Author: Robert Jordan
Summary: (I found a great summary for the entire book series, without actually spoiling what happens, from Wikipeadia.)
In the beginning, the Creator made the Wheel of Time, which spins the Pattern of the Ages using the lives of men and women as its threads. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it is rotated by the One Power, which flows from the True Source. The One Power is divided into male and female halves, saidin and saidar, which work in opposition and in unison to drive the Wheel. Those who can use this power are known as channelers; one organization of such channelers is the Aes Sedai.
The Creator imprisoned Shai'tan, known as the Dark One, a powerful, evil being, at the moment of creation, sealing him away from the Wheel. However, in a time called the Age of Legends, the Dark One was given purchase in the world through the machinations of people who opened his prison, and began his efforts to conquer the world, creation, and even the Wheel itself. In response to this, the Wheel spun out the Dragon, a channeler of immense power, to be a champion for the Light. Due to the cyclical nature of the Wheel, there has been no definitive victory for the forces of the Light; the war has been fought innumerable times since the dawn of Creation. The Dragon would defeat Shai'tan and seal him from the Wheel, only to have him come close to breaking out (or being released) several millennia later, forcing the Dragon to be reborn and repeat the entire process.
Jordan's novels concern themselves with one particular incarnation of the Dragon. About 3000 years have passed since the last war between Shadow and Light. This war ended when the Dragon, then born as Lews Therin Telamon, led a daring raid to Shayol Ghul and sealed the breach in the Dark One's prison with the help of a group of other male channelers known as the Hundred Companions (female channelers, due to recent gender politics and the extreme risk of the strike, refused to assist). Though Lews Therin succeeded, the Dark One managed to spread a taint on saidin itself, bringing madness and a wasting sickness to any who channeled it. The taint quickly overcame nearly every male channeler in the world, including Lews Therin and his companions, with catastrophic results that radically changed the face of the earth in an event known as the Breaking of the World. From then onwards, Lews Therin was also called the "Kinslayer", as one of the last results of his madness was to destroy everyone who carried his blood as well as everyone he loved.
For these reasons, the return of the Dragon is a cause for both hope and fear amongst the populace. On the one hand, the Dragon Reborn is the only person capable of defeating Shai'tan, who will inevitably begin to escape his prison. On the other, the Dragon Reborn will still be prey to the madness caused by the taint of evil in saidin, and is a harbinger of the horrifying fact that Shai'tan is once more breaking free. The only man who can save the world is also the man most likely to destroy it. He must not only work to unite the civilized world against the Dark One, but struggle to stay alive—for, while prophecy indicates he will be reborn, it says nothing as to whether he will succeed...
The Wheel of Time Series focuses on three main characters referred to in the series as ta’verenTa'veren are people who either pull the world to meet their needs or are forced by the Wheel to follow a path. The three young men’s lives are all intertwined in this way. Rand, Mat & Perrin are led from their home of Two Rivers by an Aes Sedai, Moiraine and her Warder, al’Lan Mandragoran. The three young men are also joined by Egwene al’Vere and Nynaeve al’Meara who are also residents of the Two Rivers. Though author Robert Jordan often enjoys involving a wide array of characters and plots within the Wheel of Time series, they are all centralized upon The Dragon Reborn, Rand al’Thor. – Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon & Perrin Aybara.My Rating: 8.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: This isn't my favourite book in the series, but it is still one of the best Ive read so far. There were a few surprises in it and some interesting character developments. Jordan's ability to create battle scenes is stunning to say the least. He does a great job at making an epic and powerful battle, without disrupting the characters traits or plot lines. Some of the characters grow in this book, other continue to annoy you. (When/if you read the series, you'll understand. Some character's have this relative traits that really bug the hell out of you, and it happens in almost every chapter that character is in). One thing tis series has is strong women, and women who have a lot of influence and power. Men of course do to, but the women seem to be able to have a role reversal in many instances in the book. The series does slow down in this book, and I hear that it slows down even more in the books to come. But Robert Jordan does a fantastic job at creating this world, including some character's you can't get enough of. (Perrin is definitely one of my favourites!)
Would I recommend it to read: This entire series is a must read for any fantasy fan. Not to mention, if you've come this far in the series, you're already half way through. So read it, read the others, and enjoy Jordan's world!
What to read next: Well, if you read this, I'm assuming you've read the books that came before this. So the next book to read in the Series is the Wheel of Time a Crown of Swords.