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review 2018-07-23 05:27
The Fires of Heaven, The Wheel of Time #5
The Fires of Heaven: Book Five of 'The Wheel of Time' - Robert Jordan

Jordan's epic continues to thrive, but there are signs of it faltering under its weight. 'Fires of Heaven' finds our victorious Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom, and Julien making their way out of Tarabon assured that they had left it better than they found it. Alas....but that's another plot-line. Nynaeve is hardly a fan favorite, but I've always liked her and a tonal shift in her narration is Nynaeve at her most enjoyable. She also scores a major personal victory.

Anyway, Rand, Jasin, Mat, Aviendha, Moiraine, and Lan are headed out of the Waste after the villainous Shaido, who have quickly become a menace to the 'treekiller' nation of Carhien and everything and everyone else they run into. The changes to Mat and Moiraine's characters are particularly noteworthy.

Perrin, Loial, Faile and Three Aiel....nothing. They don't appear, so readers must presume that domestic bliss and the flowering of the Two Rivers just wasn't interesting enough. Considering how toxic Faile and Perrin's relationship can be...I probably agree with Jordan on that.

Min, Siuan, Leane and Logain are still traveling incognito to find where rebel Aes Sedai may be gathering, but run afoul of someone who could help their plans or simply drag them back to a farm in chains.

Meanwhile, in Caemlyn, some really icky stuff is going on, and one of the most depressing character arcs in the series is swanning on down into the mud.

That last may be why this book has some tarnish. I've been loving the reread much more than I anticipated, but there's no getting around some unpleasant and barely plot-necessary happenings. Then again, the series still has some great moments (I for one loved the circus), more information from the Forsaken, big sea-change moments as Rand achieves more victories and yet also suffers great losses, and another spectacular finish. Though the plot-lines no longer converge, Jordan had a knack for pulling together enough of his plots to make gripping reading.

The Wheel of Time

Next: 'Lord of Chaos'

Previous: 'The Shadow Rising'

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review 2018-07-23 00:17
Wheel of Time Reread Books 1-4 by Leigh Butler
Wheel of Time Reread: Books 1-4 - Leigh Butler

I was late in discovering the existence of the vast world of Wheel of Time fandom. Leigh Butler isn't the be-all-end-all authority, she herself would deny that, but I've found her posts and analysis of what's going on in the series invaluable for my latest reread.

Sharp analysis, critiques, quick explanations and timely reminders of which characters and subplots to keep an eye out for make this essential reading for any fan of the series. It does have a lot of spoilers so no reading before you've gotten through 'A Memory of Light'!

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review 2018-07-23 00:01
The Shadow Rising, The Wheel of Time #4
The Shadow Rising - Robert Jordan

In my memory, 'The Shadow Rising' was the book that started the decline of 'The Wheel of Time' as a series before it recovered itself at the end. Uh, I was very, very wrong. In many ways it is the strongest book yet.

Rand is growing in power and has had a few shaky moments where he realizes how much more he needs to learn if he going to survive to the Last Battle. The Aiel had cropped up in two earlier books, most dramatically, of course, at the end of 'The Dragon Reborn'. There is also the matter of prophecies among the Aiel that name Rand as a great leader and it is in their homelands, the Waste, rather then in the squabbling Westlands that his next steps must take him. So he goes, along with Egwene and Matt (and a diminishing Moiraine).

Meanwhile stories with the weight of truth have reached the Stone of Tear where everyone has been recouping of Whitecloaks - a military order of religious fantatics - attacking the Two Rivers and searching for certain young men, by name. Perrin resists following Rand and travels with Loial, Faile and three Aiel to do whatever it takes to protect his home.

Lastly, Nynaeve and Elayne feel obligated to continue their quest for the Black Ajah, and clues in the World of Dreams point them further East to war-troubled Tarabon. With them go Thom and the streetwise Thief-Catcher Julien. They travel by Sea Folk ship and eventually meet up with a certain antiquarian-collecting trader turned smuggler Doman Bayle who was last seen in 'The Eye of the World'.

Oh, and there is a small matter coming to a head in the White Tower that make things very difficult for Min, Siuan and Leane.

In some ways its conservation of characters, but in others it seems like Jordan has a Plan for many of his apparently minor characters. When first reading the series it kept me alert at every interaction in the books, paying close attention because there was a legitimate feeling that a closer reading of the series would be rewarded.

