I had really soured on the most recent books in The Wheel of Time series. The books had gotten long winded. They meandered aimlessly and seem to be leading nowhere. There were a million characters that I could no longer keep track of, let alone care about. I strongly considered giving up on the series even though I was so far into it, but I had heard to stick with it because the series got better after Brandon Sanderson took over, and I definitely concur with that sentiment. Sanderson has given this series the shot in the arm that it badly needed.
Although the novel was long, and there were storylines that seemed to be going nowhere, the writing was vastly improved, and, by the end of the novel, those wandering storylines came together more cohesively. The Egwene storyline was an example of one that had been really dragging but came together strongly at the end of this book and was a real highlight. I also liked the villain turn of the Daughter of the Nine Moons. The writing was tighter. The plot and progression was more focused.
There were still some issues with the novel. The biggest problem that I see is that Rand Al’Thor has become a completely unlikeable character. He started off the series as a character that you could root for, but now it’s like, yeah I suppose the world needs him to defeat the Dark One in the final battle, but he has become a complete bore. He barely even feels like a real person any more. I am hoping in the last couple of novels they fix his character, because it’s hard to truly enjoy a novel when you don’t like the main protagonist.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel and remain optimistic for the final two.