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Winter's Heart (The Wheel of Time, Book 9)…
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Winter's Heart (The Wheel of Time, Book 9) (edition 2002)

by Robert Jordan

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6,10337672 (3.48)32
Member:mattries37315
Title:Winter's Heart (The Wheel of Time, Book 9)
Authors:Robert Jordan
Info:Tor Books (2002), Edition: later printing, Mass Market Paperback, 800 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fantasy

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Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Note: mild spoilers, unflagged

Rereading this was less dreadful than I’d feared. In part that was because I felt more comfortable skimming passages once I’d remembered their import or a character’s contribution, and in part because some of the events in this book are actually quite entertaining, despite the pagecount used up by endless bickerings and dick-measuring and breakfasts and whatnot.

Much of the book feels stagnant as the main storylines attempt to gain momentum towards some large plot point -- planning an escape, rescuing a kidnappee, establishing ruling rights, getting ready to do the big badaboom of magic -- only to end in somewhat of a cliffhanger before they pull off the big event. And much of the build-up is taken up by the side-side-sideplots distracting the main characters from their main goals (Gah, people! Learn to delegate! Ego control! Like you learned in the previous volumes! A couple of times!), which is very frustrating. Only the big badaboom of magic actually gets accomplished in this volume, and while it’s a relatively satisfying ending to that plot line, it’s not enough to save the rest.

Even worse: the other main plotlines (Egwene’s, the White Tower’s, the Seanchan’s, the Forsaken’s) hardly feature at all, because Jordan shunted those off to the next volume, which covers the same few days as this one but from the other storylines’ perspective (and some from this volume that didn’t run at the same speed). And since volume 10 (IIRC) does not advance much beyond the same big magic event, those storylines don’t progress either, the characters are artificially kept running in place until a future instalment, and the whole series essentially comes to a standstill.

I hate volume 10. I remember reading this hypershort summary of that book and thinking, “yup, that’s entirely accurate, and very sad.”

But I’ll take what I can get: this volume nine, stagnant and out of control though it may be, is better than the next instalment. That’s the best I can say about it.

Now, am I judging this book by comparing it to the worse one to follow? Yes, yes I am. Is that fair? I think it is. Shouldn’t I be judging this book on its own merits? I think the series has moved beyond that. Let me explain.

The major shortcoming of these books, as I see it, is that Jordan becomes increasingly incapable of tightening the reins. Things keep getting out of hand; more factions are created; more sub-plots within sub-plots are hatched. I understand that that is a result of a cast of (literally) thousands in a very detailed, multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural world. And if fewer of the sub-sub-subplots centred around sadistic power games, attempts to keep secrets/information/skills from other factions, or questionable gender tugs-of-war, I would buy the excuse that this is how world-changing crises play out in real life. But Jordan’s store of things that make people tick is not varied or comprehensive enough to pull that off. What I’m left with is a series spiraling out of my (and the author’s) control, requiring narrative coincidences (aka ta’veren and other plot conveniences) to make things progress -- and that is precisely because there are not enough real-world motivations in these books to allow that real-world parallel to be drawn. And that brings me back to my point: is it fair for me to judge this book relatively to the others? If annoyance at the stalemate of whirling intrigues within intrigues within intrigues is what drives the main characters to say “You know what? I’m just going to go ahead and do this thing anyway, because at this point I have stopped caring about what effect this may have on everyone else’s plans, half of which I am not even aware of,” then Jordan has allowed the bloat to interfere with the story: the outside world has been allowed to affect the in-story universe. In my view, that makes the bloat fair game for judging this series.

That’s my standpoint, fanboys and fangirls; judge away. I will note that I’m going to see this series through (Light, I started reading these books when I was fifteen; not doing so would be inconceivable), but I don’t have to like all of it. ( )
  Petroglyph | Aug 21, 2014 |
This book is a mixed rating because they were parts that were very exciting and then others that were not. Overall I think it was better then what I expected, since I have heard it slows down quite a bit. Big, important things happened and the story moved on (slowly). I would give it a higher rating, but we haven't seen Matt in a while and his first few chapters were so boring. They got a lot better, as did the rest of the book. The ending was exciting that had me on the edge, but I don't really know if it meant anything. Either way still a good story that really engrosses you into the characters and the world. ( )
  renbedell | Aug 14, 2014 |
I'm getting there. I'm getting there.

I raised my star rating on this from three to four stars; I was probably pretty cranky when I read it lo those many years ago, because I knew it would be a good couple of years before the next installment came out. (It was three years.) And by then - 2000 - the rumors had gotten more widespread that the author was ill and might not live to finish the series.

But I have to say, this time I felt this was one of the better volumes in WoT. Quite a bit happened, there was some payoff on some long-running plotlines, and it ended with quite a bang. It was a little confused on its way to the bang, I thought, and almost rushed, but after eight other books and untold hundreds of pages I'll take the bang.

