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Customer Review

335 of 400 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tarmon Gai'don Is Coming......umm.... soon., October 21, 2005
This review is from: Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, Book 11) (Hardcover)
Upon finishing Knife of Dreams, I for one cannot wait until RJ finishes Book 12, and in humble fashion as I bend over I beseech you RJ,

"Thank you sir, may I have another?"

After more than a decade with the WoT, I was overjoyed that the latest installment in the series maintains on several fronts the high quality from RJ and Tor that we all have come to expect.

For starters, the cover. I was thoroughly relieved to see that Darrell K. Sweet still has a commission for the cover art, despite the LEGIONS of nay-sayers. Oh, I'll admit that at first the non-proportional bodies, lackluster depiction of "action", and total disregard for perspective and detail puzzled me for a while, but after some deep soul-searching I realized that Sweet is an utter f***ing genius, and at long last his "style" is unleashed for Knife of Dreams. Always the master of subtlety, what better way to capture the heart-pounding tension rampant throughout Knife of Dreams than with rotund, mullet midget heroes ensconced in what no doubt must be a frothy debate over contour lines. Only Sweet could hint at the petulant, "Oh no you didn't", "Yes I did....but I'll still obey you anyways" drama that RJ utilizes to perfection in his books.

Oh my fine publisher, haven't you realized by now that there's no need for you to pimp RJ with your billboard "Sequel to the Number 1 Best Seller...", that in fact the luscious eye-candy that only the aptly named Sweet provides is more than enough to harken that another RJ epic has at long last arrived?

That said, I was amazed that RJ yet again manages to advance the plot despite the myriad of characters he has introduced us to over previous novels. For instance, Paidan Fain....Paidan....err, ok bad example.

Rand... yes, Rand, he's in the book!...Rand's tale in this epic involves 4.3 chapters of intriugue and action, allowing Jordan to further rip-off Norse mytholo.... umm, allowing Jordan to further incorporate....moving on...

Elayne and the struggle for the Lion Throne are revisited...and revisited....and revisited...and finally concluded.

Herbert's Fremen.... I mean Jordan's Aiel....alright I'll admit even I've lost track of where the hell the tens of thousands of Aiel are outside of the Shaido. Yet the Shaido storyline involving Perrin is finally resolved, and by gods Jordan even manages to involve the Seanchan and more references to Norse.... I mean obscure prophecies in the process.

Mat...he's still considered a primary character, yes? Ahem, I mean... The primary character whose name is Mat has his storyline involving Tuon and the Seanchan advance. Although highly anti-climatic, the details allow Jordan to introduce the possible return of a character long thought dead. In addition, George R.R. Martin's fresh POV... I mean Jordan's choice for a new POV is nothing short of brilliant.

Egwene, or should I call her "MISTER Tibbs", reprises her role as the plucky new Amyrlin now being held within the confines of The White Tower following her cliffhanger capture at the end of CoT. Unfortunately, the Aes Sedai West Wing intrigue we all loved in 8, 9, and 10 is held to a relative minimum.

Jordan also reminds us that the Forsaken and The Shadow are still central to the WoT series, and that even he remembers. Drawing upon scenes in his earlier novels, Jordan has the Forsaken conspiring in yet another clandestine meeting with tea and crumpets, with one even daring *gasp* to intervene with one of the primary storylines. Weevils, ghosts appearing, spoiled food...only a master storyteller such as Jordan could think to utilize such foreshadowing that The Shadow awaits. Less skilled authors might be tempted to merely have their characters becry that "Tarmon Gai'don is coming soon", "Who will ride for Tarmon Gai'don", "Who stands against The Shadow" repeatedly, or "What are you gonna do when Tarmon Gai'don runs wild over you?" without actually moving the plot towards a series-ending-but-thank-god-for prequels-ching-ching climax, but thankfully Jordan refuses to insult his readers and passes on such mundane script.

