I finished Book 7 of Wheel of Time this morning. No, I didn’t read the second half as fast as it may seem if you saw my December TBR post. I actually wrote that post a week ago and rescheduled it, so by the start of the month I had a lot less left 🙂.
We start the book at a point in time before the previous book ends, picking up other threads which included the point of view of one of the other sides of the battle. In this book, Elayne and Egwene seemed to grow up a little, though they are still annoying, while Min and Nynaeve seemed to regress to several years their junior, and be a bit more reminiscent of very young high-school girls. And I didn’t enjoy the storyline of the sexual harassment and rape of Matt. It is no more acceptable when it is a woman doing it to a man than it is when a man does it to a woman, and the fact that Elayne found it amusing made me like her less.
Luckily, despite his weakness in female characters (not just that they are unlikeable but the stereotypical way he imagines them), Jordan can spin a good story and there are often surprises. I’m not sure how Rand manages to strategise so well but you can be given hints on what the end goal is as things are happening, and not always see how they come together. Despite this book being another good example of this, I didn’t think the ending was very strong in this book – it seemed a little rushed.
On the whole though, I enjoyed reading this book and a looking forward to the next volume. It’s been over 15 years since I last read these so I have mostly forgotten everything and it’s like reading the book from new.
(Spoiler comments below)
I know the ending was probably done in a way so that Sammael can reappear again with Rand thinking he is dead, but still it felt like the ending was just suddenly there. But the biggest disappointment to me was bringing Liah back. It opened so many questions that I know will never be revisited. How did Liah survive all this time in Shadar Logoth and why didn’t see leave the city? The way she reacted with “Mine!” when attacking the Trollocs and running from Rand made me think that perhaps she had somehow already bound herself to the place, but I can’t remember enough back to the earlier book where we learnt more about this city to know what/how exactly. But after all this time, why does she only now fall victim to the Mashadar? It felt too much like an easy way for Jordan to distract Rand and leave that aforementioned gateway open for Sammael to not actually be dead and surprise Rand later in story.
We see the return of the Seanchan in Book 7 too. And in ways that they seem to take everyone by surprise – just suddenly appearing. It will be interesting to see where this thread goes. Though we might be starting to see the setup of how Matt crosses paths with the Daughter of the Five/Nine (other?, can’t remember) Moons.
If you want to include any spoilers in your comment, please put a spoiler warning at the beginning so people have the option not to read it.
Daughter of the Nine Moons. Of all the people I wish they were willing to run spin-off series of, the Seanchan are probably in my top three.
Liah of the Cosaida Shareen couldn’t leave any more than Mordeth could, and for the same reason. The city grabbed her by her greed – “Mine! No-one may come here. No-one!” – but unlike Matt, she was a Maiden. She would probably have been happily still surviving there until the day that (SPOILERS) if only Rand hadn’t turned up and shocked her out of her Zen stab-everything-and-stab-intruders-twice headspace.
It is shameful to kill bare-faced, but that didn’t matter until someone whose opinion mattered to her saw her. And you only have to flee panic-stricken and careless past Mashadar once….
See I did wonder if it was similar to Mordeth (thought I couldn’t remember his name), but my memory was that it needed to be tied to taking something. And while Aiel believe in their cut of a vanquished city, this wasn’t that scenario when Liah went there with Rand. Plus Rand would have warned them about not taking an item from there (going from expectation rather than remembering as I really shouldn’t have introduced a two year gap in the middle of my reread).
I missed that she was unveiled, so that explains her response. I’ll reread that last section. I thought she was watching events near the way gate rather than running panicked, and if she were past the panic, then however long she has been there would have honed her skills of keeping an eye out. I can see your take on how she fell to Mashadar. But I still think this was inserted so that Rand would send the balefire her way instead of to Sammael and we’d be left with a “presumed dead” status.