Sometimes I think Robert Jordan got paid by the word. Winter's Heart is so overwritten and has page after page and chapter after chapter of content that does nothing to move the story forward. If you cut the novel in half, it would still be too long for what actually transpired. Nothing of real consequence actually happens until about the last 20 pages, which is unacceptable for a 600 hundred plus page novel.
There are other issues with the novel, namely the unwieldy cast of characters that are impossible to keep track of. Basically there are maybe about twenty characters in the series who matter, and about 500 hundred minor characters. There's just no need to have that large of a cast. As a reader, I don't have any interest in following that many characters, and it only serves to water down the characters who do matter.
As for the content of the story, Perrin appears in the very opening of the book and is never heard from again. This is an example of a major character who has been marginalized in favor of the thousands of characters who follow in the book. The storyline with Mat, which dominated a large portion of the book was uninteresting and seemed to go nowhere. The Rand storyline, other than the last twenty or so pages, also seemed fairly inconsequential.
The bottom line is that Robert Jordan had lost his way at this point. I have been told to stick with the series because it gets better. I suppose I have invested too much to drop it, but picking up book number 10 will is about as appealing as a dentist visit right now.
Carl Alves - author of Blood Street