on 15 November 2000
Well, here it is - I've been waiting for it since mid May and I was not disappointed. After the hard time I had with PoD, (i.e. I had to read it three times for it to stick in my head - Jordan's books usually go in the first time) I was hoping for something to keep my attention, and I was rewarded with a book that kept me saying "I'll just read a bit more... Maybe another chapter... or two..." It really was a book almost equal to his earlier offerings. We had many loose ends tied up, including the identity of one of the characters that I am sure will soon become a major feature, and the true identity of Corlan Dashiva, although I thought that this could have been fleshed out a little more. Having started reading the morning I got it, I finally finished at about 7pm that evening, and am re-reading it again to make sure I got everything I could out of the book. I would heartily recommend it to any WoT fan.
on 25 October 2001
I wasn't very anxious to get started on this, after the disappointments of the previous volumes, but when I had finally exhausted the pile of 'books to read' there was only this one left. And it's not as bad as I expected. The story moves on again, after the stalling in book eight, and some questions are answered. Still, there are some serious flawes. One of them is that, apart from Rand, Mat & Min, everyone has turned into an arsehole. It's very hard to feel sympathy towards any of the characters other than the three mentioned.
Furthermore there are now so many Aes Sedai, Wise Ones & Windfinders going around that I've completely lost track of them. Far too many names, and they're all exactly the same anyway: stubborn and annoying old women, cardboard figures who can be forgotten as soon as you've finished the chapter they appear in.
The witches are also the main reason this story fails to get to the point. If they managed to listen to each other and the men for a change the whole of Randland would have been ready for Tarmon Gaidon by now. Instead they all 'look like steel & talk like stone' and achieve nothing. But maybe that's the point RJ is trying to make: A world run by scheming women is a mess. The thing is, that's not what I want to read. I started on this series because I expected good fantasy fiction, and for six volumes I wasn't disappointed. Now it's all become long descriptions of petty politics. But if I'd wanted to learn about politics I would have bought Macchiavelli.
RJ is capable of five-star writing, we've seen that at the start of the series, if this is his first step on the way back to that level of writing, let's hope book ten will be a bigger step.
on 8 March 2006
If you have read the preceding couple of books you will know what to expect: shawls are twitched, glares are hard/flat/augers, women will be unable to understand men and men will misunderstand woman and, of course, nothing much will happen in 678 pages. If you are a fan of large passages describing clothing and camp sites in the greatest of detail, you will love this book.
If however, you read the first 6 books in this series and loved the truly superb stories of believable characters in difficult situations who demanded your attention then this book is not only a waste of money but also a waste of time. A 20 page synopsis would provide you with as much as you need to understand what will happen next. Apart from the last chapter, which is one of the strongest chapters in terms of storyline advancement in all the books, this book is blatant padding.
I can’t help but get the feeling that the author planned to write 12 books irrespective on whether the story deserved it. So this book became a spacer.
After reading the first 6 books, I would have thrust one in your hand if you hadn’t read it before, absolutely sure that you were missing out. Now, I wouldn’t give it to anyone unless I wanted them to stop reading altogether.
Because of this, I recommend that you borrow this book instead of buying it, or only buy it if you want to complete the set.
on 18 June 2002
Throughout history there have been many examples of an author or artist dying before they could complete their great work or masterpiece. There have been none however where the entire audience of an artist has died before the work could be completed. In The Wheel of Time, Mr.Jordan may well set this precedent.
I cannot remember when exactly I began reading this epic, it was certainly not in this millennia (ok, that's harsh). So far, with the exception of Path of Daggers I have enjoyed every word, every chapter but even now the whirl of new characters appear and disappear as quickly as my hopes of ever finding an end to this saga. It confuses me to the point where I have to read each book twice before I can move on to the next. The plot has become so convoluted that it truly will be a work of genius for Mr. Jordan to extricate himself from the levels of complexity he has built up over 10 years of writing to finally bring our heroes and heroines to their final glory. Even if poor old Rand will ever survives the final encounter with the Dark Lord, he will surely be up in court for bigamy.
Hurry up Robert, they are never going to make a film of it so we readers are all you've got !!
on 4 January 2002
Once again Jordan has served up a brilliantly involving novel, however is he straying off the beaten path? With many other fantasy novels, which do not compare to Jordan's series, I often find myself skim reading some pages which are largely irrevelant, never before have i done this with The Wheel of Time Series, until now. He has unravelled a large ball of strings and unfortunatly has not yet begun to tie knots in the end, for example the Seanchen, their invasion force should have been delt with throughly in this book, instead they are still left resting for another book. Overall i'm afraid that this story was rather drawn out, for example Matts marriage to the Daughter of the Nine Moons. The reader knew it was going to happen for most of the novel however it wasn't revealed to Matt untill the end.
