PDA

View Full Version : A More Detailed Explanation of My Review of ToM


Tamyrlin
06-03-2011, 04:41 PM
When I wrote my review a few people asked or mentioned that they'd like to know what I meant as I tried to say as little as possible at the time about the details. So, here I'll quote what I wrote and give you some details.

I'm happy to tell you that Towers of Midnight is a far-reaching, entertaining and thought-provoking book for Freaks like me. And as I consider my favorites from the series, it now sits in my top five as seen in the handy “My Top Five” list below.

My Top Five

1. Lord of Chaos
2. The Shadow Rising
3. The Fires of Heaven
4. The Great Hunt
5. Towers of Midnight

You can read into this list what you will...and you will, because you are Freaks. For me, Towers of Midnight expands the World in a significant number of ways that interest me and have always interested me. It reminds me of why I became a Theory Freak.

I still stand by this list, but I know different things appeal to different readers. Tel'aran'rhiod opened up the books for me in The Great Hunt and even more so when Egwene met the Wise Ones. In Towers of Midnight we are introduced to a variety of new concepts such as the dream spike, Traveling's connection to Tel'aran'rhiod, Nightmares and their power, and we are given greater insight into Slayer's abilities in this realm along with seeing just how powerful someone like Perrin can become. Also, we see in very direct terms the connection between the Real World and the Third Constant when we witness Rand's reintegration from Perrin's point of view. Finally, we start to see how the breaking down of the Pattern is affecting TAR (what are likely TAR reflections of Mirror Worlds merging with the TAR reflection of the Real World.) Oh, and of course we cannot forget Nakomi, which I believe is somehow connected to TAR. All of these moments made for an engaging book that enlarged the world and the meaning of the books to me.

A second interest of mine throughout the series has been in Aviendha and the Wise Ones (and certainly how Dreamwalking applies to the Unseen Worlds.) Therefore, I appreciated the focus on Aviendha and her experience in Rhuidean. Again, we were shown a different aspect of Ter'angreal, possibly Aviendha's talent and possibly future mirror worlds, or the "future" as seen in a previous turning perhaps? Either way, Aviendha and her experience in Rhuidean will be one of the reasons that this book remains remarkable as time passes.

A third interest of mine has been the other worlds, of the Parallel and Mirror varieties. Mixed in with Mat, a favorite character, along with Thom and to rescue Moiraine, it was hard to miss on this being a highlight. While I would have wished for a point of view from an Eelfinn or Aelfinn, spending time in this Parallel World and getting more insight into the Finns, the loss of Mat's eye and then to be taken aback by the ensuing escape.

This book had a little bit of everything that I've found compelling about the Wheel of Time series and it returned to characters and concepts that were and still are very interesting from back in the day. It literally belongs with those books, which is why I rated it so highly.


Of course, much comes to an end. Towers of Midnight is full of events we’ve been predicting, anticipating and discussing ever since The Dragon Reborn and those moments rarely disappoint. So much comes full circle, it's hard not to look back and appreciate the harmony (along with some pleasurable and sometimes surprising discord) of the Pattern Jordan wove.

The full circle comment: the return to Rhuidean for Aviendha, the return to the White Tower for Nynaeve, the return of Moiraine, the return to the Finns for Mat, the return to Caemlyn for Thom, the return of Lews Therin, Egwene as Amyrlin, the continued mystery that is/was Verin, the return in force of the Black Ajah. For me, it speaks to a specific harmony with Jordan's insistence of this world have circular events/time and a plan for each age. I think it is very useful to go back and read books one through four to see just how instructive ToM is to what may be coming in the last book.

What Was Disappointing?

I didn’t get everything I wanted. At times, I was under-whelmed by how a few plot threads turned, twisted and ended…or appear to end. And there are a few moments where, depending on which characters you Freaks enjoy, your eyes will gloss over, as it has become apparent how much you either like or dislike certain characters.

Specifically, I was hoping for a Forsaken buffet and a slumber party afterwards. That didn’t happen, although the main course was tasty. I was hoping for much of the book to take place in the Black Tower (one can hope), that didn’t happen either. I was hoping that Aviendha would take a long bath…read and find out.

