I'm finally done with this... this... abomination. It's not just the slow pacing with nothing happening most of the time, but also the poor editing thI'm finally done with this... this... abomination. It's not just the slow pacing with nothing happening most of the time, but also the poor editing that has continued to plague the series along the way that has really upset me. There's so many sentences that have missing words, extra words where there shouldn't be any, or just the wrong words added into a sentence that makes you do a double take when you try to read it.
The overall quality of this series has really dropped and this is the lowest it's gone. At this point I don't know if Jordan's health was distracting his wife or what the issue was, but whatever the problems that contributed to the drop off in editing quality, it should've been rectified. It would have been nice if, at least for the e-book versions, they went back over the books again and fixed the plethora of editing mistakes. That would cost time and money, though, so of course they wouldn't bother when they already have the market milked.
Aside from that, my biggest disappointment in this book is just that there's no real plot progression. Two books after her introduction the "Halima" sub-plot is still not resolved! It's such a small thing and yet it's still going on. Faile being captured... two books now and nothing has happened there either! Perrin spent 3 chapters buying grain and beans in a town. And when they captured some Aiel prisoners what did they find? Well, a whole lot of nothing there either. Literally nothing of any consequence happened during this book. Every time there was any sort of build up it was just immediately deflated by Jordan's inability to actually move the plot along.
Instead, we were greeted by pages upon pages of exposition with little to no dialogue to break things up. I counted at one point about 10 pages of Egwyne just rambling about nothing in her head. All of the women are constantly smoothing their dresses and readjusting their shawls as if those are the only things that women do. It's gotten to the point where I pray that they'll do something else. Anything else! If one of the Aes Sedai punched another Aes Sedai I'd just be on my knees happy that their reaction was anything but staring into their tea cup or licking their lips. Never mind the implications of such an action.
The other disappointment is that there's no real interaction with the Forsaken in this book. You get a little here and there, but nothing of any real significance. Jordan stretched out Saiden being cleansed for the entire book. This is a major event that should have been talked about and reacted to after the incredibly abrupt ending of the previous book, and yet we got a whole lot of nothing instead.
I've read that the next book finally starts to dig the series out of the hole it's dug itself in, but I'm honestly just looking forward to getting to the books after that where Brandon Sanderson started to work his magic on the series. I normally wouldn't say this and some people might be offended by it, but honestly, Jordan dying and Sanderson taking over the WoT series is probably the best thing that could have happened to this series as a whole. I just don't think that Jordan had it in him to conclude the series. It's unfortunate that he died, especially the way he did, but as evidenced by the last 5 books in the series... the Wheel of Time just wasn't going anywhere.
Anyway, onward to the next book now. Hopefully there's significantly more time spent with Rand and much less spent with Egwyne and Elayne because I really have just absolutely had my fill of them bitching incessantly about changing their dresses, how tired they are, how men are so terrible, and how much they regret having to use people. Elayne, Birgette and Aviendha have basically degenerated into the fantasy novel equivalent of a soap opera. In fact, I sometimes suspect that is where Jordan got his ideas for his female characters.
This book series is making me more and more irate with each iteration. It can only get better from here... right?...more
Ah, I made it. This was the book that made me quit WoT years ago, but I've pushed my way through it finally. Perhaps being older and having a bit moreAh, I made it. This was the book that made me quit WoT years ago, but I've pushed my way through it finally. Perhaps being older and having a bit more patience was the key here.
First of all I'll say that Mat's parts in this book really saved it. Mat is one character that Jordan definitely had fun writing. It just shows in all of his chapters. He's a fun character and his current story line is interesting.
Perrin and Faile in the beginning were an awful start, though. Both are terrible characters apart or together and they are about as exciting as watching paint dry. I apologize for the overused cliche, but it's true. Being subjected to 6 full chapters in a row of them was painful. And from what I've read Perrin's "quest" is dragged out for at least another book or two. Quite unfortunate.
Moving on, Rand is solid as usual, though I'm getting a bit tired of the "biteme" reference whenever Lews Therin rages in Rand's head. With the events that happened in this book, though, I wonder what is going to happen to him going forward? He channeled a huge amount of the tainted saiden, so I think that perhaps it's going to have negative affects on him even though it's been cleaned now.
Min is a good character and, out of all 3 of the women that love Rand, she's my favorite. If I had to just pick one for him to marry and run away with it'd be Min in a heart beat. She's good him for him and a fun character. No baggage either.
As far as the last chapter goes I was a bit disappointed. They brought in a bunch of the Forsaken, but it was all in clipped segments throughout the chapter, and nothing really happened. It was like Jordan was rushed trying to finish the book up and he just could not fit the time in for another chapter or two to give that battle the detail it needed. Ultimately, it rushed by at a clipped pace with no clear picture of what was really going on. The ending was disappointing, to say the least. It really felt like there should have been at least one more chapter after that. There was no wrap up or anything. One moment, battle, the next it's... "See you next book!"
To quote Cadsuane: Phaw!
Here's hoping for a proper ending from the next book in the series. 9 down, 5 to go....more
There's a definite drop off in the quality of this series. It doesn't start with The Path of Daggers, but it definitely contributes to the overall decThere's a definite drop off in the quality of this series. It doesn't start with The Path of Daggers, but it definitely contributes to the overall decline. There are some good parts in this book, mostly those that involve Rand, but everything else is just... not really there.
For whatever reason Mat was left out of the entire book. Last we knew of him he was caught in a potentially deadly situation (naturally, he doesn't die, but we don't know what happened to him either) and he's just left out of the entire novel.
