This one started off a bit slow for me, and the apparently intentional parallels to Lord of the Rings came off a bit grating. Then the story picks up, and we're off on an epic chase across the land and suddenly I was reading each night until I simply could not keep my eyes open any longer. The final battle, after such a long buildup, is over in a flash, and many questions are left unanswered. There are obviously more battles to come - bring on Book Two!
Some favorite moments of mine:
- The Travellers, who definitely play a more important part in this story than anyone so far has given them credit for, serve as a lovely break from the turmoil and tension. They remind me as well of one of my all-time favorite fantasy stories - the as of yet incomplete Kingkiller Chronicles.
- Mat's slow (or not-so-slow) descent into paranoia and madness with the dagger from Shadar Logoth is a great little arc. It really takes you for a full roller-coaster ride of emotions, and I found myself hating him for a little while there. I'm not so confident about his future in all this, though...
- Telepathic wolves with ancestral memories? More, please!
- The Aes Sedai are an interesting crew (obviously) so I'm looking forward to learning more about them. Hopefully we get to see quite a bit of Egwene and Nynaeve's training. They will both be trained, right? It only makes sense.
The climax of the story is, ahem, over too quickly. We don't get a moment's view of anyone else's perspective during Rand's little Light show, nor will they even talk about it as a group afterward. Don't tell the men anything! The women still love you anyway! Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's go to Tar Valon already!