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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
After twelve books of slow-moving, intricate plotting (and a hefty dose of filler), the Last Battle against the Dark One is here.

So is "Towers of Midnight" good? Oh yeah. Brandon Sanderson and the late Robert Jordan came up with a solid penultimate volume, sprinkled with solid characterization, epic moments, and the occasional discovery that will probably have you bouncing and screaming with joy. It's a rich, fast-moving experience that will leave you on edge for the grand finale.

And yes, thanks for asking -- it IS hard to review this without spoiling too much.

While the previous book was more centered on Rand and his inner turmoil, this one centers on Mat and Perrin -- there are countless intertwined subplots in this one, but the important ones rest on those two. Specifically, Mat has to grapple with the gholam at long last, and Perrin has to work out his issues as well as his wolfish other side.

Tarmon Gai'don is coming, and Jordan and Sanderson really hammer it home that this will not be an easy or quick battle. "Towers of Midnight" has a lot riding on it: not only does it have to build up to an epic grand finale in the next book, but it has to start wrapping up all the important storylines. Does it deliver?

For the most part, yes -- Sanderson doesn't quite capture a few of the characters' personalities (such as Mat), but overall this is a smashing book. Sanderson's vibrant juggernaut prose actually meshes very well with Jordan's intricate, slow-moving storylines. And despite Tarmon Gai'don looming over the characters' heads, there are actually some funny moments (mostly from Mat) and some powerful, riveting ones that seem to leap out from the pages.

Additionally, Jordan/Sanderson deal with some long-running subplots such as "Who killed Asmodean?" And without revealing too much, a favorite character returns after many books, although some unexpected revelations about said character had me scratching my head.

As I said, Perrin and Mat take center stage here -- and while Mat was a bit off in The Gathering Storm, Sanderson seems to have gotten a grip on his quirky sarcastic personality. And after getting put on the backburner for awhile, Perrin has a strong, action-filled arc in which some kinks are ironed out of his personality.

Actually, pretty much all the characters get at least SOME time, Egwene especially as she keeps grappling with problems in the White Tower. As for Rand, he's a little mixed -- he's finally gotten over his annoying wangst and whining, but he's now a little too mellow. Did someone slip him some pot between books?

With the series back on track and new blood injected into the prose, "The Towers of Midnight" is a powerful mixed experience -- it leaves you craving more, but also dreading the end.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2011
I have been following the wheel of time since I picked up book 1 as a teenager. Overall I quite like Brandon's writing. He captures the spirit of Jordan's legacy and had made a very good stab at finishing Jordan's Epic.

The threads of the storylines are all neatly coming together and are being tied off nicely and I'm not going to put in spoilers to say which.

However this book and the previous one could have done with some editing. My main issue is the timeline was messed up for about half the story, most clearly with Mat and Perrin. In fact a chapter half way through the book really illustrates the messed up timeline as Perrin witnesses Rand's conflict from the end of the previous book. This would have been fine if Rand hadn't appeared earlier in the book.

Apart from this slightly messy structure I think this was overall a good addition to the series tieing off the stories. I also liked the way the story finished on a cliff hanger.

I suspect that the three final books should really have been two. This would have allowed Perrin and Mat's stories to keep up with Rand. However there is a limit to how many pages can fit in a book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This was a hugely emotional and engaging read for me.

This series was in the wilderness for a while - books 7-11 were interesting but not captivating and the inevitable approach of the final battle seemed vague and distant. Not any more. Brandon Sanderson has masterfully set the series back on track for a nail biting conclusion.
The plot after a long time of stagnation picks up pace from the first page. There hardly seems enough space in the book to deal with all the rapidly progressing plot points. All the major characters get significant plot progression and by the end of the book Tarmon Gai'don is now imminent.

Brandon Sanderson has done and continues to do an excellent job caretaking the final books in the series. The style of writing is not mimicing Jordans but the characters dialogue and actions would not have seemed out of place compared to those of earlier books in the series. Anyone grumbling about his aproach to the series from a literary point of view really needs to look at the constraints he is working under and applaud him for his craft.

