So, as any of my friends will tell you, I have a thing for villains. I have a crush on Voldemort, I am a fangirl of Palpatine and pretty much if it has a cowl and an evil intention, I love it. Well, there are exceptions, but you get the idea.
As I said in a previous post, the lines of good and evil in this book aren't clear at all. I will count it as a triumph if people are surprised by the major turning point in the book but still think it makes sense.
The problem is, with all of that ambiguity, it is very hard to write the villains. For one thing, the ability that the villains use most to their advantage is one that is also used for defense and peacekeeping. For another, for the turning point to be a surprise, there has to be the right balance of fear, loathing and loyalty to certain parties.
So, I envy Brandon Sanderson with his Steel Inquisitors, JK Rowling and the Death Eaters. Heck, I even envy Tolkien's ring wraiths. It's all so easy when you can have your villains act like villains from the start. I feel a bit like George Lucas at the beginning of the prequels--it's fun writing crafty Senator Palpatine but sometimes I want to skip ahead to where he whips the lightsaber out of his sleeve and kills off four members of the Jedi Order in 2 minutes of fun fight scenes. Well, only this really needs to be more subtle than that.