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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Towers of Midnight -- The Wheel of Time Keeps Turning

   
Author Topic: Towers of Midnight -- The Wheel of Time Keeps Turning
Herblay
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I speak to many people who have the read the Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan's legacy (read monstrosity), and loved it . . . up to a point. Did they stop reading at book 6? Book 8? Book 10? They hear muttering that the new books, mostly penned by Brandon Sanderson, might turn a corner that RJ was never able.

No disrespect intended to Mr. Jordan's memory, but I wish that Brandon Sanderson had been chosen to rewrite the entire series. Just a short way into the newest book (released just this week), I am again awestruck by how much Sanderson really brings to a world that had lost its color. His books are bolder, stronger. For the most part, the characters are just as rich but their perils seem much more perilous. The danger seems much more threatening. The characters, seemingly neglected for so much of the later series, are alive again.

If anyone stopped reading, I urge you to start again. Read summaries of the books you missed, if you must, and grab the Sanderson books with verve. You won't be disappointed. I swear it.

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DSH
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Did Sanderson manage to write with any of the brevity Jordan seemed incapable of?

If not, I think I'll pass.

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King of Men
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The Wheel of Print turns, and Sequels come and go, leaving behind verbiage that fades into fanboiness. Fanbois mature into fanfic writers; and even fanfic is long forgotten when the Sequel that gave it birth is printed again.
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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by DSH:
Did Sanderson manage to write with any of the brevity Jordan seemed incapable of?

If not, I think I'll pass.

Simply, yes. I don't want to spoil anything, but Sanderson seems hellbent on racing along, closing out all of the rediculous plot threads that RJ had going. But he does it with a deft hand, and it fits well with the storyline.

But yes, he tends to have more plot in one chapter than RJ could manage in one of his later works.

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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
The Wheel of Print turns, and Sequels come and go, leaving behind verbiage that fades into fanboiness. Fanbois mature into fanfic writers; and even fanfic is long forgotten when the Sequel that gave it birth is printed again.

I'm more inclined to believe that RJ devolved into fanfic of his own series after book 5. Mr. Sanderson is the salvation of what might have been.

And if Sanderson is the fanfic writer? I'd say that I prefer fanfic to the original verbiage any day.

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DSH
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That's encouraging.

After the first 3 or 4 books I got the distinct impression that Jordan was being paid by the word. I was enjoying the story, but not the story-telling. By book 9 or 10 (can't seem to remember which), I threw in the towel.

Maybe it's time to revisit the series.

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King of Men
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I wasn't making any sort of serious point about Sanderson as a fanfic writer, I was just playing with the intro sequence. [Smile]
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Sean Monahan
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I haven't started ToM yet, but Sanderson's The Gathering Storm is easily my favorite in the series. There is no filler in that book.
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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
I haven't started ToM yet, but Sanderson's The Gathering Storm is easily my favorite in the series. There is no filler in that book.

The climax was easily the best scene in the series.
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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by DSH:
That's encouraging.

After the first 3 or 4 books I got the distinct impression that Jordan was being paid by the word. I was enjoying the story, but not the story-telling. By book 9 or 10 (can't seem to remember which), I threw in the towel.

Maybe it's time to revisit the series.

Book 10 (Crossroads of Twilight) is definitely the low point of the series. The first couple hundred pages recap the final scene of the previous book from the points of view of roughly a bajillion minor characters, none of whom you care anything about. Little else happens in the rest of the book, and Rand is an absolute drag to read whenever you see him.

Book 11, Winter's Heart, starts things moving back in the right direction, but it's still not that great. The Gathering Storm might very well be my favorite in the series so far. As Herblay said, the climax was fantastic.

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Kwea
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I really like the first 3 books, book 2 in particular. I love the rest of the series, but it did get tedious.

I really liked TGS, and I like Sanderson's new series, The Way of Kings, too.

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IanO
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Sanderson combines the best of RJ's world creation, characters and reverse-engineered-mythologies coming to fruition with his own, focused, briefer style and willingness to bring things to a close.

On the whole, there were only one or two scenes that I honestly might have liked to see RJ do, only because at climaxes and emotional moments, like the battle for the two rivers or the Aiel history in book 4, for example, RJ was simply the best. He was able to take the "camera" and swing it wide, slowing down to linger for a moment or two on a character or conversation or scene, then pull back to give the panorama, then another zoom in, and so on, building up an cohesive feeling of the epic and the intimate. BS does a great job, but one or two scenes that were relatively great left me wondering how he would have done it. Even late in the game, RJ could still build up a scene that popped, despite his tendency to drone on about dresses, baths and the like (like the battle at the cleansing in book 9).

