Review: Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, book 11)

Knife Of Dreams cover

Title: Knife of Dreams
Author: Robert Jordan
Published: 11 October 2005
Author’s Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan
Genre: Fantasy

Review:  Knife of Dreams, the eleventh book in The Wheel of Time starts off with Galad Damodred challenge and defeat Eamon Valda in a trial by combat for torturing and killing his mother, Morgase, the Queen of Andor.  This leads to the group of Whitecloaks following Galad, determined to team with whoever is fighting the Seanchan and riding to fight in The Last Battle.  We meet and watch Rodel Ituralde direct his troops against a larger force of Seanchan with damane, losing almost nothing in the battle while decimating the Seanchan.  We see Suroth approached by Semirhage and charged with killing Tuon, who currently rides with Mat.  And we find Egwene on her way into the White Tower, captured and shielded, where she begins to see how fractured the White Tower is…all of this in the prologue.

Throughout the rest of this book…

The rebels learn that Egwene has been captured, that she is not going to be executed, and yet she forbids them to attempt a rescue.  As a captive, Egwene notices the near-hostility between the Ajahs and decides to work to heal the tower and bring down Elaida.  Accepting her punishments while continuing to insist she is the Amyrlin Seat, she begins to sway novices and sisters to see her views.

Perrin makes a deal with the Seanchan in order to secure their aid in rescuing Faile from the Shaido, which involves large quantities of forkroot tea.  Perrin’s forces, with the aid of the tea, the Seanchan, and Masema’s army of rabble, are able to rescue Faile and the rest of their captured friends.  Perrin also learns that Masema will need to be eliminated after he finds he’s twisting people’s minds.

Mat continues courting Tuon while they continue traveling with Luca’s traveling circus.   Still not really understanding her culture gives her a great gift and then goes directly against her in defense of the Aes Sedai traveling with them, which, surprisingly doesn’t displease her too much.  He and his group split off from Luca’s and meet up with Talmanes who’s brought a small portion of the Band.  Mat devises a plan to escape across the mountains by attacking Seanchan camps.  Naturally, his plan works, and, true to his luck, Tuon’s most loyal Deathwatch Guards show up just in time to escort her back to lead the Seanchan on this side of the ocean.  Mat agrees to work as a distraction for the Seanchan army searching for Tuon, while her Deathwatch Guards get her safely back behind their lines where she can properly take command, but not before she completes the marriage ritual, leaving him married, and now known as the Prince of Ravens.

Elayne is defending Caemlyn from the other houses when she gets an unexpected boon…thousands of former guardsmen who had left when Gaebril ran the city.  She bargains hard when the leaders of the mercenaries fighting for her ask for more gold than previously agreed.  She leads a group of three other sisters on a raid of a house in Caemlyn that they suspect of being a lair for black sisters.  She’s captured leading Brigitte to force the Sea Folk in town to help her rescue her.

Knowing the prophecy says he must make a deal with the Daughter of the Nine Moons, Rand is suckered into a trap where he almost dies, but ends up with one of the forsaken as a prisoner.

Bottom Line:  Another great book, Knife of Dreams provides a few new plot diversions while wrapping up a couple others.  Interspersed with more action, it continues to push the overarching stories along, picking up just a little bit of speed.

Advertisements

Teaser Tuesday: Knife of Dreams

Teaser Tuesday post for 12 November 2013:

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan

“Aes Sedai, Aaha’man, Aiel, your eyes, that hammer, now this!  Who are you?”

from “Knife of Dreams” by Robert Jordan

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

———————————————————————————–

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

—————————————————————————————————————————

Review: Crossroads of Twilight (The Wheel of Time, book 10)

Crossroads Of TwilightTitle: Crossroads of Twilight
Author: Robert Jordan
Published: 7 January 2003
Author’s Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan
Genre: Fantasy

Review:  In Crossroads of Twilight, the tenth book in The Wheel of Time, the male half of the One Power, Saidin, has been cleansed, which means men who can channel should no longer be doomed to go insane.  Rand knows he has done it, but most of the Aes Sedai who hear about the cleansing are skeptical.

