Economic circumstance robs Althea Vestrit of her inheritance, and the sentient liveship, Vivacia, passes to her sister and brother-in-law, Kyle Haven....moreEconomic circumstance robs Althea Vestrit of her inheritance, and the sentient liveship, Vivacia, passes to her sister and brother-in-law, Kyle Haven. Kyle, weak on the ethics front, immediately sets his eyes on the profitable slave trade, and drags his unwilling son, Winstrow, aboard to solidify his claim on the ship. Althea Vestrit's love for the ship causes her to make questionable choices in a desperate attempt to regain Vivacia. Meanwhile, the pirate Kennit seeks to capture a liveship and with it, dominance in the Pirate Isles.
This trilogy was impossible to put down. I was hooked on this book within the first few chapters. It made me happy that the books were big and fat, but they still only lasted less than two weeks. It's closer to typical fantasy than Farseer, but the pacing was better. Robin Hobb is amazing at getting me to be emotionally involved in the characters. In Farseer, I felt intense pity for Fitz, and frustration at his situation and... stupidity. In this book, though I loved Althea, I really wanted to throttle Kyle. so. very. much. (view spoiler)[I'm happy that Althea wasn't a buttmonkey, like Fitz. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>(less)
With the Vestrit family facing ruin, the Althea and Brashen sail the abandoned liveship, Paragon, on a madcap voyage to rescue Vivacia from the pirate...moreWith the Vestrit family facing ruin, the Althea and Brashen sail the abandoned liveship, Paragon, on a madcap voyage to rescue Vivacia from the pirate Kennit, who is well on his way to becoming King Kennit. Meanwhile, twelve year old Malta Vestrit has schemes of her own. In the broader world, political tensions rise in Bingtown as Traders' deem the Satrap's actions to be increasingly intolerable.
I raced through this book, but the end slows down a little. The scope of the plot/world broadens, and though the serpents' fate is interesting, I feel their parts drag. Like the first, emotional investment in the characters drives the book. (I really wanted to smack Malta.) Unlike the first, it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.(less)
Sonea enters the Guild's University, and predictably, becomes a target for bullies. Meanwhile, Dannyl's ambassadorial duties take him away from Kyrali...moreSonea enters the Guild's University, and predictably, becomes a target for bullies. Meanwhile, Dannyl's ambassadorial duties take him away from Kyralia and on a secret mission to investigate the High Lord.
I really, really enjoyed this book, and could not put it down. It is much better than the first book. While not particularly original (popular boy picks on outcast prodigy), it was very satisfying. The ending was awesome. I was up until 5am last night finishing it off, and I even started the first chapter of the next book, The High Lord. I wish I hadn't read a spoiler for the trilogy in a review for Priestess of the White. It still hasn't been 'revealed' yet, and definitely kills some of the tension. I'm not sure if I would have figured it out anyway though. I probably would have strongly suspected.
I liked that Sonea's reactions were so mature. She tried to avoid conflict and hoped Regin would get bored. It worked just about as well as you would expect (and about as well as she expected), that is, not at all. Some might be frustrated with her passivity, but I empathized with the irrational desire to 'do the right thing'. I will never have that kind of emotional control or maturity, but that may not be a bad thing. Roughly half the book focused on Sonea, and the other half, on Dannyl. His story was interesting, but I always rushed through it to get back to Sonea's parts.(less)
Moiraine Damodred and Siuan Sache are Accepted approaching their test to become Aes Sedai when the birth of a boy is Foretold. A boy, born on the slop...moreMoiraine Damodred and Siuan Sache are Accepted approaching their test to become Aes Sedai when the birth of a boy is Foretold. A boy, born on the slopes of Dragonmount, will learn to channel the dangerous forces of the Power, and will be vital to victory in the final battle with Shadow. The two aim to be the ones to discover him.
This book is a prequel to the Wheel of Time series, and gives background on Moiraine Damodred (great name!) and Lan Manodragoran. It's the first in the series I decided to pick up, but it probably wasn't the best choice. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, but the first 70+ pages were a slog because there is no context given at the start. One word in ten were made up words: people, places, titles. After acclimating, the book gets really engrossing, but it isn't so much a self contained story as a sequence of events in Moiraine's life. (The few chapters featuring Lan appear out of nowhere.) About 70 pages from the end, I was wondering what could actually be considered as a conclusion to this 'plot'. Well, in the last 20 pages or so, there's a contrived climax and then the book suddenly ends. In other reviews, I read this was originally a short story that appeared in Legends, which makes sense.