The Aes Sedai plot is moving along quite slowly. And everyone is completely oblivious to "Halima". Jordan seemed to just make his characters dumb whenever he felt like it for the sake of moving the plot forward. Or perhaps to sell another book. With how obvious Halima has been that sub-plot should've been resolved in this book.
I'm not really impressed with Elayne. She's still acting like a self-entitled little girl this far into the series. And she's so sure she's going to bond and marry Rand. It's pretty disgusting. That whole relationship feels very forced to me as I don't expect many men, in reality, would be head over heels for a woman (a girl in how Jordan portrays her) that is so self-absorbed and prissy.
The sad thing is that Perrin still doesn't really do anything and he still has the same repeated thoughts over and over. Sometimes I feel like Jordan lost track of his characters as the series went on so he ended up repeating himself because he forgot what he had written previously. That seems to be the case with all of Perrin's chapters. And now, going into the next book, we're subjected to 6 chapters of Perrin and Faile doing a whole lot of nothing once more.
Nynaeve and Lan getting together at last is... weird. Nynaeve is 26 and acts like she's 14 most of the time. I don't think Jordan himself really knew how to write her as a character as she's wildly inconsistent in her behavior throughout the series. This is a 26 year old woman who is blushing and goggling and stammering like she's never seen a man before. The woman who was the Wise Woman in her town and commanded everyone. It's just pitiful how useless her character has become. And Lan has been pretty much relegated to the sidelines. He scouts and walks around now. That's about it.
Winter's Heart is the next book in the series and that is where I gave up before. I can remember why I gave up on it, though. The Wheel of Time had a lot of promise, but Jordan just really couldn't deliver in the end, even before the cancer took hold on him. The last 3 books should've been combined into one.
Welp, onward we go. I'm committed to making it to the end of this series now. Let's hope Brandon Sanderson was able to bring things back up to snuff....more
This mostly read like the middle of another book. The pacing was very slow and the quest to get the Bowl of the Winds took waaaaay too long. Jordan reThis mostly read like the middle of another book. The pacing was very slow and the quest to get the Bowl of the Winds took waaaaay too long. Jordan really stretched this one out.
The battle at the end between Rand and Sammael wasn't very satisfying either. I don't recall whether he's actually dead or not, but the whole thing was pretty sloppy in its execution. And very one-sided.
Outside of that, I don't really have much to say about this book that I haven't been saying in the last two books. The characters haven't really changed at all. So, onto the next one I suppose....more
This is the last decently eventful book in the series for a while. I think, from what I've heard, things don't really start happening again in earnestThis is the last decently eventful book in the series for a while. I think, from what I've heard, things don't really start happening again in earnest until book... 10? 11? Something like that. I'm already full of frustration at this point, though.
First of all, Nynaeve and Elayne are... the worst characters. Their treatment of Mat is ridiculous and in they haven't changed since they were introduced as characters. 6 books and they're exactly the same. It's absolutely infuriating.
Egwyne is now fully Aes Sedai and has fully embraced being a manipulating witch. I was never really fond of her as a character, even from book 1, but now I just have no interest in her at all. It's not about friendship or doing the right thing or even being a decent person. It's all about manipulating anyone and everyone to get what you want. She is, in many ways, no better than Elaida.
Rand is still my favorite character in the series and in this book his struggle with Lews Therin begins in earnest. In each book he seems to slip just a little bit more away from himself. I wouldn't say he's insane, as we as readers know he's struggling against Lews Therin trying to take over, but it's hard for him to be himself with everything he's been through and is going through. Min is the only thing really keeping him in check.
The Aes Sedai in this book are absolutely appalling, though. Much of the problems encountered could have been avoided if they just worked with Rand and accepted that men channeling was going to happen no matter what instead of trying to manipulate everyone and everything. When Rand finally broke free at the end, stilled a few of them and either knocked out or killed the others, I was honestly quite ecstatic in that "They got what they deserved!" attitude. When he and Taim made the other Aes Sedai kneel before him I was also quite pleased. They are much, much too full of themselves and if they had just tried to work with him from the beginning they could've worked as equals instead of being forced to kneel before The Dragon Reborn. They squandered that chance.
I say this every book, but Perrin is Perrin. He hasn't changed at all either and his POV is just... not usually that interesting. Berelain trying to seduce him is probably the only exciting thing about his storyline and that's pretty much at an end.
Outside of that, this was a slow book and it's only going to get slower. I only hope I can managed to get through the rest of the slow books to actually finish the series this time....more
Reading this years later I can't believe I missed something so obvious the first time around. In any story if someone doesn't physically die "on screeReading this years later I can't believe I missed something so obvious the first time around. In any story if someone doesn't physically die "on screen" per-say then odds are they're probably not really dead. I totally missed this the first time, so I know who is going to be coming back later in the series. I will miss that person, though.
A lot of things happened in this book. The Forsaken were fleshed out a bit more, we finally learned some small details about their pasts, and Rand finally started to show some real signs of insanity. Lews Therin is bubbling to the surface now and the real struggle for Rand begins.
Also, and this is just my own thoughts, but I'm glad there was finally some actual sex in the series even if it was glazed over. Jordan's spent a ton of time building up sexual tension with all his characters, especially with literally dozens of women throwing themselves at Rand all in all, so I'm just glad he got laid. Him and Mat both.
I'm still not fond of Nynaeve and Elayne. No matter how patient I try to be with them it's always just really contrived humor. Men! Men! Men! That's pretty much the culmination of their thoughts throughout this book. It's a bit tiresome at this point and, unfortunately, I know it's not going to end. They're going to be doing that throughout the rest of the series. Le sigh.