What he does not pass up on are the typical Jordanisms we as educated readers have learned to love. Only in RJ's delightful world do men fail to understand women, and women fail to understand men.... As you'll read you'll find yourself shouting in frustration to the characters on one page "You fool, she's tugging her braid, watch out!" and laughing heartily on the next. Sing it Jerry Lee, there's a whole lot of Spanking going on, and Jordan rarely passes up on the opportunity to have his female characters enjoy a good smack or two. As in other novels, Jordan continues the development of the characters T and A, and further explores the maniacal intricacies of the Bosom character.

RJ also rewards only his die-hard readers by failing to update the glossary with character/locale/item references for characters, locales, items actually mentioned in the book, reminding the bandwagoners that this gravy train stops for no one and you've either forked the dough for the previous 10 tickets or barring the internet sh*t out of luck.

As for the cons, there are a few. One might imagine that Jordan had actually begun to believe "What was, What will be" and initiated a return to the simply horredous style found in books 1-4, or even 5 and 6. The writing is "tighter", as if an actual editor sat down and used the delete key once and a while. Jordan slips now and then by including poignant scenes such as one with Nynaveave and Lan, reminding readers that they once cared about characters in his stories, although he does quickly return Nynaveave to her dull, book-end position opposite of Min, restoring the readers' faith in the same old Rand sandwich they've come to love lately. As mentioned earlier, the plot does advance, yet not at the pace of the earlier books. Granted, the brilliance found in 7,8,9,and 10 would be far too much to expect one author to sustain indefinitely, but undoubtedly readers spoiled by such masterful manipulation of character and plot will find Knife of Dreams somewhat of a letdown. Constant readers can only pray that "What was, What will be" does not come full circle and Book 12 degenerates into a rehash of the tight, fast-paced arcs found in Books 1-4.

For these reasons, despite the glowing positives in this review, in all fairness this reader can only recommend paperback over hardcover. That you've borrowed from you're local library, or a former friend to whom you've introduced the series. If hardcover is your thing, hunker down at your local bookstore and read KoD there. Knife of Dreams is not as bad as the earlier epics, but it's still a far cry from the preceding 4-5 books. You're reading reviews on Amazon and like all addicts you're going to get your fix one way or another, so you might as well save a few bucks and avoid the "hard"cover stuff. Or save the money for 2010 to use on book 12, the definite *wink wink* last book in this series. I promise I'll actually be in that book, and prove I'm not just a wild tangent RJ thought up and abandoned.
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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 16, 2007 11:38:45 AM PDT
S. Doyle says:
Very funny, but accurate-ish review.

Posted on Jul 5, 2007 11:39:51 AM PDT
David P. says:
Excellent. Thank you :)

Posted on Jul 19, 2007 10:32:48 AM PDT
Chicago Mama says:
brilliant. and yet, i continue to be a sucker.

Posted on Jul 22, 2007 2:53:23 AM PDT
Sam Elzway says:
You are so right on its not even funny. all i can say is Amen!

Posted on Jul 30, 2007 2:56:36 AM PDT
Martin says:
Well written, not to mention witty. Keep up the reviewing.

Posted on Jul 30, 2007 2:34:08 PM PDT
Nathan Scafe says:
Wow, this was almost as hard to follow as the Wheel of Time series itself, it was so long-winded and chock-full of sarcasm.

Posted on Aug 9, 2007 9:16:32 PM PDT
DJ L2 says:
Having given up at book 9, and recently given away all the books to charity, I have little doubt that this review was far more entertaining than RJ's latest. To all you sadists out there, quit it!

Posted on Sep 18, 2007 6:56:47 AM PDT
Bruce Butler says:
Bwa ha ha! Great review!

Posted on Sep 27, 2007 11:03:11 PM PDT
John says:
Enjoyed your reviews immensely, have you tried Niel Gaiman at all?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2008 7:36:40 PM PST
And what is wrong with sarcasm? Your viewpoint may also change now that Jordan has died and the series will NEVER be finished.
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