But sneakily, because I really don't want anyone on the bus to strike up a conversation with me about it.
(Spoilers below through page 544)
Wow, I've been reading these books for a long time. Since middle school? And apparently only two years have gone by in book time, making most of the primary characters significantly younger than me now. That's pretty weird. Also, what is that, like five pages of book for every single day? Crazy. I demand to know what Rand al'Thor ate for breakfast on the 3rd day after the summer solstice the second year after he left Two Rivers. I feel like that got left out.
The point is not really to play literary critic though. These books are not great literature, but they're pretty decent entertainment. Or at least I have been entertained by them. Here are my thoughts so far on this book:
Egwene & Gawyn (and for some reason Nynaeve):
I'm really finding myself rooting against Gawyn. He really doesn't have enough of a history with Egwene to justify his obsession with her and it's making his character fairly unsympathetic. Props to the book for actually exploring that a little bit, although I'm sure there will be some sappy reunion fairly soon. How cool would it be if there wasn't, though? Maybe not everyone has to marry their first crush...people grow and change and DEAR GOD THEY'RE 20. Egwene could do the Aes Sedai thing, Gawyn could go and get his own life and really that would be a much more convincing form of happily ever after for them. But I doubt it'll happen.
Speaking of growing and changing though...wouldn't it also have been cool if Nynaeve had failed her test and not become Aes Sedai? She has some pretty good points about needing to put family and friends ahead of the White Tower, and she could have struck out on her own and joined with the Kin or something. If it's going to be a brave new world where being Aes Sedai isn't the only or even the ultimate way to be a woman who channels, I think having Nynaeve be the first to really demonstrate that choice would have added a lot of dimension to the book. But alas, it wasn't to be.
I'm confused...is he Jesus now? Although I think I might like the way his role in Tarmon Gaidon is changing...less the guy with the sword and more the guy who performs miracles of hope that counteract the dispiriting influence of the Dark One on the world. Which is kind of Jesus-y, but also more directly parallel to the Dark One, who after all so far doesn't even have arms to wield a sword. Plus, the scene where he goes back to Arad Doman was cool even if it was kind of cheesy.
I'm really confused...where is he, and when? It seems like Perrin's group's storyline doesn't match up chronologically with Rand's, so stuff that happened to Rand in the last book is happening in this book to other people. But it's a little discombobulating.
So far in this book I'm liking Egwene, Mat (as always), Birgitte, and Galad. I'm pretty bored with Perrin, Faile, Rand and Min...and Siuan's not doing much for me either. Elayne's still up in the air. I feel like she's got an actual personality, which is a plus...but I'm not sure how much I like it. I'm still holding out on my theory that it wouldn't be impossible for Olver to be Gaidal, although it's probably unlikely. I think a little more Nynaeve stuff could be interesting, but only so long as it isn't all about Lan. They aren't spending a whole lot of time on the characters whose backstories we don't already know all of, like Cadsuane or Balwer, which makes it a little less interesting. So far it's entertaining, but everything is just kind of happening as expected, maybe a little too efficient overall. I want Mat to open the letter from Verin. What do you think the odds are that the instructions are to stay in Caemlyn for 30 days? But so long as there's a good and interesting reason why she wanted him to stay in Caemlyn for 30 days, which seems like a reasonable hope with Verin.