One of the many times I read this series I let my obsessive side take over, and I compiled a database of characters and predictions. It was entirely pen and ink and lots and lots of paper. I let it go somewhere around volume eight, and never got it typed up on the computer - in fact, I think getting a computer might have contributed to its demise, because I couldn't quite stomach the notion of recreating all of that work in digital form. (Also, I believe I discovered that there were others just as obsessive as I am, and more digitally forward, so I would only be reinventing the, er, Wheel.) And that's kind of a shame, because it's the sort of Big Fat Giant Fantasy Series that rewards that kind of obsessive behavior. There are foretellings and predictions and visions and dreams and whatnot made throughout which - especially after all these years/all these months (depending on which way you want to look at it) are very satisfying when they're finally fulfilled. There's a bit of that in Winter's Heart.

And there are also mysterious characters galore, including the handful of the Forsaken who were brought back from the dead and downloaded into new bodies - and a couple of other Big Bads who were even more mysterious. A fanatical devotion to noting minute detail might allow the über fan to be able to smugly say "I knew it!" when certain identities are revealed - or to be able to say "Aha! I know that Aginor created the Trollocs, therefore ...!" (I admit it. I had to look that up. But some eighteen years ago I might have known that.

And you never know when one or two of those millions of background characters who were given names and descriptions might pop up again. Jordan was pretty obsessive and detail-oriented his own self.

Yes, there are still spankings; yes, there is still an overabundance of women on horseback with their skirts riding up above their knees. Yes, there's still a boatload of crabby and cliche-ridden characterization.

But there are also very much in evidence all the reasons I keep reading the series, and why I've kept reading it all these years (and all these months). It's - as I've probably said before - a damn good yarn. And I want to know what happens next. ( )
  Stewartry | Jun 29, 2014 |
this book and series is getting to be frustrating. It is so slow and cumbersome. There are so many f assets of this book that have been so much better. One good thing though is Mat is becoming one of my favorite characters. His is probably the best character development. ( )
  seaofsorrow | May 20, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The first six chapters of Winter's Heart follow Perrin and Faile after Faile is abducted by the Shaido Aiel. The next several chapters follow Elayne as she returns to Caemlyn and prepares to make a bid for her mother's crown. These two storylines are incredibly dull and I confess that I skimmed over a lot of it and read the excellent cross-referenced chapter summaries at Encyclopaedia WOT. I read Winter's Heart years ago and I just did not feel like once again sitting in on Elayne's steward's descriptions of the rats in the Caemlyn sewers or Perrin's angst about Faile (good riddance, I say!).

Mat's story, as usual, was entertaining, and we finally get to meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons (who turns out to be not nearly as exotic as her name suggests). Rand's storyline was side-tracked by his quest to hunt down the rogue Asha'man, so he doesn't really accomplish anything new until the very last chapter (as usual).

There is the usual plodding pace, annoying references to women's clothing, and frighteningly frequent mentions of spanking. The only thing going for this series at this point is that it is truly epic in scope and I still want to know how it will end. I just hope I can hang in there a little bit longer.
Read more Robert Jordan book reviews at Fantasy literature. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Jordanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kramer, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The seals that hold back night shall weaken, and in the heart of winter shall winter's heart be born amid the wailing of lamentations and the gnashing of teeth, for winter's heart shall ride a black horse, and the name of it is Death. --from The Karaethon Cycle: The Prophecies of the Dragon
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Always for Harriet. Always.
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Three lanterns cast a flickering light, more than enough to illuminate the small room with its stark white walls and ceiling, but Seaine kept her eyes fixed on the heavy wooden door.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 081257558X, Mass Market Paperback)

Is Robert Jordan still doing the Light's work? Even loyal fans have to wonder. (And if you're not a fan yet, you'll have to read the previous 6,789 pages in this bestselling series to understand what all the fuss is about.)

Everyone's in agreement on the Wheel of Time's first four or five volumes: They're topnotch, where-have-you-been-all-my-life epic fantasy, the best in anybody's memory at the time since The Lord of the Rings. But a funny thing happened on the way to Tarmon Gai'don, and many of those raves have become rants or (worse) yawns. Jordan long ago proved himself a master at world-building, with fascinating characters, a positively delicious backstory, and enough plot and politics to choke a Trolloc, but that same strength has become a liability. How do you criticize what he's doing now? You want more momentum and direction in the central plot line, but it's the secondary stories that have made the world so rich. And as in the last couple of books, (A Crown of Swords and The Path of Daggers), Jordan doesn't really succeed at pursuing either adequately, leaving a lot of heavily invested readers frustrated.

Winter's Heart at least shows some improvement, but it's still not The Eye of the World. Elayne's still waiting to take the crown of Andor; the noticeably absent Egwene is still waiting to go after the White Tower; Perrin gets ready to pursue the Shaido but then disappears for the rest of the book. About the only excitement comes with the long-awaited return of Mat Cauthon and a thankfully rock 'em, sock 'em finale in which Rand finally, finally changes the balance of power in his fight against the Dark One. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:37 -0400)

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In the continuing Wheel of Time saga, Rand and Min are on the run, while Black Tower leader Mazrim Taim is exposed, a Seanchan princess arrives in Ebou Dar and the schemers of the White Tower are beset by rebels.

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