This is where I get to rave and rage like a rabid fanboy. I will not hold out on spoilers. Be warned.
Towers of Midnight was the book that I needed to read to feel like the world of Wheel of Time is ready for the last battle to be chronicled in the 14th and final book, A Memory of Light.
I had less anticipation for it compared to The Gathering Storm maybe because there was a slightly less waiting time and I half-expected many of the plot threads and loose ends that would be tied up with this book. Still, Brandon Sanderson and Harriet Rigney managed to pull off surprises after surprises with every chapter.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Robert Jordan book without the long, drawn-out narrative. As a WOT fan, you learn to forgive that and just look past it and see the bigger picture. Even if many of what happened in TOM seemed predictable, it's really how they get there that makes up the most amazing parts of the story.
Some initial thoughts (SPOILERS GALORE):
- TOM should be retitled the Trakand-Damodred story. Not surprising given the absence of Elayne from TGS and Moiraine (She is a Damodred) since Fires of Heaven. Also great to hear from Galad and Gawyn after so long. Never thought I'd like Galad as a character until now.
- I still cannot bring myself to respect Elayne. Still ditsy. Feisty, but ditsy.
- Also, I was half-worried about Moiraine's return after having read through 90% of the book and it still hasn't happened.
- Galad and Berelain? Predicted.
- Danelle as Mesaana? Predicted.
- Graendal killing Asmodean? Predicted.
- Hopper's death didn't move me as much as Moiraine's and Verin's did. But the battle of Maredon was heartbreaking.
- Still no sign of Loial or the Ogier. They're probably lying in wait until the Last Battle.
- Also, Sanderson said there wouldn't be new characters in TOM. So Nakomi is somebody we already know.
- The ambush on the Whitecloaks, Perrin and Egwene's battle in the World of Dreams were much more epic than Mat's travails at the Tower of Ghenjei. The Aelfinn and Eelfinn were really scary though.
- Healing Asha'man madness and Power-wrought weapons. 'Nuff said.
- Rand, Perrin, and Mat are equal now:
- Mah'alleinir = Callandor and Ashandarei.
- Mat has one eye = Rand has one arm, Perrin has golden eyes
- I thought something was gonna happen when Elayne, Birgitte, Perrin, Mat, Galad, and Gawyn were all in Caemlyn. Of course, the Trolloc attack happened when all of them had gone to the Fields of Merrilor.
At the end of it all, we are only left with a few threads left to tie up (As far as I could count anyway):
- The Seanchan
- The Black Tower
*Adrian from the Wheel of Time Phils. mailing list already pointed out that he is not Mazrim Taim - Robert Jordan even said so!
I know it's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 week, but I had also just today lifted the embargo on Towers of Midnight-related discussion over at the Wheel of Time Phils. mailing list. So there.