Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Fires of Heaven - Robert Jordan


Couladin, Clan Chief of the Shaido Aiel, is consumed by bitterness over his brother's death. The fact that Rand al'Thor has been accepted as He Who Comes With The Dawn continues to rile him. Aiel flock to Rand's side from the corners of the Three Fold Land and he is almost universally accepted as the Car'a'carn. Only Couladin stands against him and has led his spears from the Aiel Wastelands to strike at the Treekillers.

But Rand cannot stand by as Cairhien burns and takes his clans forth to meet him. The Car'a'carn is more powerful than ever before, both in wielding the One Power and in military might. Yet he is overconfident and the Forsaken are watching. Rand has refused to kneel before Ishamael too many times. They have their own plans regarding his future and they are in motion . . .

The Good
Set in a fantastic, scenic landscape, The Fires of Heaven continues to show just why The Wheel of Time is so highly regarded. Robert Jordan's imagination has carried his story to the same epic scope I have come to expect from him and the book is full of magic, swords and honour. It's battle scenes are well executed and Jordan has continued to develop characters that I'm really coming to love.

Over the last few books, Jordan has split his main ensemble of characters into a number of different storylines. This has been interesting and has helped The Wheel of Time to expand in multiple directions, but he has finally began to weave their threads back together. Jordan has begun laying the groundwork for them to reunite in subsequent books, which is something I'm really looking forward to reading. All of his characters are 'bigger' now than what they were, more powerful and wiser to the world. Their own social dynamics must have changed considerably and it will be fun to see how the old friends interact with other.

The Bad
I think The Fires of Heaven was a little too long. Once again it has large sections in it of people just wandering around, in which nothing much happens. Like Patrick Rothfuss, Jordan has a masterful way of keeping these scenes captivating so it didn't diminish my enjoyment too much and ordinarily I wouldn't mention it. But the book (and I read the massive hardback version) is nearly 800 pages long and I felt like it was dragged out somewhat unnecessarily.

Also, Perrin isn't in it! I was really disappointed to find this because Perrin actually had one of the best stories in The Shadow Rising and really came into his own. Jordan had really brought his character to life and I wanted to read more of his adventures in the Two Rivers with the Lady Faile. I'm really hoping to see Perrin again in Lord of Chaos, the next book in the series.

My Thoughts
Robert Jordan has done it again and The Fires of Heaven is another masterfully written book. Although it isn't quite as exciting as the previous titles in The Wheel of Time, it's still among the best fantasy books I have ever read and the series is unquestionably a must read for anyone who enjoys epic fantasy!

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