Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan

The sixth Wheel of Time novel felt very different to the earlier ones to me, because it features Rand as a major political figure in the world (the titular Lord of Chaos). At this point, I actually found him to be pretty unlikeable, because he’s so exceedingly arrogant, but I think that this was very much intentional on Robert Jordan’s part, because all his hubris seems to come to a head by the end. It’s interesting to see how far he’s come since being the simple, likeable unlikely hero of the first novel. To some extent, I miss his earlier characterisation, but another part of me wonders whether we’re going to see him become an outright force for evil, and that’s quite intriguing.

I did miss Moiraine in this book though. Rand’s arrogance almost seems to be a response to her absence. Of course, he was always a bit arrogant, but nowhere near as often as he is here and it is sad not to have Moiraine challenging him. But it’s not just that. She was pretty much my favourite character in the whole series, and it is a shame to have the story moving on without her. Initially I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much with her gone, but fortunately, I still thought it was pretty good. Partially, I guess, because there’s a lot of Aes Sedai drama here.

The rebel Aes Sedai faction located in Salidar is one of my favourite things about this book. Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne are all finding their way in this growing community that’s finding its feet, and to me it’s a really interesting bit of political nuance to the world. Here they also have a captive Moghedien who’s teaching them more about what they can do by channelling, but who’s identity they have to keep secret, due to the fact that the other Aes Sedai would want her executed, and would punish them for protecting her. It makes for a fun dynamic when contrasted against her as a major antagonist in previous novels.

One small issue I had with the Salidar portion of the story this time (without spoiling anything) was that something fairly major happens, and the characters never really stop to ask why. Instead of thinking “I can’t believe this big thing happened, let’s find out why, because that information will be valuable to us” they’re just like “Oh, wow, that’s cool” and it didn’t quite seem believable to me. Consequently, I thought it made them look pretty dumb. It even kind of ruined my enjoyment of the latter half of the book.

Still, all things considered, I thought this was one of the better Wheel of Time books. I didn’t find myself getting bored, like I did with some of the others, and I was pleased with some of the cool developments.

Rating: 8.1/10

Buy it here.

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