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Title: Winter’s Heart
Series: The Wheel of Time #9
Author: Robert Jordan
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
From Tarvalon.net & authored by Toral Delvar
After being subjected to the Chair of Remorse, Talene forswears her Black Ajah oaths and re-swears the Three Oaths, as well as one to obey Seaine, Pevara, Yukiri, Doesine and Saerin. She insists Elaida must be Black as the Black always knows what Elaida plans. Although they all doubt it, no one realizes Alviarin is Black. Taim arrives to meet with Elayne. He tells her he has damane and sul’dam for her. He grants her permission to inspect the Black Tower. She is instructed to strip for the first-sister ceremony while Taim is there. The ceremony involves the creation of a bond, in some ways similar to the Warder bond, between her and Aviendha. In the Black Tower, Toveine considers the various factions present and how she might be able to use them to escape. Logain is trying to find men interested in Healing severing. It is announced that Damer, Jahar and Eben are rebels. Rand lays false trails and tells Min he plans to cleanse saidin.
Perrin returns from meeting Masema, who is keen to go to Rand, but not by using the One Power. Perrin learns Faile has been taken by the Shaido. Alliandre tells the Aiel who she is. Galina Heals the prisoners. Alliandre, Faile and Morgase are set to work as Sevanna’s maids and told to spy on her by Therava. Galina enlists them to fetch an Oath Rod in return for aiding their escape. Perrin learns Masema has been meeting with the Seanchan. Masema agrees to help Perrin look for Faile, even accepting the use of Travelling.
Hanlon organizes and foils an attack on Elayne and is named Captain of her bodyguard. Rand Travels to Caemlyn to meet Nynaeve and to arrange the cleansing saidin. Nynaeve teaches the Windfinders and Talaan asks to be a novice. Alivia and two of the damane decide they no longer wish to be damane. The sul’dam refuse to admit they can channel. Min forces Rand to meet with Elayne and Aviendha. He tells all three he loves them and they tell him the same, much to Nynaeve’s disgust. All three of them bond him as their Warder and all are concerned about the pain he feels and that the only emotion they can sense is his love for them. He sleeps with Elayne, much to Birgitte’s displeasure, getting her pregnant according to one of Min’s viewings. Min, Lan and Nynaeve leave with Rand, taking Alivia, angreal and ter’angreal. Merilille returns from meeting the Borderland army and Elayne goes to meet them. She decides to use their presence in Andor to try and unite the factions behind her. On her return, she learns from Norry that there are four small armies approaching from the east.
Harine argues with Cadsuane. Sorilea announces that the last of the captive Aes Sedai, all Red, have sworn fealty to Rand. Corele announces that Damer has Healed Irgain. He is allowed to Heal the other two Aes Sedai stilled by Rand. Alanna collapses and will not wake. Dobraine impresses Cadsuane by telling her that he has sent Darlin and Caraline to Tear, where Darlin is to be Steward.
The Forsaken learn of the decision to cleanse saidin and are told by Moridin to kill Rand to stop him. Tuon arrives in Ebou Dar, regretful over having a damane beaten for a telling of the future she did not like. Mat tries to persuade Aludra to help him make weapons, and to persuade Beslan to be sensible. Mat sees that the Mistress of the Ships has been executed for rebellion. He arranges passage out of Ebou Dar with the circus. He is attacked by the gholam and saved by Noal, who distracts it. He meets Tuon, stopping the dice in his head. She offers to buy him from Tylin and takes a general interest in him, later offering to buy his ashandarei.
Mistress Anan shows him Joline. Mat agrees to help them escape, along with Teslyn, who, he learns, warned Elayne and Nynaeve, just to spite Elaida. Teslyn insists he also free Edesina. Mat sees Domon and Egeanin together. Bethamin is told by a Seeker to befriend Egeanin, in order to spy on her, but Bethamin warns her instead. Domon decides to enlist Mat’s help as he remembers him escaping Trollocs. Tylin tells Mat that she is going with Suroth to see which lands will be hers. He talks Juilin into stealing an a’dam and a damane dress. Setalle tries to hold Joline with it, but both fall to the floor whimpering. Domon accosts him and Mat persuades Egeanin to leave quickly with him, and also to procure for him three sul’dam. He releases Nestelle, a Windfinder who promises to wait before trying to free the others. Mat is forced to tie up Tylin, who has returned unexpectedly. Tuon tries to stop him leaving, but Mat and Noal tie her up. Juilin brings Amathera. Egeanin reveals that Tuon is the Daughter of the Nine Moons when she sees her. Mat says that she is his wife. Selucia arrives and relaxes when Mat promises not to hurt her but to take her with them, which causes Tuon to smile.
