D.w.'s Reviews > The Fires of Heaven

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan
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's review
Dec 11, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed

We come to the fifth book of the sequence and we can see that there is pressure to start bringing us to a conclusion. One that Jordan will again fight and sidestep around so that the series grows.

We have had in most of the books so far three streams. In the first when the party splits after being chased in Shadar Logoth, it has set us up for this sequence in all the others. But here one of the three, which might have been a conscious play on three Tevern, though often those three combined in some way, one whole third is missing. Perrin.

That makes this one of the weaker books.

It is a book about movement. Get from the Aiel waste to the land of the Kingdoms. We have had that before, but it seems when we have, we have been grounded in places. Here, that is at the beginning and the end.

We are introduced to exciting characters, Valan Luca and the menagerie, what fun. But again the story is so large Aludra returns, has met Thom before, and Jordan drops the ball by not having them recognize each other.

Galad takes more depth, and here we start to question relationships. Did not Galad and Rand share a mother? Will that not come into play? When?

But I said how things look like they could be finished at the end of the book. We have a powerful group of Aes Sedai with an army growing. We have the old Sheniaran companions of Rand growing an army, we have an army of Aiel, and we have an army of kingdom men following Rand, and more in the last few pages. We keep killing Forsaken.

So we can get to the big battle in the next. But we won't.

Too many ideas. Have to make sure every single one is fed to the faithful and noting left out. This book also spawns the rudeness that was Robert Jordan in the great RAFO-Asmodean dilemma. I have read and not found out more than a half dozen times. You can only guess at the answer. Jordan and his Hubris make this one of the worst of the series.

Another example of his Hubris. A city surrounded by, after several days of siege, 160,000 warriors. Walls may give an advantage of 5 to 1, so there has to be over 30,000 defenders inside, but that is never written. Further, until this battle, those 160,000 enemy, Aiel, could easily take on any two regular kingdom soldiers. It was only the better warriors who could face them fair.

Rand Brings over 300,000 Aiel spears, and there is another 160,000 undecided. In the midst of all this, the only kingdom soldiers a few thousand, under Mat, are roaming the battlefield with a mission.

The numbers of the Aiel in relation to all we know of the world are out of proportion. In relation to all we know of those who were to follow and who remained behind. The battle is also hyperbole in that we do not have a map, so a unit is in a gully, surrounded by hills, a light forest hiding them. This is all on the plains in front of a walled city. Jordan wanted to talk about a great fight, and though a student of military history, did little to give us a believable battlefield, or battle.

So why read this, because you have to read it to get to the rest. There is good stuff in it. And more good to follow. It adds depth to the rich world, but it certainly looks like it was written with add a careful plan on how to bring us to a conclusion. The objectives were met by bringing Rand to the Kingdoms with the Aiel, and setting up a Tower dedicated to fighting the fight that Rand has to fight. But so much more should have been done. And, where is Perrin?
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