67 of 78 people found the following review helpful
An improvement but resist the urge,
This review is from: Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, Book 11) (Hardcover)
The bottom line is that this is an acceptable "installment" but not a compelling "book". Like many of the recent releases, KoD lacks a central motivating conflict that establishes a driving pace for the book. On the upside, the subplots progress more than they have of late --- the reason for the 2nd star. In addition to the prologue, here are the "novellas" contained in KoD: Mat & Tuon's Story, Perrin & Faile's Story, Elayne's Story, the White Tower Story, a Rand teaser, and a very short but perfect chapter on Lan & Nynaeve.
The first three reach conclusions of a sort while the last three do not. Mat & Tuon's Story is easily the most enjoyable although the conclusion may leave you feeling unsatisfied. Perrin & Faile's Story is only enjoyable because the conclusion means that Perrin won't be doing the same thing in the next book. If you're an Elayne fan, you'll enjoy that, and otherwise, keep plenty of coffee by your side. The White Tower thread, focusing on Egwene, the Rebels, and Elaida, is very enjoyable, but it simply stops with no cliffhanger or resolution --- apparently the page limit must have been reached. Finally, Rand's Story is a very short teaser that contains the answer to a long-lingering question and intensifies his inner battle but contains little else worthwhile.
Yes, RJ pays up on several events that have been foreshadowed but after dragging them out for several books, the construction lacks the quality to make the reader care all that much. Considering RJ has created a world in which characters can move across the world in heartbeats, it grows frustrating that subplots never coalesce at any point. You will not find events like the Taking of the Stone or Dumai Wells which build to a head involving many characters. In fact, in reskimming the book, I found that each thread can be read entirely separately without spoiling anything (except for a viewing Perrin has of Rand).
As most WoT fans, I was hooked from the first book and have purchased every book since The Great Hunt in hardback the day it was released. That is, every book until CoT when I lost my patience with the pacing and waited for mass market. After seeing some advance reviews of KoD, I couldn't resist the urge and again picked up the book on the release date. If you can't resist the urge, at least you'll have company in your misery ...