Top positive review
Finally, the plot gets moving
on 28 December 2012
Right from the first few pages, I got the feeling that this book was something different to the previous few. While it took some time to get there, I was proven correct.
This feels like the beginning of the end and it finally ties off some of the plot threads that started as far back as Crown of Swords. Mat, Perrin and Elayne all have a proper climactic ending and once this book was over, I felt that we could get down to the remainder of the plot instead of dragging out story lines over the course of four or five books.
Unfortunately, for the most part, he doesn't have much to do except court Tuon. Until the end where he commands a decent battle for the first time since Fires of Heaven. It is in this book that Mat and Tuon's relationship hits a long expected moment in an unexpected way and makes you think whether it would have happened at all if Mat had not walked through the Ter'angreal in Tear.
Again, his story is basically tying up the plot of his rescue of Faile. Again, we get an exciting battle where allegiances are shifted in unexpected ways. At one moment I was genuinely surprised by one character's actions and saddened it ended like that. The only benefit I can say of stretching this story across four books is that when Faile and Perrin are finally reunited, you get the same elated feeling that Perrin feels. If maybe for a different reason.
As before, this is another tying up of Elayne's fight for the throne, though most of this is contained within the last couple of chapters, with a couple of interesting side plots that have a small amount of bearing on the outcome.
For the first time in this series, I can safely say Egwene's story is one of the most interesting and well written portions of the book. In perhaps the only plot point of Crossroads of Twilight, she was taken by Aes Sedai of the White Tower, and in this she tries to use it to her advantage. Reading about her sowing seeds of dissent and refusing to back down just because of a few punishments makes me feel how far the character has come. It is in her story that one of my favourite scenes to date occurs and is simply her walking into the mess hall and sitting down to eat. I'm not going to spoil why this is good though.
And here is the weak point of the novel. Rand has virtually nothing to do. Oh he gets to battle Semirhage, and suffers yet another lasting injury, but he doesn't get much else. It seems that Jordan is just trying to shoe horn him in because he's the main character, and that he can't allow Rand to do anything until the others' stories are finished.
All in all, a fantastic return to form, and here's hoping it gets better from here.