Thursday, August 7, 2014

Audiobook Review: The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

Title: The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time #5)
Author: Robert Jordan
Narrator: Kate Reading & Michael Kramer
Publication Date: October 15, 1994
Publisher: Tor Books
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Reviews for book 6 & book 7

In this sequel to the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Shadow Rising, Robert Jordan again plunges us into his extraordinarily rich, totally unforgettable world: . ... Into the forbidden city of Rhuidean, where Rand al'Thor, now the Dragon Reborn, must conceal his present endeavor from all about him, even Egwene and Moiraine. ... Into the Amyrlin's study in the White Tower, where the Amyrlin, Flaida do Avriny a'Roihan, is weaving new plans. ... Into Andor, where Siuan Sanche and her companions, including the false Dragon Logain, have been arrested for barn-burning. ... Into the luxurious hidden chamber where the Forsaken Rahvin is meeting with three of his fellows to ensure their ultimate victory over the Dragon. ... Into the Queen's court in Caemlyn, where Morgase is curiously in thrall to the handsome Lord Gaebril. For once the Dragon walks the land, the fires of heaven fall where they will, until all men's lives are ablaze. And in Shayol Ghul, the Dark One stirs....

I'm just going to be upfront: I really enjoy this series. So that being said, I'm going to hit on the negatives first.

The biggest disappointment about the fifth book in the series is that Perrin, Faile, and Loial are nowhere to be seen. To be honest, their storyline is one of my favorites and I was really hoping to find out how the Two Rivers was faring. Not to say I didn't enjoy some of the other storylines... but I didn't enjoy some of the other storylines. I sometimes found myself getting extremely tired of Nynaeve and Elayne. Apart from their time spent in Tel'aran'rhiod, the world of dreams, I could have done without a lot of details of their story. I think the main problem is I just don't care that much for Nynaeve to begin with. She's supposed to be the oldest and wisest of the Two Rivers folks, but she acts the most immature. And, honestly, why does she pull her braid all the time? Still, I can't wait to see what happens between her and Lan!

Okay, now that the bad is out of the way... I love this series. Rand has grown so much since the first book. I'm so glad to finally truly see him as the Dragon Reborn and confident in himself and his abilities. His relationship with Aviendha has evolved dramatically and I cannot wait to see where that goes! Mat is also growing and gaining new and interesting abilities. I know that some reviews complain that there is no character growth and I'm really not sure what they're reading because these are not the same characters that were in The Eye of the World.

The world building is really great, as it has been in the previous four books. I feel like I'm constantly learning of a new place and now the author has taken us back to previous locations that I'd almost forgotten. I do hope he takes me back to Tear soon! There are a hundred more characters and places I could touch on, but this review would get ridiculous. Suffice it to say I love most of the characters and the worlds (especially the world of dreams) remain amazing in my humble opinion.

The ending was amazing! Every time I get near the end of one of these looooong books and start to think I'll listen to something different before the next one, the ending is just epic and I have to jump immediately to the next one. I'm not sure that I would survive these books in print form, but the audiobook makes it easy to enjoy them. I don't notice the endless repetition that so many people complain about. However, each of these books is over 24 hours worth of audio, so be prepared! I highly recommend this series to anyone with a lot of time and a love of fantasy.

°o°  Notes on the Audiobook  °o°
Sometimes voice actors can be difficult to accept. Not so with the Wheel of Time series. Kate Reading and Michael Kramer have narrated all of the books so far and, while I haven't checked to be sure, I'm really hoping they did the rest of the books as well. They are able to bring the stories to life and make each character unique.