Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. Grad school is quieting down, which means reading is picking up. I'm halfway done A Memory of Light as I speak. Type. Whatever. I want to finish these reviews before I finish the series, so let's dive right in.

Much of the prologue is dedicated to Elayne and Aviendha. You see, the friendship between the two has been growing, to the point where they almost consider each other sisters. In this prologue, they realize that friendship can create bonds more meaningful than sisterhood, and that these friendships can reach across cultures. If only wetlanders and Aiel would be more accepting of each other, such true bonds of sorority and fraternity could spring up everywhere.

Nah, just kidding. They take part in an Aiel ceremony that magically makes them sisters.

Number of rituals where women get naked: 4

But seriously, there's something odd about Elayne's relationship with the Aiel. With characters like Rand and especially Egwene, gaining the Aiel's acceptance is a major part of their arcs. But with Elayne, this is absent; the Wise Ones' acceptance of her comes for free. I guess I'll chalk this one up to stricter standards for Rand and Egwene, but I know I'm not the only one who finds it odd.

The book proper focuses first on Perrin and Faile in the SUBPLOT OF DOOM, then on Elayne in Caemlyn. I've decided not to spend time commenting on these arcs now, and instead wait for when they've concluded in Book 11. Which probably means that Book 11's review is going to be huge.

I will, however, comment on one thing regarding Elayne: her meeting with Rand. Elayne, along with Aviendha and Min, meet up with Rand and declare their desire of polygamy. Okay, sure. I can't say I grok polyamoury, but whatev- And then they bond him.

Let's recap what we know of Elayne and Rand's relationship thusfar. Their first meeting was in Book 1. Not much meaningful interaction, maybe two hours? The next period of time spent together was in Book Four, where they made it Facebook official and spent about a week together. Then they don't see each other again until... now. And she's bonding him, an action that is in many ways more serious than marriage. I get that romances in fiction develop faster by necessity. But this is a fourteen book series! Elayne and Rand's relationship seems underdeveloped even compared to most other romances in the series.

(And don't get me started on how Aviendha and Min are taking part in the bonding despite barely knowing each other. Am I just being prudish? Someone please confirm that it isn't just me and that this is a very doomed relationship.)

In spite of all the above complaints, I did enjoy the other two major arcs in this book, namely Mat's and Rand's. In many ways, this book constitutes a return to form. Mat spends his time in Ebou Dar, trying to plot an escape attempt not just for himself, but for his supporting cast and the Sea Folk prisoners to boot. In many ways, this mirrors his adventures in Book Three. At the same time, Rand has left politics behind for the time being, and is travelling around incognito. Far Madding is a new fantasy setting to be introduced and explored, and the action scenes within resemble those of the first two books. No longer can the Power be used to solve any problem. Finally, the book ends with this huge climatic fight, much like the first few books did, except with higher stakes and almost all the Forsaken engaging the party.

It's a big finish, with ramifications that will reverberate throughout the rest of the series. How big are these ramifications? Join me for the review of Book Ten, a book which spends most of its time analyzing exactly that. And not much else.


  • Achievements for Team Light: Mat et al. escapes Ebou Dar, Rand et al. cleanse the Source.
  • Forsaken count: Total of three dead, two erased.
  • Seals count: Total of four destroyed, three intact.

Mmmmm. Relatively short for once.