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Customer Review

on 4 December 2000
This is the fourth in the series and, in my opinion, the best so far. I say that after having read up to Volume Eight.
It's written, as usual, from the POV (Point of View) of a number of the major characters. The POV characters here are Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve. There are also a number of one off POV chapters including one by Moiraine which is revealing. I never realised quite how cynically manipulative she was. As before, the main characters split up and go to different places to do different things, some to the Aiel, some to chase the Black Ajah and one, Perrin, returns home.
The Aiel chapters are interesting, revealing much about them, their customs, history, lifestyle, etc. We find out why they let traders from Cairhien travel the waste up until Laman's sin and also why they dislike and avoid the Travelling People. The chapter where all this is revealed is one of the best in the book and it also contains a few tantalising glimpses of the world around the time of the Breaking. Many prophecies are revealed and fulfilled here and it's probably a good idea to look up Min's viewing in Volume One and Padan Fain's scrawl from Volume Two to see how they fit in.
The hunt for the Black Ajah I found the most disappointing, it takes a long time for anything to develop and Nynaeve isn't a very sympathetic character in my opinion, there's only so far you can go with an arrogant, pushy and stubborn woman like her. Thankfully there are less of these chapters than the other segments.
Perrin's return home is the best section, developing Perrin as a character and fleshing out the Two Rivers. Part of Padan Fain's scrawl in Volume Two is explained here so it's a good idea to look it up. As for the rest, I can't say much more without revealing the plot so I won't.
Criticisms can be levied, and have been by other reviewers. Yes it's long (1005 pages) - but if it's a good story that's a plus not a criticism. Yes, it takes a while to develop - but, again, that's a plus, the story isn't hurried and unwinds at a natural pace. This is the best book so far. Buy it.
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