I actually felt like I was living in a dreamland divorced from reality while reading this - I was so focussed reading it. Theres been a good number of very good books this year - but In terms of rankig them for plot , emotional impact and construction this is without a doubt one of the best - if not the best book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2010
The pacing of Sanderson's WoT authored novels is much better than Jordan's. I loved all of the Wheel of Time novels, but TGS and ToM definitely have a higher sense of urgency and a faster pacing than any previous WoT novels did. I can't write a long review of this, because its such a long novel and I would feel as if I'm giving too much away if I point out why I really loved it. However, as much as I loved it, Sanderson still seems to be having problems writing Mat. That is a true pity, since Mat plays such a large part in this book. Its much improved since the last book, but Mat still doesn't seem himself. The other characters are pretty much true-to-form, but I don't feel any of Jordan coming from Mat. I love Sanderson and all his books, but his writing feels a bit out of place here. It doesn't make it any less enjoyable, but you can tell he struggled a bit with this one.

Still, 5 stars from me. Jordan/Sanderson fan forever!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
After plodding with difficulty through books 5-11, I did not know what to expect from this one. In book 12, we started to see some action, but book 13 is a whirlwind of action!!! Of course, we still have a fair account of the usual stubborn, self centered, sniffing, snorting women (the usual ones) but the action make them very forgettable. Strangely enough, I appreciate Nynaeve much more now. She is actually a great, caring woman. Oh yes, plenty of Perrin and plenty of Mat. Mat is back to his old self, I did not like what the author had made of him in the last book, a toy boy to a queen and an indecisive, confused puppy to these women rather than the loveable scoundrel with a golden heart he is. But in the Tower of Midnight, he shows a bravery and a self sacrifice to save someone he did not especially love in the past that makes him a true hero. There is a twist at the end, a character who is coming back and a surprise. I won't say more. Towers of Midnight made me forget about the long periods where nothing happened in the Wheel of Time, of all the boring chapters and of all of the pages I skipped. But the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills and no matter how much I moaned and complained about The Wheel of Time, it is a gripping series, and I was lucky to be able to read it with no interruption, but now that I have to wait, I am at loss at what to read next... Love it or hate it, in my case, love it and hate it (at times) Wheel of Time draws you into it and you cannot really escape.

p.s. about the style of the book, I have to say that Mr Sanderson has done a brilliant work at keeping Mr Jordan's style. It is not a mean feat and I will check out other books by Mr Sanderson.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2011
The problem with this book is that Robert Jordan didn't write it! As a novel it's great; the story lines are great, the characters are great and the action is fabulous. It even has pace, something the Wheel of Time series has sadly lacked on occasion.

However, if you love Mat's character then you'll be disappointed. Sanderson just can't get this character right, in fact many of the characters aren't fully realised. They aren't after all his characters and Robert Jordan's characterisation was first class. Jordan created characters whose actions fully matched their personalities and their motivations could be traced back to foreshadowing laid down in previous books of the series. His characters don't shift in the wind of plot development rather the opposite.

That attention to detail, to world building, to characterisation is gone. What it is replaced with is plot revelation, pace and action. You do find out what happens next. It is plausible. It follows the multiple strands style of previous books. Perrin finally comes to grips with himself and some great final encounters / scenes are set up for revelation in the last book of the series.

Was I satisfied when I put the book down? Yes, I knew what happened next and it fit in with what had been set up before. No because this isn't a Wheel of Time novel. It is set in the same universe, uses the same characters and completes the next step of the journey but fans of Jordan's style of writing rather than say fans of the series will be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2011
I've been a long standing fan of the Wheel of Time, and I was very disheartened to hear of Robert Jordan's death. However I do feel that Brian Sanderson is doing a good job finishing off the series.

This book is definitely gearing up for Tarmon Gai'don, the last battle and armies are being maneuvered into position. Several mysteries are resolved in this book, however the fate of Rand and his friends is still to be decided in the last book, A Memory of Light.

