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The sixth book of The Wheel of Time takes us deep into the second act of this massive story, with the transition to a more political-oriented narrative continuing apace. Lord of Chaos is one of the more divisive books in the series, with fans praising its deeper exploration of ideas and intrigue, whilst critics bemoan the slow pace of the book compared to earlier volumes.

The kingdoms of Cairhien, Mayene and Tear are now sworn to the Dragon Reborn, and a successful raid on Caemlyn, capital of Andor, has seen that city fall to his forces as well. Several of the Forsaken, the most powerful servants of the Dark One, have been slain and Rand's successes look like they will continue unabated. In the south, he is assembling a vast army to send against the Forsaken Sammael in his stronghold of Illian, whilst the Aes Sedai remain divided on how to proceed with him. However, Rand's announcement of an amnesty for men who can channel has shocked the world, for all male channellers of the One Power are doomed to go mad and die, wreaking havoc as they go, and some of his enemies are prepared to move against him before that can be allowed to happen.

The theme of the sixth book in The Wheel of Time is consolidation. Rand's forces have absorbed vast amounts of territory, but before he can resume his campaign he must secure that which he holds already. With scheming against him in Andor and Cairhien underway and an outright rebellion going on in Tear, this proves a difficult task. Rand also has to find a way of dealing with both factions of the Aes Sedai, an undertaking fraught with peril. His companions also have their own problems to deal with: Perrin must prove his worthiness to his wife's parents, Mat has to deal with the issues of becoming a general, and Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve have complex currents to negotiate amongst the rebel Aes Sedai. Even Pedron Niall, commander of the Children of the Light, has significant problems he has to overcome in both his own ranks and his dealings with the displaced Queen of Andor, whilst the surviving Forsaken scheme incessantly against one another.

The problem with this kind of stock-taking is that it is hard to work up a dramatic story about it. Instead, you end up with lots and lots of talk. Characters sitting around talking about the plot, about what has already happened and what they think might happen in the future. That's when they are not engaged in increasingly tedious and infantile discussions about male-female relations, which by this volume are starting to get a mite repetitive. The politicking and intrigue is fine as far as it goes (although fans of GRRM or Bakker may find it a bit on the shallow and simplistic side), but you do need a bit more to spice the book up. There's some fine, atmospheric interludes in the book, such as Rand taking a brief sojourn in the desolate, cursed city of Shadar Logoth, but overall the novel has serious pacing issues. Simply put, this is a 1,000-page book in which not a lot happens for the first three-quarters of it.

Towards the end, however, the pace starts to lift quite noticeably as Rand's attempts to play the two Aes Sedai factions off against one another backfire spectacularly and some of the most surprising events in the entire series take place, culminating in a massive battle at the spring of Dumai's Wells in which Jordan's sometimes-variable skills at depicting action, drama and the ability to tie together disparate storylines are put to their best effect. This late burst of action sequences and confrontations is extremely effective, and Dumai's Wells often tops readers' polls as the most satisfying moment of the entire series to date, with some fine moments right at the end of the book which hint at much greater things to come.

Lord of Chaos (****) is a sedentary novel where events unfold slowly, but do succeed in laying the groundwork for the spectacular and satisfying concluding section of the book. I suspect many readers will be put off by the slow pace, but I found the payoff to be more than worth it. The novel is available in the UK from Orbit and in the USA from Tor.
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on 19 March 2004
The sixth book in the wheel of time series is an excellent addition to the series but it is also the first book in the series in which the major plot lines fail to reach a suitable end point. Right through to book 10 the major plot lines are now out of sync with the length of a book, which is most unsatifying when you finish a book and have to wait for another to be published. Despite this the story remains very interesting. Events in book 6 begin to expand the epic, telling the story of a number of increasingly important supporting characters. This contributes to the size of this book, diluting some staggering events with slower tempo passages. However, the ending is simply one of the best scenes within the Wheel of time and is what really brings this book together.
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on 21 September 2009
So, book 6, finally halfway through the main series of Wheel of Time, and I'm starting to get a bit tired of the series now, especially as this one had a really slow first half. It's not that nothing was happening, but unusually for the fantasy genre, no one was travelling anywhere.

I'm a little concerned that this series doesn't have anything to help new readers to catch up if they drop in mid-series. Admittedly this can often be grating if you have already read the previous volumes but surely leaving it out is limiting your potential sales to an already captured audience?

