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Towers of Midnight -By Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (Orbit)

Last update - Friday, April 15, 2011, 21:12 By Metro Éireann

It’s a testament to the late Robert Jordan’s abilities, considering the relative disappointment of the previous installment, that I snapped up this – the 13th book in the Wheel of Time series – at the first opportunity.

I began reading eagerly with the hope that some previous shortcomings would have been rectified this time around. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
While glimmers of Jordan’s genius are still apparent in the epically complex plot, the prose through which it’s conveyed is beyond disappointing, turning a world which once had a language and an upbeat (if difficult) pattern of its own into just another sordid fantasy which borrows too much of its vocabulary from Hollywood action films.
To make matters worse, characters who were previously wily masters of the Great Game of high-level politics and intrigue seem to have dropped about 50 IQ points to become a bunch of bumbling amateurs who are embarrassing to read about.
The real question, however, is why there wasn’t better editorial control of the process for a series as successful as Wheel of Time has been.
It’s all too obvious that a decision was made to maximise profits at the expense of quality. Both the ridiculously high number of typos and the decision to split what was supposed to be one action-packed final volume into three lumbering ones – each encumbered with its own superfluous 300-odd page introduction – point to this.
What you will get out of this book (eventually, provided you keep reading) is long-sought resolution to several plot lines that have been tantalisingly brewing for years.
Supporting cast members such as better-than-good Galad and man-eating Berelain finally meet up; childhood sweethearts Rand and Egwene face each other once more, each a changed person; original intriguant par excellence Moiraine reappears as the Tower of Genji plotline comes to a close; while evil guys Mesaana and Luc/Slayer finally get dealt with; and Rand integrates the reincarnated Lews Therin into his personality.
But then, considering the quality of the book, you may just want to save yourself the money and google the results instead.

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