Egwyne is showing some growth in this book, and I'm glad of it when she puts Nynaeve in her place, but I don't like how she's treating Rand. What Rand needs, in my opinion, is someone to treat him like Rand. Someone to help him stay who he is. Egwyne could have helped with that, but instead she just mimic'd Moraine and The Wise Ones. There were times in this book where I lost my patience with that attitude she, and the others, were adopting towards Rand. If I was him I would've probably reacted very differently than he did at some of the things they were saying.
Outside of that, I'm sorry to see Lanfear and Asmodean go. I actually liked Asmodean and I wanted to spend more time getting to know him. Lanfear was power crazed and immensely jealous of Rand (though she only saw him as Lews Therin) but it sometimes felt it could've gone either way. If I was in Rand's shoes I think I would've probably gone with the vision Moraine had of him leaving with her and coming back by her side and calling himself Lews Therin. It's really THAT tempting.
My only real complaint, I suppose, is Nynaeve's involvement in the final showdown. I just felt like it was a weak ending. There should've been time for Rand to at least have a few words with Rahvin, but it was pretty much a passive battle for him. The transitions between Rand and Nynaeve were awkward, especially when we went from Rand thinking, "I am death!" to her having a stupid argument with Siuan, thinking of really dumb and insignificant stuff, and then having a fairly pointless scuffle. I just wasn't happy with how stretched that final battle was and how much unnecessary fluff was added as a result of involving Nynaeve.
Aside from that it was an enjoyable book. Onto the next one....more
Going into this book I think I can easily say that it's better than the previous 2 books in the series. While it does drag at times there are some actGoing into this book I think I can easily say that it's better than the previous 2 books in the series. While it does drag at times there are some actual answers in this book. There's lots of action and everything from all out war to up close and personal fist fights.
My only real annoyance in this book was Nynaeve and Elayne. Both of them are rather stupid at times and for no reason other than to accommodate a plot point Jordan set, it seems. "Well, if they show any actual intelligence and do more than sip tea and natter on like teenage girls then there's no way they'd fail to see this obvious trap!" That seems like his line of thinking at times to me. And I hate those parts.
I feel kind of sorry for Rand. He's already at the point where he can't trust anyone. Even Egwyne. He looks at her and just sees Aes Sedai now. Even his dreams aren't safe as the Wise Ones are invading them and watching him, day and night. Everyone is always thinking about he's going insane, or how he must already be insane. Even Egwyne. Nobody is really just seeing Rand as Rand and trying to be there to support him. They're all wary of him like he's a caged lion just waiting for his moment to break free.
Perrin finally had a few good moments in this book, but now that he's married to Faile he goes back to being a pretty uninteresting character in the series. Faile is a self-entitled, abusive woman who pushes Perrin around for the remainder of the series. And he's happy to let her have her way. From this point on his story is basically equivalent to a bog standard drama tv show.
Mat is Mat. He has everything he needs to fulfill the prophecy for The Daughter of Nine Moons to bind the Seanchan to him. Otherwise, he really doesn't do much in this entire book except cuss at everything and curse his luck. Any time spent in his POV is just him wanting to flee with no real change. In that regard he's not very interesting in this book since, again, he literally does nothing.
The Children of the Light are pretty despicable at this point. I cannot remember where, if ever, but hopefully they get put in their place somewhere down the road. All they do is stir up needless trouble and ruin people's lives.
As for the tower and the Black Ajaha, well, I'm looking forward to Liandra and Elaida getting what they deserve. They both need to die horrible deaths, so hopefully that happens at some point.
Onto the next book! I'm both looking forward to and dreading book 5 since I can recall one particular event that occurs in it....more
This book is kind of hit or miss for me. Perrin, for one, has never interested me. Any WoT book that focuses on him is automatically less enjoyable foThis book is kind of hit or miss for me. Perrin, for one, has never interested me. Any WoT book that focuses on him is automatically less enjoyable for me to read. The main reason is that Perrin is just not a very good character. He's spent the last two books having the same repeated thoughts about the wolves over and over again, he never has any idea what's going on and is too stupid to figure anything out on his own, and so on. There's just nothing compelling about his character.
Aside from that, Jordan made the same jokes about women and men throughout the course of this book as well. As he continued to do throughout much of the series. By the 3rd book the whole, "Men are dumb and useless unless I need something carried" and "Women make no sense and have no gratitude for anything I do!" jokes have started to grate on me a bit.
Mat is finally coming into his own in this book, but there's still times where he's so oblivious it hurts. Nynaeve really needs to stop tugging on her braid; it was mildly amusing the first book, a bit overdone in the 2nd, and now it's just... too much.
I think Jordan really struggled with his characters. He created this huge world with over 2,000 characters and he tried to make his main characters unique with certain traits, but what he ended up doing was creating characters that were mostly two-dimensional. Mat is always the wise guy, Rand is always the morose guy, Perrin is a slow thinker, Lanfear is straight out of Baywatch with her perfect everything, Siuan always makes references to fishing because she grew up in a fishing town, and so on.
It's nice that Jordan does eventually get around to fleshing out some of these characters later on, but it takes way too long. And many of them suffer as the series goes on since there's little to no progress. Perrin is pretty much exactly the same even by book 9 and he becomes completely and utterly useless for a while during his sub-plot.
While this book was a bit faster paced than the previous book in the series it just made me feel like this series should've ended far sooner than it did. With some better editing and trimming, and a bit more of a focused story, this could've easily been a 3 - 5 book long series and I feel it would've been better for it. While each book is around 700+ pages, there's hundreds of pages of excess description (both new and repeated) that end up just being needless fluff. You can sometimes skip 2 or 3 paragraphs and miss nothing because of how often he repeated himself.