During this book Jordan failed to offer as much as he did in other novels, getting bogged down in politics and as one otehr reviewer said clothes design. However he did make up with it by a fantastic ending which no doubt reaffirmed every readers love affair with the story.
on 3 January 2001
Well, its an improvement on PoD but Winter's Heart still lacks the pace,excitement and mystery of the earlier books. Too much attention to details of clothing, decor and incidentals and lack of attention to developing all the plot lines. Some characters need to go [most definitely that trollope Shaido 'would be' witch]along with some other dubious characters. I think Robert Jordan needs to put a very large flow chart up on his wall that follows all the plots and starts to pull them together again- this saga will never end unless he does. This series had such potential and it's being wasted. The next book needs to pull all the sub-plots together[ and he could easily do this by leaving out the endless tedious descriptions that detract from the plot] so that book 11/12 can finish it off. I started reading this series in July 2000- I think I'd have given up years ago if I'd had to wait as long as some of you......
PS I like the Aes sedai!
on 4 December 2012
After a few lacklustre offerings with little direction or plot, the Wheel of Time gets a jump start.
As before there are many plots going on at once, we have Perrin looking for Faile, Elayne trying to gain the throne of Andor, Mat escaping the Seanchan in Ebou Dar, Egwene marching towards war with Tar Valon. Each of which gets a little mention, though some more than others and each has a different thing to interest you, revenge, political intrigue, suspense, and prospective battles. But the main reason to read this book is Rand's story and his preparations to cleanse Saidin.
I am still a little annoyed at Jordan's structure of the plots, though. He seems to tell one story, then another, then another, then finishes with the climax, rather than merging them through the book. For example, the first few chapters are all about Perrin's story. Then we don't see him for the rest of the book. Mat gets the most story though (his is the only one that actually gets a satisfying conclusion), while Egwene gets nothing more than an appearance in Tel'aran'rhiod. Though, to be fair, if I had to read a hundred pages of her walking, I'd probably throw my Kindle out the window.
Perrin's story is fairly straightforward, but we jump right into the action. It is a far quicker start than we have had since maybe the Dragon Reborn. He doesn't waste any time to go after Faile but just as it starts getting interesting, it ends and we have to wait for the next book.
Elayne's story is, yet again, the weak point. Though, probably this is because I'm not a huge fan of overly political stories, even if I like a smattering of the genre in others. She meets up with the borderland rulers and thus brings them into the plot after being introduced at the beginning of the last book. This is yet another example of how Jordan doesn't seem to understand longterm storytelling. There are times you can do this kind of thing, and times you can't. The scene from Path of Daggers could have served as a portion of the prologue to this book and nothing would have been affected.
Mat's story is definitely the second best part of Winter's Heart. After not appearing in the last book, he is back. He organises the escape of Aes Sedai while finally meeting the Daughter of the Nine Moons, and she is not what he expected. I liked how the Aes Sedai now have to depend on him to get them out. There is a rather touching scene where a Seanchan woman walks in on him and Joline. He grabs her and kisses her to hide her ageless face. Once she realises why he's doing it, she continues, but is crying while it's happening. Aes Sedai, those champions of cool serenity, are broken by the invaders.
Rand prepares himself to disappear for a while following the attack on him from the Asha'man, but while doing so, he is also making preparations to cleanse Saidin, something he's been thinking of for a few books now. Also, in this book, he finally gets Elayne, Aviendha and Min together in a room for the first time. It's unfortunate that we don't get the first meeting of Min and Aviendha and we just jump into the three walking towards Rand, but it's kind of made up by their scenes after the meeting.
It is the ending that is the reason to buy this book, if any more were needed. We haven't had a decent finale since Lord of Chaos, and certainly not one that felt natural since the Fires of Heaven, so this one is very welcome. It doesn't have any huge battles with thousands of men fighting, but the amount of the Power wielded is enough to make you feel as if it were. Since the introduction of the concept of the One Power in the Eye of the World, this is what we've been waiting for, to actually see the male and female halves being used together, to see Saidin and Saidar used in a battle. It is the closest we've ever got to witnessing the War of Power, and it is an immensely exciting and satisfying end.
To conclude, it's still not perfect, but it is the best book since Fires of Heaven. Winter's Heart breathes new life into the series, along with some monumental changes. It is just such a shame it is to be followed by Crossroads of Twilight.