Archive for The Wheel of Time

Towers of Midnight

Posted in Books with tags , , , on January 22, 2011 by xi'an

The X’mas break was a welcomed opportunity to read a fair chunk of Brandon Sanderson‘s Towers of Midnight. I completed reading the book by last week. The penultimate volume in the Wheel of Time series is fulfilling its promises in that it offers a broad picture of the state of the countries and  of the convergence of the characters just before the Last Battle. (The following is clearly of limited interest for those who have not read the series of the Wheel of Time and a source of spoilers for those who have not yet read this final volume.)

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Towers of Midnight [-38]

Posted in Books with tags , , , on September 25, 2010 by xi'an

In case you are really desperate when faced with 38 days remaining till the publication of Towers of Midnight, Brandon Sanderson has posted on his blog the eighth chapter of Towers of Midnight and Leigh Butler has posted her feelings about the new book (but not spoiler nor hints, the post with spoilers all over the place lurking somewhere till the second of November)…

Towers of Midnight [-58]

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , on September 6, 2010 by xi'an

Now, I was quite surprised to see a trailer for a book, of all things! but here it is, 58 days before the publication of the 13th volume of The Wheel of Time.

After all, there was also one for The Name of the Wind..!

Towers of Midnight [-99]

Posted in Books with tags , , , , on July 25, 2010 by xi'an

The penultimate book in the shelf-olic series of The Wheel of Time is called Towers of Midnight and it is scheduled to be published on November 2, which makes it 99 days from today. Here is the planned U.S. cover, so much in line with the previous covers that I am now getting used to their ugliness and poor connection with the books. (Search the Web for an even uglier earlier version, where characters are suffering from the vanishing mid-body disease!) Still removing the cover when reading in the metro, of course! (On the other hand, a much more interesting series of covers have just been designed for the e-book versions of the fourteen books.) As for The Gathering Storm, the thirteenth book in the series is written by Brandon Sanderson, following the threads weaved by Robert Jordan. While the dust jacket entry is too dramatic for my taste,

The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight.

Dovie’andi se tovya sagain. It’s time to toss the dice.

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.

Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way–at long last–to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways–the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn–have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.

This penultimate novel of Robert Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling series–the second of three based on materials he left behind when he died in 2007–brings dramatic and compelling developments to many threads in the Pattern. The end draws near.

I hope I will enjoy this one-before-last book as much as The Gathering Storm. Although Sanderson’s style is not particularly lively, he is nicely bringing the series to its conclusion without creating new threads that will justify a fifteenth or sixteenth volume!

The Gathering Storm

Posted in Books with tags , , , on December 29, 2009 by xi'an

“It was not the best way to approach problems. People were much more complex than a set of rules or numbers.” Brandon Sanderson, The Gathering Storm

Being away with no computer of my own, I spent most of yesterday reading the remainder of Brandon Sanderson’s The Gathering Storm. The book ties up as many plots as is possible to cram within 760 pages without turning incoherent and this change of pace from earlier volumes like Crossroads of Twilight makes it quite enjoyable! Among major characters, only Elayne Trakand does not make it into the book, which sees a lot of minor and some major enigmas explained (like Verin’s ambivalence throughout the whole series, through one of the most climactic pages of the whole series). I cannot distinguish the differences between Jordan’s and Sanderson’s styles well-enough to comment on it, but the new book does fit in the series, presumably because the skeleton was sketched by Robert Jordan before his death. (It seems to me however that The Gathering Storm contains more points of views than Jordan’s volumes. For instance, Tuon grows more depth thanks to those.)

“I don’t know the numbers but he claimed it would be days’ worth of work. And he said that his estimates were probably too optimistic.” Brandon Sanderson,, The Gathering Storm

The most successful subplot in The Gathering Storm certainly is the resolution of the White Tower split and the recognition of Egwene as their leader by both sides. This was predictable, of course, but the way the political maneuvering is presented is quite convincing (except maybe for the way Elaida is deposited). Rand’s part is only slightly less successful but the description of his progression towards madness and his estrangement from Min are both gripping. His move towards a grey zone between good and evil where the destruction of The Dark One starts justifying anything is quite successfully told and while it infuses unease in the reader’s connection with Rand, it also gives him much more depth. The meeting with Rand’s father and the final chapter where he shakes off some of this madness are major stepping stones  in the story. Tuon’s resistance to Rand’s pull also comes as a surprising twist in the overall plot and, while it creates an opening for yet other sub-stories, like the Seanchan’s attack on Tar Valon, it overall makes sense that the two major players cannot agree to be led by one of them. Mat’s meandering through Murandy is definitely a minor story and a lot of details are repetitive of earlier volumes, while Perrin’s indecision takes a while to vanish. The most incomprehensible part is Lan’s, who seems to be taking months to march to his death… The complete disappearance of the Whitecloacks from the political and military scenes is unexplained, as is the absence of Morgase who could as well be dead.