Book Review: THE FIRES OF HEAVEN by Robert Jordan

Title in black on white before grey wheel of time symbol
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 2.5 stars
Series: yes -book 5



Book cover for THE FIRES OF HEAVEN: title in orange on a wood door below the wheel of time logo

The bonds and wards that hold the Great Lord of the Dark are slowly failing, but still his fragile prison holds. The Forsaken, immortal servants of the shadow, weave their snares and tighten their grip upon the realms of men, sure in the knowledge that their master will soon break free . . .

Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, knows that he must strike at the Enemy, but his forces are divided by treachery and by ambition. Even the Aes Sedai, ancient guardians of the Light, are riven by civil war.

Betrayed by his allies, pursued by his enemies and beset by the madness that comes to the male wielders of the One Power, Rand rides out to meet the foe. And the Fires of Heaven scour the world. 

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I think, five books in, I’ve worked out why the pacing for these books always seems all over the place for me – and why that makes them feel so long. Goal – clear, attainable, measurable character goals. Or rather the lack of them.

The characters rarely seem to have goals, and when they do, they’re either incredibly specific and small or vague and little progress made towards them. What is Rand’s general, overarching goal for this series? Maybe not go mad until he’s had a chance to face the villain? Why? Because he has to as the chosen one?? In this book, what is he doing? Heading after the Shaido to stop them because they’re claiming to be the chosen one instead?

The lack of clarity there really sinks any chance of tension, of forward momentum. If you don’t know, even vaguely, what the characters are heading towards and reaching for, it just makes the book feel like a little ramble through the world with the odd attack from faceless monsters here and there. It’s not personal and it doesn’t feel like there’s something at stake.

It also then makes the endings feel even more out of no where. Stuff happens in the last 100-odd pages that doesn’t feel set up at all and almost like there was a “I need action here to finish the book” motive behind it. It’s not satisfying because you can’t work out if the characters have made progress towards overall goals as they’re not defined and then things feel like they’re happening just because at the ending.

Once more, characters are just not present. No Perrin at all, after being a major character last book (and a good one with a clear goal to work towards.) Min starts off the book, then is largely forgotten.

I have little idea what was going on between Nyanaeve and Elayne, and they seemed to be fighting and angry over…. something? Nyanaeve in particular seemed to be acting very weirdly this book. I understood Egwene pushing back and refusing to be dealt with like a child anymore, but that didn’t explain everything Nyanaeve was doing – which came across as general bad mood for no apparent reason.

I think working out why these books seem meandering and slow without much progress will help going forwards because I can quantify why, rather than it simply being a bad feeling.

Read my reviews of other books by Robert Jordan:

The Wheel of Time (this series):

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