I finally finished The Fires of Heaven after taking almost a month to do so. Am I slow reader after all? Well, if you count New Spring, the prequel, I’m at 40% of the way done, and that’s heartening. Books are starting to pile up on my “To Be Read” shelf… and I’ve had to fight off the itch to reread the Graceling Realm series yet again. It’s not that Wheel of Time is not entertaining. It’s just long. Really long. But I’ll delve into that more later.
If you have not read through Fires of Heaven, I’m going to be going into detail about some big events in the book. Consider this your spoiler warning.
To start off with, I’d like to begin with the conclusion. Lanfear and Rahvin. Both were disposed of within the last hundred pages, one right after the other. At least, we can assume Lanfear is dead. Moiraine pushed the both of them into the strange red doorway, and Lan said he could no longer feel her bond, suggesting that both women fell to their deaths. While it was unclear how Lanfear and Rand were able to cut through each other’s weaves when it’s been stated–and was even stated again midway through the fight—that women and men cannot see the other genders’ weaves, at least it was epic in its own right. Lanfear has been something of a strange but powerful villain from the get-go, and she was true to her character until the end.
Rahvin, on the other hand? He might’ve had a handful of chapters devoted to the fight, but let’s be real, here. His desires were never brought to our attention–unlike Lanfear, whose motivations were clear and who had aspirations beyond doing things for the sake of being evil–and the only thing of note that he did was bring Morgase low. Troubling, yet in the grand scheme of things, worth little.
The scenes were made even more confusing by lacking a sense of place. The narrative broke away to Nynaeve on a few occasions, and Nynaeve, with Moghedien, were in Tel’aran’rhiod, yet there was nothing initially to suggest Rand and Rahvin were there also. Not until Nynaeve bumped into the pair of them. It just felt like a bit of a chaotic scene, and perhaps not quite in a good way.
I’ll admit, at the end of the fight, I got the chills when Nynaeve said to Moghedien, “I’ll see you very shortly. In Salidar.” It’s about bloody time. Lanfear and Rahvin dead. Asmodean under Rand’s authority–until he was so suddenly killed at the end? And Moghedien assuredly under Nynaeve’s control.
As for Rand’s half of the battle, it was mostly won by the time he returned to the waking world, but I’m beginning to feel like Trollocs and Myrdraal are overused sometimes in the series. They do have to be transported like a regular army. They have to be fed. And they have to be kept hidden, or else it’d be like putting up a big neon sign saying “There’s a Forsaken here in Caemlyn!” It was as if they were just thrown there suddenly so the Aiel would have something to do while Rand fought Rahvin. In the beginning of the series–hell, even in the previous book, with Perrin–their travel had to be accounted for. Not so, here. Not so, in the instances where they’d appeared in the Waste. Et cetera.
So I’d say that it wasn’t the best in terms of Big Finales that I’ve seen so far. Still, a lot has happened in this book. It’s seen Nynaeve and Elayne, after a lot of traveling, back in the relative safety of Salidar’s Aes Sedai. It’s seen Mat become something of an interesting character as he’s become something of a respected general, thanks to the knowledge he has in his head of other men.
Perrin was notably, strangely, absent. We did at least get some information on the events taking place in Emond’s Field when Nynaeve made a brief pitstop there in Tel’aran’rhiod, but I found his lack of point of view scenes to be a little weird. Sensible, in some ways, since he neither had any new battles of his own nor joined any of the other characters in their own troubles, yet after having such a large number of point of view chapters in The Shadow Rising, I would have liked to see at least an occasional update. According to Lord of Chaos‘s blurb, at least, it looks like he’ll be making a presence in the next book.
I’m actually pretty excited to read Lord of Chaos. I have stumbled across information on the battle at Dumai’s Well, and I vaguely remember some of it from my first read-through. If nothing else, I can’t wait to read about that battle again.