Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: The Fires of Heaven

As most of you know, I've been participating in a Wheel of Time Read-Along all year. We're reading the series slowly--about 100 pages a week--and we'll get through book 6 out of 14 before the end of the year, and hopefully continue into next year. I've read the series before, but the first time, I only got through book 9 before I was caught up to the publishing, and had to wait at least two years between each volume after that. Now, with all fourteen books out, I've had a blast re-reading them. This series has meant a lot me and I totally love it.

Don't worry, I'll stay away from spoilers.

That said, because this is an epic saga, it's hard to tell you much without giving away things that have happened in previous books. The Fires of Heaven simply continues where it left off. Rand is in the Aiel Waste, trying to figure out his next move; Mat is with him, trying to stay out of trouble as usual, but never quite succeeding. Egwene is still training with the Aiel Wise Ones, though she's keeping secrets from them. Moiraine is also with Rand, though the dynamic of their relationship changes significantly in this book. Nynaeve and Elayne are traveling away from the city they were in when we last saw them, ducking their enemies. They meet up with a travelling menageries, which results in some entertaining times. And Perrin is left out of this volume completely. I'm looking forward to starting book 6 so we can catch up with him again.

The biggest thing about this book is the ending. It's huge! Epic, in fact! There are battles (involving the Forsaken, no less) gore, tragedy, and more epicness! It's amazing. And it propels you forward, wanting the next book VERY badly. Jordan was often criticized while writing the series for not having enough tragedy. We haven't seen real tragedy since the end of Book 2. Let's just say he remedies that here.

In terms of the characters, they continue to change and grow and have lots of new, earth-shattering experiences. I could go on and on but it would make the review too long, so I'll just talk about Rand. We really start to see him change in this book, and not necessarily in a good way. He's trying to harden himself in order to make himself into a better leader, and we can already see that he's probably going about it the wrong way. Having read it before, I of course remember where this leads him, but it's fascinating to see the change at the beginning and recognize it for what it is. Really fascinating.

Overall, I really loved this installment. I don't know that I have one favorite book--I just love the series too much--but it's among my favorites. So much great stuff happens.

If you're interested in joining our read-along check out this link for our Lord of Chaos reading schedule. Feel free to email Susan (who runs the Dab of Darkness blog) to join. The more the merrier! :D

Has anyone else read the Wheel of Time? What's your favorite volume?

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