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Title: Towers of Midnight
Series: The Wheel of Time #13
Author: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Fain corrupts an army of Trollocs and heads south with them.
Elaida’s sul’dam has her demonstrate Traveling. Fortuona decides to use this to attack the White Tower in force.
Aviendha meets a strange Aiel on the way to Rhuidean, who makes her think of the toh the Aiel must pay, their sin and what they will do once it is paid. After going through the glass columns, she wonders if she can sense their purpose like she did with the other ter’angreal and manages to activate them so that they show her descendants rather than her ancestors. They show that the Aiel will be defeated by the Seanchan and reduced to pitiful honorless wretches.
Rand comes from Dragonmount and talks to Almen Bunt. As he talks, apple trees that had previously given shrivelled fruit re-bloom and give a genuine crop. He leaves to talk to Egwene and tell her he means to break the Seals. She decides this is the wrong thing to do and begins to organize resistance to him. He tells her he will meet her at the Field of Merrilor.
Perrin encounters the Whitecloaks, under the command of Galad. Bornhald and Byar tell Galad that Perrin killed Children, including Geofram Bornhald, so in order to avoid a battle, Perrin agrees to a trial, with Morgase as the judge, who Galad has identified. She pronounces him guilty, but declares it a fight between mercenary companies and says Galad should set the punishment. Perrin encounters Slayer in the Dreamworld and finds a ter’angreal that can prevent the opening of gateways. He follows Slayer to the White Tower where he walks into a battle between Aes Sedai and the Black Ajah under the command of Mesaana. Egwene tries to hold him, with rope and chains, but his abilities in Tel’aran’rhiod are too strong and he just shrugs them off. Slayer escapes, but Perrin destroys the ter’angreal, allowing gateways to be formed once more. He realises there is a trap ahead of them and arranges his men to fight Shadowspawn, who arrive through a Portal Stone, with one lone male passing them through. He is able to save the Whitecloaks. Bornhald accepts he is no Darkfriend but Byar does not and tries to kill him, but is killed by Dain. Perrin persuades Galad to give him his allegiance until the last Battle is over. Galad tells Perrin that his punishment will be to pay reparations.
In the Tower, the Bloodknives murder Aes Sedai, but Egwene believes it to be Mesaana. She arranges a meeting with Windfinders and Wise Ones and suggests an alliance, and a new bargain with the Windfinders to replace the one that Elayne made. They decide to think on it. Mesaana and members of the Black Ajah attack and they are forced to battle. Several Black Ajah are killed before Mesaana captures Egwene with an a’dam. Egwene refuses to accept it and it falls away. She then crushes Mesaana’s mind.
Mat discovers the gholam has tracked him. He sends an urgent letter to Elayne and is granted a meeting. He persuades her to make the Dragons, but she insists that Andor will own most of them. He agrees the Band will work for Andor until Rand needs them, but that they can refuse any commission. He tells her about the gholam. He offers her his ter’angreal to study as an encouragement and gets a deal out of her. She is able to make imperfect copies that deflect weak weaves, but not strong ones and do not allow the holder to channel. She decides to tie the Kin to her and arranges for them to be permanently based in Caemlyn, hoping that Egwene will agree. While Mat and Birgitte are out, she visits the Black Ajah, disguised as one of the Forsaken to trick Chesmal into revealing secret information. She gets some, but Temaile, Eldrith and Mellar are freed by Jaq Lounalt and attack her. After a struggle, Mellar escapes with a copy of the foxhead medallion, but the three Black Ajah sisters are killed.
After meeting Elayne, Mat arranges to kill the gholam. He entices it into attacking him, wounding it with his ter’angreal and copies Elayne made. He is able to force it back and through a skimming gateway that Sumeko had opened, where it would fall forever.
Nynaeve Heals Naeff’s madness. She Travels to Tar Valon and takes the test for Aes Sedai, which she passes after some discussion. She then Travels to the Black Tower and takes Lan’s bond. Rand sends Naeff to the Black Tower, to find men loyal to him and tell him he was wrong about Taim.
