The last 100 pages was a whirlwind. Everything built up and it was a tremendous finish! I do take issue that it took soooo long to get there. The increased exposure to the ways of the Aes Sedai leaves a lot more to be known, and I like how Jordan isn't giving everything away. Although the characters were traveling in this book, it wasn't as repetitive as the last book.
Nynaeve seemed to have matured nearer to the end, but she still seems to have an irrational "destroy Moiraine" mentality, spurred on by her love for Lan. Jealously anyone? Because honestly Moiraine is really useful, scheming Aes Sedai or not, and having her on your side is better than going on it alone.
The ta'veren concept is still hard for me to understand. Are Rand, Mat, and Perrin the center of a whirlpool that everyone gets sucked into? I hope it will be explained more in the later books.
The characters have matured since the first, although they still had their whiny teenage moments. Egwene and Elayne made friends like they were in the third grade, I found it a bit unbelievable, knowing how teenage girls act. The interactions between the boys is more believable.
Anyhow, the story is ramping up, and surely Rand can't keep fighting against it.