Why I Read It: I’m participating in this wicked little thing called a Series Read Along.
Where I Got It: Own it.
Who I Recommend This To: Epic fantasy nuts.
Publisher: Macmillan Audio (2004)
Length: 24 hours 31 minutes
Series: Book 3 The Wheel of Time
If you have not read Book 2, The Great Hunt, beware of spoilers in this review for the series up to the end of Book 2.
OK, so that isn’t a picture of the audiobook, but I own both and I like this ever so serious picture of Pico.
Once again, Rand must face several challenges, including grappling with his growing power. In this installment of the series, he sets off on a quest and the heroes are once again split up. In fact, the bulk of the book focuses on the other main characters and their struggles and adventures as they do what they can to aid and support Rand. Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne have their own trio of Lady Power adventure while Mat, who was suffering greatly from the possessed (or possessive?) dagger, attempts to dodge responsibility and only ends up with more, plus a returning friendly face. Perrin rides with Lan and Moiraine as they attempt to stay ahead of some supreme evilness, and another character enters the story to keep Perrin on his toes.
I really enjoyed how Robert Jordan put this book together. Yes, the entire series is about Rand and the ultimate battle between good and evil. Yes, Rand is pretty freaking important. But, hey, let’s see what all these other characters are doing. Focusing on these other main characters was a great way to show that the main character, Rand, can’t do it all on his own. If you have read up to this point in the series, you know that Book 1, The Eye of the World, was nearly completely from Rand’s point of view. So this is quite the switch to have nearly zero Rand point of view. But have no fear; nearly everyone is thinking of Rand, so he is still very much a part of the story.
If you have read my reviews of the first two books, you probably picked up on the fact that I felt there were some strong similarities to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Well, here in Book 3, I am very happy to say that Robert Jordan is finding his own voice, relying less and less on well established fantasy tropes and creating his own world. This book was much more satisfying for it.
The Aiel also make a worthy appearance in this novel. They have been mentioned before, with brief glimpses, but in this book we get to see the warriors with their honor code and unique fighting abilities. I especially love that the Aiel bring the element of the warrior woman to the story in a believable, fully fleshed way. As we already know, Rand can channel and Perrin talks to wolves. Well, turns out the Wheel wasn’t done with Mat and his special ability turns up in this book. It definitely makes things interesting.
Kate Reading and Michael Kramer were excellent readers, as always. They must keep sound samples to keep all the side characters straight. There was one side character that got some sort of New York Italian accent that threw me for a loop at first, but I guess with a cast of characters this large it would be hard to avoid doing such a thing for the entire series with at least some of the side characters.
What I Liked: Jordan has found his own voice; we get to see lots of the other characters, being carried around in their heads; the Aiel are no longer just myth and rumor; women warriors!; the ending was more concrete than the dream endings of Books 1 & 2.
What I Disliked: We still had a little predictability in that the story arc started the same as for Books 1 & 2.
Want to enjoy more Fantasy? Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the Fantasy reading event of the season, Once Upon A Time. There is still time to join the fun!
If you would like more detail, peruse the read along posts: