Genre: Epic Fantasy
From: boxed set from Amazon
Almost a year and a half ago now I started the Wheel of Time quest. The mission? To read the entire series, 11 huge books, so I could read the last books (three huge books) Brandon Sanderson is writing to finish up the series for Robert Jordan, who died before he could do it himself. Along the way, in searching out other reviews, I meet Ibeeeg (Deanna) who had set out on the same quest about the same time I did. Since then, we’ve been cheering each other on, and have talked about doing a buddy read, which finally, for this book number six we made official. Chersti also joined us for this buddy read, but she is still working on it (believe me, it's quite the project!) and we will hopefully be back to discuss things with her when she is done.
But what a blast it is to have that motivating factor of reading a book together to keep you going! I needed it bad this time around. This book was hard to get through. There were many times I wondered, “now, why am I doing this again?” But I couldn’t slow down, I had to keep up with Deanna because she was smokin’ through it!
We’ve decided, for our review, to have a conversation of random thoughts which we will share with you, our readers. My thoughts are here, with Deanna’s response to them, and her thoughts are on her blog, with my response to them. If you are a fan of these books, or have interest in reading them, or are starting your own quest, please be sure to check out both spots!
I had a tough time pushing through this one, I must admit. It seemed that there were so many names being introduced that it made my head spin. What made me especially crazy was whether or not these were people I really truly needed to remember! And then, it seemed like everything was an establishing shot, which I thought was crazy being at book number six. I mean, we were established already. Right? I was anxious for something to happen. Finally at about page 500, half way through, stuff started happening. Rand started throwing his weight around, the Aes Sedai began to make their big move, Min and Rand met up again, Perrin finally FINALLY, rejoined the story. Yes, in the end, I was hooked once again.
Our Random Thought Discussion
Suey: I was happy to have a kid in the story this go around. It made me realize that there’s been no kids at all. All these people in this book and no kids? So finally, we have Olver, who, I think will add something interesting to the storyline and I really hope he sticks around and has a bigger role as we go along. Speaking of kids, finally it was mentioned how old some of our characters are! I think before it’s just been alluded to. But Nynaeve is 26... and Elayne is only 18, along with Egwene. Only 18? Sheesh, they are just kids really then too! And Rand, Mat and Perrin... what are they? About 20? Anyway, I find it interesting that ages were actually mentioned this time.
Deanna: It never occurred to me that there were no children within the story. I guess I figured they were there, but just not seen by us. Olver has not sparked a real huge interest for me, but when he does appear, I do find that he adds a new twist into Mat’s life thus a new twist for the reader. I did, however, notice that the ages were mentioned. The ages of the characters was something that I thought about more in the beginning of the series than I do now. I thought Elayne and Egwene were a bit older, but not by much. I was surprised that Nynaeve was as old as she is, not that 26 is old, but her character does not seem much more mature than the girls. The boys, well, I pegged them at around 18 or 19 when the series started so the age 20 sounds right to me. It is a curious thing as to why Jordan mentioned their ages at this point in the story.
Suey: Deanna mentioned this a bit too over in her post, but I must add that the women characters are simply annoying for the most part. I find the boys much more interesting, and am always glad when the point of view shifts to them. Which, by the way, there’s a lot of shifting points of view in these books! But yes, when it’s Rand, Mat and Perrin’s turn to have their say, I’m always giving a bit of a cheer. The women always seem irritated by the men, and the men seem always baffled by the women. And some where along the line I hope they just talk and get things worked out. And be friends and help each other. I want everyone to be happy! Ha. And then what would Robert Jordan have to write about in five more 1000 page long books! :)
Deanna: The women do tend to be far more irritated by the men than vice versa. Actually, it is the whole attitude of dominance, and lack of respect towards the men that bothers me the most, and the men already seem respectful. Anyway, I found this book less irritating with the women than the prior books. They seemed more focused on a mission rather than petty stuff. However, I will say, I do think one of my biggest annoyances is that the characters do not communicate with one another; mostly the female/male relationships although not exclusive. If they would actually communicate then many of the conflicts could be avoided or resolved. But, oh wait, then we would not have a huge book, right? :) Overall, I found the women’s storyline in this book, on the whole, to be far more interesting than the prior books so I really did not mind the shift to their POV as much except when it came to the last few chapters when I wanted to feverishly know is what was happening to Rand.
Suey: I’m fascinated by all the different cultures in these books. And how each culture has a different way of dressing, talking and presenting themselves. I’m trying to get them all straight, but it may take until the final book before that happens. And even though the the amount of names makes me crazy, I’m fascinated by them too. And how many of them are familiar names with a twist... spelled just a bit different, leaving a letter out here or there, adding a letter here or there. Some of them are so weird that I’ll never remember them. Some of them are so awesome that they’ll stick with me for awhile.
Deanna: Yes, I too am very fascinated by all the different cultures, most especially the Aiel. I do believe that Jordan has developed the culture of the Aiel far more than the others which makes me feel that I understand them more. For instance, Perrin is not of the same culture as Faile, but for the life of me, I am not certain what the difference is between their cultures. Their differences do exist, and I think this may be one reason as to why Faile responds the way that she does towards Perrin. Suey, when you get a handle of the cultures, would you please clue me in? Thanks. As far as the names are concerned, they are interesting, but I have not thought about them much except that I misspell them constantly, and I have no real idea on how they are pronounced until I started listening to the audiobooks. Hopefully the narrators are saying their names correctly. You have made me curious though about familiar names with a twist, I have not caught onto that, would you give me an example?
Suey: Examples are Juilin (which I always see as Julian), Olver (with the i missing), Mat (with the t missing), Melaine (which is very close to Melanie), Logain (which is close to Logan), Artur (Arthur of course)... and so on.
Bottom line: In the end, I enjoyed even this book! Number four, The Shadow Rising, remains my favorite, and I’m a little nervous for what lies ahead as just this week Brandon Sanderson myself said that books four through six are his favorite... but we’ll keep on going! I’m understanding that this one is the longest too, and that the ones to follow won’t be quite so bad page-wise. Let’s hope so. A good sturdy 600 page one sounds nice! So why am I still plugging through it you may wonder? Well, because it is GOOD really! It is! An amazing story! Besides, we are to the point where I need, really need, to know what happens.
Don't forget, more thoughts on this book over at Polishing Mud Balls!
Don't forget, more thoughts on this book over at Polishing Mud Balls!