In Far Madding, Rand fights Kisman and Rochaid, killing Rochaid. Kisman escapes but is killed by Fain, who wants Rand for himself. Min worries that Rand felt nothing. Isam/Luc is killing people for one of the Forsaken, who hides his own identity. Cadsuane takes Harine, Shalon, various Aes Sedai and the Asha’man Warders to Far Madding. Shalon notices tensions between the groups. It is revealed that within Far Madding is a ter’angreal that mimics a stedding, in that no one can sense the One Power or channel within its bounds. Cadsuane talks to the First Council and Verin mentions the dangers of upsetting anyone with an army as large as the Dragon Reborn’s. Alanna goes to see Rand. He sends her to Haddon Mirk to deal with the Tairen rebels. Verin decides not to poison Cadsuane after learning of her intent to remind Rand that he is human.
Rand learns that the Stone is under siege and that the Seanchan are advancing into Illian. He gets Verin to ask Cadsuane to be his advisor. Nynaeve and Cadsuane are revealed to be carrying channeling wells, a type of ter’angreal that allows them to store a measure of the Power and use it, even in Far Madding. Rand, Nynaeve and Lan go to kill Torval and Gedwyn. They watch them enter their dwelling, and are then lifted in by Nynaeve, using the One Power. Min and Alivia fetch Cadsuane. Inside, Torval and Gedwyn are dead, having been killed by Fain. Fain attacks Rand, who is severely affected by the pain in his side. Toram attacks Lan, but is quickly dealt with. Fain flees. Rand and Lan are arrested by men who were sent to investigate Nynaeve’s use of the Power. Cadsuane intimidates the rulers into releasing Rand by showing them that she can use the Power within Far Madding.
They Travel to a spot outside Shadar Logoth. Rand and Nynaeve link and use the two great sa’angreal. He links the taint to the city using saidar. The others form into groups to try and protect him, taking angreal. Cadsuane maintains a shield around him and Nynaeve, while Elza, Merise and Jahar stay near him for added protection. Damer, Sarene and Corele fight Demandred; Shalon, Verin and Kumira fight Graendal; Eben, Daigian and Beldeine fight Aran’gar, who, they are surprised to discover, can use saidin. Alivia fights Cyndane and Elza kills Dashiva. Moghedien avoids fighting and sees a great black dome form, and when it collapses she is sucked towards it. The taint is shown to be gone, but Kumira and Eben are killed. Damer Heals everyone else.
This book was on a one way ticket to 3 stars for the first 85% of the book. Jordan just dicks around and overdescribes everything. When someone walks into a room we get a detailed description of everything they see, from the scenery to the people to the clothes they are wearing to the weather conditions, etc. It felt exactly like what Dickens did in his books, but Jordan is no Dickens and it bored me.
What was worse, Jordan would do this WHILE characters were having conversations. So Egwene would be talking to Elayne and ask a question and then we’d get a paragraph of what Elayne was wearing or what Egwene was feeling and in the freaking middle of all that blather Jordan would insert Elayne’s one sentence answer. I ended up just skimming and looking for quote marks when characters started talking to each other. And that 85% is either setup or nothing. I felt the bloat so bad that I wondered if I needed to take some pepto bismol™.
The last 15% were good enough though to make up for it. Rand is bonded by the 3 women (which was interesting as I had forgotten that Min wasn’t able to channel and so how they included her was interesting just from a “huh, so that’s how they do that” perspective) and the cleansing of Saidin. THAT was a big battle between a bunch of the Forsaken and allies of Rand. While not as intense as the Battle of Dumai Wells (where the Ashaman rescued Rand and beat the snot out of the Aiel), it was good enough to raise this up to 4 stars.
But it brought to mind, once again, just how weak the Forsaken actually are. That leads into how in the world did they do what they did in the last breaking of the world? Whatever, that question just never gets answered.
On a completely different note, I REALLY like this ebook cover. I tried to find a high-res cover but all I could find was this 450×680 version. I even tried using TinEye and came up empty. I just like how it shows Rand using the Key and it’s a good reminder that he’s Aeil. I keep forgetting he’s got red hair even though it is mentioned in almost every book 😀