Re-reading this series reminded me of why I enjoyed it in the first place, but at the same time it also reminded me of how much Fantasy writing has improved over the years. Many authors have more streamlined writing that still provides all of the details you need in less pages. Less is more and that's something Jordan just never really understood....more
I'm not really sure how to review this book. The characters haven't really changed at all from the first book; there's been no growth. Egwyne is stillI'm not really sure how to review this book. The characters haven't really changed at all from the first book; there's been no growth. Egwyne is still just as naive, Rand is morose and in constant denial, Mat makes quips and grumbles a lot, and Perrin is just... there.
Minor spoilers, but is there anyone that didn't actually see Selene as being Lanfear at the end? Jordan practically beats you over the head with it throughout the course of the book. By the time the "big reveal" came I was just like... and? Kind of underwhelming in that regard.
I felt the pacing of the book was fine. Some say it stumbles in this book, but I'm glad things slowed down a bit here to spend some more time developing the story. I'm pretty much over Padan Fain, though. He's just this annoying character that will not die and continues to be an annoyance throughout the story. I can't remember what book he dies in, but whichever it is, it won't be soon enough.
Going back to the beginning of the book where all the Darkfriends were getting their orders I wasn't surprised to see that even The White Cloaks were corrupted. They seem like a pretty obvious choice to me as what they do already borders on evil anyway. They probably, even without the Dark Lord's influence, kill more innocent's than actual Darkfriends anyway in their witch hunting.
Some say that Nynaeve is useless earlier in the story, but I don't feel that's the case. She was the only one that even thought to question Liandrin when she suckered them all through the Waygate. And she was the one that took control and rescued Egwyne despite the odds against her. Nynaeve still has a ways to go to get over her reckless behavior, but once she matures a bit more (hopefully Jordan thought to do that) she'll be very solid.
Overall, not a bad book. I actually felt quite bad for Logaine, though I know his role in the story isn't over by any means. I'm looking forward to events later in the story when the males aren't so harshly suppressed and dominated by the Aes Sedai. Jordan definitely had some crazy experiences with women in his life based on the ones he wrote into The Wheel of Time. I don't know where all of his influences came from, or where he got some of his ideas, but I don't envy whatever life experiences he encountered that gave him that perspective.
Reviewing this book now is odd. I first read The Eye of the World when I was in High School many years ago. I became instantly addicted to The Wheel oReviewing this book now is odd. I first read The Eye of the World when I was in High School many years ago. I became instantly addicted to The Wheel of Time series and voraciously read through all of the books that were out at the time and over the course of the years until, eventually, I ended up quitting the series at Winter's Heart. So, here I am again starting the series over.
Amazingly, I actually found that I recalled some parts of the book despite the 14 or so years in between when I last read this novel. Some parts in the beginning, middle, and of course the end. I enjoyed the read, but Jordan's work does suffer from the archaic style he so favored of being overly verbose at times. Often I would find myself having to re-read a paragraph on the previous page because he spent so much time describing every little thing in his world that my brain would just start tuning things out.
Also, the Lord of the Rings references are very strong in the first novel. The Mountains of Mist? Black hooded riders? The Mountains of Dhoom? Moraine is basically their Gandalf. All they needed was a ring and some eagles. I think the blatant Lord of the Rings inspirations (or rip offs if you want to phrase it that way) are what actually turns people off from this series at times. There were definitely parts where I found myself rolling my eyes a bit.
As for the characters, I think I've always been a bit iffy on some of them, at least in the beginning. It takes a while to get past their country bumpkin personalities. Rand is naive, constantly staring at nothing and getting left behind, and generally becomes increasingly more morose as time goes on. Despite his massive flaws, he's tall and handsome and gets all the ladies. I can't recall everything that happens as the series goes on but I think he sleeps with at least two women, perhaps three as the series progresses. What a pimp.
Matt is fairly dumb at first and pretty annoying, but he comes into his own as the series goes on. It's around book 3 that I think he comes into his own and starts to contribute in a significant way. Later on he actually becomes one of the more interesting characters in the series as a result of his ability.
I don't believe I've ever had any real interest in Perrin. When I read Winter's Heart, which I recall was focused mostly on him, I was pretty turned off. So there you go. Perrin can talk to wolves and has yellow eyes. Woopity doo. Wolves are probably one of the most overused tropes in fantasy so I just find it hard to get excited for him. Not to mention that he just doesn't have a very exciting personality, overall. Being in his POV is usually hard for me to slug through.
I also still feel that Nynaeve all of a sudden falling in love with Lan is still odd. The last time we're in her POV she's being her usual insufferable self, and then next thing we know she's throwing herself at Lan. I know this is further explored later in the series from her own POV, but it always felt tacked on in the first book to me. I feel that Jordan went a bit overboard with making Nynaeve this super independent woman that don't need no man throughout most of the series. Being constantly argumentative and never seeing reason got pretty old by about the half way mark.
Egwene is pretty much there just to be cute and pretty and doe-eyed the first book. She literally does nothing except... light a fire. The entire book. Kind of a pointless character until Jordan further developed her later on in the series. I realize that females tended to have less of an active role in fantasy back when this book was originally published, but it was rather annoying how often Jordan described Egwene as just having big, saucer-shaped eyes, which Rand couldn't help but stare into and drool over. Pretty much her purpose in the entire book. She's the girl that everyone wants to fornicate with and, poor Rand, will never be able to have the life he wanted with her because of what The Wheel has in store for her and him.
Lan is Lan. He's basically the Strider of this book. Bad ass swordsman with a bad ass sword that kills things and has a cool cloak. Jordan really liked talking about that cloak. He described it numerous times just to make sure we understood exactly what it did. I'm fine with his character, though. I have a certain fondness for bad ass swordsmen (or swordswomen) in fantasy novels.
