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Winter's Heart (The Wheel of Time, Book 9) Mass Market Paperback – January 7, 2002

1,346 customer reviews
Book 9 of 15 in the Wheel of Time Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Is Robert Jordan still doing the Light's work? Even loyal fans have to wonder. (And if you're not a fan yet, you'll have to read the previous 6,789 pages in this bestselling series to understand what all the fuss is about.)

Everyone's in agreement on the Wheel of Time's first four or five volumes: They're topnotch, where-have-you-been-all-my-life epic fantasy, the best in anybody's memory at the time since The Lord of the Rings. But a funny thing happened on the way to Tarmon Gai'don, and many of those raves have become rants or (worse) yawns. Jordan long ago proved himself a master at world-building, with fascinating characters, a positively delicious backstory, and enough plot and politics to choke a Trolloc, but that same strength has become a liability. How do you criticize what he's doing now? You want more momentum and direction in the central plot line, but it's the secondary stories that have made the world so rich. And as in the last couple of books, (A Crown of Swords and The Path of Daggers), Jordan doesn't really succeed at pursuing either adequately, leaving a lot of heavily invested readers frustrated.

Winter's Heart at least shows some improvement, but it's still not The Eye of the World. Elayne's still waiting to take the crown of Andor; the noticeably absent Egwene is still waiting to go after the White Tower; Perrin gets ready to pursue the Shaido but then disappears for the rest of the book. About the only excitement comes with the long-awaited return of Mat Cauthon and a thankfully rock 'em, sock 'em finale in which Rand finally, finally changes the balance of power in his fight against the Dark One. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The ninth installment in Jordan's sprawling Wheel of Time saga is as bountifully pregnant with plot threads as its predecessorsDand as bewilderingly esoteric for readers who have yet to commit its previous episodes to memory. Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, seems no nearer to fulfilling his destinyDto unite the embattled races of his domain against the Dark OneDthan he was in The Path of Daggers. The warmongering Seanchan are pouring into Ebou Dar, setting refugees in flight and complex schemes in fidgety motion. Perrin Aybara is distracted from his mission to shepherd the prophet Masema to Rand when he pursues the rebel Aiel who have kidnaped his wife, Faile. The mystical sisterhood of the Aes Sedai remain divided between Elaida, pretender to the title of the White Tower, and Egwene al'Vere, ally to Elayne, Queen of Andor. Elayne, Rand's lover, barely escapes poisoning, and Rand himself, still smarting from the unhealed wound of an assassination attempt, shapeshifts through a variety of disguises to pass unnoticed in hostile territories. Jordan can always be counted to ground his dizzying intrigues in solid chunks of cultural detail, and he here rises to the occasion, with chapters as dense as Spenserian stanzas with symbols and rituals. Not all of his subplots tie together, and fewer than usual of his vast cast of characters make a memorable impact. Nevertheless, he manipulates the disorder of his narrative to credibly convey a sense of an embattled world on the verge of self-destruction, and he entertainingly juxtaposes the courtly civility of his villains with the precarious chaos they cause. Devotees accustomed to this ongoing epic's increasing lack of focus will no doubt find it on target. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Wheel of Time (Book 9)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st THUS edition (January 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081257558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812575583
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,346 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Jordan was born in 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He taught himself to read when he was four with the incidental aid of a twelve-years-older brother and was tackling Mark Twain and Jules Verne by five. He is a graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, with a degree in physics. He served two tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Army; among his decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. A history buff, he has also written dance and theater criticism and enjoyed the outdoor sports of hunting, fishing, and sailing, and the indoor sports of poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting.

Robert Jordan began writing in 1977 and went on to write The Wheel of Time(R), one of the most important and best selling series in the history of fantasy publishing with over 14 million copies sold in North America, and countless more sold abroad.