In the Black Tower, Androl leads the men loyal to Logain. They discover they are unable to open gateways. They note that Kurin seems no longer to be himself, indeed seems to be empty. Pevara also discovers she cannot form a gateway, but when she tries to talk to Tarna, finds that Tarna is behaving oddly and seems unconcerned about the restrictions Taim has placed. Androl comes to her to try and arrange an escape.
Rodel fights a massive Trolloc force, keeping them free of Maradon against all odds. As they are about to be overwhelmed, Bashere arrives and saves them. Rand joins them and obliterates the Trolloc army. Rodel is taken away by Rand, who has found Alsalam.
Mat meets up with Perrin and they tell each other their news. Perrin leaves to meet with Elayne and they arrange a treaty, Perrin is to be High Lord over the Two Rivers which is to be given to the Dragon Reborn and will not pay taxes. Perrin and Faile’s children will be encouraged to marry into Andoran nobility. Perrin heads to the Field of Mellitor, where he aligns with Rand. Elayne strips Arymilla, Elenia and Naean of their titles and offers their estates to powerful Cairhienen lords, promising the Andorans estates in Cairhien. She enters Cairhien to take the throne, though Birgitte has to prevent an assassination attempt.
Mat takes Noal and Thom to the Tower of Ghenjei. They enter and use Mat’s luck to navigate, soon arriving at a room with Moiraine. They tell the Aelfinn they want her and that Mat is willing to pay the price, the loss of his eye. As part of the bargain, he insists the Aelfinn allow them to leave, but forgets to insist on the same with the Eelfinn and they are attacked. Noal admits to being Jain Fairstrider and stays back to fight them off. He is defeated and the Eelfinn approach Mat, Thom and Moiraine. Mat thinks on the last bargain he made and realises that as he didn’t ask for a weapon, the weapon must be something he did ask for – a way out and uses it to slash the sides of the room and they escape. Moiraine tells them her strength in the Power is greatly reduced and that she will marry Thom. She bonds him.
The armies of the Westlands gather at the Field of Merrilor, to oppose the Dragon Reborn.
This. This was everything that a Wheel of Time book was supposed to be, every time. Massive in size, in scope and in story yet racing right along with intricate action scenes and politics galore. Sanderson brings the magic back into the storytelling and reminds us of why we stuck it out for over 20 years to see where Jordan was going to take us.
All 3 of the ta’averen, Rand, Matt and Perrin grow up. While it felt rather abrupt, it really fit in with everything that had happened to them before. This was the tipping point where they chose whether to become good men or to stay boys.
This also had one of the saddest parts of the entire series, where Aviendha sees the future instead of the past when going through the Aiel ter’angreal (a magical item). It is sad because you see the descent of the Aiel from feared warriors to scavenging animals and Sanderson really sells it. I could feel the descent, if that makes sense. It is sad also because you see the land and kingdoms we’ve spent the last 13 books reading about eventually being conquered by the Seanchan. I found it amazing how Sanderson managed to describe the next couple hundreds of years and convey the wealth of information that he did in only one chapter. On a third front, it also perfectly expressed how the Wheel of Time kept on rolling after the events chronicled here. This was NOT the Last Battle. Just A Battle.
That brings me to the one thing I am not ok with in the entire Wheel of Time series. The whole Creator and the Dark One entities. The Creator appears to have abandoned the universe after imprisoning the Dark One while the Dark One seems to have been given free reign to escape if he can. Jordan, and thus Sanderson, don’t really go into the theological details of this and that gaping hole bothers me just as much as the apparent Dualism theology presented. Obviously, as a Christian I have a VERY different outlook. I don’t expect my fantasy to align with my beliefs but neither do I simply ignore it.
- Towers of Midnight (2013 Review)
- The Gathering Storm (Book 12)
- Knife of Dreams (Book 11)
- Crossroads of Twilight (Book 10)
- Winter’s Heart (Book 9)
- Path of Dagger (Book 8)
- Crown of Swords (Book 7)
- Lord of Chaos (Book 6)
- New Spring (Book 0)
- The Fires of Heaven (Book 5)
- The Shadow Rising (Book 4)
- The Dragon Reborn (Book 3)
- The Great Hunt (Book 2)
- The Eye of the World (Book 1)