Mat strikes a deal with Tuon in which she agrees not to run away or try to get them discovered.  Mat learns that he’s already performed his half of the marriage ceremony/requirements to marry Tuon and begins “courting” her as best he can under the circumstances.
 Perrin discovers that dark hounds had circled their camp, but not attacked, leaving them to wonder who the hounds were after.  He takes a group through a gateway to go observe the Shaido camp Elyas reported finding.  Perrin scares  a bunch of his followers when he uses his ax to chop off the hand of a Shaido prisoner to get him and his fellow prisoners to talk.
 Faile, one of a group of Shaido prisoners serving Sevanna, looks for ways to escape…for herself and the others taken captive with her.  Meanwhile, she has to put off a persistent Brotherless who’s got his eye on her.
 Elayne spends time visiting camps and homes of some of the lesser lords in Andor, trying to shore up support for her claim to the Lion Throne, while Dyelin visits others for her.
 Egwene conttinues to maneuver the “rebel” Aes Sedai’s Hall…letting them have a group of “adviser’s” for her.  She allows the Hall to assemble a team to negotiate with the White Tower for terms of reunification, knowing it will fail.  Sisters from the camp are being murdered by someone using saidin.
 Egwene is captured by the White Tower.
Bottom Line:   For me, this is the slowest book.  It’s filled with lots of filler that could be summed in later parts if it was necessary.  Unlike Winter’s Heart, which was also slow, this book doesn’t really build to a climax.  It just meanders on.

Review: Winter’s Heart (The Wheel of Time, book 9)

Winter's HeartTitle: Winter’s Heart
Author: Robert Jordan
Published: 7 November 2000
Author’s Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan
Genre: Fantasy

Review:  Winter’s Heart, the ninth book in The Wheel of Time covers much of the world in snow.  The Bowl of Winds used in the previous book has ended the blazing hot summer, but now snow and rain and cold are slowing down traditional forms of travel.

Faile, Alliandre, and Morgase (still in disguise), as well as Bain and Chiad, are captured and made gai’shan by the Shaido while Perrin was meeting with Masema, the self-anointed Prophet of the Dragon.  Perrin’s reputation takes a hit when Berelain has his freezing, exhausted body brought back to her tent to recover.  Although nothing untoward happens and Perrin claims nothing happened, most of the various groups following him have their doubts.  He begins trying to track down the Shaido and Faile, moving the large mass of his “people” with him.

Rand is attacked in Cairhein by some Asha’man who Mazrim Taim later claims were deserters and had gone rogue.  Rand tells him to find them before he next visits the Black Tower, but makes his own plans to hunt them down, which leads him Far Madding, a city that has ter’angreal that replicate a steddings ability to block access to the One Power.  Banking on his fighting ability, Rand has left a very faint trail for these Asha’man to follow, which they do, partly because they believe they can take him, and partly because they fear to fail those who ordered them to kill him.

Elayne and Aviendha become “sisters” through a Wise One ritual not too long before Rand shows up in Caemlyn to discuss an important matter with Nynaeve.  As he’s finishing up that discussion, he’s set upon by Elayne, Aviendha, and Min.  They take him back to Elayne’s chambers where they all bond him.  Min and Aviendha then give Elayne and Rand some time alone.  In the morning, Elayne finds Rand and Nynaeve have gone from the castle.  Elayne learns that four borderlander rulers have moved their armies south in search of Rand.  She pays them a surprise visit and gets them to agree to help her secure her throne with a bit of military smoke and mirrors.  Upon returning from this trip, Elayne is informed that some of her rivals for the Lion Throne have rallied their troops and are intent on taking Caemlyn.

Mat has been stuck in Ebou Dar as the plaything of the Queen, Tylin, who’s been raised to the Blood.  He’s been gnashing his teeth trying to figure out how to get out of the city without a fight, when suddenly, in grand Mat fashion, everything lines up perfectly for him to flee while rescuing a number of captive Aes Sedai and a few Seanchan who’ve begun to run afoul of their fellows.  In the escape, Mat finds his “Daughter of the Nine Moons”…and kidnaps her.

Using key to access the strongest Sangreal ever made, Rand, with the aid of Nynaeve’s power, attempts to cleanse the male half of the one power, while roving bands of Asha’man and Aes Sedai fight off a number of the Chosen who are drawn to the amount of power being channeled by Rand and Nynaeve.

Does Rand cleanse the taint?  Read the book.

Bottom Line:   There is action in this book, but not much of it.  In the heart of winter, the action bogged down along with the wagons.  That doesn’t make this a bad book.  It’s still got plenty of important interactions and machinations, revelations and hope for the future.  We learn more about some characters, how far they’re willing to go for some of the others.

 

Review: The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, book 8)

The Path Of DaggersTitle: The Path of Daggers
Author: Robert Jordan
Published: 20 October 1998
Author’s Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan
Genre: Fantasy

Review:  The Path of Daggers, the eighth book in The Wheel of Time finds Elayne, Nynaeve, and Aviendha leading the Sea Folk, The Kin, and Aes Sedai from Ebou Dar to the farm run by The Kin where they use their newly found Bowl of the Winds to stop the endless summer just before the Seanchan show up. Fleeing through a gateway, they abandon Mat in Ebou Dar.

Perrin ends up with two queens as part of his entourage before losing both of them and Faile to a Shaido raid while he, Elyas, and a couple of Aes Sedai are having a meeting with Masema, the self-declared Prophet of the Dragon Reborn.

