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A Bittersweet Volume in the Series
on July 23, 2012
Knife of Dreams has two distinctions -- first, it is the last volume in the series written by Robert Jordan; second, it is the best Wheel of Time book in many many years. So given that, it's hard not to feel a certain kind of melancholy as you read through these pages and know that they are Jordan's last full contributions to the series.
With Path of Daggers, the series was driven into a cul-de-sac (well, several cul-de-sac's to be exact), and Knife of Dreams exists almost solely to get it back on track. Characters are reunited, plots are resolved and the Last Battle looms ever closer. Through it all, Jordan reminds his readers what made these books great in the first place -- the rich and complicated world, well-defined characters, and the most epic and entertaining battles in contemporary American fantasy. Mat's arc in Knife of Dreams is particularly satisfying, paying off much of what has been built over the preceding volumes. Perrin also reaches the end of a very long journey, and Rand finds himself in a drastically different place than he expected.
This is the start of the payoff promised in the early volumes of the series. It's sad that Jordan was unable to finish the series himself, but at least he managed to end his final contribution on a high note.