We didn't see into the Black Tower and get behind the scenes there as much as I expected we would at this point. I didn't believe the Black Tower would be a focal point in the last battle, but obviously I was wrong. I was under-whelmed with the Borderlanders story arc...although, it doesn't seem to be quite over. That was one of the "appear to end" that I marked. The variety of love stories, specifically that between Tallanvor and Morgase, fell like a dud for me. The world is ending. The world is falling apart. And these aren't farmers, instead a soldier and a queen. It felt too...meh. Considering the lack of time spent in the Black Tower, I felt like that was a thread that could have been nipped or left hanging. I thought Graendal's demise and general plans were underwhelming. And as for the Forsaken, it felt like we'd get more of them, more of Shaidar Haran, more of a frenzy, or at least that we'd see more evidence of it. But I was pleased enough with what we got as far as Moridin and a glimpse of the playbook he is using.

Before reading Towers of Midnight, I was expecting A Memory of Light to be the predictable final illusion the magician saves to end his show, in this case the one that’s been foreshadowed for two decades. I knew with the surety born of true fanaticism that whatever the final act turned out to be I’d already considered it, because what could be any more surprising than what we, my fellow Freaks, have imagined during the many intermissions? Right?

Now, I’m not so sure. I’m second-guessing myself. I’m looking around, staring intently to my sides and back to the stage. Anxious. I know what’s behind that curtain…don’t I? I’m excited and nervous and hoping with all of my freakish fervor that my renewed wonder will be rewarded.

The attack on Caemlyn, the impending second attack on the White Tower, the unresolved question of the Borderlanders, the lack of Taim/Demandred/Logain really playing much of a part of ToM, the return of Lanfear, the visions Aviendha sees of the Aiel, the continued growth of Fain into something else, and the holding back of the Black Tower until AMoL really changed my perception of the end, the Dark Prophecies, etc. I thought we'd have a very predictable list of items to check off for the final book, but instead there is just too much to resolve in one final book for it to be a book of resolution. That's why I mentioned that I had that anxious excitement again, as though instead of a final trick and a long applause, the whole theater could explode and we'd be left picking up the pieces.

Hope that helped explain what I was thinking when I wrote my review.

Southpaw2012
06-03-2011, 05:18 PM
great review. I agree completely and even though I had a feeling the bad guys would try and attack some of the larger cities, my jaw dropped when it was revealed through Olver that Caemlyn was burning

sandoz12
06-03-2011, 06:21 PM
I thought we'd have a very predictable list of items to check off for the final book, but instead there is just too much to resolve in one final book for it to be a book of resolution. That's why I mentioned that I had that anxious excitement again, as though instead of a final trick and a long applause, the whole theater could explode and we'd be left picking up the pieces.


Couldn't agree with this more. I enjoyed ToM but felt that it didn't tie up enough of those threads you mentioned. And I am now worried that the final book will feel rushed and won't be able to do justice to the series in tying up these threads. Hopefully my worries will prove unfounded.

looqas
06-04-2011, 01:23 PM
Thank you for taking time to explain. Great insight into the series as a whole, but now I'm intrigued if you really had thought all these thoughts before posting the review and how much your thoughts have had time to marinate and refine over the months ;)

Terez
06-04-2011, 04:16 PM
He'd had a few months to refine them at that time anyway, since he was a beta-reader.

Davian93
06-04-2011, 04:45 PM
The attack on Caemlyn, the impending second attack on the White Tower, the unresolved question of the Borderlanders, the lack of Taim/Demandred/Logain really playing much of a part of ToM, the return of Lanfear, the visions Aviendha sees of the Aiel, the continued growth of Fain into something else, and the holding back of the Black Tower until AMoL really changed my perception of the end, the Dark Prophecies, etc. I thought we'd have a very predictable list of items to check off for the final book, but instead there is just too much to resolve in one final book for it to be a book of resolution. That's why I mentioned that I had that anxious excitement again, as though instead of a final trick and a long applause, the whole theater could explode and we'd be left picking up the pieces.

This seriously worries me. Based on the immense amount of loose ends and Brandon's writing style (where he tends to build slowly for several hundred pages and then have a quick avalanche of action, I think we might get shortchanged in the final novel. I just dont know that he will do it justice.

Terez
06-04-2011, 05:01 PM
I see you changed your sig, lol.

Davian93
06-04-2011, 05:18 PM
I see you changed your sig, lol.