But Sanderson is really quite good and this book leaves me overwhelmed. I am obviously pleased, but, as with anything, I am unsure how I feel about certain things, events and people. Because even victory may not mean victory. And so many of the things that happened have such profound implications.

But just awesome. Need to reread it now...

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Reshpeckobiggle
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Was it "The Dragon Rising" where the Ash' aman were first unleashed on the Aiel? I thought that was the best scene in the series. Definitely the most violent.
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BandoCommando
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This is disheartening. I recently started listening to Eye of the World. It's definitely slow-paced. Are you saying it gets slower from here? Well, I'll finish the first book (almost done with it, actually) and see how things go...
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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by BandoCommando:
This is disheartening. I recently started listening to Eye of the World. It's definitely slow-paced. Are you saying it gets slower from here? Well, I'll finish the first book (almost done with it, actually) and see how things go...

No, it keeps a fair pace through book four or five. The Great Hunt is easily the best of the series that Jordan wrote (IMO). Just make sure that you aren't listening to the abridged version of the audio book -- they cut out so much that it's impossible to understand what's going on.

I'd say keep going. If you get through book five and are invested, keep reading. If it gets more than you can take, just Wikipedia the synopses of all of the books until either ten or eleven.

Really, not much happens in six through nine anyway. Perrin walks a long way. Matt kisses a girl. Rand mopes and cleans up a little. Egwene gets a job. That's pretty much it.

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IanO
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Bando:
Well, the first 200 pages or so of the eye of the world is kinda slow. But it builds up fairly quickly after that, and from there it just keeps on rolling. That pace continues to pick up frantically till it climaxes in book 3. After 3, the plot expands significantly (almost like a 2nd movement) with new characters and situations and the world becomes more and more complex. This makes sense because the main characters were simple farm folk who were thrust into the world at large. But as their knowledge and roles expand, the world we see through there eyes expands. And the danger becomes more and more real, the enemies smarter, the plans more devious. Things stop being so very simple (black and white). But it is really quite awesome as prophecies are given and come to pass, as amazing events and serious battles and revelations occur. This continues through about book 7. Then the books start to slow down a bit too much. (And of course, that perspective is dependent on if you are physically reading them or are listening to them at the readers pace, and whether you had to wait for them- for book 10, for example- for 2 years, only to get a book that advances the story like 10 days.) The plots get more intricate, the characters continue to have their own lives even off screen so that there are clues and impacts of events happening off screen. More over, as in any epic work, there is an expanding of the danger to the forces of good from within and without, death and loss, a darkening to characters or to the tone. You know the good guys will win in the end (probably), but at all how. The world is complex and it's not just a show of power and battle that's gonna win this.

There are low points in the story- disappointing characters who constantly whine instead of accepting what is being demanded of them, certain long plots that, at the time, make no sense as to why they were in the story at that moment, or anti-climactic aspects. Not to mention RJ's description scenes seemed to get longer and more and more mention of politics and dress began to bog down the story. But even then, there are truly moments of awesome for specific characters.

And by book 11, the series begins to pick up again as many plots finally come to fruition or characters are killed off or leave the story and questions are finally answered. And as I said, after RJ died, BS took up the mantle and his style is more fast paced. So there is less in the way unnecessary description to set the mood (less, but not none) and things move more quickly. Also, since these are the final 3 novels, numerous plot threads are finished, unanswered questions are given answers, and events we've waited for decades to see finally occur. And it is awesome.

Get through the first and try the second. From there on out, its a pretty good ride. Especially now that you can read pretty much all the way up to 13 with no wait whatsoever. Like watching an entire season of a show without the long waits for the next episode or cliff-hanger resolutions. Even the "bad" episodes aren't that big of a deal, when you do that.

Reshpeckobiggie: you're thinking book 6- Lord of Chaos.

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Herblay
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I don't know, IanO, Path of Daggers was pretty bad. . . .
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Darth_Mauve
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Does anyone die?

You see, the problem I had with the series is that he creates this powerful character. Then to build this character he introduces a few supporting characters. Then he falls in love with these supporting characters and tells each of their stories. To tell those stories he needs some supporting characters for them. Then he falls in love with these supporting characters and has to tell their stories... etc ... etc...

Meanwhile the main character-characters still have their story going on, until the story reaches a peak and somebody dies. But these are characters he loves, good and bad, so they can't really die. They just return later.

