The events at Falme are only beginning to reverberate through the Westlands, few knowing the facts - and few those people are - can deny that Rand al'Thor is the Dragon Reborn. Mat is being conveyed to The White Tower for Healing as quickly as possible by Verin, Nynaeve, Egwene, Elayne, Thom, and Hurin, the dagger and Horn by his side. Perrin and Min and Loial stay with Moiraine and Lan and the Shienarans to be near Rand. There is tension and they are waiting, for what Moiraine can't, or won't, say.
There is an attack and then Rand is gone. Readers won't hear from Rand for most of the rest of novel, his actions can only be speculated on and guessed at. We must follow the same clues as Perrin and co. to figure out if they are going to catch up with him.
The stakes get higher with each novel, and Jordan does a fair job of building suspense as one party, from Perrin's perspective, follow after Rand; Nynaeve, Egwene and Elayne become ensnared in a plot concerning darkfriends in the White Tower at the Amyrlin's behest; and FINALLY we get a POV from Mat. He could be a frustrating character sometimes, with all the machismo and womanizing, but his incredible luck along with ta'veren powers made him always worth reading. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne continue to grow as characters, and theirs is still my favorite plotline of the book, and the subtle shifts in their dynamic was a tidy setup for what was coming in the future. Jordan has occasional skirt-smoothing, arms-crossed-below-their-breasts, trouble with his female characters, they are a vital part of the structure of the story. This bears repeating as so many other authors failed to create stories as dynamic for any of their characters that Jordan does for his heroines.
The cast continues to grow, with only poor Hurin being trimmed from the cast (at least for a dozen or so books), but it does so organically and hasn't reached levels of frustration yet. 'The Dragon Reborn' features more encounters with the Forsaken, new shadowspawn, lore aplenty, and a terrific showdown at the end. It is the last book which has anything resembling a tidy ending until the big conclusions start going down at the very end. These first three books cemented my love of this series.
The Wheel of Time
Next: 'The Shadow Rising'
Previous: 'The Great Hunt'