It's hard to come back to this book after all these years as my perception and expectations have certainly changed from when I was a teenager. However, I feel like I had a better grasp on the story and characters this time. Despite the flaws in the book, and characters, I still did enjoy it. Getting back into a series that's as verbose as The Wheel of Time is certainly a challenge after reading modern fantasy books, but I feel like I'm able to handle the slower pace of the later books in the series better now. I'll be glad to get away from the Lord of the Rings tropes as the series progresses and Jordan started to come into his own more, as well. When Jordan was using his own ideas instead of someone else's is when this series shined the most.
With that being said, I'm still not looking forward to dealing with Rand being all whiny and depressed for most of the series (again), but I'm sure I'll persevere. I just remember certain parts of the series and I'm a little sad for what I know is yet to come....more
Hmm, so I'm kind of torn on this book. In some respects it was better than the first book as characters were established already and there was time toHmm, so I'm kind of torn on this book. In some respects it was better than the first book as characters were established already and there was time to get to know them better and even have some fun. The humor was definitely stepped up in this book too.
Then again, it was also a bit over-the-top as well. The final fight was... yeah. With 8 more books in the series I'm not sure how you can top that as far as crazy fight scenes go. Well, you can, but they're just going to get more and more ridiculous.
Also, towards the end of the book I really feel like Sanderson was "running out of pages" so to speak. There were events which were glossed over, abbreviated, or just plain skipped which were noticeable. I think he made this book a bit too unwieldy and had to trim it down in size.
Shallan was the main focus of this book and, to be honest, I just didn't find her as interesting as Kaladen. So, when I had to trudge through her back story chapters I ended up just hoping it wasn't a long one so that I could get back to Kaladen or Dallinar.
Speaking of Kaladen; while he is my favorite character he did spend most of the book acting like a big baby. While I'm glad he does get over it, I have a feeling we'll see more of dark and moody Kaladen. Also, I see a potential love triangle forming which Sanderson may capitalize on later in the series.
This part may be slightly spoilerific, but I think anyone can reasonably figure out what Sanderson has planned even just having read the first book. By the end of Words of Radiance there's more people with powers similar to Kaladen. The entire book pretty much sets this up as well. As the series goes on Kaladen is going to become less and less unique as more people gain similar powers. Eventually I imagine that him and other Radiants will be training an army of people like themselves, which in turn, will mean that everyone will all be doing the same things. So, these Radiant powers that were built up in the first two books will be less unique and, as a result, less interesting.
Hopefully Sanderson can find a way to keep my interest in subsequent books, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't a little worried based on some of his previous works. I mentioned in my review of The Way of Kings that I was wary of Sanderson after what he did with Mistborn and, unfortunately, there's already been quite a few of those over-the-top moments in this series so far. The immense amount of power that Sanderson gives his characters makes them essentially god-like in his writing which can very quickly get stale when they're doing the same "amazing feats" over and over. Hopefully he can avoid that.
There's a lot of answers in this book with not a lot of mystery remaining by the end. Sanderson doesn't like to leave a lot of loose ends so he does generally resolve things. I felt like there was more mystery and intrigue in the end of The Way of Kings, though. The next book isn't due out until 2015, so I suppose I'll just have to wait and see what he does with the series. It's just my sincere hope that Sanderson doesn't go too crazy with his characters. At the rate they're going right now they'll be hurling moons at one another by the end of the series. ...more
Well, this was quite the journey. I'll admit, this book sat on my dresser for a long time. Several times I thought about reading it, and every time IWell, this was quite the journey. I'll admit, this book sat on my dresser for a long time. Several times I thought about reading it, and every time I thought back to Mistborn and my overall disappointment with that series. Could I really invest this much time into a series as large and grandiose after the train wreck that was Mistborn? For a long time, I couldn't.
Finally, I gave in to my curiosity...
And, I have to say, that I waited too long. Or did I? Perhaps I didn't wait long enough. Only two books in the series are out meaning that I have a very long journey to reach the end still. Being able to pick up this series from the beginning and read through each successive book would certainly be more pleasant than waiting 8 - 10 years (or more) for the series to end. I guess I'm just a little bit impatient.
So, what can I say about the book? What changed my mind? Well, the characters, the dialogue and the descriptions. Sanderson has come a long way since Mistborn. While there were some repeated actions, some very glaring typos missed during editing (of which I can forgive on account of the book being over 1,000 pages long) and some other nuances that stuck out, every single character in the book didn't raise their eyebrows repeatedly. Yes, this was something that greatly irritated me in Mistborn. I'm glad that the eyebrow raising has been decreased significantly.
The characters that Sanderson developed in this series are some of the best I've experienced in a long time. Syl is great comedic relief, Jesnah is incredibly intelligent and always has something thought provoking to say, Kaladin is a conflicted and imperfect character whom is prone to both great successes and great failures, and Dalinar resounds solidly with many of my own beliefs. Many of the other characters are great in their own ways as well, but these are the characters that brought the most to the series for me. Any chapter they're in is a pleasant one.
There's obviously a ton of world building that's gone into this series. I appreciate how different Sanderson tries to make things in his world building. Instead of dogs they have these crazy crustacean things with antennas, as an example. The plants seem to have a mind of their own and do things that our plants most certainly don't. All of the various races are interesting and unique in their own way. I'm really looking forward to seeing how some of the minor races and characters from the first book end up playing a role in the grand scheme of things as the series progresses. Especially Axies the Collector, as he was most humorous.
