Winter's Heart is one of the odder books in the Wheel of Time series. The 9th book, it is definitely not a beginning point, in fact, this is a series that HAS to be read in order. Otherwise you will have no clue what's going on (and even those who have read it in order are confused sometimes).
Rand is in hiding. Well not
hiding exactly, he is more hunting obtrusively and has a secret that
he's not willing to share with anyone but Nynaeve if he can help it.
She meanwhile is at the palace with Elayne as Elayne tries to win
support from the rest of her country so she can take the throne. Perrin
is dealing with the Prophet of the Dragon and having numerous troubles
besides, and Mat is stuck in Ebou Dar, where the Seanchan has just taken
over and he is a lapdog for the Queen there. So all in all, everybody
is in a heap of trouble and over their heads.
Nynaeve improved a
little bit with this book. If you haven't read my reviews on the series
before, she is my favorite and for awhile Jordan absolutely butchered
her character. But she's starting to improve and it hasn't lessened my
liking of her any. Elayne on the other hand I still don't care for.
Yeah she's the daughter-heir to the throne and she acts like, and I
really just can't handle her ego at times. Egwene is still strong and
determined. Rand is a little lighter this time around. Not the Rand
from the first book by any means, but not quite as distant as he was in
the last few books. Mat is still as charming and funny as ever and I
enjoy his side story quite a bit.
That being said, I still like
Perrin's character but not his story in this book. I thought it was
unnecessary and frustrating as it didn't really add anything to the
book. Mat at least is entertaining and he has a good backstory, but
Perrin didn't have much of anything in this book. The pacing is also a
bit slower in this one as well. Jordan is known for his detail, but
there's too much of it here and while there's action, there is not
enough action. It just doesn't move along like the first half of the
series did and keep you interested. In this book, I could set it down
and come back to it instead of reading it in one sitting (which is still
a long time due to the length of these books). There's too much focus
on side characters and not enough on the ones that were with us from the
If you're this far in the series, this book will not
make you give up by any means, but it will slow down your fervor for
reading the next one. Even so, Jordan's bad writing is still
entertaining than a lot of other fantasy authors out there, so it's
still worth reading.