Robert Jordan died on September 16, 2007, after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

172 of 185 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Without giving out spoilers...
The Good:
1) Jordan moves a few of the major plot lines forward. Certain events that we were expecting finally occur along with the revealing of several identities.
2) He returns Mat to the story and provides him with some good chapters.
3) The juvenile romances (among every single couple) are mostly absent.
* It frustrates me not to have more positive things to say about a WoT book.
The Bad:
1) Still overly emphasizes on EVERY female character continuing to either tug at their braids, smooth their skirts, adjust their shawls, blushing, etc.
2) After the last book's cliffhanger of Egwene and her contingent of Aes Sedai approaching the White Tower, Jordan decides to completely skip over that subplot (in the same way that he left Mat out of "Path of Daggers").
3) The prologue is over 70 pgs long. Most of it contains worthless story filler without much happening. The 6 chapters following the prologue mostly involve Perrin and Faile in rotations. They are likewise dull and uneventful.
4) Way too many minor characters with similar names. Keeping track of them all seriously requires an index. As someone pointed out to me in a slight exaggeration... "you need to distinguish Daigian from that other character Dagin, without confusing him from Degian or that scum Dagean." Really hated looking back into the last 8 books to check.
5) Excessive details given to minor characters and scenary. A lot of talking, but a lack of meaningful conversations. What suffers from this is the progression of the story.
The Ugly:
1) Not by any means a large book (625 pgs) considering the large font that Jordan chose to have each page printed in.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
First of all, let me say that I too am often amazed and awe-struck by the complexity of the WoT series. It's obvious to me the Robert Jordan's outline alone must have been a huge undertaking. That's what keeps me reading and coming back for more.
However, some of the reviewers here are accusing readers who give this book a less than sterling review of having short attention spans. Anyone who has stayed with the series this long is not suffering from a short attention span. The problem with the series is not the length and it is not necessarily a lack of action. The problem is that the series has gotten stale. The same things and the same descriptions are just being repeated, and they are still being described in the same way. There is too much filler. I don't think most people want to read a description of what each character is wearing unless there's a specific reason. It may have been important earlier in the series that Rand was wearing elaborately embroidered expensive finery while his friends were still dressed in humble country clothes. Now, however, he's simply wears variations on the same outfit, but they're always described in detail.
I'm not surprised that some readers are having trouble remembering the huge cast of characters. Just the similarity of the names alone is becoming an annoyance. Notice anything similar here?: Alaine, Bain, Berelain, Cadsuane, Caredwain, Dain, Deain, Dobraine, Egwene, Elayne, Ellaine, Faolain, Jain, Lain, Logain, Luaine, Melaine, Moiraine, Mordraine, Padan Fain, Raen, Shiaine, Tigraine. It's enough to make Nynaeve tug the braid right off of her head!
I've also noticed the lack of a really evil, frightening foe in the later books. Trollocs were scary in the first book or two, but now they're just fodder.
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82 of 89 people found the following review helpful By M. Alexis on November 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Be warned that this review contains some minor spoilers. Let's be honest - if you have read the Wheel of Time to this point, you'll read it to the end no matter how bad the future installments are. Unfortunately, Robert Jordan realizes this too. Everything in this book and the last two could have been condensed into one, excellent book of the same quality as "The Shadow Rising" or "The Fires of Heaven". But why charge readers for one book, when you can charge them for three?
Jordan's biggest problem, in the words of a good friend of mine, is that he loves keeping secrets for the sake of keeping secrets. For example - in Book 3, a gray man showed up dead in the White Tower. Now, in Book 9 (8 or so years later) we find out that Isam killed that gray man. I only remembered this because I decided to re-read the series for the first time before this one came out. Why keep this a secret? Isam kills two unidentified poeple in this book - I'm sure we'll find out who they were in another 8 years. Every other chapter of Winter's Heart seems to involve either: a) The resolution of some irrelevant plot point left in limbo for years or b) The introduction of a new and equally irrelevant plot point.
Jordan's ability to develop his characters has also apparently whithered. He used to stir and inspire us - for example, Ingtar's redemption in Book 2. Now, his characters almost seem fungible. Why should I care if one sniffing, vomit prone Aes Sedai dies? There are apparently hundreds more just like her ready to take her place. I cared more about what happened to a single minor character in the first few books than I do now about most of the major players in the series.
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