Just a quick note: prepare for my long winded ramblings. There’s just so MUCH I want to talk about in this book. Um, expect spoilers and lots of jumping around storywise. And so it begins…
Ohhhhh, finally! Mazrim Taim and the Asha’man are here. Rand gets the male version of the White Tower, aptly named the Black Tower, started with Taim’s recruiting and training assistance. All I can say is: WOOHOO! Ahem, moving along. Davram Bashere, Faile’s dad, takes the men who can’t channel and makes a pretty decent army out of them.
Two groups of Aes Sedai approach Rand; one in Caemlyn (sent by the Salidar rebel Aes Sedai), the other in Cairhien (sent by Elaida with lots of gold and jewels). You pretty much know the latter is not going to turn out well considering the source. (Also, dumbass Alanna, with the Salidar Aes Sedai in Caemlyn, and her immensely stupid act of bonding Rand without his consent doesn’t exactly go the way she planned it either.) Lo and behold, Elaida’s cronies capture Rand and Min in Cairhien. I’m sorry ladies, but you should have known that wasn’t going to go over well for any of you. Particularly after you keep him locked in a chest, only letting him out to beat him. The upshot (I guess?) of Rand being locked in the chest is that he starts interacting more with Lews Therin, allowing him to break the weaves holding him and massive ass kicking ensues. Oops, ladies, now some of you are stilled and you must swear allegiance to the Dragon Reborn. HA HA! Ahhhhh, then comes one of my favorite parts of the entire series when Taim and the Asha’man arrive to rescue Rand. Shaido Aiel has surrounded the Aes Sedai wagons as Perrin (yes, he’s back in this one!!) tries to rescue Rand as well. The Asha’man create a barrier to protect the Dragon Reborn and company, then Taim is all, “Asha’man, Kill!” I swear I get goosebumps every time ‘cus they just start dropping the Shaido like flies. Needless to say, the Shaido that can escape, do so…swiftly.
Perrin is Lord of the Two Rivers now. He feels ta’veren pulling him towards Rand so he embarks, with Loial, Faile (ugh), and his own army under the Wolf-Head Banner. They meet up with Rand in Caemlyn, then leave to Cairhien with him and Min. When Rand goes missing, Perrin races to free Rand from the Aes Sedai. He just happens to have his army (including Loial), some Aiel (woot!), Berelain’s Mayeners (ugh, that woman), some Cairhienen, some Aes Sedai that are in their own way loyal to Rand, and last but not least, his wolf brothers. (Thankfully Taim brings along the Asha’man to help out too.) Poor Perrin just does not enjoy battles, I’ll tell ya that.
Mat and his Band of the Red Hand (excuse me while I have another nerdgasm) head off to Tear and pick up Olver (so adorable!) along the way. Rand then sends Mat and Aviendha, to Altara to bring Elayne back. He’s supposed to protect Egwene and Nynaeve as well in the process. (Oh sheesh, I’m sure anyone that knows the females in this series can easily guess how they react to needing protection from *gasp* a man…Oy vey.) Anyway, eventually Aviendha, Elayne, Birgitte, Nynaeve, plus Mat and some of his Band, head off to Ebou Dar. Mat is still looking for his future wife. (Man, I can’t wait for his Ebou Dar storyline with Queen Tylin in A Crown of Swords, ‘cus that is just some funny shit right there.) Of course, Thom and Juilin are with the group as well.
(Ugh, so much that I’m forgetting to put in here. Ah well, that’s what happens when there are 55 chapters of awesome.)
I suppose I should note that this book is the first taste we get of Nynaeve attempting to heal stilled women. I shall give credit where credit is due. As annoying as I may find her most of the time, she is pretty awesome with the healing. Given what she accomplishes down the road, I almost start liking her in this book…sometimes, almost. More credit where credit is due: she’s managed to capture Moghedien and hold her with an a’dam.
Egwene gets a summons from the Salidar Aes Sedai and is raised to the Amyrlin Seat. Oh, how naive of those women to think they’ve found themselves the perfect puppet for their schemes. I rather enjoy reading about, or listening to, how Egwene and Siuan have their own schemes in mind. And let’s not forget Elayne’s blah blah iloveyousomuchcakes moments with Gawyn.
On top of all this, there is some seriously odd weather going on. The heat will just not go away. Hence the above-mentioned trip to Ebou Dar. I’m sure the ladies will find the Bowl of the Winds (in the next book) and eventually use it (in The Path of Daggers…the 8th book, in case you were wondering) to fix the weather.
So much I missed, but it’s time to stop writing about it and start listening to it. Forgive any grammar/punctuation errors. I claim lack of sleep as an excuse for any mistakes in this post. Another quick note: I will be reading this one (and all others to follow) when time allows, then listening to the audio books when I’m in the car. After five books, I realized that just listening to them isn’t enough for me. My nerd would like the written word. Hey, be thankful I’m not double nerd reading and playing the audio book at the same time. Though I have considered it occasionally…