On the upside, I can tell I'm going to love Moiraine and Lan. One down. Fourteen to go.(less)
Agents of the Dark Lord, attack the remote village hamlet of Emond's Field, Two Rivers. Rand Al'Thor, Matrim Cauthon, and Perrin Aybara flee to seek p...moreAgents of the Dark Lord, attack the remote village hamlet of Emond's Field, Two Rivers. Rand Al'Thor, Matrim Cauthon, and Perrin Aybara flee to seek protection from the Aes Sedai in Tar Valon.
I liked The Eye of the World, but not as much as I thought I would. I was expecting a page-turner (which happened at times), but instead, it was just an interesting adventure. Reading New Spring, the prequel, first took away much of the mystery to the plot in exchange for anticipation of the revelation, so I'm not sure it was a bad thing. I didn't get attached to any of the characters, except Moiraine, although that was more from the prequel. (I really want to cosplay as her because her clothes sound *so cool*!) I liked Rand, but could not stand Mat. I imagine there will be many, many more characters. The story is very, very (intentionally) reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings. I enjoyed the book enough to go on to The Great Hunt (which is good because I have the next nine...), but I probably would not have gone out of my way to immediately get the next book.
(view spoiler)[ This book follows Rand Al'Thor, Matrim Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Egwene al'Vere, Nynaeve al'Meara, Moiraine Damodred, and al'Lan Manodragoran. The story also introduces/features Thom Merrilin, Loial, Padan Fain (evil peddler), Elaida Sedai, Queen Morgase, Elayne, Gawyn Damodred, Galad Damodred, Elyas Machera (wolf man warder), Mordred (evil of Shadar Logath). (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Horn of Valere has the power to summon an army of dead heroes. Long thought lost or legend, the horn is uncovered, but then stolen by forces allied wi...moreHorn of Valere has the power to summon an army of dead heroes. Long thought lost or legend, the horn is uncovered, but then stolen by forces allied with the dark. Fal Dara assembles a hunt to retrieve it.
The three ta'veren village boys from Two Rivers want nothing to do with the epic fate of the world, and even less to do with the Aes Sedai. However, when the thief also absconds with the dagger from Shadar Logoth, Mat must follow the hunt or die. Rand, Perrin, and Loial join to aid him. Egwene and Nynaeve travel with the Aes Sedai to the White Tower.
The Great Hunt directly follows the events in The Eye of the World. I feel like this book is when Wheel of Time really gets started. It's better and less formulaic than the first book, and the ending is pretty awesome. It drags a bit in the middle though. The book probably does not need to be nearly as long as it is. I enjoyed reading the meandering adventure, but many events aren't very memorable or important to the overarching story. Also, it does seem like the character list will steadily grow. It's not as explosive a growth as Song of Ice and Fire, but characters don't seem to be dying off either.
The story also features Moiraine Damodred, al'Lan Manodragoran, Padan Fain with appearances by Thom Merrilin.
I wonder if Moiraine's plan to have Lan's bond transferred on her death just signed her death warrant. I know it must be fairly far in the future since I believe she is a main character. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Rand Al'Thor has allowed himself to be proclaimed the Dragon Reborn, but he does not really believe it to be true. Plagued and taunted by dreams, he h...moreRand Al'Thor has allowed himself to be proclaimed the Dragon Reborn, but he does not really believe it to be true. Plagued and taunted by dreams, he has decided to journey to the Stone of Tear, the site of a vital prophecy on the coming of the Dragon, to prove them wrong... or seal his fate.
Although Rand catalyzes the events in the story, he does surprisingly little in this book. Ta'veren. For the most part, the plot is not really suspenseful or twisty. Yet, the book is hard to put down. It's all about the journey/adventure. (It amuses me a little how often they've crossed the continent. It's a pretty small world.) The series has been getting successively better, with this one as my favorite so far.
(view spoiler)[ This book follows Matrim Cauthon, Perrin Aybara, Egwene al'Vere, Nynaeve al'Meara, Elayne.
The story also features Moiraine Damodred, al'Lan Manodragoran, Rand Al'Thor, Loial, Thom Merrilin (who has decided to join up with Mat) with appearances by Min, Siuan Sache (Amyrlin), Juilin Sandar (thief-catcher), and Faile (Zarine).
Ba'alzamon 'dies' (again), and leaves a body this time, hypothesized as Ishamael's. Sammael controls Illian. Ba'lal is killed by Moiraine with balefire. Lanfear does not appear, but is mentioned. Morgaese's lover/advisor Lord Gaebril appears briefly, and I'll be shocked if he is not one of the Forsaken.
