I think the story overall is engaging and interesting. It follows nicely from the two previous books in the series and provides for solid growth for the majority of the characters. Despite all the good things that I have to say about this book, I could not give it 5 stars because of several issues that undermined my enjoyment of the book.
First, there were some glaring errors in a number of places that rendered whole sentences almost unintelligible. I'm not sure if it is merely this edition, but the editor missed multiple significant errors that changed the meanings of some statements, making it difficult to follow a few conversations and pulling me out of the moment. One or two errors is forgivable, but I counted at least 10 pretty significant errors.
Second, the lack of story line filled with Rand was disappointing. He has been one of the main characters up to this point and is one of the most important characters in the book. I understand that the separation of Mat, Perrin, Egwene, and Nyneave means that each gets a bit less time devoted them, but I would really like to see Rand's development into the Dragon Reborn. Catching small glimpses during his trek to Tear and getting nothing substantial until his fight with Be'lal was frustrating.
This was made more frustrating by the plodding nature of some of the other story lines. Perrin's story was interesting, showed some growth and introduced a new character. Overall it was worthwhile and introduced some interesting elements. Mat's story was likewise interesting. I missed Thom and was glad to see him back in the story. Seeing Mat deal with the issues that come up with his luck and the old Manetheren blood was enjoyable. His story could probably have done with a little less time spent on him eating and contemplating leaving Tar Valon, but overall it was a useful and interesting story.
Egwene and Nynaeve's story lines suffered significantly in this book and could have been much shorter. After their meeting with the Amyrlin it seems that all of their time is spent talking about how the Black Ajah is dangerous and how great it feels to touch the One Power. The Tel'aran'rhiod scenes do not seem to give us much more information than we obtain from Perrin's wolf dreams, and most of Egwene, Nyneave, and Elayne's time in Tar Valon is spent with pacing and exasperation. Once they finally leave they get captured twice, the first time for no discernible reason and the second time merely to move them out of the way of the battle and give Mat a goal. Overall I found this story line to be unnecessarily long and tedious. This was disappointing because I genuinely liked both Egwene and Nyneave in the first two books, but it seems that Nyneave is moving to become merely a caricature fluctuating between boiling anger and cold hatred while Egwene is going to become the petulant child character.
Related to this, the animosity between Nyneave and Egwene seems to be a sudden development. There isn't much in the way of slow building or of any foreshadowing that there will be conflict between them. One chapter they are working together and the next Egwene seems to want to needle Nyneave because of some tension between them. Maybe it was just me, but this conflict seems to be arbitrary and without any real consequence other than to make both Nyneave and Egwene, but especially Egwene, appear immature and hennish.