All in all, this is an excellent start to what I hope will be an excellent series. The last series I read like this was The Wheel of Time and, unfortunately, I lost interest at Winter's Heart and never finished the series. Perhaps I should go back and give it a 2nd try now that it's finally complete while I'm waiting for Sanderson to work through this series.
My only qualm is that I felt the combat was, in many ways, similar to Mistborn. Sanderson seems to like that really extreme, Hollywood-esque, combat where his characters do inhuman things like jumping massive distances, using generally unwieldy weapons, and showing feats of strength way beyond other characters in the series. While it makes sense in how he does it, there's time where I feel like he goes a little bit extreme on that front. In one particular scene in this book I actually thought of the Power Rangers with how he was displaying the Radiant's power and this made me shake my head a little bit at the ridiculousness of it.
Overall, though, I'm pretty satisfied with the series. I'm glad that Kaladin didn't end up as some over-the-top god in book 1 and I'm intrigued enough by the reveals, as well as the questions posed, at the end of the book to make me jump right into the next one.
So, if you haven't read this book yet and were hesitant like I was then... don't be. Hop in and enjoy the journey. It's a long one....more
So, here it is just after 4:30 in the morning and I find myself writing this review after finishing this**spoiler alert** ***Contains some spoilers***
So, here it is just after 4:30 in the morning and I find myself writing this review after finishing this book up. What did I think? Well, as with any Robin Hobb book there is much to reflect on in the end. As someone that has read all of her books related to this world, however, I will say this: While the ending of the last trilogy may have been bittersweet ("I am content") it was still the happiest ending that one could hope for in regards to Fitz after all he'd been through. Now that this new series has begun the character torture is back.
Before the book is even half way over both Patience and Molly are dead and he has an odd daughter whom very clearly shows the signs of a White Prophet. How she ended up as a White isn't explained, and the book doesn't clearly say that she is, but it's very obvious to anyone that's payed attention.
Fitz is older now, but the magic from his healing keeps him young in appearance, though he does show signs of age such as tiring easier than he used to. Some new characters are introduced and the book basically boils down to Fitz trying, and mostly failing, at being a father to both his newest daughter, and Nettle, his oldest daughter.
Hobb loves character development and this book is no exception. Very little actually happens throughout the course of the book until the last few chapters. They're mostly playing house and while, on occasion, something will happen, it usually just results in Fitz trying to pass on some wisdom to his daughter or trying to deal with the chaos around him.
Obviously, the first book sets up the 2nd one, which will hopefully have more action in it, but there were many times where I felt that things were just moving too slowly. The first two trilogies had much more intrigue to keep my interest, but here it was basically just a really long episode of Full House.
Fitz's reunion with the Fool is the only thing that surprised me. Based on the way the book was going I actually expected that they wouldn't meet up until book 3 after some long journey, but they found each other in a rather unexpected way in book 1. At least should make book 2 more interesting as Fitz's interactions with the Fool are one of the high points of the series.
I'm giving this book a 4 out of 5 stars, which you may find odd after my complaints. The reason being is that it's not a poorly written book by any means. It sets up the story very well and it definitely has a way about drawing you into each of the characters. My reservations are more personal ones rather than actual issues with the book itself. I just wish there was more that actually happened. With 32 chapters in the book it feels like it had about 29 chapters of fluff before anything of real import happened, and that should never be the case with any book.
As the series goes on expect more character torture. Fitz is going to have a bad time, especially with how chapter 32 ended. I'm not sure what Hobbs has planned for book 2 or book 3, but I have a feeling we're going to see more lives lost along the way. Losing Patience and Molly were tough enough after the seemingly senseless killing off of Burrich in the last trilogy. As I said earlier, if you were happy with the ending of the last trilogy it might just benefit you to pass on this series, as you'll be opening those old wounds anew. I found it easier to imagine that Fitz and Molly lived a happy and fulfilling life with their children before dying off peacefully in their later years without the Farseer line interfering in their lives again than the harsh reality that Hobbs springs upon us in this book. Maybe that's just me, though.
Anyway, now that I've started, I have to see the series to its conclusion. This is a series you have to finish, so either you're all in or you're all out. There's no middle ground with Hobbs....more
Here we are at the end of book 2. The Desert Spear suffers from Middle Book Syndrome, as the 2nd book in a trilogy, unfortunately. Brett decided thatHere we are at the end of book 2. The Desert Spear suffers from Middle Book Syndrome, as the 2nd book in a trilogy, unfortunately. Brett decided that he wanted to increase the number of POV characters and directly tell the story from the other side. This is OK, but the problem is that we basically go back to square one.
The second book in a series gives the author the opportunity to focus more on the exciting things. Characters are developed, the plot is set, and they can draw their readers in. Unfortunately, what we get is more character development and little to no action for the entirety of the book. I feel like there's several issues that cornered Brett into this position, as well.
First of all, Arlen is already god-like. He has wards carved all over his body. There's nothing else he can really do and the demons, which were these terrible imposing creatures in the first book, are now simply reduced to plot filler. They're no longer terrifying and even Brett seems a bit bored of them as he writes about them in passing.
If he tries to have his characters engage in too much battle in this book then it would end in this book and never made it to the 3rd. There's simply just not enough things he could've done with the wards to stretch out combat. This ultimately makes it a dull and generally uninteresting read.
Also, the characters don't really improve in this book. Arlen is still Arlen, Rojer is just as useless as he was in the first book, and Leesha still can't get her mind off all of the men she didn't have sex with. At least at the end of the book she finally gets some, but at that point it just felt like a betrayal to everything she believed in.
The Demon Prince's that are stalking our characters throughout the book never really become the imposing force they're supposed to be. They literally do nothing until the last 3 or 4 chapters and, even then, the fights are brief. The book ends immediately after the last fight, giving you no real opportunity to digest anything.
