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The Fires of Heaven: Book Five of 'The Wheel of Time' (Wheel of Time (5)) Paperback – November 13, 2012
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“His huge, ambitious Wheel of Time series helped redefine the genre.” ―George R. R. Martin, author of A Game of Thrones
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“The Eye of the World was a turning point in my life. I read, I enjoyed. (Then continued on to write my larger fantasy novels.)” ―Robin Hobb, author of the award-winning Realm of the Elderlings series
“Robert Jordan's work has been a formative influence and an inspiration for a generation of fantasy writers.” ―Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Way of Shadows
“Jordan’s writing is so amazing! The characterization, the attention to detail!” ―Clint McElroy, co-creator of the #1 podcast The Adventure Zone
“[Robert Jordan's] impact on the place of fantasy in the culture is colossal... He brought innumerable readers to fantasy. He became the New York Times bestseller list face of fantasy.” ―Guy Gavriel Kay, author of A Brightness Long Ago
“Robert Jordan was a giant of fiction whose words helped a whole generation of fantasy writers, including myself, find our true voices. I thanked him then, but I didn’t thank him enough.” ―Peter V. Brett, internationally bestselling author of The Demon Cycle series
“I don’t know anybody who’s been as formative in crafting me as a writer as [Robert Jordan], and for that I will be forever grateful.” ―Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Riot Baby and War Girls
“I’ve mostly never been involved in any particular fandom, the one exception of course was The Wheel of Time.” ―Marie Brennan, author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series
“I owe Robert Jordan so much. Without him, modern fantasy would be bereft of the expansive, deep worlds and the giant casts which I love so dearly. It's not often I can look at another author and say: that person paved my way. But such is exactly the case with Jordan.” ―Jenn Lyons, author of The Ruin of Kings
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“The Wheel of Time [is] rapidly becoming the definitive American fantasy saga. It is a fantasy tale seldom equaled and still less often surpassed in English.” ―Chicago Sun-Times
“Hard to put down for even a moment. A fittingly epic conclusion to a fantasy series that many consider one of the best of all time.” ―San Francisco Book Review
“The most ambitious American fantasy saga [may] also be the finest. Rich in detail and his plot is rich in incident. Impressive work, and highly recommended.” ―Booklist
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“This richly detailed fantasy presents fully realized, complex adventure. Recommended.” ―Library Journal
“Jordan has come to dominate the world that Tolkien began to reveal.” ―The New York Times
“Jordan is able to take ... familiar elements and make them his own, in a powerful novel of wide and complex scope. Open religious and political conflicts add a gritty realism, while the cities and courts provide plenty of drama and splendor. Women have a stronger role than in Tolkien.... Each character in this large cast remains distinct.... Their adventures are varied, and exciting.... The Eye of the World stands alone as a fantasy epic.” ―Locus
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“Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World proves that there's still plenty of life in the ancient tradition of epic fantasy. Jordan has a powerful vision of good and evil-- but what strikes me as most pleasurable about The Eye of the World is all the fascinating people moving through a rich and interesting world.” ―Orson Scott Card
“Jordan's world is rich in detail and his plot is rich in incident. Impressive work, and highly recommended.” ―ALA Booklist
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Another thread in the Pattern complete. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills and it wills me to love this series. I am in deep now, this being the fifth of fourteen books, and the best way to describe my feeling within this world is.. comfortable. I have reached a point where even areas of the story that are paced slower still remain interesting to me, simply because I've grown fond of this world and the characters that fill it. Jordan remains a descriptive master, and if you give his writing the thought that it asks for you will find yourself in places as fully realized as those around me as I type. Now, that isn't to say that I will let any and all slow pacing off the hook, I'm just saying that it didn't bother me in this book. Maybe it will in the future, who knows?
Now, the slower pace for this one did lend itself to some excellent characterization. Especially in Nynaeve. We get to spend (what felt like) more time with she and Elayne in this one, and I am really enjoying Nynaeve's growth. She is finally becoming a bit more self-reflective, which I've been waiting for for some time. You can feel her start to change, and feel how it affects the characters around her too. I will admit that she has a long way to go when it comes to her attitude toward men. And really, no character gets a pass on this. It seems every man in the series can hardly stand to be around women, and the same for every woman with men. At least in their internal dialogue. It comes off false, and frankly a little weird. It's one thing to fear Aes Sedai, but this is just frustratingly blind, and way too generalized. I'm ready for that to change. It doesn't bother me totally, because it's sort of been this way from the beginning, but if it did change it would be welcome. Anyhow, I was also pleased with Mat's POVs, I just wish there were more of them! I won't detail his growth because it's a major spoiler for readers in the earlier books, but it is very satisfying to watch, and Mat has come a long way from the boy he was back in Emond's Field. I have the sense that he has a long way yet to go, too. I was a bit surprised to find that Perrin has no POV chapters whatsoever in this one. He is mentioned offhandedly a couple of times but other than that, we are left in the dark as to just what Perrin Goldeneyes is up to during this book. I'm eager to have that cleared up in the next book. Rand's part of the story remains as compelling as ever, and is likely still my favorite bit, but I'm glad to see some interest building in areas of the story where it may have lacked before.
