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Knife of Dreams
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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Many people claim female characters in the series are weak, but I thought Jordan did a great job of adding dimension to Egwene's character as she faces her custody in the White Tower and her punishments for refusing to yield to Eladia's command. She is subjected to severe penance, but embraces it in Aiel fashion with great honor. In addition, I also thought Nynaeve grew immensely in this book in her relationship with Lan, and there was an awesome scene involving Lan and his destiny in the story.
After meandering for the last two books, I thought Jordan did pleasing advanced the story arcs of Perrin/Faile, Mat/Tuon, and Elayne while including and some battles with trollocs and the Black Ajah. Rand's story also advanced, although it is a bit slower since so much focus was on the other main characters.
I've already finished book 12, and I can tell you the story is really getting exciting now! I thought Jordan really got the story back on track with book 11, and Sanderson cranks things up in the remaining books. It is so worth the long read if you've been involved since the first book in 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.
"Knife of Dreams" far outpaces "Crossroads of Twilight" for the simple fact that things actually happen and plots actually resolve themselves in this book. Finally, readers are given resolutions that we have been waiting three books for. Perrin chasing after his kidnapped wife? Resolved. Elayne trying to gain the Lion Throne? Resolved. Mat fleeing Altara with the Daughter of the Nine Moons? Resolved. Rand's continued efforts? Advanced.
While CoT was a slow and stagnant mess, "Knife of Dreams" kicks the Wheel of Time back into action and actually spins out some worthwhile resolutions, and the later half of the book was actually enjoyable to read. While the Wheel of Time has always been a series that has required patience and given its rewards only after thorough digestion, I was laughing out loud with joy and satisfaction by the time I got to the last tenth of the book and things started wrapping up. Though the last four books made one heck of a mess, Robert Jordan was definitely doing his darndest to get things into shape, here.
Looking back, I am eminently glad that I didn't begin reading the Wheel of Time series until this late in its gigantic, plus four million sprint of slow paced but epic storytelling. I can completely understand those who couldn't finish the series, and if I had been one of them, waiting two or three years between books and then getting unsatisfactory novels like CoT, well, I might have joined them. This is the time to be reading the Wheel of Time, with Brandon Sanderson belting out the last few novels in the series with the speed and efficiency of a well-oiled machine. Now that I've finished all the novels that Robert Jordan managed to complete in life, we'll finally get to see what kind of job he does. I have high hopes, as I did after finishing "The Final Empire." Hopefully, the combination of the two authors will complement each other, with Sanderson's tighter prose inserting some vigor back into the Wheel of Time and Robert Jordan's carefully laid out notes preventing Sanderson from penning a horrible ending to the Wheel of Time the way he did with his own Mistborn Trilogy. At least I'll know that whatever happens was Jordan's plan, not Sanderson. I don't think I could take the indignity if he went and killed off another one of my favorite characters. (Rand, in this case.)
What a huge series this has been. . .
While there is redundancy in the telling of the tales, one can skim those areas and move on through. I do not like the violence, but that is a personal preference. Thankfully, there are so many other plot lines and embellishments, that the violence recedes in importance.
So I don't have anything specific about the Knife of Dreams to relate. But if you have gotten this far, continue. It IS worth it. Keep on reading. You will be enthralled.