Each book expands the world of this story and lays groundwork for the series, but 'The Shadow Rising' introduces the twisted door ter'angreal and the answers/gifts they provide, the World of Dreams/Wolf Dream and the prophecies that abound there. More significant viewings from Min are also introduced. The events of this novel irrevocably alter the world that the people from the Two Rivers thought they were adjusting to, and more formerly secondary characters become fixtures and important POVs.

The Wheel of Time

Next: 'The Fires of Heaven'

Previous: 'The Dragon Reborn'

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review 2018-07-22 23:04
The Dragon Reborn, The Wheel of Time #3
The Dragon Reborn: Book Three of The Wheel of Time ® - Robert Jordan

The events at Falme are only beginning to reverberate through the Westlands, few knowing the facts -  and few those people are - can deny that Rand al'Thor is the Dragon Reborn. Mat is being conveyed to The White Tower for Healing as quickly as possible by Verin, Nynaeve, Egwene, Elayne, Thom, and Hurin, the dagger and Horn by his side. Perrin and Min and Loial stay with Moiraine and Lan and the Shienarans to be near Rand. There is tension and they are waiting, for what Moiraine can't, or won't, say.

There is an attack and then Rand is gone. Readers won't hear from Rand for most of the rest of novel, his actions can only be speculated on and guessed at. We must follow the same clues as Perrin and co. to figure out if they are going to catch up with him.

The stakes get higher with each novel, and Jordan does a fair job of building suspense as one party, from Perrin's perspective, follow after Rand; Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne become ensnared in a plot concerning darkfriends in the White Tower at the Amyrlin's behest; and FINALLY we get a POV from Mat. He could be a frustrating character sometimes, with all the machismo and womanizing, but his incredible luck along with ta'veren powers made him always worth reading. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne continue to grow as characters, and theirs is still my favorite plotline of the book, and the subtle shifts in their dynamic was a tidy setup for what was coming in the future. Jordan has occasional skirt-smoothing, arms-crossed-below-their-breasts, trouble with his female characters, they are a vital part of the structure of the story. This bears repeating as so many other authors failed to create stories as dynamic for any of their characters that Jordan does for his heroines.

The cast continues to grow, with only poor Hurin being trimmed from the cast (at least for a dozen or so books), but it does so organically and hasn't reached levels of frustration yet. 'The Dragon Reborn' features more encounters with the Forsaken, new shadowspawn, lore aplenty, and a terrific showdown at the end. It is the last book which has anything resembling a tidy ending until the big conclusions start going down at the very end. These first three books cemented my love of this series.

The Wheel of Time

Next:  'The Shadow Rising'

Previous: 'The Great Hunt'

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review 2018-07-22 22:48
Loved the Assassin's Theme!
Assassin's Heart - Sarah Ahiers

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

 

The world building is really well done with different Families pitted against each other and each one wanting to rise up in the ranks to gain more influence and power. There’s elements of fantasy, as it also involves deities and Gods (each city has their own patron deity). Lea has Safraella for example, who happens to be the Goddess of her city and protects her followers from the ghosts that frequent outside during the night. I loved this concept as it kept the world interesting and played a large role in Lea’s character.

 

Speaking of Lea. I really enjoyed her as a character. She’s fiercely loyal, headstrong, and her skills are on point. She’s a survivor and once she sets her goals, she does it. Despite all she goes through, she continues to keep going. I love her devotion to Safraella. It may seem fanatical to some but it’s what kept her advancing into her plot for revenge. (Also, she wouldn’t have the drive to go find Les and Marcello)

 

Although I rather liked Lea and Val together but well he just had to go ahead and do that thing didn’t he but well, Family before family right? Les and Lea were all right. Not the ideal chemistry that I thought she had with Val, but it’s still sweet nevertheless. I can’t say I enjoyed reading the romance in the book though. It felt awkward and out of the place (do we really have time for this when revenge is priority??) and I didn’t care too much for reading about that. I preferred the plotting and surprises that were in store for Lea with the Da Vias.

 

Aside from the awkward moments of romance, the plot itself was great. It’s got good amounts of action and drama to keep the reading going, and the excellent world building really helps in this case. I especially liked the encounter with Lea and the Goddess Safraella herself. The last third part of the book closed nicely (bwahaha! Revenge was sweet!!!!)

 

I’m looking forward to the second book, I’d like to know what happens next considering what Lea chose to do.

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