rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was one of the books in the WoT series that I remembered best, even years later. (Actually, a large part of that might have to do with the fact that this is the last Recognizable Cover for me in the series. From here on out, they were pretty much interchangeable, as I recall.) In any case, perhaps because I remembered this book so well, it didn’t quite have the same oomph I recalled. Some of this is likely due to the fact that, now that I’m getting into the series, I’m wanting to get to the parts I don’t remember that well. Shadow Rising (the next one) should start that process for me. In any case, the climax of this one has always been one of my favorites, and it still didn’t disappoint. However, I didn’t remember how little Rand is in this book at all. He’s more of a guest star than a main actor. When critics of the series start to pick apart later books for X not being in it enough, they ought to take a gander back at this one–Jordan set that pattern pretty early on here.
Cool stuff that happens in this book: Mat’s luck starts coming into play, a plot device that I’ve always loved. We start to see the Forsaken worming their way into society. Ishamael finally gets killed, if for at least the moment, though Be’lal at least is offed permanently.
Stuff that I always dislike: Rand starts to go nutty, which isn’t the kind of Rand I like. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne are in full bratty stupid women mode, which always has bugged me. I can’t stand the way they treat Mat at the end, but maybe that’s because I’m a guy.
At any rate, the book still gets a 5 star from me. I’m enjoying the reread more and more.