Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: High Fantasy
Length: 705 Pages Paperback
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
This is the second book in my journey through The Wheel of Time. Going into a second book is always rough because now you have a new set of expectations. You want answers to questions, to get to know the characters, and for the book the surpass its predecessor. While I have not been blown away by either of the books, I do think this one was at least as good as the first, if not slightly better.
One of the main drawbacks from the first one was the lack of relatable characters. I need a character driven story. Going into this one I felt much more connected with the characters and that connection continued to grow throughout. The story delves more deeply into some of the characters and their personalities, though perhaps not as much as I would like. Perrin remains my favorite of the Emond's Field boys and I wish we had more time inside his head. Rand, our main character, continued to annoy me, but I did start to like him a bit more. Mat is always complaining and I found him very irksome for a majority of the book, but eventually even he started to grow on me.
Now here's to the main thing that annoys me. The women. I just don't like the idea that all of the women seem to think they're geniuses and that all men are idiots. At times I would really like the girls, then they would say or do something, usually regarding one of the guys, and I just couldn't take it anymore. Egwene has so far been the worst, but I did like her at times. Nynaeve is probably my favorite, but even her view of men is not one I like. Selene, who was introduced here, was probably the worst of all. I just really could not stand her. And I know she is likely to show back up, so I'm dreading her reappearance. Min, who was introduced in the previous book, was more of a major role here and I found her likable. She's different than a lot of the other women, which I appreciated.
The story drags at parts as lots of the novel is spent traveling. While there is a lot going on, it can get somewhat repetitive. Jordan also has a tendency to ramble at times, so some of those lulling parts were expanded much more than needed. Even with the lulls, there was still a lot of action and plenty of new questions to be answered in the next installment. Some characters reappeared, some were introduced, secrets were revealed, secrets were kept, and now it's just a matter of waiting for it all to collide.
While this is not mind blowingly brilliant, I do find myself really enjoying these books and look forward to continuing the series. I think that many fantasy fans would enjoy them, if they can overlook similarities to Lord of the Rings. The world is interesting, the characters aren't too bad, and the story is fun and compelling it not altogether brilliant. Now onto book three in March!