Jordan's Wheel of Time series continues with The Fires of Heaven, the 5th volume of what may be the longest-running fantasy series ever... at least in terms of page count. Rand's destiny has taken him to the Aiel Waste, a vast desert populated by nomadic warriors, where he will contend with the Shaido Aiel following Couladin for the title of Car'a'carn (chief of chiefs)... and with the Forsaken, who lurk as always in the shadows, awaiting the opportunity to strike.
With this novel, Rand's transformation from an untutored country youth to a ruler of nations is complete. What begin as a simple adventure tale did not end when the Dragon Reborn pulled his sword from the Stone of Tear; instead the tale itself changed, mirroring the changes in Rand's own personality, beginning to focus on politics and intrigue as well as simple adventure. The transition adds depth and freshness to a tale that began with all the standard fantasy tropes, and Jordan handles the changes in emphasis and pacing very well.
The Aiel culture is also explored in more depth, with the conflicting demands of the two cultures, and two prophecies, both demanding Rand's attention.
Unfortunately the deftness in pacing is not consistent throughout the book, as Elayne and Nynaeve spend most of the novel traveling together, able to interact with the rest of the characters only through their access to tel'aran'rhiod, the World of Dreams. The result is an extended, awkward journey that exists primarily to touch minor plot points, along with a great deal of filler material. Later books will continue this theme.
Overall, The Fires of Heaven is a well-written addition to the series, advancing the plot significantly while maintaining the reader's interest. The beginnings of pacing problems can be discerned, but they have not yet becoming glaring enough to dissuade.
This entry was published Tue Jun 07 03:52:12 CDT 2005 by Matthew
and last updated 2018-06-27 01:28:15.0.