Finally it gets to the point where all these violent people are confronting each other in story arc ending violence--but we don't want to kill any of these 64 main characters and villains, so nothing happens and we start all over again in the next book.

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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Does anyone die?

You see, the problem I had with the series is that he creates this powerful character. Then to build this character he introduces a few supporting characters. Then he falls in love with these supporting characters and tells each of their stories. To tell those stories he needs some supporting characters for them. Then he falls in love with these supporting characters and has to tell their stories... etc ... etc...

Meanwhile the main character-characters still have their story going on, until the story reaches a peak and somebody dies. But these are characters he loves, good and bad, so they can't really die. They just return later.

Finally it gets to the point where all these violent people are confronting each other in story arc ending violence--but we don't want to kill any of these 64 main characters and villains, so nothing happens and we start all over again in the next book.

MILD SPOILERS
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.
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One of the first things that Sanderson does in TGS was to kill off a character. Bout time.

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Kwea
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I thought PoD was an improvement, slightly. But The Great Hunt is an outstanding book. I liked the first book, but 2/3 of it was so slow paced I almost didn't finish it, and that is very rare for me.

I bought ToM last night, at 9pm. I have 5 chapters left, and it has been very, very good. One of the best in the series, maybe.

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IanO
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*****SPOILERS********


re POD, totally agree with you. But the worst, IMO, was book 10, Crossroads of Twilight. Especially after book 9 really ramped it up with multiple awesome pattern level events- the events in Ebou Dar, Rand at the cleansing, and so on. COT was really a major step back, though there where elements of it (and POD) that were really cool. Especially on rereads where multiple threads and machinations and planning became more visible, esp in relation their later resolution in the later books. At the same time, things just seemed to move slowly, as few answers were given. And especially after waiting 2 years....well, COT was a huge let down.

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IanO
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*******SPOILERS*******


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum at auctor neque. Integer ultricies blandit venenatis. Praesent vulputate consequat neque ut placerat. Cras eget arcu id magna pretium rhoncus eget eu lectus. Quisque condimentum nulla at sem sagittis pulvinar posuere lorem lobortis. Fusce pretium vulputate sem ac luctus. Nullam est lacus, viverra non consequat et, sollicitudin quis elit. Phasellus varius est id tortor gravida sit amet pellentesque leo placerat. There are some relatively big deaths in TOM, including a major supporting player. Just started the reread and not sure of the exact number though. Stuff happens though. Major character reach their apogee and are ready for the end. There are multiple reunions and people actually start to talk. But this is not gonna be walk in the park. Seriously. Tarmon Gaidon is messed up and cities are being destroyed. The potential future, even should the light win, is really f-ed up. And ultimately, how to defeat the dark one is unknown. Nullam eu arcu elit. Vestibulum mollis pretium dui at facilisis. Aliquam vitae elit diam, vel luctus magna. Integer ornare facilisis tincidunt. Morbi quis dolor sapien. Nam felis nulla, molestie at pretium et, tincidunt ac odio. Nulla dolor dui, auctor sit amet pulvinar a, posuere et eros. Sed vel turpis id magna laoreet elementum id at lacus. Quisque tristique vulputate pulvinar. Mauris vulputate, mi quis hendrerit consectetur, est massa dictum urna, at egestas sapien sapien in lectus. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse potenti. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Duis mattis facilisis dolor, at molestie leo pellentesque ut. Phasellus iaculis quam in magna laoreet elementum. Nunc neque mi, ullamcorper ut interdum vel, dictum non dolor. Vestibulum eget ligula ut arcu accumsan condimentum.

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DDDaysh
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Ok, I'm still re-working my way through my latest reading of the series, so while I've already purchased Towers of Midnight, I haven't read it yet. (So I'm being careful about spoilers.) I have read all the mixed offerings that came out before the book, which I think were the Prologue and Chapters 1, 2, (and for some reason) 6! I liked most of that, though I did feel Sanderson actually moved TOO fast with one development.

Anyway, I guess I'm the only one, but I actually love that WoT takes forever. It's my fantasy Soap Opera, and I can take months to go through the whole series. It's awesome! I love that we investigate every nook and cranny of the world, and that we have supporting characters of supporting characters. It's FUN! Of course, Knife of Dreams had just been published when I started reading the series, so I haven't been forced to wait for new additions too much yet.

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IanO
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Check out Leigh Butler's WOT reread at TOR. Freaking awesome (and frequently hilarious).
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