Well, it is interesting that we have some reviews that are almost the complete opposite to this one. One person will say that this book slows down remarkably compared to the other books, while the next person says that in this book it picks up remarkably. I suspect we are going to get a few more of them as we move through this series, though I will be bringing my commentaries to an end with the next book because that book, as far as I can remember, was the last book in the series that I finished.
One thing that I do remember about these books was that there was this massive fortress city called Tear sitting on the south coast and that a part of the prophecy involved the Dragon Reborn taking this city that nobody else had been able to, thanks to its the massive walls. Rand ends up taking the city by climbing the walls with a bunch of nomads which is probably one of those badly tied up loose ends that people seem to talk about. To me it sounds like Tolkien's criticism of Shakespeare in that the man not of woman born was a man that was born by cesearian section (and then goes on to do an equally silly thing by having the Wraith Lord, who could not be killed by the hand of man, be killed by a woman).
The other thing about Rand is that while he is the prophesied Dragon Reborn, it does not necessarily mean that he is good, and it also means that, because he is a magic user, he will inevitably go mad. Now this is a very good plot device, however for it to work one has to keep the reader interested and as you are probably aware my interest waned at about Book Eight. However, there is a bad guy in this book, some evil god that is awakening and that this mad prophet is destined to defeat. He did defeat an aspect of this mad god in book one, but as you are aware, the series continues.
Another thing that I have found is that while Jordan may have constructed a rich world, throwing in creatures like Trollocs and Ogiers sort of spoils it a bit. It seemed that he did not want to make people think that they were Trolls and Ogres, so changed their name slightly. Okay, I must admit that I have done that as well in my writings (changing orcs to orcons, trolls to trogs, dwarves to shorters, and elves to Epar), but my writings are still in the draft stages (and there is a question whether they ever will get finished, but if they don't well, who cares – I don't).