Hello, my lovely readers!
I really hope all of you are just as excited about Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books as I am – considering that we have another 9 novels to through. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and talk about The Fires of Heaven for now!
The bonds and wards that hold the Great Lord of the Dark are slowly failing, but still his fragile prison holds. The Forsaken, immortal servants of the shadow, weave their snares and tighten their grip upon the realms of men, sure in the knowledge that their master will soon break free…
Rand al’ Thor, the Dragon Reborn, knows that he must strike at the Enemy, but his forces are divided by treachery and by ambition. Even the Aes Sedai, ancient guardians of the Light, are riven by civil war. Betrayed by his allies, pursued by his enemies and beset by the madness that comes to the male wielders of the One Power, Rand rides out to meet the foe.
I finished The Fires of Heaven today, so only nine more Wheel of Time books to read! Yay! But what did I think about this one?
First of all, I want to talk about something that annoyed the shit out of me. I briefly mentioned it with the previous novel and stated that I hope I would get better but guess what, it got worse. I’m talking about Nyneave. Granted, Elayne is less annoying in this one, or maybe she’s just overshadowed by Nyneave. What is it that’s bothering me, you ask?
Well, you’d think at this point in time Nyneave would have learned how to behave. Somehow she still acts like she is the Wisdom in Emond’s Field and is entitled to tell everybody what to do. (Even if that still were her position, she often comes across as a bitch, and here’s why.) She is judge-y as fuck, constantly going on about how other women dress and how unacceptable most of it is. Nyneave is apparently not familiar with the concept of other countries having other customs. She never seems to do anything she doesn’t at length complain about. Oftentimes she does dumb shit based on half-baked ideas and when something happens she pretends it’s not really her fault. I’m getting annoyed with how she treats Julin and Thom – even though those two guys are certainly not without fault. Furthermore, she constantly seems to be looking down on and/or talking down to Elayne despite the fact that the latter is only a few years younger. Especially considering that Elayne grew up in a palace and thus got educated on a great many things should get some more consideration from Nyneave. I don’t care that she is the daughter-heir, but she has knowledge, a lot of knowledge Nyneave doesn’t have! Speaking of Elayne, what I most certainly could have done without is the flirtation going on with Thom. Honestly, I almost forgot about this whole thing because it was so dumb and so useless. Let’s just pretend it never happened, okay?
While the storyline that features Nyneave and Elayne would technically be interesting, I oftentimes found myself dreading those chapters because I really couldn’t put up with Nyneave’s attitude anymore. This actually spoiled the book a bit for me, and I certainly hope Jordan does something about it in the novels I still have left to read.
Another character that came off as slightly annoying in this book is Mat, but in his case, I’m not that mad about it. First of all, he tries to fight the pull of Rand and his own position as ta’veren. At this point, he should probably know that he can’t escape it, no matter what he does and no matter how many times he tries to leave. It is understandable, though, that he wishes for some control over his own life and wants to make his own decisions. It doesn’t help that his head is filled with memories of times long gone that aren’t his, so somehow making even his own brain not entirely his own. If I were in that situation, I’d be a tad testy as well, so I’ll forgive Mat.
Speaking of ta’veren, where the fuck is Perrin? He went off on his own – might I say very intriguing – arc to save the Two Rivers from both the Trollocs and the White Cloaks. This was a prominent strand of the story in the last novel, but in this one, we don’t hear a peep about Perrin. Maybe it’s because I would have liked to read something else than a lot of chapters with Nyneave to contrast Rand’s bit of the story, but I found it somewhat irritating that Jordan just completely left this out. I kept wondering if there would be a chapter at some point but after getting like 2/3 through the novel, I started to accept that it probably wouldn’t happen. But I guess we’ll have to circle back to Perrin at some point, right?
Of course, we also need to talk about the Dragon Reborn, Rand. His part of the story was definitely my favorite in this book. He’s dealing with a lot while he’s trying to grow into a role he never wanted and doesn’t feel qualified for. On top of that, he has to figure out how to use the One Power while also avoiding going mad. I wonder, though, whether the going mad part in non-Dragon-Reborn cases also involves these glitches with the past. Rand has an issue with memories and thoughts from Lews Therin popping into his head, almost to a degree where the long-dead hero is trying to take over. That is super intriguing though and a great way of letting us know bits and pieces of times past.
The only thing I don’t like about Rand’s story is the love triangle, or would it be called a love square since it involves four people? While I’m not entirely convinced about how much Elayne and Rand have fallen for each other, I’m willing to let that one slide. With Aviendha, I’m not going to complain because this relationship/attraction was built up, this one actually makes sense. But what irritates me the most is Min. It feels like the two exchanged a grand total of five sentences before going off to different parts of the world. And now all of a sudden, they seem to have feelings for each other? I’m more inclined to understand Min’s part, but for Rand squeezing in this third love interest seems so much like an afterthought that it irks me.
That being said, Rand’s chapters were still my favorites. There was a lot of fighting going on, but we also made so much progress in this book. (Granted, it was 1000 pages long, so we better!) Especially the last third of The Fires of Heaven came with a lot of surprises and certainly sets the reader up to want *more*. There’s still a lot of story to be told, but I’m not entirely sure why we need another nine books to do so. Well, I guess I will find out!
While some bits about this novel really bothered me, I’m prepared to overlook that as the main story of Rand really kicked ass. I’m beyond curious to find out what’s going to happen next.
Did you read this book? Let me know in the comments what you think!