zaterdag 23 januari 2016

Robert Jordan: The Fires of Heaven

Hi

This is the fifth book in The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
I am now back on schedule with the series!
This book has 862 pages.

* SPOILERS! *

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I hate it when authors feel the need to remind us of EVERYTHING that has happened up until now. This is the fifth book in a series. You’re just stupid if you think you can start with this one. And Jordan reiterates everything about the series. What is Saidin/Saidar? What are Aes Sedai? Who’s Rand? Who’s Morgase? What’s The White Tower?
We know already!
Shut it and get on with the story.

This is the one where Moiraine ‘dies’. I remember being heartbroken about it the first time. Not so much now because I know she’ll be back, but still. I’ll have to miss her for a long time. And I liked her for her dedication, her wisdom, her wit.
And I love Lann and he’ll be absent for a while too. He’s awesome; strong, manly, skilled. He’s a bit of a cliché, but I don’t mind so much with him.

The world in the series has amazing depth and the novel is full of details of absolutely everything. The world building is one of the most special things about the whole series. The thought that must have gotten into it! There’s just so much you know. The different countries and cultures, so many details, the intricate political weavings and lots and lots of characters. I love it.
The battles were fantastic too; very absorbing, detailed and thrilling.

I love the different peoples and cultures though they aren’t all completely logical.
The Aiel for example are a mixed bunch. Jordan tried too much to make them different from anyone else; so some of their views feel forced.
Ji'e'toh is my prime example in this. It is ridiculous! Aviendha asks for a switching because she lied? And her ‘debt’ to Rand is absurd and not at all logical.
Their views on nakedness and sex are completely contradictory. The Far Dareis Mai can walk around naked without shame, Aviendha sleeps and dresses with Rand in the same room, men and women sit naked, together in a sweattent but kissing in public is frowned upon and Isendre has to walk around naked as punishment and is punished even more when she shows herself like this (naked) to Rand. And Rand is not allowed to look at her? She’s naked! Of course he will look at her. Everyone would.
Like I said; the whole thing is absolutely ludicrous and nonsensical.

Lanfear is a walking cliché.
Nynaeve and Elayne were my most hated characters in this novel. They complain, criticize and nag, they are ungrateful, venomous, proud, haughty and they find fault with everyone (men especially).  And they are doing absolutely nothing for way too many chapters. I will never understand why Jordan wrote so many chapters about them because at least half of them are completely boring, dragging, uninteresting and full of their catfights and hateful bickering but very little else. It drags the whole book down. Why not ignore them and revisit them only when something happens instead of filling page after uneventful page with their fighting?
Their actions towards men are especially loathsome. I don’t care about Uno’s language or Juilin Sandar’s hat so shut up about it. All men are supposedly stupid. And everything is always a man’s fault. Everything. Always.
Nynaeve’s constant complaining about clothes has gone way beyond the ‘details’ into tiresome, aggravating and tedious.

Jordan has a problem with characterizing women in general. We’re all stubborn, hateful, man-hating, gossiping, sulking, jealous and self-righteous creatures. We believe we’re so much better, smarter, more logically thinking and braver then men. There’s lots of sniffing about foolish men who need our guidance or they’d be lost. And no man understands a woman, like ever in this series.
Jordan clearly had issues.

Egwene becomes an admirable young woman. She’s smart, dedicated and she works tirelessly to get what she wants. I like her and I remember that she grew on me this way the first time too.
Siuan Sanche is an amazing character. Her storyline with Logain, Min and Leanne was interesting, and funny. Siuan and Gareth Bryne with make for a very special couple. 
Perrin and Faile aren’t a part of this novel. And I liked that because I hated them in The Shadow Rising.

I loved the split of The Tower. Amazing decision and it makes for two very interesting storylines. I would have loved more details about it. It was merely glossed over now and I wanted more about this and less over and over repeating of the whole Nynaeve/Elayne thing please!

I hate it when men (and Rand especially here) don’t want to hurt women out of their being oh so noble. Get over it. There are bad women out there too.

And I don’t really like the Rand having multiple lovers thing. It feels contrived, it’s annoying and it’s dehumanizing in a way.

The series is never just about Rand. By now it’s clear to everyone that even though Rand is The Chosen One; he can’t do it alone. He never was and he never will. He needs others to fight this battle against The Shadow with him. Heck, he needs the whole world to fight it. And I like that very much. To see everyone coming together for this one cause. I always love that. I guess that’s the romantic in me.
And this also makes it so much more interesting. It would be boring to read 14 books from Rand’s point of view. All these POV’s show us the whole world and every possibility and problem there is with a plot like this.

The Fires of Heaven is one of the lesser installments in the series. But there are better ones to come.

3 STARS

Happy reading.
Helena