“Storms rumble beyond the horizon, and the fires of heaven purge the earth. There is no salvation without destruction, no hope this side of death.”
The Pros: 1. The ending was solid with some ends and beginning to some threads in the story.
2. I very much enjoyed the whole power struggle in the White Tower and was actually rooting for some characters while despising others.
3. Strong female characters abound. Not sure I mentioned this before but this is one of the series’ strong points.
The Cons: 1. I might’ve said it before and I will say it again and will probably keep saying it. The romantic relationships between male and females in this series, so far, are so very flawed. Was Jordan really a 12th century Lord in disguise? Because how can a man in the 20th century write such frigid, turbulent, duplicitous and quarrelsome relationships and pretend for it to be one of the book’s romances (they actually have feelings for each other?!) I guess he builds on this whole trope (to the detriment of the book) of how men and women see each other in a “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them” context. On that note, not sure I’m a fan of this whole love/hate thing between Rand and Aviendha and also Elayne’s feelings towards Rand. It just bothered me to no end how Elayne expects Rand to be bonded to her without actually discussing it with him.
3. Foolish, headstrong characters who refuse to see reason and common sense due to their own stubbornness and their unwillingness to ever be wrong. I’ve basically just summarized Nynaeve in a sentence (and possible Elayne and Egwene too).
Summary: I was not feeling it with this book. A few interesting things happen to move the plot along but it was drowned out by characters I’m not sure I like. Maybe it had more to do with my own mood than the book (I was in a bad reading mood). Still, it was a solid entry into the series. Really, the style of this book has not changed much since the previous 4 books (the first three which I gave 5 stars). It’s just that the author’s style can get repetitive after awhile. 3 out of 5.
“Demandred stepped out onto the black slopes of Shayol Ghul, and the gateway, a hole in reality’s fabric, winked out of existence.”
The Pros: 1. For the first part of it, we finally get to read a glimpse into the infamous Shayol Gul which I really liked. As the series progresses, we get to read a bit more regarding the Forsaken so in this book the author dedicates more time to them.
2. Perrin was notable missing during the last book but comes back for this one.
3. The book ends with a somewhat satisfying conclusion. No loose ends are tied up but are continued to be woven into the Pattern (see what I did there?) for future books.
The Cons: 1. The prologue is very, very long and jumps from character to character. It’s basically reintroducing us to every major character in the book but I thought it was annoyingly long.
2. I’ve finally decided that Matt is my least favorite character. Speaking of favorite characters I don’t think there is anyone I can say I love above all the rest. To me, they don’t have any endearing qualities (at first they were endearing, now they are annoying) and most of them can be frustrating at times. They all are flawed characters which are great but sometimes they are too flawed with their inflated egos and pride to the point of it being absurd. The only character I thought I kind of liked was Moiraine in the previous book just because she seemed above these childish tantrums most characters throw, most of the time.
3. Political machinations and power struggles fall flat on their face most of the time. This is no Game of Thrones, only people with big egos posturing to get their own way. What’s more is that they each impose their own way instead of working together, even though they all have a common goal! Example, of course, anything having to do with Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne having any kind of interaction with Mat.
Summary: There’s a lot of pieces moving around and it’s a little hard to keep track. I felt like this book is mainly just that, setting things up for something bigger to happen. Unfortunately, because of this, I thought that for a big chunk of the book very little happened to move the plot along. The ending is a nice payoff but not enough for me to give this any more than 3 out of 5. I’ll continue the series mostly because I want to see how Jordan and later Sanderson (one of my favorite authors) builds everything up for the Last Battle in the final book.
The unstained tower breaks and bends knee to the forgotten sign. The seas rage and stormclouds gather unseen. Beyond the horizon, hidden fires swell and serpents nestle in the bosom. What was exalted is cast down; what was cast down is raised up. Order burns to clear his path. -Prophecies of the Dragon