Rating: 5 out of 5
I’m happy to say this series finally became good for me. There’s still a lot not to like, but in the main this was a big jump over previous instalments and not only because a lot more is going on with the story split into three main lines that the reader can follow. One of these—Perrin’s—I really liked throughout with only a few minor issues. The others, those of Rand and Elayne, were less to my likin, but probably more important overall.
So, what exactly did I like? For one, there’s a certain charm to the turn-my-village-into-a-castle storylines that Perrin goes through in this. The same also applies to the first and second part of Christopher Paolini’s ‘Inheritance’ saga which overall makes up the very best part of those books. Here, the balance is a bit more even, but it’s a pleasure to see Perrin back in his home ground earning the respect of his fellows. It’s all eminently predictable, and I am sure that the majority of readers are with me as soon as they hear about Slayer, but this is the really fun part of this book.
Elayne and Nynaeve’s journeys into Tanchico and around that part… Well, this is a relatively weak storyline, and made even more weak by Nynaeve’s apparent inability to keep any secrets from anyone while also being constantly angry at people who know more. At the same time, Elayne also makes some really stupid decisions, and overall more than half of this storyline is fawning over Rand or Lan, respectively, which doesn’t really hold up. Overall, one can be very easily annoyed at these because it’s clear that if two female characters in this series meet the first thing they discuss are the virile characteristics of a man and second any political, economic, or other possibly important topics.
Rand’s story is a bit better, but despite the author’s attempt to spin towards a very complicated solution, it’s convoluted and Rand’s desire to keep secrets from himself, i.e., the reader, feels often unnecessary. Perhaps this is because I belong to the group who can appreciate the difficulty in bringing a difficult plan to fruition, but I also got tired of Mr Jordan’s wish to keep luring the reader forward by not revealing Rand’s intentions too early.
The final semi-story, that of Min, is good, but very brief even though a lot happens.
Overall, I do think this is the best one thus far. Most favourite character: Perrin (and Faile). Least favourite: Nynaeve.