Previous books in the series:
The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1)
Why did I choose to read this book?
It was next, and I am DETERMINED to read this entire series.
What is notable or exciting about the story?
There is a lot going on here, and our group gets separated again which slows the action down significantly just like it did in the first book. Egwene and Nynaeve begin their training in Tar Valon, and Perrin, Mat, and Rand journey out to find the dagger Mat took from the cursed city and the Horn of Valere, which they originally discovered hidden in The Eye of the World but has been stolen by Padan Fain the Two Rivers peddler/Darkfriend (think Gollum-type character).
I found the alternate dimension that Rand, Loial, and Hurin enter via an ancient passage stone very interesting, and the siren-type character they meet there (and help escape!) Selene is going to be a huge troublemaker, I can already tell. We’re also getting to know other Aes Sedai sisters: the Red Ajah sisters in Tar Valon are doing the absolute most to make Egwene’s and Elaine’s lives terrible, and Verin (a Brown Ajah sister) is traveling with Rand and his group.
The last 3rd of this book moves very quickly. Kidnappings, new races, small inter-city wars, someone blows the horn(!!) and finally the true reveal of The Dragon Reborn to the population at large will speed you to the end and make you desperate to find out what happens next.
Was anything not so great?
This book gets heavily bogged down in the middle. I’m not sure what to credit it to other than it’s the same issue that Patrick Rothfuss had in the second book of his trilogy The Wise Man’s Fear. Simply put, too many men are thinking with their dicks and not with their heads, and that level of stupidity and reckless gullibility makes the reading just really frustrating. Egwene and Nynaeve are also caught by surprise by trusting too much without thinking. Even though I finished this book, I definitely remembered why this book was where I often got stuck and never went back. I am here to tell you that you should stick with it because the ending makes your efforts all worth it.
Side note: the “love story” between Nynaeve and Lan really pops out of nowhere in this book, and their intimacy/connection was not sufficiently established in the first book so it makes it seem like Lan is a love-sick dude being rebuffed by brash Nynaeve who is also distracted by her thoughts of him…I don’t know, did I miss something?
What’s the verdict?
Robert Jordan seems to still be figuring out the story in this book, and there are still so many elements of the worldbuilding that are being thrown at the reader that it is possible to just put this book down and never look back. Also we haven’t really come to care for these characters yet and this makes the first half of the book very difficult to read because it requests that we care about what happens to everyone. By the end of the book, however, you WILL care about most of them and that investment will push you from this story into the next (The Dragon Reborn).
Suffer through this one, and I think the rest is smooth and interesting sailing.
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