Egwene and Elayne become Accepted, and Siuan charges them (and Nynaeve) to hunt for the 13 escaped Black Ajah Aes Sedai. Two are captured, but Liandrin is still free. Mat learns about (and tests) his luck. Perrin meets his falcon and his hawk is almost certainly teased at the end of the book. Rand claims Callandor.
Rand is shockingly delusional. At the end of every book, he seems to think he's killed the Dark Lord. One would think he (and his friends) would learn. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In possession of Callandor and Tear, Rand is well and truly proclaimed as the Dragon Reborn, and a open, sitting target for the forces of Shadow. Elev...moreIn possession of Callandor and Tear, Rand is well and truly proclaimed as the Dragon Reborn, and a open, sitting target for the forces of Shadow. Eleven of the Black Ajah remain free, and the Two Rivers is under siege by both the Whitecloaks and Trollocs. Meanwhile, Tower politics heats up.
The Shadow Rising is as good if not better than The Dragon Reborn. The story is absorbing, but straight forward. I had a hard time putting it down. The pacing slows a bit toward the end. (It's really long!) Like the previous books, it's fun, but forgettable. I still want to read onto the next in the series though.
1) Rand becomes obsessed with being unpredictable. He doesn't know who to trust, so he's playing everything close to the chest. As a result, people are starting to wonder about his sanity. He decides to go to Rhuidean in the Aiel Wastes. He proves himself as Car'a'carn, chief of chiefs of the Aiel, and blackmails/temporarily binds Asmodean, a male Forsaken, into teaching him how to control Saidin. Moiraine and Lan follow, of course. Egwene goes to learn more about the world of dreams from the Aiel Wise Ones. Aviendha, a former Maiden of the Spear and now Wise One in training, is told to stay close to Rand. She may be the third woman for Rand although I had been assuming it was Lanfear. Mat also grudgingly follows to fulfill his own destiny. The holes in his memory are now filled with other people's memories.
2) Perrin and Faile go to the Two Rivers, and save the town from Padan Fain's plot. Special appearance by Verrin, Alara, Abel Cauthon, and Tam Al'Thor. Perrin gains a name for himself as Goldeneyes, and he and Faile marry.
3) Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom Merrilin, and Julian Sandar go to Tanchico, Tarabon to hunt the Black Ajah. They run into Bayle Domon, and unknowingly befriend a Seanchan woman, Egeanin.
4) Siuan Sanche is disposed as Amyrllin, and Elaida is raised. (I still don't believe Elaida is Black Ajah, just misguided.) The Tower has fallen. Min, Siuan, and Logaine flee.
I didn't quite buy Rand's plan to lure Lanfear and Asmodean, but I guess it didn't bother me that much. (hide spoiler)]
Divided over the Car'a'carn, the Aiel cross the wastes. Cairhein is caught in the crossfire. The schism in the Tower becomes more entrenched.
The book...moreDivided over the Car'a'carn, the Aiel cross the wastes. Cairhein is caught in the crossfire. The schism in the Tower becomes more entrenched.
The book is a character oriented chronicle of events, and does not lend itself to a concise (spoiler free) summary. The ending is amazing. (The end of every book makes me eager to read the next.) I found myself riveted in the beginning and the end, and though the middle is interesting, the lack of a strong direction/goal makes it drag. As a side note, I'm having a hard time keeping track of the Forsaken.
(view spoiler)[ The Shaido Aiel lay seige to Cairhein forcing Rand to follow. Mat grudgingly uses the experiences he gained at Rhuidean, and kills Couladin. He *finally* seems to be getting over his denial. Rand wins Cairhein, but the Shaido flee.
On the way there, Rand sleeps with Aviendha, which confirms she is the third woman. This causes Lanfear to freak out, and attempt to murder them. Moiraine, who saw this future in Rhuidean, arranges it so that both of them will fall into a ter'angreal. It then catches on fire and melts, supposedly killing them both. I'm sure they're not dead though. It seems doubtful that the purpose of the ter'angreal, which looks just like the doorways in both the Tower and Rhuidean, is to catch on fire and melt killing those who enter it. It was still a very sad and shocking scene. Rand hears that Rahvin (a.k.a. Lord Gaebril) has had Morgase killed, and in a rage, invades Caemyln. (Morgase escaped.) Rahvin is killed in Tel'aran'rhiod with balefire, which erases the death of Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean at the start of the battle. (Also, a shocking moment, which I actually did believe was real.)
