Is this book good? Yes. If you have read many Stephen King books to date, will this book given anything new to the reader? Not really...
Not to make it sound like the book is unoriginal, it's just the characters and psychoses developed are so similar to those in countless other situation by King. It is thoroughly readable/listenable, and I recommend this book if you like Stephen King, or just a decent thriller! But don't expect something new from the King of horror/thriller writing. People being trapped under a dome? Okay, that's not exactly unoriginal, but that's really only a small part of the book. The framework on which rests the character development and the good and evil elements of the heroes and villains of the piece.
It is a roller coaster ride for sure, and i don't doubt anyone would enjoy this book, if they are considering it, or reading this.
However, if you are new to King I recommend Needful Things, IT, Christine, Cujo, Carrie and even Dreamcatcher as original and exciting stories.
Although many new and exciting developments happen in this book, the key progression of the story takes place in Ebou Dar as Nynaeve al'Meara and Elaine Trakand search for the bowl of the winds, a new Ter'angreal that should help change weather (see book 8 to find out if it succeeds!).
The introduction of Cadsuane also adds to Rand's disgruntlement, and gives much stock into the history of Aes-Sedai, though the discovery of women who can channel in Ebou Dar also lends weight to Aes-Sedai history.
This book is full of excitement, like the others, but in many ways it is expositional, setting up things for the final swing through the remaining books to Tarmon Gai'Don. A fine step through the world of The Wheel of Time, and thoroughly gripping as with the others.
Lastly, Matt Cauthon again gets some great scenes, and really fleshes out as a character in this book, setting him and Perrin up for the rest of the books where they both become Rand's right and left hands.
From this book on, it gets even more exciting! But from book 11, Robert Jordan's final completed and published volume in the series, the Jordan-Sanderson team do a fine job tying it all together. Bring on Volume 12, Tor and Harriett! ;)
First of all I must ask forgiveness for my review of Book 6, which I wrote before writing this review. I stated therein that the battle at the end of Book 6 at Dumai's Wells was the first real battle since the taking of Tear at the end of Book 3. However, clearly this is not the case as in book 5 there is a major battle for Cairhien with the Shaido. Not to play this battle down, either as it is when Mat begins to command his own troops through loyalty and strategy gained through his forrays into the Aiel Waste in Book 4.
There are several key battles, however, through the book which just take your breath away, and the battle for Cairhien was not one of them, though it is well presented and exciting enough to move the story along. The battle at Dumai's Wells was the next key battle in my opinion.
However, the rest of the book far exceeds expectations as characters really develop, Elaine and Nynaeve running from Tanchico, trying to find the rebel Aes Sedai, and avoid Elaidas attempts to capture them. Egwene, learning the crafts of the wise women Aiel and developing as a dream-walker. One wonders if maybe Egwene is Taveren as well as Mat, Perrin and Rand!
Rand finally finds a teacher of Saidin, though in the most unlikely of places, and he starts to really develop as Aes Sedai in his own right. And it is here that Lews Therrin starts to coalesce in Rand's mind.