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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 March 2017
Difficult to review this fairly, as I sometimes hate Jordan's writing style, but am so invested in this world (5000 pages and counting) that it's difficult to be critical without looking like a fool. There is lots of repetition and many reminders all the way through these books, probably as a necessity given their size, but sometimes it really grates. Like recaps after the adverts on modern TV. That said, the characters are truly likeable, and the story is engrossing, with the right blend of character building, intrigue, magic and now the hint of flying beasties. Oh well, only another 8 books to go....
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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 9 May 2013
I write as one who loves the storyline, but hates the repetition, and endless steely gazes. It gets worse from here in, till Jordan dies, and a more dynamic, action-centred author takes over. Sad that so wonderful a start degenerates so. Still, I have all fourteen books, and by juidicial page turning I can stomach the padding.

The story, you ask? Oh, much the same as before, only with some exciting developments thrown in, like currants in a cake. But at half the length it would have been a masterful read. Perhaps it does not help that I am reading the series for the second time...
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on 6 February 2013
Fires of Heaven was always going to suffer, really, simply for following on from the brilliant forth novel. And, unfortunately in my view, Perrin does not make an appearance, a shame because I always found him a refreshingly honest POV. This book does drag on a little, but Rand's storyline certainly ends on a massively high note. This is something I have found Robert Jordan to do incredibly well.
However, there is one thing he has done wrong with this book. Perrin does not even make an apperance, but Nynaeve and Elayne are constantly brought back to the fore with, as far as I can tell, minimal advancement over hundreds of pages. And worse, is Nynaeve's constant bad attitude towards men. I would not mind it in small doses, but it seems that Robert Jordan is deliberately trying to make us hate a character who does have some very positive traits.
Fires of Heaven is not as entertaining as Shadow Rising, and it fails to execute the same chaotic, epic finale that made the Great Hunt and the Dragon Reborn such fantastic reads. However, it is still a great read nonetheless, and worth trundling through all the usual guff for true fans of the series
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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 May 2016
The fires of heaven continues the epic story though it does slow down a little compared to the previous novels, Perrin is entirely absent and the book does have an awful lot of braid pulling and moaning about skimpy dresses but it also has some great scenes and the end of several enemies in suitably epic fashion.
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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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on 31 July 2015
I've read this series of Brooks three times already and I will definitely be reading them a few more times. If you read no other series you must read this one. My favourite character is Mat Perrin is up there as well. Obviously Rand and the girls Aveindha, Nyneave,Egwene and Elayne. And of course the Aiel are great. I could go on so my advise read the books
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on 22 May 2018
I have read theses books previously, and would highly recommend them. Robert Jordan was an extremely gifted writer
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