This book feels like a roller-coaster ride after the last book. The action began right in the first pages of prolog (Galad and Whitecloaks subplot). Things moves much closer to the Last Battle; three of the most annoying subplots which dragged on and on during the last three books were finally resolved (Perrin, Elayne, and Mat). Below are my thoughts about the major characters of the series and their development.
Rand shows up fairly briefly; one of the prophesies about him is finally fulfilled - I am talking about Min's viewing the first time she meets him in the first book. Her viewing about Perrin was fulfilled a long time ago, and the one about Mat has not happened yet. The ones about Rand and Mat felt like nasty one, and in case of Rand it really was a bad one. Poor guy cannot catch any breaks; looks like he also slowly goes mad.
Mat finally returns to being awesome. His annoying subplot (yes, I used the words "Mat" and "annoying" in the same sentence) was finally resolved and in this book and it was fairly exciting with somewhat surprising if expected conclusion.
I would give this book 4 stars even if it contained nothing else but a closure of a torture called Perrin Sent to Bring Mazema to the Dragon Reborn. This piece was largely responsible for the last book being extremely slow. It dragged during the last three books, but it started even earlier in book 7. When you think about it, imagine a guy with a small army being stuck between Shaido Aiel, Seanchan invasion, and half-mad Dragon Prophet: how can this be boring? The answer is, it can and it actually is. This part is also responsible for this book losing one star from its rating as the subplot is still
slow. To be fair, I need to mention the last battle was exciting, but it was overshadowed by my huge sense of relief that this was finally over.
Elayne managed to achieve something she was trying to do for the last 3 books as well. She also managed to kill hundreds of people who were trying to protect her from her own stupidity. I really cannot accept her excuse of the type, "They signed up for this knowing they might die doing this". Sorry dear Elayne, but when they signed up for this nobody told them you are too stupid to live. The less is said about this, the better.
Nynaeve became the character with the most unexpected development. She was THE most annoying character in the first 3 books. Who would have thought at that time that she will say and do something which gives people goosebumps just from reading this? She actually did, and this became one of the most known quotes from the series. She does not have a lot of screen-time in here, but she uses it well.
Egwene tries to do the best under the circumstances - she ended up in a very difficult situation in the end of the previous book. She looks good, if somewhat masochistic. You know about enduring punishment until they became tired of giving it? This is her approach.
This is the last book Robert Jordan wrote before his untimely death. We lost one of the best world-builder surpassed only by J.R.R. Tolkien. I am still sad about him not being able to finish his series as well as never starting on another one he planned for a long time.
Dear Mr. Jordan, the fantasy genre had a great loss with your passing. Thank you for a wonderful journey in the world which really feels alive with different people with different cultures; the world full of mysteries, magic, lost knowledge, and strange ruins and artifacts, the world full of violence but still remaining bright and optimistic.
This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/826924/last-book-of-one-of-the-greatest-worldbuilder