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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 15 July 2004
I have just finished this book and moved onto book 6. Where I would be if I was one of the poor souls reading these books as they were released, I don't know.
I don't understand reviews that literally tell you the content of the books...but I will try and help you make a decision about this series.
The series so far is great! If you like fantasy, and enjoy the use of magic and power...you get excited when someone starts channeling magic in battle...you like surprises that are quite literally sprung on you when you just don't expect it - this is book/series for you!. Literally. When you're quite happily sitting on the train on the way to work, reading what seems like an interesting conversion between 2 folk, and all hell breaks lose....you just don't want to get off that train to go into work. It isn't fair like that. ;)
Yes, there's a lot of excitement, and well written prose in his novels, but he has his down-sides. These are actually so bad that it has made me put the book down out of frustration. What is it?
It is his persistent repetition of the women's views of men. Personally, what women think of men, I don't care...and to mention it here and there is fine, but when it is an pre-, during- and post- every sentence when dealing with characters such as Elayne and Neyeavne (can't spell), it gets mightily frustrating! It really, really does. Constantly telling the reader that men are useless, can't tell men this and that, they're stupid most of the time - although it isn't author opinion clearly, ya just get sick of hearing it and you read on solely to get back to Rand, Perrin and Mat. They just get on with what they gotta do, they get you excited etc...but the women just moan.
Maybe it is trying to reflect real life in that sense, but I read these books to get away from that sort of stupid nonsense. :)
If you can put up with that, you'll be fine...heartily recommended!
Make sure and start with the first in the series.
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on 20 September 2007
I recently finished Book 5 of the considerable Wheel of Time series. It took me longer than expected as there were numerous occassions when I had to put it down and read something better. Indeed it was only my own Herculean determination that allowed me to grind on through painful chapter after excruitiating chapter, alleviated now and then when Jordon returned to Rand.

The reason behind this excruitiating experience lies solely at the feet of Nynaeve and Elayne. The phrase 'he is only a man', or variations on this, must crop up over 100 times! Whilst I can appreciate that the author is trying to establish the (somewhat obvious) differences in the way the sexes perceive each other and the self evident tribulations associated with any male / female relationship, the reader does not need to be told 'he is only a man' every other sentence. It's derogatory and pointless.

To summarise; Elayne and Nynaeve appear to think of men as being entirely useless whilst Rand and Mat remain merely 'confused' by women. The chapters dealing with Rand are still enjoyable and by the conclusion of the book Jordon is back to near his strongest, but the over repetition of certain annoying phrases detracts from any enjoyment this book may have offered. The other classic - 'Her piercing / clear / penetrating / flashing blue (and occassionally green) eyes' also makes several dozen appearances and whilst less irritating than the above, does rather suggest that every character is going around with rather special optical abilities!

I wont be reading the next book in the series for a long long time.
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on 2 April 2016
I started the series a few weeks ago and have stopped reading anything else, moving from one book to the next as soon as I finish the latest one. Funnily enough I didn't think the first book was more than 3 stars - pretty derivative, unnecessarily tangled and replete with mangled references to 'this' world's myths and legends (Tarmon Gai'don, Artur Paendrag for example) - but I decided to carry on to see if it improved. Which I feel it promptly did in the second book, which gave me ample momentum to continue.

From the five I've now read, it feels that Jordan relies heavily on cramming the denouements into the last fifty pages, which throws out the balance of the narrative. That said, I've really enjoyed his firm grasp of plot, his ability to make me care about the main characters and his descriptive flair.

Another tendency is that the first hundred or so pages waste too much time reiterating story elements or character backgrounds that anyone following the series would have at top of mind. After all, no-one would be reading them out of order.

I'm peeved that there is no explanation of what happened to the Seanchan woman, Egeanin that Nynaeve and Elayne befriended in book four. Not a single word about it, just a few sentences saying that Amanthera of Tarabon hustled the girls out of the city laden with jewels and gold in gratitude for their freeing her from the Black Ajah. Harrumph! Anyone who has the answer to this that I might have missed is welcome to comment 😊

Perrin's absence was felt, yet I thoroughly enjoyed the expansion into the Aiel world and the exploration of Tel'aran'rhiod by 'the ladies' was also fascinating.

I was disappointed by the Aes Sedai's reception of Elayne and Nynaeve as it felt mismatched and clunky in comparison to the heights the girls had reached by themselves. I do get it, though.

I read the book on Kindle and was frequently checking how long was left, which does suggest that plot was sacrificed to local colour. I'd agree with some other reviewers who have favoured a heavier editing hand.

All that said, I've got books six and seven out of the local library and plan to devour them through the coming week or so.
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on 25 May 2011
The Fires of Heaven (Wheel of Time)

Please, please, please, please - give me the patience the read sections involving Nyneave and Elaye. I'm so very tired of them.
Halfway through this book I want to put it down because I soooo do not want to have to read them again. Egwene can be just as bad. All the women -- all -- bar Min and quite possibly Leane - praise the light... are driving me bonkers and putting me off the story.