I will say that, overall, this book was better written than the first book. And there were even a couple of times where I chuckled over something that someone did or said. Some of the side characters also did become a bit better, though none of them were well developed in this book. In fact, because Brett was developing more characters he seems to have been unable to balance the secondary characters with the new ones.
So, I'm giving this book a 3 star rating. It's not terrible, and it's slightly better than the first one despite falling into the same rut that many second books in trilogies have.
Time to knock out the 3rd book in this series and move on. ...more
Well, I saw a number of mixed reviews on this book before I went in so I wasn't really sure what I would be getting. Unfortunately, it was everythingWell, I saw a number of mixed reviews on this book before I went in so I wasn't really sure what I would be getting. Unfortunately, it was everything I had hoped it wasn't. Pretty much every Fantasy trope ever is shoved into this book all along with poor editing which makes me wonder. Riddled with mistakes that any amateur writer could see I just did not enjoy the technical aspect of this book at all.
One of the biggest offenders was the scene transitions. It's almost as if Peter Brett loses interest in a scene and decides to start immediately on the next one with no transition or warning whatsoever. It's pretty irritating and incredibly jarring. Many times I would get into a scene only to find that the next paragraph jumps right into another scene at a later time with no warning. This irritated me to no end.
There's other issues, such as using things like "he/she said" repeatedly in dialogue. When your dialogue is written well and your characters are fleshed out there's no need to drop those constantly. If you're going to use them at least mix them up and use something different so that it doesn't seem like the characters are just standing still staring at each other while talking like robots.
Of course, the characters themselves were almost all bad. The only one that I found myself caring about at all was Arlen. I was actually annoyed whenever I had to suffer through Leesha and Rojer chapters as both of them ultimately ended up having very small and inconsequential roles in the story. Despite the time we were forced to spend with them they don't feel like real people - just characters dancing along to the strings of Peter Brett. Which is always a bad sign.
I thought that a lot of the decisions and thoughts of the characters were also very naive and unrealistic. For example, Arlen taking the spear he found and going back to the city. Despite his knowledge from being around these people for several years he didn't take any kind of precautions and ended up in an unfavorable situation. Leesha just whined about men the whole time and how her sacred flower couldn't be spoiled. I wouldn't have complained if a demon ate her.
But hey, let's get into Leesha now. The scenes that took place after the bandits made no sense whatsoever. I don't know if Brett has ever spent time around females, but even if this was hundreds of years ago, I highly doubt that a female that goes through the ordeal that Leesha did would, only several days later, be like, "Oh hey, I guess I'll have sex with you and get pregnant!" She was already a bad character, but it just blew my mind at how crazy the author was to make his character do that. And apparently his editor thought that was totally cool and let it go, which again, further makes me question the quality of his editor.
I did like the idea of him tattooing himself with the wards, but he's so incredibly powerful now that I highly doubt that Brett can get through two more books without doing some hardcore nerfing or suddenly changing his powers. Like, oh look, your wards are useless against this new kind of demon that I just made up 10 minutes ago to make my story work! The way he has the demons basically rise out of thin air means there's all kinds of unique and interesting things he could do with them. Unfortunately, that hasn't really been the case so far.
looking at the average rating for this book on Goodreads I am completely astounded that it's over 4. I just can't imagine how anyone could give this book 4 or 5 stars with how generic, contrived, and just plain ignorant it can be at times. If this is a 4 - 5 star book, then what is A Song of Ice and Fire? Or The Farseer Trilogy? Certainly those are much better examples of the Fantasy genre with better worlds, better characters, and a story that makes sense.
Despite the flaws with this book, I decided that I'm going to finish the series. Much like Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, I expect the ending will leave me incredibly disappointed with both the book and the author, but we shall see.
This book gets a 2 out of 5 stars and I feel that's being generous. If Brett wants to continue writing in the Fantasy genre he needs to step up his game for future works....more
And here we are. Last book in the Rain Wilds series. At only 22 chapters it was pretty easy to tear through in a day, so I used the weekend to my advaAnd here we are. Last book in the Rain Wilds series. At only 22 chapters it was pretty easy to tear through in a day, so I used the weekend to my advantage and knocked it out. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about this series. On one hand, in typical Hobb fashion, I had no issues with reading all the way through. I'm genuinely interested in the world she's built and the characters that inhabit it. On the flip side, there's a lot of characters in this particular series that I couldn't care less about. Hobb is usually fantastic at creating memorable characters, and yet many simply just fell flat in this series.
I've read some complaints about the battle in Chalced (not really a spoiler - if you've read up to this point in the series you know it's coming) and I kind of agree. We were in the Duke's POV a couple of times, and yet his death is completely glossed over. It's mentioned in passing, but there's never any sort of final confrontation or final moments as the dragon acid tears through him. This is something that Hobb also has a tendency to do with "villains".
For those that have read the Farseer trilogy (which I hope is everyone), if you recall the ending of Assassin's Fate, the death of the antagonist of that series is mentioned in passing there as well. We get some details of what happened to him after his last encounter with Fitz, but the rest is pretty much just told to us later on. She seems to avoid final conflicts with "the bad guys" and just lets things happen in a more passive way. I don't necessarily disagree with this method, but there's definitely some times where it's made for unsatisfactory conclusions.
Things at the end of Blood of Dragons did wrap up pretty nicely with just a few loose strands which I feel were left intentionally so. Hobb usually goes into greater detail at the end completely wrapping up a characters story if it's meant to be permanent. I kind of miss how she spent 7 or so chapters in the Tawny Man trilogy just wrapping up everything there. That was extremely unusual for an author to do, but well appreciated.