In the second half of this book the pace picked up again with a lot of big scenes, but again they didn't seem to be going anywhere. Overall I don't feel that the plot was advanced much in this book. It just seems like it is just a tool to set up some plot points and alter some characters opinions to get them into their places for the rest of the series.

I'm not sure any more whether I'm looking forward to reading the next volume. Hopefully it will be more exciting, but I am half tempted to take a break before continuing.
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on 17 September 2011
while the i find it hard to give up the series after the first 6 books, and will undoubtedly read the rest, i wish they had found a better editor. at least 50% of this book - as with all the others - should have been edited out. we get endlessly repetitive passages about the characters' thoughts and fights - nynaeve must be the worst - as well as endlessly repetitive descriptions of fashion and furniture; and these are just examples. now i just speed read, and wonder if i will read any slower when i reread it. reading Feist for example, i am never bored and he has a series of about 24 or more by now. if the 'wheel of time' series was subdivided into separate lots of 3 books, for example, with something of a conclusion at the end of each part, it would be much more fun to read. between the atrocious editing and the never-ending wait to get to the end of the last book, i wouldn't recommend the series to a new reader. to be honest, i feel a bit as if i had been lured into buying into something that would force me to read 12000 pages until at last there is a conclusion...too bad, because the series could be really good. i'd love to read a re-edited version with half the supporting cast and 65% less words
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 November 2011
Because I liked the plot, I gave it 3 stars. But I have found it very painful to read. The females characters once again are just over the top. Never happy, always moaning about others' faults whereas they are themselves full of them, and bitchy to a T. I cannot believe that these are role models for 'strong women' characters. And despite coming from all walks of life and creed, the women are all of the same mould. Tight lipped, unblinking gazes, hair pulling, derogatory to men, arrogant, yet totally stupid when it comes to loving men. And you never see them laugh or have a good sense of humour (unless it is making fun of men) I found it a very negative portraying of women and instead of giving us strong female characters, this portraying does the opposite. Not much in this book, too much of dresses changing with too much cleavage on show, and very little of battles. This is an epic series, yet, book 6 is totally boring. I have found myself jump a lot of pages because absolutely nothing was happening and the conversations between the women too superficial . The bits about Mat and Rand are good, but too few, and Perrin is ok too but his wife Faile is another annoying 'I know it all and you are just a lumbering oaf' woman! But I must be a masochist because I know for sure I will be reading book number 7 because the core of the story is good. But my advice to anyone is to borrow this book from the library and buy something else for the same price.
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on 20 December 2010
wow, that was a long book. reading lord of chaos you feel all of the 1000 pages in the book, though robert jordans good writing style makes reading it a little bit easier.
the prologue which was supposed to set the scene for the book was too long and too boring, and i couldn't wait for it to end.a new charater turns up at the beginning of the book only to not hear of him again til the end.
the first 500 pages are conversations or people riding on horseback, with literally nothing happening to anyone. only in the last 500 pages or so does any plot develop, though very slowly and reaches a climax at dumai wells, which was good and earned the book an extra star.
it's alright but with the books in the series getting (supposedly) worse, i'm not sure i'll bother reading to the series end.
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on 31 May 2011
I am in the middle of converting my book library to Kindle format, and whilst reading through the Wheel of Time series again I purchased this edition.

The story has moved on from the events in the Fires of Heaven, Rand is courted by both the rebel Aes Sedai and the White Tower. Perin is a returning viewpoint in this book, and feels the pull of ta'veren upon ta'veren and heads to Caemlyn to join Rand. Rand sends Mat to protect Elayne and take her back to Caemlyn.

There is significant character development from Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne. The latter two who undertake a mission to Ebou Dar on a mission.

Its a very enjoyable read and advances the plot further with new viewpoints in the book. Very much recommended.
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on 18 May 2012
I've recently gotten the kindle and decide to buy the ebooks for the wheel of time (reading them a 3rd time now), Lords of Chaos is a great book, but the kindle version of it is formatted a little weird, with full lines between paragraphs.
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on 10 November 2012
This book is good, but it doesn't feel like a complete novel. We start of with Rand essentially ruling Andor and overseeing the rule of the previously conquered Cairhien, Tear and much of the Aiel. This book is mainly about how strong he has become. With the better part of four nations behind him, plus Mayene and Saldea, Rand needs to juggle the many prejudices and enmities each nation has against each other. The Tairens and the Cairhienin hate each other. The Tairens look down on the Mayeners. The Aiel hate the Cairhienin. And everybody hates the Aiel. It's a mess, but Rand seems to work it fairly well. The trouble comes when embassies from both the White Tower, and the Rebel Aes Sedai are sent to him.

