When I first read these books, I think I made it through Crossroads of Twilight (the next book in the series). I bought Knife of Dreams (the last book written by Robert Jordan before his death) and The Gathering Storm (when Brandon Sanderson took over the series), but I never read them. This book came out just before I went off to college, and right around the time I stopped reading for pleasure. I don’t remember the next book at all. So, I’m about to go into uncharted waters in this series.
I’d say that was a relief if it weren’t for the fact that I find so little to enjoy in these books.
Well, for most of this book, that doesn’t really change. We spend a lot of time catching up with Perrin. He’s hunting for his wife, and trying to coax Masema along to Caemlyn. But nothing really happens there. Much of the book follows Mat in Ebou Dar. He’s still involved with the queen, but it’s less “rape” and more “reluctantly allowing himself to be used as a sex toy”. Meanwhile, the Seanchan heir, Tuon, is in the palace, and seems to have taken a special liking to Mat. It’s revealed at the end of the book that she’s the Daughter of the Nine Moons – a title he’s long known to belong to the woman he will marry.
Also, Rand spends most of the book in the city of Far Madding, hunting down Dashiva and the renegade Asha’man who tried to kill him at the end of the last book. Once done with that, he cleanses saidin. Also, he confesses his love for Elayne, Min, and Aviendha, a feeling they all return. He becomes their warder, as well. And Elayne gets pregnant, after finally getting some alone time with Rand.
There’s no reason this had to be dragged out over three books (and 2,000+ pages). It’s asinine. It’s taken me a month to get through these three books, and I’m not better for it. Honestly, I can barely muster the energy to even review this book. I don’t really have anything new to say. I mean, what am I going to do, spend another 500 words complaining about how men and women are always fighting with one another for no discernible reason?
I will say that I don’t really understand the motivations for most of the bad guys. Why did the Forsaken join with the Dark Lord against humanity? That seems like a crazy step to take – and I don’t feel that it’s ever really explored. There are numerous characters that turn to darkness for no real reason. Why does the Black Ajah exist? It just doesn’t make any sense. They’re evil, I guess, because the bad guys have to be evil in this kind of fantasy series. [shrug]
I don’t want to hate these books. They are loved by millions of people. I want to identify with them, and share their fascination with this world…but the energy has just been utterly drained from me by the tedium. If it weren’t for Brandon Sanderson, I think I’d just give up on the rest of this series and hope the upcoming TV show fixes a lot of the problems I have with the books.
I honestly can’t think of anything else to say about these books. I’ve got five more books to go, and two of them were written by Robert Jordan. I might just put those two in one review and be done with them. I can’t imagine that I’ll suddenly rediscover my love of this world. Over the last several days, I pulled out my old, tattered paperback and read that instead of listening to the audiobook. Much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed the book a lot more after that. As much as the audiobooks have gotten me through this series, there’s something about laying down with a book and reading with my own internal voice. I think that saved this from being a 1 star review.