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17 January 2011 @ 07:27 pm
"Towers of Midnight" by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson  
This (book 1 of 2011) is the thirteenth book in the Wheel of Time series - written post-Jordan's death by Brandon Sanderson. Jordan had got up to book 11 and was saying there was one more book's worth of story left, but when Sanderson came to write them (based on Jordan's notes) he found that he needed 3 books to tell the story. So this is the second of those three books, and as with the previous one I'm impressed with how the transition from one author to the next isn't immediately apparent. Of course, I've not re-read the first 11 books in a while so I will be missing nuances etc, but it feels like the same series, the same world, the same characters & the same story. It's hard to say anything without spoilers for something in the series somewhere, but one spoiler-free comment I want to make is that stuff continues to happen in this book. Book 10 was the lowest point of the series, for me, as there was this great big book where nothing much really happened at all. Book 11 (the last of Jordan's books) did do something to pull it back up out of that hole, but it still felt like there were a lot of plot threads that something needed to happen to before the end. These two books have definitely been tying off threads.

MAJOR SPOILERS: A niggle first - I found it hard to tell the relative timings of some bits of the book, in the end I think I decided that Perrin's section had started before the end of book 12 although it catches up to the others by the end of the book. It just felt a bit weird feeling it was out of step but not being sure until fairly far in. I liked the Perrin storyline again tho - back to cool things about wolves and it wasn't all about Faile (and made of fail ... d'ya see what I did there? ;) ). The whole book felt like the stories of people who are realising that they've become what they need to be & what their potential was - Rand now feels like a man who could save the world, Perrin is leading his army (and will later rule his land), Egwene is Amyrlin (and good at it), Elayne rules Andor (and rules it well), Nynaeve is a true Aes Sedai (and able to think without being constrained by the politicking of the White Tower, like many of the other Aes Sedai), Aviendha starts to think about the future of the Aiel as she becomes a true Wise One (and I really liked the Rhuidean sequence). The only exception was Mat, really - tho he does have his moment of coolness in this book too, when he & Thom finally go to rescue Moraine (awesome sequence there, too), and he has grown up. But the Seanchan storyline is also not really moved on, and so we have don't know yet what the point is of Mat being married to Tuon - and I guess whatever that is, is what he's grown into so we'll find out next book (and presumably has something to do with defanging the Seanchan). Oh and I must mention the nice fakeout in book 12, where we think Graendal is killed off-stage, and early on in this book we find out she hasn't been (never trust a death that's not on-screen, I guess). And the book ends after the start of the Last Battle (which started in book 12), just before Rand's attempt to re-seal the Dark One's prison. So it really is nearly the end of the story! END OF SPOILERS

I'm definitely back to looking forward to the next instalment of the series now, which wasn't the case after the 10th book. But it won't feel a shame when it's over, it's been a long enough story that it needs to finish now, and it feels like it's nearly there :)
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