When I get sucked in to a piece of fiction, I often find myself mirroring the style of the text in my private thoughts. This can manifest in something as simple as altering my vocabulary a little to finding myself unconsciously mimicking the characters.
So it’s a great compliment to this book when I say “Over the past weeks, I’ve kept having to stop myself from thinking I was Rand or Egwene.” This is not something that has been a problem for the other books in this series. I guess whatever that ineffable something is that fantasy authors have, Sanderson brought it.
The major complaints I’ve had with Jordan’s work were all solved by Sanderson. He kept the main characters and villains in the forefront and the secondary characters on the sidelines so I was never overwhelmed with names. He avoided tedious and complex political maneuvering in favor of strong action scenes. Most importantly, perhaps, he didn’t spend chapters on spankings. Thank the Light for that.
Some of the other problems, especially in established characterizations, he avoided by the simple expedient of sidelining the worst offenders.
Instead, Sanderson focused on magic and action: the meat and potatoes of high fantasy. I don’t know that it was strictly his doing (perhaps Jordan had always intended to change the focus for this part of the story), but it was a welcome change. The only real complaint I have with this book is that it’s too far into the story to serve as an introduction to the series.
Hopefully, the next two volumes will continue in the same vein. If so, the entire series will be worthwhile.