Two of the rebel Aes Sedai Sitters inadvertantly hand Egwene the control she’d been waiting to seize as the Amyrlin Seat which she deftly does by getting the Hall to agree that they should declare war on Elaida and then reminding them that Tower law gives the Amyrlin Seat total power in times of war. Egwene, with the rebel Aes Sedai and the army led by Gareth Bryne, head through a gateway to begin their seige of Tar Valon.

The hunt for the Black Ajah in the White Tower heats up as a group of sisters begin using the Oath Rod.

Elayne finally makes it to Caemlyn and takes possession of the castle, claiming her rule as the heir to the late queen. Once there, she learns how many others have also made a claim for the crown and which houses support them and which support her.

Rand comes to an uneasy agreement with Cadsuane Sedai for her advice before he leads a combined force of Illianer, Tairen, and Cairhen troops to attack Seanchan as they begin to move eastward from Ebou Dar toward Illian. With the Asha’man, the battles are mostly one-sided as Rand pushes them back out of Illian. In the last of these skirmishes, a major flaw is discovered in Callandor.

Bottom Line: Another great book in the series. Some major plot threads are started, while some are seemingly resolved. The taint is getting worse and the endless heat of summer has been rapidly changed to harsh winter.

Review: A Crown of Swords (The Wheel of Time, book 7)

A Crown of SwordsTitle: A Crown of Swords
Author: Robert Jordan
Published: 15 May 1996
Author’s Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan
Genre: Fantasy

Review:  A Crown of Swords, the seventh book in The Wheel of Time spans only eleven days, but quite a bit takes place in that short period of time.

In the aftermath of the battle of Dumai’s Well, Rand hands the Aes Sedai who swore fealty over to the Aiel Wise Ones for oversight.  Elaida, having received the last message from Galina that Rand is in hand on on his way to the White Tower, believes things are still in hand and going smoothly.  Galina, who managed to survive the battle, finds herself a prisoner of the Shaido.

Perrin and Rand have a fight about how Rand’s harsh, uncaring treatment of the Aes Sedai, which ends with Perrin leaving Cairhein with his contingent.

Elayne, Nynaeve, Aviendha, and Birgitte visit the Sea Folk where they strike a bargain for help using the Bowl of Winds.  They also stumble upon The Kin, a large group of women who can channel, who are able to lead them to the Bowl of Winds.

While out making peace with Cairhein’s rebels, a strange fog appears and fighting ensues.  Mordeth, formerly known as Padin Fain, who has been hiding out with the rebels, uses the fog to strike Rand with his cursed dagger.  Aes sedai are able to slow Rand’s descent toward death, but it takes the discovery that Asha’man can also heal with the power to save him.

While trying to watch over Elayne and Nynaeve in Ebou Dar, Matt finds himself the plaything of queen Tylin, discovers Whitecloaks are hosting dark friends, and witnesses the Seanchan begin invading the city.

Having just recovered from the attack from Fain, Rand leads the invasion of Illian, drawing out Sammael.  Rather than destroying the city he thinks of as his, Sammael draws Rand to Shadar Logoth, where Rand is able to defeat him, sealing his capture of Illian.

Bottom Line:  While not quite action-packed, this book is packed with some critical hooks in the story, some large, some small.  We see Rand’s and Min’s first kiss…and more…right before Rand meets Cadsuane Sedai for the first time.  We see a number of Forsaken involved in plotting ans scheming on their own plans and with their own grudges.  We see two instances of the influence of Ta’varen on negotiations with the Sea Folk.  We learn of The Kin.  We see the rebirth of the male use of the One Power to heal…and Rand dispatches another of the Forsaken.  All in eleven story days.  So, while not chock full of fight and chase scenes, this book has plenty of forward motion with critical changes to the overall story.

Review: A Memory of Light (The Wheel of Time, book 14)

A Memory of Light coverTitle: A Memory of Light
Author: Robert Jordan
Published: 8 January 2013
Author’s Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan
Genre: Fantasy

Review:  A Memory of Light, the fourteenth, and final, book in The Wheel of Time series is the culmination of just over two years in the lives of some really great characters that we get to see deal with the strain of the Last Battle.  Some of the major players over the course of the series don’t get a lot of face time, while some characters that weren’t introduced until late, get quite a bit.  Naturally, the three ta’veren lads get plenty of time.  We see Rand Al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, in his struggle against the Dark One at Shayol Ghul, Matrim Cauthon, the Seanchan Prince of Ravens, lead armies in battle, and Perrin Aybara, wolf brother, guard Rand’s back while seeking out Slayer in the wolf dream.

The armies of the Light are made up of troops and common folks from all the nations of the world, as well as the White Tower, the Sea Folk, Ogier, and Aiel.  The Tinkers even join in where they can without violating their “way of the leaf”.

