Review: The Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The Towers of Midnight by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan
The Towers of Midnight by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan

The Towers of Midnight
Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Tor, 2010

Reading The Towers of Midnight, the 13th and penultimate volume of The Wheel of Time, one thing becomes glaringly obvious: the final three volumes could never, ever, have been one book. In fact we are probably lucky that we are getting only three. In the previous volume, The Gathering Storm, Brandon Sanderson managed to more-or-less maintain a theme across the two big narratives that spanned the novel; a feat possible due to the very fact that there were really only two main POVs. In The Towers of Midnight the narrative is spread a little a thinner. While Perrin and Mat form the bulk of our perspective there are many other characters who play integral roles in wrapping up, or beginning to wrap up, numerous plot threads. While the deliberate move towards wrapping up plot threads that have seemingly been dangling for ages is certainly appreciated the overall effect works against this entry; robbing it of the strength seen in The Gathering Storm.

Minor spoilers below!  Consider yourself warned!

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Reminiscence and a Thank You

It isn’t perfect but it is something I’ve wanted to say, and should have said, when Robert Jordan passed away back in September of 2007.  I don’t think my attempt back then really reflected what I felt.  In fact I didn’t talk too much about it when it happened, probably because it hadn’t really hit home or because I had too much going on in my own life at the time.  HoweverLeigh Butler’s re-read of The Wheel of Time over at got me thinking about things again.  I’d been meaning to write something trying to put my thoughts to together.  What I got was this.  Hit the jump for the text or ignore this as you wish…

Continue reading “Reminiscence and a Thank You”

Robert Jordan Review Nostalgia!

Adam of the Wertzone has a review of Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World. It is pretty even handed in its complements and its criticism and well worth a look for those who’ve never read the series.  Adam does point out the strong Tolkein influence of Jordan’s work and I would add that I think Jordan uses that as an in for the first novel and departs somewhat as the series progresses.  He also points in his review to Terry Brooks as an author who ripped off Tolkein but whenever I think of major Tolkien ripoffs I think of Dennis McKiernan’s The Iron Tower.  As derivitive as Brooks work is his later books (specifically some of the ‘modern’ ones) at least show some originality and never really swing into the heavy handed wholesale copying of McKiernan’s Iron Tower.

If you’ve never read the book, or read it a while ago, head on over a take a look.

The Late Great Robert Jordan…

I’ve put off discussing Jordan’s death for a while now.   He is, in effect, the author that started this whole mess.  My first fantasy novel was Eye of the World and I have since devoured just about anything in the genre since.  Admittedly Jordan’s work was the center of a lot of joking amongst friends, especially during the later volumes,  but his work has always, and will always, retain a special place in my heart.  I have grown up alongside Rand al’Thor, Perrin Ayabara, and Matrim Cauthon and going back to Jordan’s work is like coming home again.  I have ceased trying to explain to others quite how I feel about the Wheel of Time series, it’s hard explaining how you view a writer, characters, and a world you’ve been around for more than a decade but I do know that Jordan being unable to complete his tale and that leaves a rather large vacancy in the world of fantasy at large and in my reading life.  So Mr. Rigney:  “May you shelter in the palm of the Creator’s hand, and may the last embrace of the mother welcome you home.”

For a far better articulation of what Jordan meant to us “hardcore” fantasy fans check out Fantasy Book Critic’s post.