This post contains book-destroying SPOILERS for Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. The non-spoiler post is here.
I’m going to concur with comments that Perrin’s arc was surprising while Mat’s was not. I’m good with the Tower of Ghenjei section, though, because it’s the kind of thing that if it had been surprising, after so much fannish analysis, it probably would have felt unfair and like it came out of nowhere. I thought the atmosphere was good and the exit was clever and it felt like what I wanted out of that trip. And I’m really glad to have Moiraine back.
Perrin’s arc did drag early, especially since it was a rehash of what’s been going on for so long, but I liked the way it involved Galad and how Perrin learned the wolf dream and accepted leadership and made a new hammer (awesome!) and how the whole thing with Faile and Berelain is finally fucking over. Though I am sort of resentful that Jordan could’ve fit that entire thing into a single book like this instead of advancing it at a crawl over however-many books. And that Slayer isn’t dead yet, because sheesh.
Rhuidean was a surprise and a dark delight for me. It’s kind of like putting the Scouring of the Shire early: indicating that everything isn’t, can’t, be automatically fabulous once the fabric of existence isn’t ripped to shreds. The Seanchan are a huge problem and I like the recognition that the margins are mostly too small to contain the resolution. That said, I fully expect Aviendha to lead the Aiel in changes that avert the future she saw, so we’ll have a two-fer, the road to one bad might-have-been and the start of a road diverging away.
(Also: oh my word the Seanchan, how am I at all supposed to expect Tuon to be Mat’s happy ending? That may be even more of a challenge than Rand’s characterization here, because really I just want them all to die in a fire.)
The Black Tower: far, far better horror episode than the random Stephen King town last time. Eek. Also, the Aiel male channelers returning from the Blight in the Epilogue (Chad made the connection for me): eek.
Miscellany: everything with Lan was awesome and made me sniffle. Lanfear: WTF? Asmodean: don’t care. Galad, Gawyn: hooray, you are both finally grown up, go forth and . . . sacrifice yourself with a shadow-assassin ter’angreal, likely, at least Gawyn, but whatever. You’d think Sanderson could write pregnancy since he has multiple kids, but no. And reunions, finally! I’d look up how long it’s been since some of these characters have seen each other but it would be depressing.
Next book: I don’t believe that there’ll be a battle at the party Rand invited everyone to, because it’s too late in the day for the sensible characters to put up with that kind of stupidity. And then there’s the Black Tower, the Seanchan, the Trolloc invasion, the breaking of the seals, and Rand’s blood on the rocks at Shayol Ghul—just for the big-picture, must-be-dealt-with things. Yeah, that’s kind of more than enough.