Overall a worthwhile read and an enjoying continuation of the series. Despite the overall quality of the book, it does suffer from some serious deficiencies that have seemed to mark the whole series. While I did like Elayne, Nyneave, and Egwene in the first book, and through a good part of the second, they have plummeted to be some of the least likable characters in my mind. Nyneave continues to essentially a one dimensional character almost completely defined by her anger and stubbornness. She is frequently in the wrong, and even when she admits it to herself she does everything possible to refuse to admit it to others. She seems to fluctuate between fear, anxiety, rage, and annoyance with almost unimaginable speed. The biggest problem is that, despite how much she has had to rely on Mat, Thom, and Juilin, she still seems to believe that every man in the world is worthless and inept. She has needed to be saved on more than one occasion and then blames the rescuer for rescuing her.
Elayne is similar, but turned up to 11. She is completely and utterly rude to every man and seems almost completely unstable in all things dealing with Rand. While Egwene is slightly better, I cannot for the life of me figure out why Egwene looks down on Rand and Mat so much despite knowing how capable they are at actually implementing their plans.
On the other hand, Rand, Mat, and Perrin had very interesting chapters that kept me engaged. I wish there were more to the Mat, Rand, and Perrin storylines and that some of the chapters related specifically to Egwene, Elayne, and Nyneave would be cut from future books. Their storylines are aggravating and slow. On top of all of this, the Aes Sedai are apparently so incompetent that they think that manipulating, holding secrets, intimidation, and potentially kidnapping are the appropriate way to go about making an ally of Rand. I'm not sure what is going on in Robert Jordan's mind, but for some reason he seems intent on making the vast majority of the women in the series into one dimensional shrews without even a modicum of strategic ability despite their belief in themself. It is a testament to the rest of the story that he is largely successful in spite of the weaknesses in his female characters.