I personally enjoyed the book, it felt as if some very important events happened. The book focuses a lot on Perin & Mat. The story also involved multiple reunions which were long outstanding. However, the lack of a certain male AWOL Forsaken in the book feels like a missed opportunity for him to shine.

The book isn't as great as some of the more epic books in the series but by no means is it near the worst. I very much enjoyed reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2010
Another great installment of Robert Jordan's masterpiece from Brandon Sanderson. This book is all about setting the scene for the last book but it is none the less exciting for that. It is quite a breathless read proceeding along at a breakneck pace and I believe it is all the better for that. There are a few places that seem a bit rushed with things that have taken several books to set up being resolved in a small amount of time, but they are to my mind at least resolved satisfactorily. As someone who has read this series from the beginning I can at last see the end, though from what I can tell resolving things like the Black Tower, Seanchan, The Last Battle and what happens after will mean an absolutely huge last book. I can't wait!!! If you have never read any of these books I highly recommend them. It is a truly epic series that if you are a true fantasy fan you need to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2011
With this book, Brandon Sanderson has already proven himself worth the confidence of both editors and readers of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.
While solving and ending several old plot arcs, this book manages to start new ones, straining the sense of urgency of the whole saga yet giving the reader some pieces of cheer jubilation by the unraveling of such old tough points.
The writing itself has improved, and the remaining glitches of the Gathering Storm, due to the adaptation of a new writer to an old series have vanished. This book is read easily even for the non-native English speaker I am, and with great awe at some masterpieces of eloquence.
This very edition is a beautiful hardback, designed with the usual look and feel of Orbit, which I've always preferred upon Tor. It looks great in my bookshelf, and it should do even better with its most wanted successor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2013
You can definitely tell the end is drawing near! While I complained about Perrin's few chapters in "The Gathering Storm", rest assured he gets to do something proper this time around, instead of just moping around brooding over what to do now that he no longer has to rescue his wife from the Shaido.

In fact, a lot of the plot revolves around him this time, and while Galad was missing from the previous novel as well, he's back in this one. And turns out to not be a stuck-up brat after all. He also gets to meet his not-dead stepmum, and we can only hope the same goes for Gawyn before Tarmon Gai'don kicks off properly.

Speaking of Gawyn, he's having issues getting Egwene to bond him. Meanwhile, assassins are trying to kill Egwene, but she can manage them perfectly well on her own, thank you. She also doesn't like the visit she has from Rand, and what Rand is intending to do.

Rand is busy being the Messiah, now that he's done with the "very naughty boy" phase, so things could actually turn out well for the world in the end. I hope.

Things are starting to brew over at the Black Tower as well. Perhaps Mazrim Taim isn't such a great man to put in charge, after all ... But at least the White Tower is united again, and that's something I'm more interested in reading about anyway.

Elayne is back again, still pregnant, and makes a deal with Mat about the cannons - sorry, "dragons" - Aludra wants the bellfounders to make. I'm beginning to think I don't care much for Elayne, to be perfectly honest. Mat, on the other hand, finally manages to get to the Tower of Ghenjei, but what happens, you may Read And Find Out.

If you've been comparing the Wheel of Time books to Norse mythology and wonder when a) Thor is going to get himself a proper hammer, and b) Odin is going to lose an eye, this is it.

Some silly names aside, there really is nothing to complain about. The pacing is quicker than normal, the chapters at least appear to be shorter (thanks, Sanderson!), which makes it easier for everyone who tends to say "I'll just finish the chapter" in bed at night. Some chapters previously in the series have been very, very long. Not so here, so that's great.

I've only mentioned a few things here, but there are a lot of very momentous things happening in this novel, that sets up the final novel beautifully. Maybe the Whitecloaks won't be an issue after all, who knows? Are the darkfriends falling apart from the inside? Can the Final Battle actually possibly be won by the Dragon and the forces of good? Read And Find Out.

Towers of Midnight perhaps isn't epic, but the series is, and this penultimate instalment is a fitting near-ending. Well-written, eventful, exciting, amazing ... So, so good.
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