Winter’s Heart is the ninth installment of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. The series itself is massive and each volume is an endeavor. Winter’s Heart is no exception. Coming in at 766 pages, the book does not lack for story, and unlike several earlier volumes in the series where there’s lots of walking and meetings, most of this book’s story is exciting and engaging. Death, rebirth, fighting, and magic abound.
The book follows a Rand al’Thor, Elayne Trakand, Perrin Aybara, Mat Cauthon, and several others. Rand al’Thor is the prophesized Dragon Reborn—a man of legend who can channel (use magic) who is reincarnated throughout time. Each time, he is The Dark One’s advisory. In this volume, he is tracking down rogue Asha’men (men who can channel magic) who had betrayed him, and he becomes obsessed with cleansing the male-half of the One power, and seeks to do so with the help of Nynaeve. Elayne is now settled in the royal city of Caemlyn, where she is basically heir-apparent. However, succession will be neither easy nor without conflict. After his wife gets taken by the Shaido, Perrin breaks from his quest to bring the Prophet of the Dragon to Rand in order to find her. Unfortunately, this story line gets cut short and leaves the reader unfulfilled. Mat, who was missing from the last book, returns with a vengeance and with one of the most engaging story lines. He is trapped in Seanchan-controlled Ebou Dar and must plot his escape. As in previous books (and as I’ve mentioned in other reviews), there are also places where the story is told from a minor character’s point of view, which does get annoying at times as it seems unnecessary. Usually, the part of the story that they’re introducing or uncovering is very minor and could have been done so in a much simpler and less jarring manner.
Winter’s Heart is not perfect, but it is an appealing and entertaining addition to the series and it also moves the whole epic story along nicely. There is a plethora of story lines and all are attention-grabbing. Overall the book was a good way to pass time and escape from the realities of this world.