Going back into Selden's POV in this book was also nice. His relationship with his captor's daughter was one of the most interesting parts in the book, especially since they both shared common miseries. I wish we had more time with them and were able to see their relationship develop further, as that was also abbreviated at the end.
Other characters such as Malta, her baby, Reyn, and some of the Dragon Keepers were all pretty lack luster in my opinion. Even Alise, always kind of dumb, just didn't do much for me in this book. Alise pretty much had no purpose the whole time so I don't even know why we were in her POV outside of that first chapter. She really contributed nothing at all to the story. Sure, she did things, but nothing came of them. Alise's "confrontation" with Hest was pathetic at the end. After all that time I expected her to put him in his place after all she'd changed, even with what she swore in the first chapter, but she couldn't even do that. Hest, once again, got the best of her and ol Sedric had to come in and save the day. So, ultimately, she just had no purpose. I think it would've been better if she tragically died and the Dragon Keepers avenged her or something. At least at that point I would have felt some sort of emotion towards her besides lethargy.
Malta was just basically in distressed mother mode the whole time and everything that had made her a much better character by the end of the Liveship Traders series was just not in this series at all. She became almost a different person and uninteresting to me. Reyn is, well, a giant coward who just shrieks in terror all the time. I was hoping that he would've grown some balls by the end of the series, but instead he just went into old man mode and didn't have much purpose.
Sedric and Carson were pretty much just themselves. They did things, but weren't consequential to the plot in the end. Though, getting to spend more time with Carson was great and I still do like him as a character. I don't think anything else really could've been done to develop him and Sedric as characters. They pretty much got as far as the series would allow them.
There wasn't enough time spent with some of the other Dragon Keepers which is why I didn't feel much for them, But, I mean, there were simply too many of them to really go into in-depth with the amount of pages that seemed to be allotted for these books. There could have been time to build relationships and get to know them better, but there just wasn't time. So, by the end they were acquaintances of mine but not good friends. I just had no attachment to them.
And I think that is the central problem with this series. Too many characters and not enough pages to talk about them. Hobb could have easily made each book twice as long as it was if she spent more time with all of the other characters. We were spread a bit thin reading about them. I hope in future books she pulls back a bit on her ambition in that regard and either has less overall characters, or spreads them out better so that we get to spend more time with them all. The downfall here was that almost all of the characters were all together in the same spot so switching into their POV's was kind of pointless. If they had been spread out on different tasks across the world then that would have been different.
The whole situation with Thymara, Rapskal and Tats was a bit weird. I saw the changes coming in Rapskal early on and figured things would kind of go that way. I still think Thymara was kind of, well, a bitch for most of the series. All she could worry about was getting pregnant the whole time. I completely understand a woman's desire to be careful with pregnancy, but her complete indecisiveness and straight up cock blocking was even frustrating me by the end of the series. She obviously loved Tats, wanted to be with him even in the first book, but she kept coming up with a bunch of stupid excuses to avoid being with him. She could have claimed him without the sex and at least avoided the whole love triangle thing that just got more and more more awkward. At least she ultimately did have one useful moment in the book and do something helpful, which Alise can't really say. But, after that she was relegated back to the sidelines as the rest of the story concluded. Hopefully, she's past the whole indecisive woman who pisses off everyone around her thing and can live normally hence forth.
I am glad that this book was longer than the last book and also glad that the story continued to move along. There weren't too many parts that were straight up boring, but there were times where it seemed like Hobb's mind definitely wandered in her writing where it was just page upon page of endless internal monologues (especially with Hest). I was definitely growing tired of them in the last book, and I was exasperated whenever I saw them here.
Now, here's my one real complaint with this book. Sure, it just came out in Spring of this year and is the newest (and last) book in the series. However, all of the other books in the series are about $5 - $6 in ebook form which I feel is completely fine, except for book 3, which is far shorter than the others. This book? $15, at least on Kobo, where I bought it. On Amazon it's $14. Even so, for a book of this length which is in ebook form the amount of money being asked for it right now is pretty ridiculous. If I was struggling for cash whatsoever I wouldn't have even picked this up. They were totally price gouging this book based purely on the fact that it's the last book in the series and that it's a Robin Hobb book. If you can hold out until a price drop I highly recommend it as this book shouldn't be priced at anything greater than $6.00. $15 is just, again, absolutely ridiculous and they should be ashamed of themselves for gouging their readers so badly.
Also, for the price I paid for the book there were a number of spelling mistakes that apparently the editor couldn't be bothered to fix. When I pay $15 for an ebook I expect it to be pristine. The head hopping was often very confusing with nothing but a single space in-between paragraphs. One moment you were in one person's POV and the next paragraph you were in another person's POV with no real separator or indicator of this. In some of the earlier books in the series there would at least be a large gap between the paragraphs to signal this, but in this last book? Nope. None at all. It was very jarring and there were times I had to go back and re-read a sentence to get a grasp on who's head I was now in.
Despite that this book was better than the last, probably the best in the series, the insane price of it in ebook form, the spelling mistakes, and the extremely jarring POV switches, as well as characters that were vital in the beginning of the series and falling off to become completely uninteresting and/or useless makes this yet another 3 star read. It's not terrible, it does open the door to more books in this world (of which we're getting in 2014), but it's not exceptional and not up to the normal level of Hobb's writing.
And with that, I conclude this review and bid adieu to the characters of the Rain Wilds series. I'm certain we'll see them again in some shape, way or form at a later date as Hobb prepares her next book, "Fool's Assassin" which is due out in 2014 and will return us to Fitz and the Fool. ...more