Genre: Fantasy Age Range: Adult Star Rating: 2 stars Series: yes - book 9
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE EYE OF THE WORLD, THE GREAT HUNT, THE DRAGON REBORN, THE SHADOW RISING, THE FIRES OF HEAVEN, LORD OF CHAOS, A CROWN OF SWORDS, and THE PATH OF DAGGERS*
Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, is slowly succumbing to the taint that the Dark One has placed upon the saidin – the male half of the True Source. His Asha’man followers are also showing signs of the insanity that once devastated the world and brought the Age of Legends to an end.
And as Rand falters, the Shadow falls across a stricken land. In the city of Ebou Dar the Seanchan, blind to the folly of their cause, marshal their forces and continue their relentless assault. In Shayol Ghul the Forsaken join together to destroy the Dragon.
Rand’s only chance is to hazard the impossible and remove the taint from the saidin. But to do so he must master a power from the Age of Legends that none have ever dared to risk – a power that can annihilate Creation and bring an end to Time itself.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here. Find on Bookshop.org UK and Amazon UK (affiliate links)
This book began so well, so promisingly. Perrin learns of Faile’s capture and starts making plans to go after her. We also see some of Faile’s experience as a captive. It’s ~70 (once you deduct the prologue) of clear goals and forward motion. There’s something to work towards, and obvious challenges in play.
And then the book skips away to Elayne, and we never see or hear anything about Perrin and Faile every again. There is also virtually no Egwene in this book, after her starting to makes moves in the last book. No Elaida either.
By not having continuous POVs across the books, particularly in series with such a large cast, there is a lack of feeling of continuity. These main characters we’ve spent ages investing in, who’ve been established as major players for good and bad, with all these hints about them being involved in major conflicts, just disappear. It makes them feel irrelevant, which then has me questioning why I had to spend so long with them (and thus makes the other books feel pointless if they followed characters now being ignored.)
Instead, this is a book with Mat as the character with the most presence (though it’s only a fraction, as there’s a lot of random other POVs following up their potentially one other POV chapter in another book, but by this point they’re just impossible to keep track of.) It’s nice to have him back after a book’s absence. He sort of has a goal that is attempted this book, but it then cuts off part way through the “is this goal going to be achieved or not?” point, leaving a dissatisfied feeling.
And, once again, Rand acts in literally the final two chapters to do what the blurb implies the entire book is about. This goal so central to that blurb? Not mentioned before with any import (if it was at all.) He’s hardly in this book! Then has a big light show at the end, interspersed with a bunch of random people watching it and with their opinions, and then voila! It’s done. Without any set up work before to make it feel like it’s the inevitable ending of the book.
Read my reviews of other books by Robert Jordan:
The Wheel of Time (this series):
- NEW SPRING (#0)
- THE EYE OF THE WORLD (#1)
- THE GREAT HUNT (#2)
- THE DRAGON REBORN (#3)
- THE SHADOW RISING (#4)
- THE FIRES OF HEAVEN (#5)
- LORD OF CHAOS (#6)
- A CROWN OF SWORDS (#7)
- THE PATH OF DAGGERS (#8)
- CROSSROADS OF TWILIGHT (#10)
- KNIFE OF DREAMS (#11)
- THE GATHERING STORM (#12)
- TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT (#13)
- A MEMORY OF LIGHT (#14)