20 July 2014

The Fires of Heaven - Robert Jordan (5 of 14)

Just a quick warning before I start. This review will contain spoilers from the previous books! So if you do not want to know until you have read it I suggest you put off reading this for a little bit.

With Rand al’Thor proclaimed the Aiel’s Car’a’Carn, Chief of Chiefs, he must lead them back across the Spine of the World in pursuit of the Shaido Aiel, who are pillaging Cairhien. Can he save the city itself and if he does will the Forsaken allow him to extend his influence that far? Mat Cauthon has attempted to resolve the answers to his questions but will the result save him from what is to come and prevent him achieving the escape he so desires? Nynaeve al’Meara and Elayne Trakand have defeated the Black Ajah and the Forsaken Moghedien in Tarabon. Now they set out to find the rebel Aes Sedai, but having angered one of the Forsaken will they make it to their intended goal?

The Fires of Heaven is the fifth book of the fourteen book long series of The Wheel Of Time. The book is most noted for being the first in the series to not include an appearance from each of the three main characters. With the newly married Perrin Aybara having saved the Two Rivers from a Trolloc army he is not involved at all in this book. The book also shows Rand al’Thor’s first romantic encounter with Aviendha, an apprentice Aiel Wise One. This makes the third of the three women who Min Farshaw said will love him, with her and Elayne Trakand already identified as the other two.

We also see Rand struggle with his feelings towards women dying because of his actions. With his upbringing telling him that he should do everything to protect any women without regard to his own safety he finds himself with a female Aiel bodyguard, the Maidens of the Spear. With him holding their honour there are a number of confrontations between them which mean in the end that he must allow them to protect him with their lives when necessary. This in turn leads to him becoming hard emotionally to deal with the grief that this agreement will bring him.

Where most of the books have built throughout to a strong and dramatic ending this book is slightly different. We have the first crescendo coming during the Battle of Cairhien, the second coming in the city itself when the battle in concluded and the third incorporating both the events in the Aes Sedai camp with those at Caemlyn in Andor. This adds a very fast end to the book that lasts for a long time as we see events from several view points to give us the full picture.

A very exciting read with an ending that beats anything that we have seen before in the series for both length and drama. You think the book is over only for it to flare up again in your face, right back into the action. With the Dragon Reborn back from the Aiel Waste we again see events speed up and drive towards unseen conclusions. Once again a brilliant read that will demand your attention from start to finish.