“Many nations have risen and fallen since the Breaking…some leaving no more than names on a yellowed page, or lines on a tattered map. Will me leave as much behind?”
Author: Robert Jordan
Category: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 674 (Mass Market Paperback)
Series: The Wheel of Time
As always, I am not sure that I have so much to say about this book seeing as it is the third in a series. This book stands up pretty well to the quality of the first two but I did start to notice some flaws.
First off, I have seen this about this series everywhere but for some reason did not notice Nynaeve’s braid tugging until this book.
The first time I noticed it, I was actually kind of amused because of how it is a running joke in reviews I’ve seen for the series. Then it happened again. And again. And again.
I actually had my hair in a braid one day while I was reading this and every time she tugged at her braid, I reached up to mine just to see if it could at all be a natural habit.
Spoiler alert: it’s not.
It is really annoying and distracting. Also, how huge of a tell is it if she reaches up to grab at her hair every time she gets frustrated at something?
It doesn’t help that she is by far my least favorite character. She is just so condescending and kind of snooty for a woman that was raised in a village days away from the nearest thing that could be called a city. I really can’t stand her. I don’t know if I would have finished this book if the scenes that she is in were primarily from her perspective instead of Egwene’s.
The only other thing that bothered me from other characters was that Mat’s solving every problem with lots of gambling seemed a little forced to me. I know, when all you have is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail. It just felt a little bit unrealistic to me. That said, there was some suggestion as to the cause of his success at gambling so I am positive this will be a bigger deal in future books so it did not impact my enjoyment of the book too much.
Rand himself was not in this book nearly as much as he was in the past books. He was present in the story but separate from the other characters for most of it and we only got glimpses really from his perspective.
It seems strange since he is more or less the main character of the series but really I didn’t notice it very much. While I had my issues with a few of the other characters, I was immersed enough in their story that Rand’s absence was barely noticeable and really the story that was told in this book did not need to much from Rand himself.
Finally, I feel like three books in, we don’t need quite such description (even though I knew going into this what Jordan was famous for) about travelling. With three separate groups of characters moving around from one location to the next throughout the book, such detail begins to read like a list of inns from one town to the next.
This was also thrown into imbalance at the end of the book. Travel takes a painstakingly long time in this series. Like, months sometimes to reach a destination. For most of the book this was the case. But then at the very end Mat somehow got from one end of the map in what seemed like a blink of an eye to the rest of the series thus far.
The slow travel means that when groups of characters are off on their own plot line they can’t instantly be there to assist another group of characters. It takes time for them to get there. So Mat arriving in Tear in the space of one POV rotation cheapened that a little bit to me. Like it always takes a long time to travel UNLESS the story needs the character to move quickly and then all bets are off.
Looking back, this review sounds really negative but I did enjoy it. I do feel like not a lot happened in this book, like it was mostly setting up for the future but it was still a good read once I learned to ignore Nynaeve as much as possible.