Mat and will not rest until he is destroyed.

Towers of Midnight is all about reunions and revelations. Characters are starting to lose some of the trademark subterfuge that was a hallmark of this series’ past.

While this change could be motivated by signs of the Last Battle all around them, it’s just as likely that Sanderson is looking for easy ways to reign in all of Jordan’s hanging plot-threads.

While it’s great to see characters finally getting things done and talking to each other, it does seem too convenient at times.

The book has some great battle scenes, surprising revelations and plenty of sidesplitting moments. Towers of Midnight succeeds in refocusing the plot back around the major characters while giving fans some closure in minor plotlines as well.

However, Sanderson’s task of finishing the life work of a modern master of fantasy fiction is enormous.

At best, his presence goes unnoticed and the reader goes about his business unaware of any change.

At worst, he pulls the reader out of the moment with dialogue that seems more at home in the information age not the Third Age.

Overall, I feel that Sanderson pulls it off and manages to include a little something for everyone while finally getting this series back on track and moving towards its end.

Fans of the series should be pleased at the pace and enormity of the revelations but will likely cringe at some of Sanderson’s attempts to mimic the master.

I give it: three stars

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Book review: Towers of Midnight

by Brian Bruns time to read: 2 min