I like what he's done with the last 2 books but there's just so much to finish up in the final chapter of the series. Even if its as long as TSR, its going to be tough. Given his writing style (which has stayed pretty consistent even in WoT books), I worry that the action will be too rushed is all and we'll lose out on stuff as a result.

Lightning
06-05-2011, 01:57 AM
I really liked your review. It's nice to look at things from a different perspective, it gives one a renewed appreciation for things.

I have to agree with you about the whole anxious feeling thing. It seems impossible to finish all the story lines that are left in just one book. Normally I quite like it when all the story lines are tied up and questions get answered, but in this case I accept the fact that some things will be left unresolved. (I have a feeling that the feuture of the Seanchan and what they do after TG will be the biggest unresolved storyline). All I can hope for is that I would be satisfied with the end result. I've spent the past decade looking forward to this ending and I would HATE to be dissaponted by it.

The Unreasoner
06-05-2011, 03:11 AM
A decade? I always assumed the fans were from the start like a friend of mine, or just college pricks like myself. Learn something new every day.

Zombie Sammael
06-05-2011, 08:37 AM
A decade? I always assumed the fans were from the start like a friend of mine, or just college pricks like myself. Learn something new every day.

I started reading in 1999, I think. Why would all the fans have started reading at the same time?

GonzoTheGreat
06-05-2011, 09:55 AM
I started reading in 1999, I think. Why would all the fans have started reading at the same time?If they didn't, then they are not real fans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman).

The Unreasoner
06-05-2011, 12:06 PM
There is no reason, and yet I subconsciously assumed this was the case. I was quite obviously wrong. 20 to 35 probably could have started at any point. 40+ should have been there from the beginning.

Zombie Sammael
06-05-2011, 12:32 PM
If they didn't, then they are not real fans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman).

Yep. I'm one of those "fake" fans who don't really exist. I'm just a bot account created to irritate you all, really. :-P

looqas
06-06-2011, 01:43 AM
I started reading in 1999, I think. Why would all the fans have started reading at the same time?


Incidentally I started around 1999 too. I remember that because I was in Germany as an exchange student where I bought the series published so far. I had read TEOTW before going there and really picked up the series there. Gosh! Seems such a long time for one fantasy series to wind up. But I have always thought that ToW is unique in a sense that nowadays it would be virtually impossible for a fantasy series to start and take so long in this hectic age and time.

GonzoTheGreat
06-06-2011, 04:03 AM
I dunno. Is Game of Thrones gonna be finished in less time than the WOT series?
And the Discworld series is even longer, both in time and in number of books.

Zombie Sammael
06-06-2011, 04:17 AM
I dunno. Is Game of Thrones gonna be finished in less time than the WOT series?
And the Discworld series is even longer, both in time and in number of books.

Game of Thrones was finished years ago. It was the first book published in A Song Of Ice And Fire, which I believe is supposed to be seven books long, the fifth being published in July.

It's not like Discworld as a series is something which could ever be said to be finished. It's episodic in structure rather than a continuing narrative.

GonzoTheGreat
06-06-2011, 04:37 AM
Game of Thrones was finished years ago. It was the first book published in A Song Of Ice And Fire, which I believe is supposed to be seven books long, the fifth being published in July.That's like, you know, whatever! :p

Davian93
06-06-2011, 10:43 AM
Game of Thrones was finished years ago. It was the first book published in A Song Of Ice And Fire, which I believe is supposed to be seven books long, the fifth being published in July.

It's not like Discworld as a series is something which could ever be said to be finished. It's episodic in structure rather than a continuing narrative.

Which, at GRRM's current pace of 1 book every 5+ years means the series will be finished by 2021-2022.

arioch
06-06-2011, 12:53 PM
My hope is that Brandon will shift into a mode with AMOL where we will consider TGS and TOM to be the slower-paced build-up to the Sanderson Avalanche that will be the entire length of AMOL.

Zombie Sammael
06-06-2011, 02:40 PM
Which, at GRRM's current pace of 1 book every 5+ years means the series will be finished by 2021-2022.

A Dance With Dragons was quite quick. He only spent about six months writing it. :-P

Enigma
06-06-2011, 03:35 PM
I thought that it was confirmed that RJ wrote a lot of the ending himself before he died. Whether that is the last chapter or a big chunk of the last book is another matter.