A Review: Sanderson and Jordan’s Towers of Midnight

Posted on 02 November 2010

So, I had the wonderful opportunity to read the Towers of Midnight a few days before it actually hit the shelves. And yes, there are plenty of reviews out there about the book, and I pretty well agree with all the fan reviews I’ve read vis-à-vis tor.com, dragonmount.com, and theoryland.com. There are a few key points I’d like to address. And yes, this is kind of spoilery, but I’ll try to be vague so that if you haven’t read the book, you can get a feel without having it ruined.

So, the first thing that no-one else seemed to be annoyed by was the major 15 year old question: Who Killed Asmodean? The way it was answered? In the glossary as a sneaky after-thought. There is a kind of maybe hint to it in the text, but the way it is worded could actually be taken to be talking about Rahvin, not Asmodean. So yeah, I can of feel, iunno, jipped? The question that has been RAFO’d non-stop for so long, and it isn’t even hidden in the narrative. Heck, one of the reviewers kind of missed it, I think (although, I think it was because she was using her beta-reader copy that probably didn’t include the glossary).

The next was that I was annoyed with the Perrin and Elayne prominence in the book and the way Mat was kind of off to one side. Mat’s plotline basically went down easy street until the three-chapter raid on the Tower at the very end, and Perrin and Elayne kept having new things pop up. I mean, seriously, when they started talking politics in Cairhien, I almost blew a gasket. It was really acting like there was going to be another succession war. I knew that there was no way they could fit that in the book, but still. Oh, and Elayne continued to be a head-strong dress-concerned nuisance. Yes, I am an Elayne hater, and this book did not alleviate that.

As to the Perrin plot, while I am happy he has stopped being Mr. Emo Pants, I still feel there was just way too bloody much going on in this. Especially since he didn’t get to kill his “enemy” this book. And the continued “blah blah” of near misses that continued for so long with the whitecloaks, gah!

Oh, and Gawyn. He continued to be Gawyn. I love how he was called out on his stupidity by Elayne, but he continued to act more like a spoiled, jealous teenager than I really would have preferred. I am also still wondering how, now that he and Egwene have gotten through their spat, the vision of him either killing her or becoming bonded to her was supposed to be such a near miss?

One other thing: anti-climactic stuff. No offense to Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson, but I think the wait and the drawn out middle of the books, but some of the plot issues were, well, resolved in kind of “really, that’s it?” kind of ways. As I said, Mat had an easy-street until the Tower, including his attack on the Gholam. He set it up, and it was taken out of the picture in a way that actually didn’t make entirely that much sense to me if I thought about it too long. The at first build up to the Cairhien stuff and the sudden “haha, just kidding, this was actually kind of easy” was one too. I also had a bit of a teeth-gritting at the “wow, you are a genius” back-patting that was going on here and there. I hate to say it, but real political genius is actually kind of boring to read about, and the stuff that is kind of interesting to read about is actually kind of “duh”. So the “wow, you took this perfect situation and made the ‘no dip’ solution” is not genius.

That being said… I loved the book. Can you tell? Ok, fine, I was a little negative, but that is mainly because I loved it, and I hate to “review” something I loved because I feel like I’d just be gushing like a fan. Which means I look at it more critically and find things to grouse about. But, the good: Mat’s scenes were very Mat, much better read than his scenes in The Gathering Storm, (which I still liked, but some didn’t). The moments of awesome were indeed awesome, and the aside from a couple of times that I just didn’t want to read an Elayne chapter when they happened, the book had a good pace. There is also a scene in there that seriously choked me up and brought a tear to my eye, mainly because of the paternal instinct in me. I actually enjoyed the “jesus-ification” of Rand because it wasn’t all that over-done I think. It actually made sense, for what happened to him at the end of the last book, mainly his getting sane understanding instantly of 400+ years of life during the Age of Legends.

So yeah, the book is awesome, above grousing included, and I eagerly await the final book (hopefully one year from now).

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