The White Tower by Michael Wisehart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A thousand years ago after the Wizards Wars, people outlawed the use of magic. People caught wielding magic are rounded up by the Black Watch, taken to the White Tower, and are never seen again. Unfortunately people don't choose to have magic, they are born with magical ability. The remaining magic users do their best to hide their powers. A dark practitioner of magic is amassing his forces and anyone who does not serve him is in danger in the days to come.
I had high expectations for The White Tower after reading the prequel Shackled. Shackled was so strong and simple that immediately after finishing it, I started reading The White Tower. I had to know what happened to Ferrin. When I started reading I realized it may take a while to learn Ferrin's fate because unlike Shackled with a single point of view character, The White Tower had a whopping 21 point of view characters.
Despite the many point of view characters the story revolves around four of them. The chosen one Ty, the Guardian Protector Ayrion, the weapon smith Ferrin, and the Dark Wizard Valtor. Ty has grown up hidden with a family of wielders and doesn't know who he really is as the story begins. Ayrion is an exiled young man from a famous warrior clan. He has a magical power to see slightly in the future, a sort of spider-sense against danger. Ferrin has magical power over metal which has allowed him to become an outstanding weapon smith. Unfortunately for him his notoriety and use of magic led to him being imprisoned at the White Tower. Valtor is the main antagonist of the book. Despite being a Wizard, Valtor clawed his way to becoming the leader of the White Tower. His machinations are grand and he won't allow anyone to stand in his way.
The White Tower suffers a bit because of the authors love of his world and work. He loves it all so dearly that he wants to talk through each part of everything. He can't seem to let his many tiny details go. This leads to many chapters that seem desperate for some hard edits.
Another thing that bothered me is Valtor's actions at the White Tower. He captures the magic users who are known as wielders and tortures them. He either turns them to his side or takes their powers through purging. Valtor is a wielder though. He's torturing and tormenting people like him rather than figuring out a better way. One of the characters even questions it aloud saying, "Why in the Defiler's name are you hunting down, torturing, and murdering the very people you should be protecting?" Why indeed? It seems as though some sort of false rescue could sway the wielders to his side without the threat of physical harm or death. Valtor could literally accomplish the same goal in a different, less devastating, manner.
With all that being said there were some enjoyable parts to the story. I enjoyed Ferrin's tale from start to finish. Ayrion's precognitive magical powers made him interesting in the battle sequences. I thought most of the characters stories ended in exciting ways that left me interested in what would happen to them next.
The White Tower was a promising story that could have benefited from more careful editing and removing a bunch of point of view chapters from support characters.
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