Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

I really have to take my hat off to Robert Jordan here with The Path of Daggers. I would not have thought it possible to write a 500 page plus novel and not advance the plot at all, but in this the 8th book of The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan manages to do exactly that.

I knew I was in for this when I realised I'd gotten up to book 8 in my reread. All I could remember from this particular volume from when I read it years ago was that Mat, after being left on the edge of a very high cliff at the end of The Crown of Swords, was frustratingly not in this book at all. I think he gets mentioned three times.

For the rest of them they wander around, they bicker and squabble, but they don't ever actually accomplish anything. I'm sure Perrin is only in this book, early and towards the end, so that Faile can be kidnapped by a rogue band of Aiel and give him something to do in the next book.

There isn't even much of Nynaeve and what there is, doesn't help. Jordan even managed to make me lose interest in Nynaeve!

Rand continues to be frustratingly inconsistent. The man has near godlike powers, yet when some of his female bodyguards decide to lay an absolute beat down on him he accepts it without really attempting to defend himself, yet when Cadsuane tries to tell him what to do he trashes the room using his power. It just doesn't make sense. It's also pretty sloppy writing from someone who should have known better.

What had happened by now was that Jordan had introduced so many characters and story threads he couldn't control them anymore and was unable to keep all the balls in the air at once. Interestingly this didn't stop him from adding in more characters and story lines. Worryingly there have been signs in it's last two volumes that George R.R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is headed down this path.

I can't remember any of volume 9 Winter's Heart either, so that's concerning. I do know that was when I jumped the good ship The Wheel of Time fed up with the inertia, though.

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