Book; 5: The Fires of Heaven
Chapter; THE END
Character Groups;Caemlyn Salidar
Well, after two weeks of furious reading, I am now only 6 days behind schedule instead of a fortnight. Yay me!
The Fires of Heaven heralds a change of style for the WOT books. The first four have all run thus; Dark One tries to affect the world, Scooby gang sets forth to thwart the forces of evil (albeit by many different routes), Rand meets and defeats one or two of the Forsaken (the Dark One's ancient and powerful generals of which there are thirteen), there is much rejoicing. However, this formula got a little squiffy at the end of book 4 when instead of defeating the Forsaken-du-jour, Asmodean, Rand, along with another Forsaken, Lanfear, bound him into service. As such, Asmo has been hanging around all book, teaching Rand how to use the Power before his ignorance kills him.
Also, in Fires of Heaven, events speed up dramatically. Books 1 through 4 have taken roughly a year and a half of the ill-defined Randland calendar (seriously, not even the characters know what the exact date is) but if my Foretelling serves me well, Books 5 through 9 take up only a few months. And just as well, because it's going to be a sweltering few months.
A quick review. Our story started on Winternight, a spring festival supposedly held after the snows have melted and the first green shoots are in the fields. Except that winter won't leave and the ground is still frozen. Cue heroic journey to the north, two Forsaken dead and spring returns. Through an accident with a magic pillar, the main core of the gang actually skipped over the following autumn and after taking out Forsaken number three they hid in the mountains for the winter. End of Year one, end of book 2. They spend the following spring chasing Rand across the continent and the summer in the southern coastal city of Tear, complaining about the heat. Then they go to the Aiel Waste and complain about the heat there too. Obviously the Dark One was listening because now they are back in Randland, it should be autumn, but summer has decided that winter owes it some time in lieu.
And here, at last, I come to my point. While the change of pace is very welcome, and even I wouldn't want to read a series of fourteen brick-shaped books that amounted to little more than a series of mini-boss fights, the middle volumes lack the focus and direction of the others. Basically, the Big Bad for the next three books is global warming and it's just not very exciting.
Anyway, I made my bed and I shall sleep in it, safe in the knowledge that at least book 6 has Perrin in it, who has been sadly lacking for the last 890 pages and hope that Mat finally gets a little less whiny and actually does something.