Rating: 5 out of 5
I liked this volume. Enough to keep on going with the series without the normal gap I’d look for. So what’s there to take away? Most of our characters are becoming wiser and more skilled. A series of great battles has been fought with more left to go, and Rand has been victorious in these few, taking down three of his main enemies despite also losing a few of his advisors.
I enjoyed Egwene and Elayne. Both seemed to grow and learn a lot, if still ignoring the lessons some much wiser have tried to impart. Egwene still spends too much of her time complaining about how much like sheep Rand acts, but of all the women characters this is the shortest internal dialogue with only a few bits left for Gawain. At the same time, she has been the most willing to learn making it a pleasure to see how she is stronger and cleverer. Elayne’s incessant rambling about Rand is more annoying, but overall very composure and willingness to learn make her one of the better characters.
Rand was a bit of a nut to crack here. I’m going to repeat that his wish to keep secrets from everyone else is a very good plot device to not reveal anything before it’s absolutely necessary, but perhaps the reader could have been brought along in some of the planning, making this a part of the character’s development. Yet, he’s generally appealing as a character even though I wish he got over his desire to keep everyone safe while in those same sentences saying that he meaned to use everyone as fully as possible.
Mat was really enjoyable in this volume. Much less moping about and much more work getting done. He still doesn’t seem to acknowledge what he has, but at least he is slowly using it to very great effect. I thought Mat’s developments some of the best overall.
Which leaves Nynaeve… I found nearly every thing she said silly, especially where she is trying to make sure she is control. I think this is overall a believable development for the character, but I could just as easily skip over her parts because the vast majority of them consists of complaining how annoying it is that someone (anyone) doesn’t do what she thinks they should have done.
Overall, very good, and I’m happy to carry on with the series.