Saturday, March 2, 2013

Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan

Another month, another Wheel of Time book. This time it's Book 9 Winter's Heart.

I seriously do not know how Robert Jordan got away with it. By this stage he wasn't even pretending that he had any intention of advancing the story and was perfectly content to fill up page after page with elaborate descriptions and continually repeating himself.

The prologue went for nearly 80 pages! I counted at least 4 places where it could have been broken and a new chapter started. They weren't editing it by this stage either, they weren't even attempting to do anything beyond correcting spelling and punctuation.

When the story starts (ha!) it followed Perrin and Faile. Faile had been kidnapped by the Shaido Aiel and was being mistreated by them. She of course knows her husband will rescue her, although she seems to like being dominated by the Aiel warrior in charge of her.

The next few chapters centre on Perrin, he spends the entire time wondering where Faile is and why he can't find her and has she been abducted. For God's sake! Every one of these chapters is completely redundant, because the reader already knows! Just come to a decision Perrin and go after her! Perrin does decide to do so, then the book abandons that particular plot line for the rest of it's 400 or so remaining pages. Mystifying.

Elayne blah blah blah. Nynaeve blah. Lan blah. Avidendha blah blah, I will knife you if you look at me sideways, blah. Min and Rand arrive. The girls bond as sisters and then they all bond Rand as a Warder, despite the fact that Alanna has already done this and Elayne predictably threatens to have her birched. I've never understood women's fascination with Rand and this is another example. Admittedly being bonded to Elayne and Aviendha would be a fate worse than death, but Min seems like a nice level headed girl. Far too good for Rand. The bonding also brings up the issue that neither Aviendha or Min are Aes Sedai. Aviendha is sort of the Aiel equivalent, but they don't have Warders, and Min doesn't even like the Aes Sedai much, she has visions, but nothing beyond that.

It takes about half of the book to finally find out what happened to Mat! You remember him? He was in mortal danger at the end of Book 7 and then completely ignored in Book 8. Apparently he wasn't really in that much trouble, because he's in the same place, with the same people, doing the same thing. The only difference is the Seanchan are ruling the place. Jordan also spent a lot of time explaining Seanchan Asian influenced culture. I did find this interesting (not the descriptions of the culture, they were sleep inducing, but the fact that it was Asian influenced, they were descended from Artur Hawkwing, Randland's King Arthur equivalent), but it's not expanded upon. Mat has to meet them, because there's a prophecy that he'll marry their queen The Daughter of the Nine Moons.

After more than 500 pages of complete and utter twaddle, because that is what it is, Rand finally does something that is important to the story, unfortunately this only takes 30 pages and doesn't make up for all the nonsense before it.

There's a glossary at the end of the book. It describes the cultures and terms. It does it better than anything in the books and really a 100 page glossary like this could have been put out in place of Winter's Heart and it would have been better.

The word is that Crossroads of Twilight is even worse. I'll have to read it, because I really don't think that's possible.

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