Book Review – The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

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TITLE:  The Fires of Heaven

SERIES:  The Wheel of Time Series, book 5

AUTHOR:  Robert Jordan

FORMAT:  Epub via Google Play Books

PAGES/LOCATIONS:  1000 pages of story, 1026 pages total

GOODREADS’ AVG. RATING:  4.09 out of 5 stars; 76,883 ratings

SYNOPSIS PROVIDED:

In this sequel to the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Shadow Rising, Robert Jordan again plunges us into his extraordinarily rich, totally unforgettable world:

…Into the forbidden city of Rhuidean, where Rand al’Thor, now the Dragon Reborn, must conceal his present endeavor from all about him, even Egwene and Moiraine.

…Into the Amyrlin’s study in the White Tower, where the Amyrlin, Elaida do Avriny a’Roihan, is weaving new plans.

…Into the luxurious hidden chamber where the Forsaken Rahvin is meeting with three of his fellows to ensure their ultimate victory over the Dragon.

…Into the Queen’s court in Caemlyn, where Morgase is curiously in thrall to the handsome Lord Gaebril.

For once the dragon walks the land, the fires of heaven fall where they will, until all men’s lives are ablaze.

And in Shayol Ghul, the Dark One stirs…

Synopsis via Goodreads

DATES READ:  February 12-May 20, 2015 (i.e. way too long)

MY REVIEW:

This book…this book made me feel so many different things that I am not even sure if I can properly articulate all of my thoughts in a way which will be meaningful.  Once I finished this book one of my initial thoughts was that while there are some significant events which have happened over the course of this novel, there really wasn’t all that much going on.  It felt as if the majority of the time spent in this book dealt more with planning and discussing rather than acting, it led to the book feeling somewhat slow overall but once the action got underway it didn’t stop.  The planning and discussing did make a lot of sense though because from what I can gather of Rand’s plans, he is looking to unify all nations under one leader before Tarmon Gai’don – the prophesied apocalyptic battle between the Dragon Reborn and the Dark One.  It is a noble yet delicate venture, especially since the political dealings always feel incredibly slow and frustrating due to everyone and their seeming need to manipulate everyone else in order to somehow garner more favor.  It is going to be interesting to see just how much Rand has impacted the political movements of the world since returning from the Aiel Waste.  He is currently in control of Tear after defeating the Forsaken Ishamael, Cairhien after defeating the Shaido, and is holding the Throne of Andor in Caemlyn after defeating the Forsaken Rahvin (likely for Elayne since he doesn’t know what has happened to Morgase, thinking her killed by Rahvin) which constitute large portions of the population, but not all.  The political stresses of attempting to govern so many people and garner their support is going to be incredibly difficult for Rand in the coming novels, especially now that Moiraine is no longer at his side to advise him.

Moiraine, I just can’t believe the amount of subtle impact she had over the course of events in this novel.  If you remember, she traveled into Rhuidean and was shown prophecy of what was to come and in order to bring about the most optimal future for all she willingly sacrificed herself in many ways and ultimately her own life to save Rand from Lanfear.  Moiraine and Rand had a difficult relationship at the best of times and disagreed on much, but she held to her word to listen to him, to follow him, to advise him as he needed sacrificing much of herself – almost belittling herself in order to ensure the future she wanted would come to pass.  Granted, the whole altercation with Lanfear felt so much like a lovers spat that I was giggling to myself while reading it.  Lanfear appears to her informant among Rand’s large group and this informant feeds her information that he thinks is relevant, except he tells her that Rand is now bedding Aviendha – he tells her this without any knowledge or confirmation of its truth and sends Lanfear into a jealous rage whereby she begins to channel damaging Cairhien and fighting against Rand, Egwene, and Aviendha.  The events took place as Moiraine saw and she was able to sneak up on Lanfear, the two of them then struggled and ultimately fell through a ter’angreal – whether they are dead or not remains to be seen, however, Moiraine’s bond to Lan was severed upon her entering the ter’angreal which lends evidence to the argument that she has died.  While I feel that perhaps Moiraine has the potential to be so noble as to ultimately sacrifice her life – I don’t think that is what happened and that she and Lanfear are still battling on the other side.  Hopefully we will find out what ultimately happened to Lanfear and Moiraine in future novels.

I enjoyed following the story of Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom, Julin, and eventually Birgitte (ripped from Tel’aran’rhiod [the dream world] during an altercation between Nynaeve and Moghedein, now bound as Warder to Elayne) because their story never feels as if it is any less integral to Rand’s success though they aren’t able to have a consistent positive impact by fighting at his side.  I love the banter between all of them, it definitely eases up on some of the heaviness these novels tend to have.  Nynaeve continues to be a surprising character, we know of her block which prevents her from channeling unless she is angry yet she is still quite innovative in her manipulation of it.  Specifically, chasing Moghedein in Tel’aran’rhiod and then tricking her so that she could ultimately bind her with an a’dam (a Seanchan item which allows a woman who can be taught to channel to control another woman who can channel).  This decision, this trap is what ultimately led to the success of Rand defeating Rahvin in Caemlyn because Nynaeve was able to channel through Moghedein in order to help Rand defeat Rahvin – without Nynaeve, I don’t think that the battle in Caemlyn would have been successful for Rand at all.  I am very curious as to how their story is going to progress having been reunited with Siuan Sanche, Leane, Min, and some Shienaran soldiers and arriving in Salidar (the current safe haven for Aes Sedai who rebelled against the Tower after the wrongful stilling of Siuan and Leane).  While being back under the strict rules and politics of Aes Sedai is going to be somewhat difficult for Elayne and Nynaeve (who have been able to govern their own choices since leaving the Tower under Siuan’s direction), I am hoping that they will gain more strength in the power and will attain their goal of becoming Aes Sedai in truth.

TL;DR REVIEW:  4.25 out of 5 stars.  Overall, I really liked this novel and I appreciate how Jordan treats his characters – each and every one of them serves some sort of purpose either to the benefit or detriment of Rand al’Thor and I think that is an important factor in an epic saga such as this with so many characters and so many different points of view.  While I felt that not a lot actually happened in this book, I will reiterate that once things started happening there wasn’t much of a break to catch your breath because the story just took off for those last couple hundred pages.  I am especially looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these characters in Lord of Chaos.

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve never read this series, but my sister has. She really liked them at first, but she said they kept getting more and more depressing so she gave up. I usually love long books, but not unless something happens. Too much planning is boring. I’m sorry that this took you more than a month to read this. I have a feeling it would’ve taken ms even longer.

    • One of my closest friends had been trying to get me to read the series for years and I finally gave in. I am liking the series overall, but Jordan’s execution and writing becomes difficult to deal with only because I start feeling as if nothing is actually happening. I mean, sure there is activity, intricacies, planning, etc. all of which are important to the overall story, but it becomes daunting to read almost 600-700 pages of that and then only get about 300 maybe 400 pages of story progressing action. I am definitely going to continue with the series because I am interested to see how the story will progress, but I know that it is going to be a long and possibly frustrating journey at times.

  2. Pingback: Liebster Award – 5/27/2015 | Reviews of a Self Proclaimed Bibliophile

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