Saturday, December 5, 2015

Lord of Chaos Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: The Wheel of Time Book Six
Pages: 1,012

Buy on Amazon!

(Spoilers for the previous five books in the Wheel of Time are below).

After the previous two books in the Wheel of Time showcase Rand’s growing ability to scheme and learn how to use saidin, Lord of Chaos appears to go the opposite direction and focus on his vulnerabilities.   Vulnerability combined with the fulfillment of some of the long expected plot events help elevate this book and make it one of the stronger books in the series.

Lord of Chaos primarily focuses on two large conflicts: Rand al’Thor and his armies vs the Forsaken and their armies, and the White Tower vs the Rebel Aes Sedai.  The former conflict occupies the first half of the book while the latter conflict starts to occupy the second half of the book.

Lord of Chaos is a good book, but it is not as strong as Fires of Heaven.  It certainly has a more difficult time matching some of the more emotional aspects of the previous book.  Regardless, the sixth book in The Wheel of Time still delivers an exciting and engaging story, it’s just not as strong as Fires of Heaven.

There are two major locations that most of the plots and story-lines in Lord of Chaos center around: Salidar where the rebel Aes Sedai are in hiding, and the various cities now occupied by Rand al’Thor’s armies.  Other minor stories and plots act as breaks in between the central two conflicts, and Perrin Ayabara who was missing in the last book makes his return.  The Major plots and subplots are bullet pointed below.
  • Rand continues to plot to bring down the Forsaken.  He also has to deal with envoys from the White Tower and Rebel Aes Sedai.
  • Elayne and Nynaeve continue their Aes Sedai training with the rebel Aes Sedai in Salidar.  With a captured Moghedien, whom they must keep secret. They begin to rediscover magic from the Age of Legends.
  • Egwene continues her study of Tel’aran’rhiod under the Wise Ones in Cairhien.
  • Mat Cauthon, now a highly skilled general, is given a special assignment by Rand.
  • Perrin Ayabara begins his return to Rand with Faile and Loial.
  • Min returns to Camelyn and begins to help Rand with her viewings.
  • Siuan and Leane continue to pressure the rebel Aes Sedai to join Rand and to name a new Amyrlin.
  • Viewpoints from the White Tower and Rebel Aes Sedai’s envoys are given as they try to get Rand to join their causes.
  • Morgase heads to Amadicia to gather support so that she may begin to retake Andor.

The Fires of Heaven was one of the most powerful books in The Wheel of Time due to the presumed major character deaths of Lanfear, Asmodean, and Moiraine.  All three of these characters had one thing in common, they were involved in giving Rand valuable information.  The most valuable of these missing characters is Moiraine.  Throughout Lord of Chaos, Rand frequently thanks Moiraine for what she had time to teach him, as her teachings continue to prove beneficial beyond the grave.  Moiraine’s status amongst the rebel Aes Sedai has become that of a martyr, and she is remembered as an Aes Sedai who was ahead of her time.

Elayne and Nynaeve’s situation with Moghedien in Lord of Chaos mirrors Rand’s situation with Asmodean in The Fires of Heaven.  The risk by keeping a captured Moghedien in Salidar adds a lot of tension and suspense to the Salidar story-lines.  Like Asmodean, Moghedien is forced to give away many of the secrets she knows about from the Age of Legends which leads to some new discoveries by Elayne and Nynaeve.  These discoveries get their Aes Sedai sisters talking and it begins to make some of them jealous.

The uncertainty between the relationships Rand has with the Aes Sedai in this book is one of Jordan’s stronger Wheel of Time conflicts.  A lot of questions can be asked about the two envoys that are trying to meet with Rand: Are these Aes Sedai going to force Rand to submit to them, Are these Aes Sedai going to propose an alliance with Rand, are any of these Aes Sedai part of the Black Ajah, etc.?  One of the highlights of this entire book is the plan Rand begins to put forth to combat both envoys of Aes Sedai.

Rand’s romantic life seems to follow a similar suit that was established in the previous two books where each book focuses on one of Rand’s three potential romantic interests (Rand and Elayne in The Shadow Rising and Rand and Aviendha in The Fires of Heaven).  In Lord of Chaos the romantic relationship between Rand and Min is explored.  All three women bring unique sets of abilities and characteristics that can be seen as both romantically compatible to Rand’s personality as well as abilities that will be useful to him once he has to fight in the Last Battle.  Min is an excellent change of pace from Rand’s previous two suitors.  She has a very quirky personality that can foil Rand’s seriousness and her visions add a very dark undertone to all of events surrounding Rand in this book.

Breaking the tradition of previous Wheel of Time books, Jordan inconclusively ends one of his major plot threads.  Its a welcome change to his formula and it leaves some anticipation for the next book in the series.  Lord of Chaos is a great addition to Jordan’s saga, but it can’t match the bigger moments in Fires of Heaven on an emotional level.

Score: 9.1

No comments:

Post a Comment