Two left. We’ve only got two books left to review. Then we’re finally done with this series. Which feels just as sad as it does triumphant.
Yes, I know ‘New Spring’ exists. But prequels don’t count. Has Star Wars taught us nothing?
The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass. Rand has reached a state of serenity as he makes his final preparations for the Last Battle. At the same time, the rest of his friends finish their remaining tasks. Mat faces the Gholam for the last time. Perrin confronts the White Cloak and finally embraces himself as a Wolf Brother. Nynaeve proves herself as an Aes Sedai to the White Tower. Time is running short; will all our heroes stand ready for the Last Battle before it’s too late?
Of all the books in this series, this is among the busiest of them all. A ton happens in this book, so much so that it feels like multiple books all smashed into one. This can lead to a lot of these plot conclusions feeling rushed, like they were being marked off of a checklist so they could be put out of the way before the grand finale. Many of them are still satisfying in their ending, but there are more than a few that suffer from the rapid pacing.
Some of the things we get here are amazing! Both Mat’s confrontation with the Gholam and his entering the Tower of Ghenjai are some of the best events in all of the Wheel of Time (even if I hate that a ‘dead’ character came back to life). And I love that there is only one chapter from Rand’s perspective in this book; he’s all set for the Last Battle, so let’s focus on everyone else instead of wasting time with him! Not every plotline is all that rough, despite the pacing.
But when it’s rough, it is rough.
Perrin has it the worst in this book. His whole plot with the White Cloaks in the first half of this book is insufferable. Sure, it’s cool to see him finally learn how to do Wolf Brother stuff (which is what he should have been doing the whole series, but okay). But every conflict that arises is purely because Perrin makes stupid decisions. Perrin, one of the smartest characters in the series, is dumbed-down considerably in this book.
But then he makes his new weapon and he gets to become cool again. Mainly because he basically tells Elayne to go fuck herself. My man.
Nynaeve’s plot feels like a big waste of time. Why does she have to prove herself as an Aes Sedai? This lady discovered how to heal Gentling and Stilling, can fix the madness in Male Channelers, defeated several of the Forsaken by herself, single-handedly started the resurrection of a fallen kingdom, and is one of the only people in the world that the Dragon Reborn completely trusts. She’s even displayed complete apathy towards the test! Why do we even bother?
Overall, I have iffy feelings towards Towers of Midnight. It’s so busy that it’s kind of jarring after going through the infamously slow Wheel of Time series. Still, it is an enjoyable book, and it sets the stage for the grand finale incredibly well.
Speaking of which…