Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Fires of Heaven

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The fifth main Wheel of Time novel opens with a fictitious quote “inspiring” its title, followed by a prologue (the book’s immediate precursor lacking one) where the current Amyrlin Seat, Elaida do Aviny a’Roihan hears a report about civil war in Shienar, and how Mazrim Taim is loose, and wants the Aes Sedai to be loyal to the Dragon Reborn Rand al’Thor; meanwhile, the surviving Forsaken conspire against the fated warrior himself. The main chapters open with the same windy motif present in prior entries, the action opening at an inn called Good Queen’s Justice, where news abounds of one of the False Dragons, Logain, being loose.

In the meantime, Rand is in the city of Rhuidean among Aiel, with the Aes Sedai Moiraine showing him one of the seals of the Dark One’s prison. Among the central narrative threads is regular visits by Aes Sedai such as Nynaeve and Egwene to Tel’aran’rhiod, the World of Dreams, with the latter having a long westward journey to Tear throughout the story. Accusations of Black Ajah abound, whilst the banner of Manetheren, the Red Eagle, is raised in Two Rivers. A battle against Sammael and followers known as the Golden Bees occurs in the first half of the novel, with Rand and the Shaido sweeping through the city of Eianrod at one point

An old acquaintance of Nynaeve visits her in the latter half of the narrative, and a critical battle occurs, Rand regularly channeling the saidin, the tainted half of the One Power. The action ends with a major character’s demise and afterward a key conflict in the World of Dreams, accounting for another satisfying entry of the series that, while clearly inspired by franchises such as Star Wars, is on par with its predecessors, although characters such as Perrin are completely absent, and the book could have done without bouncing between different groups of characters within the same chapters.

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