This book was THICK. In every sense of the word. My wrists still hurt and I finished it days ago. My brain still hurts also. I needed the last few days to recover a little bit emotionally before I, a) Wrote this review, and b) Jumped into the last book. Long gone are the days where I could read three 1,000+ page books in a row. (I miss those days.) It’s not even that this book was particularly emotionally taxing. The Gathering Storm was much more stressful, in my opinion. It’s just that I read A LOT of pages in a matter of days, and A LOT of things happened in those pages.
Notably: the redemption of Perrin and Faile. Honestly, Sanderson had to work pretty hard to pull this one off. Jordan had really stuck both of those characters (and Berelain, while we’re at it) in a pretty bad place. Nothing about their storylines was good anymore. It was a slog to get through them. And the characters were not exactly interesting, either.
He doesn’t just do it for Perrin and Faile, though, but for pretty much every remaining character, who all need to be in relatively good places leading up The Last Battle. Perrin and Faile just needed the most work. Surprisingly, Galad comes out of this book practically likable. At least, I liked him (his thing with Berelain made me laugh every time it came up). His confusion over not being certain at the right thing to do during several points in the book was very human and endearing. Gawyn gets a mini-makeover as well. Long time coming, that. (Maybe too little, too late?) It was also a really nice change of pace to see Rand so calm and in control for most of the book, doing good and doing what he needs to do. He seems like he’s grown up (probably helps that he has 400 years of memories now).
My only real complaint, besides the amount of time needed to redeem Perrin as a character, is that there wasn’t enough Mat. Going in to the book, I was by far the most interested in his storyline. I was very excited to see Thom, Mat and Noal head to the Tower of Ghenjei to rescue Moiraine, but that doesn’t happen until the very end of the book, so I was a bit disappointed there (though those chapters are probably the best in the book). To be fair, this is more the blurb’s fault than it is the book’s. Hey, blurb, maybe don’t feature Mat quite so heavily if he’s not actually featured that heavily in the book? Thanks a bunch.
This book was too big for me to talk about everything. For now, I liked it, and I will be starting the last book tonight.