So, having completed this book for the second time as part of my re-read I realise a very sad fact. I have read a sum total of around 1300 pages in just this one book. Am I wasting my time at all? Some would say yes, others no. Fortunately the approximate 700 pages of this book don't take me much time to read at all. For the average reader who can stomach fantasy I'd estimate a reading time of two to four weeks minimum. Which is what I took to read it this time, mainly because other books kept distracting me while I went to read it.
This is the third book in The Wheel of Time series and things take a step up in quality from the second and first books in my opinion. I'll stop and say that at this point if you can't handle remembering who is who in terms of characters this may not be the kind of book you like. I'm not being patronising I'm merely pointing out that there is a massive character list in this series. Also for anyone wondering no I did not read this book in Spanish, but for some odd reason the only version of the book I read has a page all in Spanish. Reasons not to even begin this series:
1. If you're not into 'generic' fantasy with swords, magic, creatures and archetypical characters in the slightest. No doubt you'd find many bones to pick with this series.
2. If you're not into some sexism in characterisations (both ways in fact with the men making chauvinistic comments and the women tending to )
3. If you don't like characters that at times suffer from being all the same (particularly the main female characters)
4. If you like every word and every scene to have meaning. Like other fantasy authors Jordan does tend to meander a little, which works if you like it and if you don't it is tiring.
5. If you don't like series that drag on in places
6. If you don't like fantasy in the slightest, or magicReasons to begin the series or continue it
1. If you're into fantasy with large worlds and ideas
2. If you like having a large amount of characters in books
3. If you want to see character's develop and grow with the story in interesting ways and with new plot devices introduced in ways that fit the story. In other words if you like organic stories.
4. If you want a story speaking overall about
5. If you like a book made up of a mixture of mythologies
6. If you are into interesting magical systems. The Wheel of Time has what [a:Brandon Sanderson|38550|Brandon Sanderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1201547425p2/38550.jpg] theorises as 'hard' and 'soft' magic. Hard magic being the channelling of the Aes Sedai, a concrete and formulaic magic that works with rules. The soft magic being things that happen without a full explanation. The really 'magical things'.
So if you do choose to begin the series and get up to this point what can you expect? A solid continuation of the series where Rand reaffirms who he is, where everyone is split up, where Mat and Perrin start becoming the incredible characters they will be later - particularly the lucky Mat and where important plot points like Callandor, Faile, balefire, Tel'aran'rhiod and the Forsaken are raised. Speaking of Rand discovering more about his identity I had completely forgotten the scene where he acts like a real jerk, slaying 12 people including one noble looking woman, who simply ask to share his campsite. I admit he was getting paranoid and worried that she was a darkfriend but still, 12 people is a little excessive.
As you can see from the rating and shelves this is one of my favourite book series. Is it for everyone: no, I think I revealed that already. But for those who fall in love with it, it's a powerful emotional journey. For everyone else its a looooooooooong series that has dragged on too long and no one gets the hype. A series that even among fantasy fans is entirely polarising with lots of friends and enemies.