There were times that I believed I would never finish reading The Fires of Heaven. It isn’t a bad book by any stretch of the imagination but it’s a dense high fantasy and this sometimes happens (in fact, I had the same feeling with A Feast for Crows in the Game of Thrones series).
The storyline has become so complicated that it is impossible (for me, at least) to give a synopsis without major spoilers. However, I will tell you that with each book, we are closer to the showdown between Rand and the Dark Lord. Rand is learning more of his power in Saidin and the three Accepted, Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne, are growing in Saidar. Rand is traveling with the Aiel and taking over different territories as The Lord Dragon / Car’a’carn. It’s hard for our main characters to know who to trust as there are spies within the Aiel and the Aes Sedai (big happenings in the White Tower!)
I am fully invested in The Wheel of Time story and excited to see it through to the end. And, I expect some reading bumps along the way. This was one that I didn’t necessarily see coming. In The Fires of Heaven, I feel that Jordan made some major mis-steps with his female characters. I think he was trying to make them ‘strong’, ‘brave’ and ‘clever’. Sometimes he succeeded. Unfortunately, other times he failed miserably by his portrayal of their treatment of each other. For example, each of our three main females – Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne – seem obsessed with being in charge. They speak horribly to each other as a result and treat the others with a lack of respect that seems out of place for the mutual goals and foes that they have. The result was that the reader is left to believe they are catty and petty females. Not exactly the type of women we want leading the charge at the end of the world.
I’m hoping that book six will leave me with a different feeling. (Maybe it was my mood when reading, maybe Jordan was in a mood himself when writing it. Who knows?)
My rating is 4/5 and, for now, I will leave it there. Honestly, it’s generous and I hope that the rest of the series picks up.