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Building up to the end,
This review is from: Towers Of Midnight: Book 13 of the Wheel of Time (Hardcover)
I was very impressed with how Sanderson stepped into some very big shoes left behind by RJ and took over the Wheel of Time saga, so I had high hopes for the next book.
Initially, I found Towers of Midnight a rather slow affair. The first half of the book spends a lot of time with Perrin moping about his wolf/human conflicted nature. I thought we were past this but apparently not. Fortunately the second half takes his storyline forward through some rather iconic scenes (such as forging a weapon whose name will be familiar to those who like Norse myth) and we get a resolution to the problem of manetheren resurfacing in Andor, as well as another look at Slayer. I found the idea of Elayne considering violence against one of Rand's best friends rather odd.
Other characters go through some rather abrupt plot twists - Galad is put in danger, and a few chapters later suddenly gets out. Gawyn spends most of the book moping, and then has an abrupt change of heart. Rand has come back from his reintegration a changed man, but has v few scenes in this book, compared to his substantial coverage in the last book. Mat also gets several major story arcs - fighting the gholam, creating his weapons of war and going after Moiraine in the Tower of Ghenjei.
Other characters get briefer look ins, but all of them are massively significant. Elayne and Egwene make new alliances which will be important now and for the future. Aviendha discovers some very disturbing information about the future of the Aiel, and we see that the Seanchan threat is far from over. We finally get a look in at the Black Tower, with rather creepy scenes, and we finally find out just what was the reason for the Borderlanders abandoning their post against the Blight. Lan's story is made of short scenes interspersed throughout the book, beginning and ending this volume.
So despite a disappointing first half, the book more than redeems itself in the action packed second half (at one point two distinct battles run right into each other). Although at times it feels like he has to force some scenes through just to fit everything in, I have faith that Sanderson can pull the final threads together for the 14th and final book of this magnus opus.