Afterwards, Asmodean is killed by an unknown figure he recognizes. I also don't believe he's dead. I pretty much don't believe anyone is dead until killed by balefire. Although I found out afterwards, his murder is one of the mysteries in the series to be revealed in the last book.
Nynaeve and Elayne are adrift after the Tower splits. Knowing they can not return to Elaida, they try to find the base of the rebel Aes Sedai. Bridgette gets pulled out of Tel'aran'rhiod, and Elayne makes her a warder to save her life. Nynaeve captures Moghedien, and controls her with an a'dam that Elayne makes.
Siuan, Leane, and Logain also journey to find the Aes Sedai in Salidar.
Perrin and Faile do not appear in this book.
The Black Ajah appears, but has taken a back seat to the female Forsaken. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Rand strengthens his position, and attempts to stabilize Caemlyn and Cairhien. Both halves of the Tower seek to court and control him, even as they ci...moreRand strengthens his position, and attempts to stabilize Caemlyn and Cairhien. Both halves of the Tower seek to court and control him, even as they circle around each other.
Like the previous book, the plots have switched to completely character event driven. (Aside: Almost everyone is ridiculously manipulative, patronizing/condescending, and sexist, even to their friends/significant others.) Quite a bit is revealed in this book. There were chapters I could not put it down, especially in the beginning and the end. However, the book is very long, and took me a long while to finish. I wouldn't say it's slow per say, but it is meandering. For most of the middle, I was ready to take a breather from the series, but by the end, I could not wait to start the next book.
(view spoiler)[ Rand is in control of Caemyln and Cairhien although he would love to hand off both to Elayne if only he could find her. It's commonly believed that he has killed Morgase, but she is being held captive by the Children of the Light in Amadicia, where she has agreed to an alliance to overthrow Rand.
Rand learns that he is Tigraine's, the Daughter-Heir of Andor prior to Morgase, son, and has a mild panic attack thinking that this meant he was Elayne's cousin. They are only distantly related although it does make him half-brother to Galad Damodred, and nephew-ish (not blood related) to Moiraine. The family tree is... confusing.
He grants amnesty to men who can channel, and instructs Mazrim Taim to train them. Despite his obvious dislike/distrust of the man and Lew Therin's hatred of him, Rand has virtually no contact with the 'Black Tower'. This seems obviously like a terrible, terrible idea. In a strange scene, he also decides to create a ranking structure similar to that of Aes Sedai, and dubs the men, Asha'man. From their point of view, it seems so contrived. I can't imagine they have much respect or loyalty to him. I suspect Mazrim may be one of the Forsaken (especially since he's not insane), and that he killed Asmodean.
Both halves of the Tower send embassies, but only seek to control him. Alanna shows mind numbingly poor judgement, and makes Rand a Warder without his permission. Those under Elaida actually succeed to shield him leading to an epic battle and his rescue by Perrin's armies and the Asha'man. A pissed off Rand forces the rebel Aes Sedai to swear fealty to him.
Rand has accepted his role, and embraced using whatever tools/people he has, often to the (imo unreasonable) disapproval/disgust to those around him. (It annoyed me when Perrin was complaining he was being rude to Loial asking him to leave without a proper recovery time for his travels. Preparing for the Last Battle seems like it should be a pretty high priority.) He now seeks to build the strongest force possible, and minimize (long term) bloodshed and destruction.
Lews Therin is gaining strength, and though I'm sure it's caused by the taint in saidin, I do think the voice is 'real'.
Min joins Rand.
Mat has an army now, which is somehow part of Rand's plan to fool Sammael. Part of the force is diverted to Salidar when Rand discovers it is the base of the rebel Aes Sedai. He instructs Mat to escort Elayne (and Egwene) to Caemlyn, in a rather patronizing way.
The Aes Sedai in Salidar are frozen by indecision. Siuan manipulates them into action, somewhat. Nynaeve and Elayne pry secrets out of Moghedien, but on her own, Nynaeve manages to heal stilling. Siuan and Leane regain the ability to touch saidar, but at a fraction of their original power. Logain is healed without any such loss. Egwene is named Amyrlin (wat.). She promotes Elayne and Nynaeve to full Aes Sedai, and sends them off to Ebou Dar in search of a weather controlling ter'angreal. She arranges for Logain to escape, and Mogheiden is freed by a man who can channel in the guise of a woman (most likely another Forsaken). (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)