The forces of the Dark One are mostly what we’re used to seeing:  trollocs, Myrddraal, Draghkar, the Forsaken, and some Dark Hounds…even Padan Fain pops back up.

The Dark Tower fights on both sides: those loyal and/or turned to the dark side by Taim fight for the dark, while those who managed to stay loyal to Logain fight for the light.

As the book has only been out a couple weeks at this point, I don’t want to spoil anything.  I will say that the ending isn’t exactly what I expected.  Some folks I expected or wanted to see live, didn’t, while others that I expected to see die, survived.

Bottom Line:  The nine hundred or so pages in A Memory of Light are packed with action.  The battle lines are drawn, the generals chosen, and fighting ensues.  The pace is fast; often times, down right frenetic.  While reluctant to kill off characters throughout the series, all bets are off in this book.  Some of the fight scenes could have been shortened or removed to make the book slightly shorter, but this is the final charge, a fast-paced gallop to the end with chaos and mayhem blended in with a few spots of heart-tugging loss.  The result of the Last Battle isn’t (likely) what’s expected, which is part of what makes it great.  It is also not the end, because…“there are no endings, and never will be endings,  to the turning of the Wheel of Time.  But it is an ending.”

Review: Towers of Midnight (The Wheel of Time, book 13)

Towers Of Midnight coverTitle: Towers of Midnight
Author: Robert Jordan
Published: 2 November 2010
Author’s Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan
Genre: Fantasy

Review:  Towers of Midnight, the thirteenth book in The Wheel of Time, sets the stage for the final book, positioning our main characters to provide support at Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, where Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, and Shai’tan (the Dark One) will battle for the fate of the world.

A newly enlightened Rand, begins to bounce around the world, visiting leaders of countries after first stopping in Tar Valon to address  the Amyrlin Seat, telling them Tarmon Gai’don is fast approaching and that he plans to break the remaining seals on the Dark One’s prison in order to properly re-seal him away.  Rand also begins making peace with a number of people with whom he’d had falling outs, apologizing for his past behavior, including his ‘father’, Tam al’Thor, and Cadsuane Sedai, whom he allows back into his presence.

Having cleansed the White Tower of the Black Ajah, Egwene al’Vere begins to hunt Mesaana, the Forsaken who’s taken up residence in the tower, who she also believes is responsible for the murders of sisters.  During this time, she also has to deal with Gawyn Trakand –her feelings for him vs. his inability to respect her authority as Amyrlin.  Eventually, they each save each other, he becomes her warder, and they agree to marry.

Perrin Aybarra and Faile manage to overcome the uncomfortableness between them that came about due to Faile’s captivity by the Shaido.  After a pivotal fight with “Slayer” in the wolf dream, Perrin comes to a balance with his inner wolf which also leads to realization that, like it or not, he’s Lord Perrin.  The latest addition to his sizable army is the Children of the Light, led by Galad Damodred.  Before arriving in Caemlyn, Perrin marries Morgase Trakand and Martyn Tallanvor.

Matrim Cathoun leads his Band to Caemlyn, where he and Thom are reunited with the new Queen, Elayne Trakand.  Mat deals with Elayne to work for Andor in exchange for the use of the “Dragons” Aludra has designed.  Mat manages to defeat the gholam with the help of a couple copies (created by Elayne) of his foxhead medallion.  Mat, Thom, and Noal head off to the Tower of Ghenjei, where they rescue a severely drained Moraine for a price:  the life of Noal and ‘half the light of the world’ from Mat. Once rescued, Moiraine and Thom agree to marry.

The Wise Ones finally allow Aviendha to journey to Rhuidean for the final test to become a Wise One.  During her test, she sees a troubling future.  Although it indicates the Dragon Reborn has triumphed over the Dark One, it shows a very bleak end for the Aiel.

Something is going on in the Black Tower, as well.  No one has seen Logain in a while and the rift between those loyal to him and those loyal to Taim is growing.  Gateways out of the Black Tower have stopped working and, combined with the Asha’man-manned guard towers on the gate, those inside are effectively trapped.

As one part of the end of this book, al’Lan Mandragoran sounds the charge of his twelve thousand-troop army through Tarwin’s Gap into the Dark One’s hundred and fifty thousand strong horde…and one other who’d disappeared shows back up in Rand’s dream the night before his address to the gathered nations.

Bottom Line:  Another great job by Brandon Sanderson filling in for Robert Jordan.  All of the plot lines are converging nicely,  the battle scenes are tight and gripping, and, while we know what’s coming, we still can’t be sure who’s going to be on who’s side, where the Forsaken are going to show up, whether the Light or the Shadow will prevail, and, perhaps most importantly, which of our favorite characters will survive.