This is probably the weirdest Wheel of Time book for me. I actually really liked the beginning few chapters and the last few chapters. But everything in-between was so bad that I actually wanted to scream!
The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass. Rand has gone into hiding and plans on cleansing the male half of the One Power. Meanwhile, Mat struggles to escape the Seanchan, Perrin pursues the Shaido to rescue Faile, and Elayne struggles in her attempt to win the Lion Throne.
Let’s start with the things I like. First of all: I love Perrin’s plot in this book. Sure, it’s only in the first few chapters, then it’s dropped for the rest of the book. But seeing the calm, thoughtful Perrin fly into a panicked rage when he learns about Faile’s kidnapping at the worst possible time is super compelling. You can really feel his stress and terror, as he has to deal with the Shaido and the Prophet and the cracks in his own army all on top of his wife being kidnapped.
Mat’s plot is a bit rougher, but I loved how it ended. His struggle to pull of a seemingly impossible escape is thrilling! It’s like a fantasy heist! Not to mention that he finally meets the Daughter of the Nine Moons!
Even if they bring back the fucking rape plot from ‘A Crown of Swords’. Can we stop?! PLEASE?!
The book’s climax is also pretty sick. Sure, the battle itself is super underwhelming. But the cleansing of the male half of the One Power is a fantastic pay-off to a threat that has been built up since the first scene of the entire series! I loved this!
And now I’m going to rip this book a new fucking asshole. Because I hated most of it.
Firstly, the prologue is… bizarre. Uncomfortably so. Not to mention that it is really boring. So not only was I not entertained, but I was so weirded out that I felt my skin crawl. On top of that, it was an Elayne scene, so it was an automatic loss in my mind.
Speaking of Elayne, we finally get the payoff to the Rand-Elayne-Min-Avienda romance. Surprise! It’s fucking awful! The four of them have an odd four-way magic wedding, Rand fucks Elayne because she’s the only one who hasn’t gotten to have sex with him yet, and we get a scene that lasts way too long wherein Min and Avienda have to keep everyone out of the room while the other two bone. To top it off, Elayne gets pregnant, which makes her even more insufferable than she already was before! This was so fucking unbearably terrible that I actually turned to my co-workers and asked them to punch me in the face, because that would be far less painful than that whole chapter was.
Romance in this series is so bad. It makes Anakin-Padme look like fucking Shakespeare.
Of the three Slump books, this one is the most bizarre. ‘Winter’s Heart’ had some of the worst scenes in all of Wheel of Time so far. But it also had some really strong scenes! It was absolutely insufferable, but the payoff at the end of it was worth it. At least for the most part.
And hey. At least I wasn’t completely bored. I was angry most of the time, but at least I wasn’t bored.
Wish I could say the same for the next book.