Wonder if I can finish the series while skimming over them without missing too much ... so, so tempting. Someone please tell me they get better throughout the series or I'm not sure I can face it!
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on 27 March 2016
Wheel of Time series is the best I've read since Terry Brooks Shannara series. I haven't found anything spread over many books which has given me so much pleasure for a long while. I'm really enjoying it. Well written. Plenty of intrigue, twists, turns and little side lines. Some funny bits too.. Really is worth reading. Enjoy!
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on 20 July 2016
well, just about to start this, my hopes are high. x fingers I dont agree with the negative comments.
Annoyingly Im going to have to read on my kindle fire, my 3rd gen paperwhite wont let me open it..... grrrrr
once read , I may or maynot change the start ratings
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on 28 February 2002
Having read the previous books in the series, I was really looking forward to reading it. However as the plot developed I realized that the best thread of the story (perrin and loial) were missing from the whole book entirely. I found that totally anoying and bewildering. The next downfall was the fact that most of the book is based around Nynaeve and Elayne and their boring travels. Being fair, the parts about Rand and Mat are a stark contrast to the rest with Robert Jordans stunning literacy skills keeping me hooked all through the night into the morning. But once again Nynaeve and Elayne crop up spoiling the story with their insistant offensive sexist remarks.
Had Robert Jordan edited those parts to make them more interesting and less offensive he would have made the book as amazing as the rest of the series.
A disappointing 5th book but still looking forward to the next one.
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on 30 December 2009
I really enjoyed the first four books of this series but now that I've gotten to the fifth they seem to be flagging. The only exciting chapters are the ones detailing the adventures of Rand and Mat. Nynaeves, Elaynes and Egwenes chapters are terribly boring and mostly involve them commenting on "stupid" or "stubborn" men or complaining about "revealing bodices" or some such claptrap. This kind of stuff was peppered throughout the first four books and I thought they'd be through with this stuff by now but instead Jordan ups the anty and every second sentence involving the girls merely involves them complaining about men, they're clothes, or eachother. The constant moaning of the female characters does not make for exciting reading and the parts that take place in tel'ahnriod(if thats how you spell it) are probably the most boring yet. The relationships the female characters have with their male counterparts are quite ridiculous too, Nynaeve and Elayne who've been travelling with Thom and Juilin in the book for months somehow manage not to become friends with them and instead still view them as "stupid men".

The simple fact is that without any chapters dedicated to Perrin whos adventures were by far the most exciting in the previous book make this one seem incredibly boring and slow paced thanks to the terrible moaning of other characters. I've found myself skimming through paragraphs looking for something interesting for the first time in the series.
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on 28 October 2012
So now we're well into the series, each character has found their stride and have (mostly) accepted their fates. Rand has now found the army he needed and takes it across the Dragonwall to fight the Shaido. He has come a long way from the country boy we found in the Eye of the World. He is now a cold, but strong leader and the few insights into his thoughts we get are well done. We also have a new development with Lews Therin's thoughts drifting into his head making you wonder if he's going mad already.
Mat really comes into his own in this volume, with his new memories of battle commanders, leading him to take control of a battle late in the book. Because of this, he begins to finally accept his being ta'veren.
Also, Egwene is becoming a stronger character, as is evident by her shifting the balance of power between her and Nynaeve in Tel'aran'rhiod, planting the seeds for her future employment.

As is becoming usual with these books, the storyline with Nynaeve and Elayne isn't all that interesting. For the most part, they hide in a circus headed by the brilliantly over the top Valan Luca. However, most of this is bogged down by details you don't really want or need to know, like the fact that Nynaeve doesn't get on with many of the other performers and gets into fights with them. The story picks up a little when Nynaeve meets up with Moghedian again, forcing Birgitte into major character status in a rather surprising way.
It is while the women are in the circus that we get a very interesting look at the Prophet Masema, and how someone can take a simple belief (in this case that the Dragon Reborn will save the world) and use it to cause chaos. Something that happens all too often in our world.

We also follow Min, Siuan and Leane on their way to join the rebel Aes Sedai. While there's not that much story here, you do get an insight into how manipulative Siuan really is. Min has virtually nothing to do though, almost a waste of a decent character.

One of the downsides here, is that Perrin is not in the book. As one of the three main Ta'veren, it is odd to leave him out. I like Perrin, and felt more than a little disappointed by this. You can, though, see his effects on the Two Rivers during various scenes in Tel'aran'rhiod where evidence is clear of homes are being rebuilt after the Trolloc raids, along with new homes.

The ending more than makes up for any other faults the book has. Unlike the other books, the ending seems to take up a good chunk. Almost 25%. It starts with the battle for Cairhien which feels climactic at the time, but once it is over, the real ending begins with a very surprising fight with Lanfear. The aftermath is handled well and you feel for the characters' loss. This makes the final battle with Rahvin seem like more.

It is during this final battle, where Rand enters Tel'aran'rhiod in the flesh again, and meets Nynaeve. In my review of the Eye of the World, I mentioned how these two interacted. It's a shame there's not more scenes between them. The woman has known Rand since childhood and disciplined him when necessary, so for her to see him as the man he is today is very touching. Nynaeve can come across as a stuck up misandrist at times, but by reading these scenes, you get a feel that it's all a front. Or most of it anyway.

So, all in all, this is a good addition, though it does show a few signs of decline.
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on 17 October 2014
Started reading the series after a friend nagged me. I have to say I haven't read anything else since. Yes there are the oft cited criticisms of breast obsession but they pail into irrelevance when put against the majesty of the epic that unfolds before the reader. Fantastic concepts, great characters, and a wide, sweeping plot line reminds me of Game of Thrones without the adult themes. Wonderful.
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