Which brings me onto the Exiles. Yet again, the women's story is bland. Aside from one major event, nothing much happens, and what does is rather boring. What's more, it doesn't even have an ending! Seriously, Elayne and Nynaeve (and later Mat) have a clear goal, but it is never achieved. Even so, there's nothing to suggest an ending, if it wasn't for the fact that the pages ran out, you'd think there was more to it. It's like it ends in the middle.

Good news, though, we do get more insight into Rand's story than we have in the last few books. He finally gets reunited with Min whom he hasn't seen since the beginning of the Dragon Reborn, and we see the beginning of a deeper relationship form. Also, Perrin's back! Though, aside from a small portion of the prologue, he doesn't appear until about three quarters of the way through. Another returning character is Berelain who tries her best to break up Perrin and Faile to no success. However, she is an interesting character. Having been left to rule Cairhien, you get the feeling she is a pretty good ruler, which she must be to keep Tear from conquering Mayene entirely. This seems at odds with her flirtatious character, but Jordan makes it believable.

Another interesting set up is the forming of the Asha'man. What Rand does with his amnesty of male channellers is very interesting and towards the end rather disturbing.

And that brings me onto the portion of the book that more than makes up for any other faults: the Battle of Dumai's Wells. The previous final battles, Tarwin's Gap, Falme, The Stone of Tear, Al'cair Dal/Emond's Field/Panarch's palace, Cairhien/Caemlyn, pale in comparison. This includes almost every army fighting for Rand, Aiel, Cairhienin, Mayeners, Tariens, Two Rivers, even Wolves. But most of all, it is the Asha'man who bring it to a shattering end and make you question whether Rand has become maybe too powerful.

The thing is, the most exciting part of the book is in the last chapter and it takes ages to get there. The plot plods along with no real direction, many story lines are formed with no payoff, and there is too much we don't need or want to know.
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on 22 July 2011
The Lord of Chaos continues the story of Rand'al Thor and his Two Rivers friends, Mat Cauthon, Perrin Ayabara, Egwene and Nynaeve. The Dragon Reborn is now master of three major cities, Caemlyn and Cairhein, as well as Tear. His powers continue to grow and he has declared a general amnesty for men who can channel the One Power. Nynaeve and Elayne (the Daughter Heir of Caemlyn) have joined the rebel Aes Sedai in Salidar and are teaching them how to visit the dream world. Mat is now the leader of the Red Hand and leads his troops wherever Rand sends him. Perrin rejoins the tale after a lengthy absence, bringing his wife Faile and a company of Two Rivers longbow-men to join Rand. The Aes Sedai from the White Tower and the rebels from Salidar have sent an embassy each to Rand to convince him that he should ally himself with them.

After the climatic ending of the last book I had high expectations for this one. I had envisioned that Rand would continue his hunt of the Forsaken and at least kill another one during the book. Instead, he spends his time jumping here and there, playing the Game of Houses trying to bind noble houses to himself and hold the two thrones vacant for Elayne. The same can be send for the other two Ta'veren. This is as lengthy volume as the previous books but there doesn't seem to be much in the ways of battles, magical or otherwise. Its as if Robert Jordan had already decided that he would drag the Wheel of Time series out for as long as he can, dwelling on things that most writers would have cut out by the final draft. Often I considered it time to stop reading the series during my trawl through this volume. But then, as usual the drama picks up in the last eight or so chapters and for the first time ever, I actually was really scared for the character. I mean dry mouth, elevated pulse and a sense of anxiety! This to me translates as a massive achievement in writing. The whole point of placing a character in jeopardy is to evince such emotions in the reader, but usually the emotion is a muted one. To create genuine fear for a character, that's masterful.

There were also parts in the story were I could have strangled some of the female characters in this book. One thing is playing towards the empathy of professional and strong minded women, but the ladies in this book are portrayed as being stubborn and superior-minded for the sake of it. If anything the portrayal is rather a negative one.

Despite the one high point, this book drags a little more than the other ones did. I'm hoping the next one is better paced.

By Noor A Jahangir
The Changeling King (The Trollking Saga)
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