Areas of slow pacing aside, The Fires of Heaven really did have some moments that packed a punch. These are long books, and reality never takes a break, so they can take me some time to finish, but I was pretty enthralled with the story throughout. I can usually tell how invested in a series I am by how many notes and highlights I have for each book in my Kindle, and I've got a whole hell of a lot for this one. The Wheel of Time is so far living up to its reputation for me, and has maybe even exceeded my expectations a bit. It's ambitious, interesting, full of magic, and shows no signs of stopping now. Lord of Chaos is up next.
Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again.
Top international reviews
The series has me so involved in these characters, that even the slowly diminishing influence of Moraine and Lan hasn’t upset me too much (so far). Once again, a five star book, in what has so far been a five star series. Slow at times, lengthy to an intimidating extent, but definitely worth it.
From the five I've now read, it feels that Jordan relies heavily on cramming the denouements into the last fifty pages, which throws out the balance of the narrative. That said, I've really enjoyed his firm grasp of plot, his ability to make me care about the main characters and his descriptive flair.
Another tendency is that the first hundred or so pages waste too much time reiterating story elements or character backgrounds that anyone following the series would have at top of mind. After all, no-one would be reading them out of order.
I'm peeved that there is no explanation of what happened to the Seanchan woman, Egeanin that Nynaeve and Elayne befriended in book four. Not a single word about it, just a few sentences saying that Amanthera of Tarabon hustled the girls out of the city laden with jewels and gold in gratitude for their freeing her from the Black Ajah. Harrumph! Anyone who has the answer to this that I might have missed is welcome to comment 😊
Perrin's absence was felt, yet I thoroughly enjoyed the expansion into the Aiel world and the exploration of Tel'aran'rhiod by 'the ladies' was also fascinating.
I was disappointed by the Aes Sedai's reception of Elayne and Nynaeve as it felt mismatched and clunky in comparison to the heights the girls had reached by themselves. I do get it, though.
I read the book on Kindle and was frequently checking how long was left, which does suggest that plot was sacrificed to local colour. I'd agree with some other reviewers who have favoured a heavier editing hand.
All that said, I've got books six and seven out of the local library and plan to devour them through the coming week or so.
Mat really comes into his own in this volume, with his new memories of battle commanders, leading him to take control of a battle late in the book. Because of this, he begins to finally accept his being ta'veren.
Also, Egwene is becoming a stronger character, as is evident by her shifting the balance of power between her and Nynaeve in Tel'aran'rhiod, planting the seeds for her future employment.
As is becoming usual with these books, the storyline with Nynaeve and Elayne isn't all that interesting. For the most part, they hide in a circus headed by the brilliantly over the top Valan Luca. However, most of this is bogged down by details you don't really want or need to know, like the fact that Nynaeve doesn't get on with many of the other performers and gets into fights with them. The story picks up a little when Nynaeve meets up with Moghedian again, forcing Birgitte into major character status in a rather surprising way.
It is while the women are in the circus that we get a very interesting look at the Prophet Masema, and how someone can take a simple belief (in this case that the Dragon Reborn will save the world) and use it to cause chaos. Something that happens all too often in our world.
We also follow Min, Siuan and Leane on their way to join the rebel Aes Sedai. While there's not that much story here, you do get an insight into how manipulative Siuan really is. Min has virtually nothing to do though, almost a waste of a decent character.
One of the downsides here, is that Perrin is not in the book. As one of the three main Ta'veren, it is odd to leave him out. I like Perrin, and felt more than a little disappointed by this. You can, though, see his effects on the Two Rivers during various scenes in Tel'aran'rhiod where evidence is clear of homes are being rebuilt after the Trolloc raids, along with new homes.
The ending more than makes up for any other faults the book has. Unlike the other books, the ending seems to take up a good chunk. Almost 25%. It starts with the battle for Cairhien which feels climactic at the time, but once it is over, the real ending begins with a very surprising fight with Lanfear. The aftermath is handled well and you feel for the characters' loss. This makes the final battle with Rahvin seem like more.
It is during this final battle, where Rand enters Tel'aran'rhiod in the flesh again, and meets Nynaeve. In my review of the Eye of the World, I mentioned how these two interacted. It's a shame there's not more scenes between them. The woman has known Rand since childhood and disciplined him when necessary, so for her to see him as the man he is today is very touching. Nynaeve can come across as a stuck up misandrist at times, but by reading these scenes, you get a feel that it's all a front. Or most of it anyway.
So, all in all, this is a good addition, though it does show a few signs of decline.
The story, you ask? Oh, much the same as before, only with some exciting developments thrown in, like currants in a cake. But at half the length it would have been a masterful read. Perhaps it does not help that I am reading the series for the second time...
However, there is one thing he has done wrong with this book. Perrin does not even make an apperance, but Nynaeve and Elayne are constantly brought back to the fore with, as far as I can tell, minimal advancement over hundreds of pages. And worse, is Nynaeve's constant bad attitude towards men. I would not mind it in small doses, but it seems that Robert Jordan is deliberately trying to make us hate a character who does have some very positive traits.
Fires of Heaven is not as entertaining as Shadow Rising, and it fails to execute the same chaotic, epic finale that made the Great Hunt and the Dragon Reborn such fantastic reads. However, it is still a great read nonetheless, and worth trundling through all the usual guff for true fans of the series