I have been very defensive of the Wheel of Time series in the past, but this book is just begging for criticism. There is no story arc whatsoever - nothing happens. There is no climax. My experience with previous WoT books is that you can read the first 500 pages wondering when the climax will arrive, and it may be the last 50 pages of a huge volume, but it's usually totally worth all of the drudging build-up, character development, extraneous detail and unnecessary complication. I love those things, in a way. It makes the world real, dense, complex. But it was completely unnecessary this late in a series to provide an entire volume that does not move the plot along, that accomplishes ONLY establishing back-story, developing characters and showing the complications. It’s as if this tenth instalment is the beginning of a new story. Jordan gives us an introduction, a complication, and rising action, but we have to wait until the next book to get the climax and falling action.
Also, without spoiling the end, this was the worst cliff-hanger of all time. Cliff hangers are designed to make us long for more, but it’s a delicate balance before the audience is just, well, pissed off. Having a character continuously hint that she is about to do something that will change the world tonight, to end with her getting caught, but still not letting the reader know what that thing is even though the entire scene is in free indirect third person point of view, in which we know ALL of that characters thoughts except for this very important detail, is pissing me off. The book should not have ended on this note. I really hope that Jordan’s last novel can make up for this waste of time.