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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 15:50 Thread Starter
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The Wheel of Time

Has anyone else read the series by Robert Jordan?

I started the series when I was young, now I've gotten old and the series has still not finished. Although I'm not as enthusiastic about the books as I once were, I still want to reach the end. But it is still one of the best contemporary fantasy works out there in my opinion.

Book 11 is coming out in 10 days, and with one final book 12 to ende it all, still to come.


The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and go. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 16:07
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I used to be a really obsessed fan and in some way I still am, although right now I am a lot more interested in the various WoT theories than in the plot and characters. The last books were dreadful, especially Book 10. 700 pages and nothing happened. But from the reviews I have read that won't be the case with Book 11 so maybe there is hope.
P.S. Man, this cover is so ugly...

“But we're a university! We have to have a library!" said Ridcully. "It adds tone. What sort of people would we be if we didn't go into the library?"

"Students," said Senior Wrangler morosely.”
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 16:20 Thread Starter
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Ah Sweet has always ugly covers in the US editions. Perrin is supposed to be big but he is very small in this cover.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 17:48 Thread Starter
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Spoiler free review from Jason at Dragonmount

Standard Disclaimer: This "spoiler-free" review will not give away specific plot elements, but it will likely hint at a few things. Also, by the very nature of the fact that I'm going to talk about the book, I can't exactly hide some things which some die hard fans consider spoilers. (You know who you are). By reading this, you're going to find out who's in the books. But overall, I'm not going to ruin anything.

Introduction
Well once again, here we are, waiting for the new Robert Jordan book to come out. I think it would be an understatement to say that anticipation amongst fans for Knife of Dreams is really high, and a lot of people are still grumbling after Crossroads of Twilight. Before I get into Knife of Dreams, though, I should remind you that a lot of you didn't agree with my review of Crossroads. I said CoT wasn't all that bad, and if you look at the big picture, it's actually enjoyable. Some of you thought I was nuts, but many of you seemed to agree with me on my other New Spring review. So maybe we're not all that far apart.

Anyway, I don't think it will matter this time. You're going to love this book as much as I did.

Time is running out
No doubt about it: The Dark One is breaking free. Oh, he isn't free yet of course. But he's getting there. Remember all those weevils in CoT? Remember those "scary" but harmless ghosts? They're all back, but the weevils aren't so rare, and the ghosts aren't so harmless. Even the infamous wind from the opening of chapter one is (as many of you already know), touched with ash and not just a gentle breeze. Practically every chapter gives us signs that something isn't right in the world anymore. The stakes are higher, time is running out, and the heroes -- as well as Jordan -- know it. The result: stuff happens. Better yet: stuff finishes.

I was surprised when the first plot thread was completed. I thought to myself, "Will I ever read about this person again? Could it actually be possible that I've read their entire story now?" I stopped thinking that to myself by the time Jordan wrapped up his 4th or 5th plot line. Then more story lines got wrapped up, at least to the extent where I don't need to hear about a certain character again without feeling cheated. All of the major plot lines advance. Some are completed. (Have fun with that statement on the message boards). Lots of smaller plot lines are resolved or brought near conclusion. I haven't done a full count, but a few days after the book's released I'm sure every website will have a tally going.

One particuarly refreshing thing I noticed in this novel, more so than the other most recent novels in the series, was how Jordan introduces new elements: people / items / places / stories, whatever, and then resolves them completely in the same book. Also, remember all those chapters in previous books that you read where you wondered who this person was and why were you reading about him or her? Knife of Dreams answers a lot of those. Sometimes in very big or surprising ways. More than one tiny character suddenly bumps into a much bigger character and, well, things happen.

Even when the pacing slowed down, RJ suddenly hits us with some interesting tidbit. Little snacks for the long ride, with the promise of a big dinner coming up.

So, stuff happens. But is it any good?
In the words of Grandpa from The Princess Bride: "Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love...!" It's all there. All of it, and more. And not just at the end of the novel. The middle of the book is packed with stuff. I can honestly say, without hyperbole, that this novel is the most focused, most action-packed book in the latter half of the series. This book contains more death and dying than any other WoT novel. Talk about a body count! Not to mention a lot of answers to questions we've been asking for a while.

(That little chill that may have just run down your spine, or the excited giggle that you let escape, was how I felt several times when RJ delivered some long over-due answers or shared a particuarly good action sequence.)

But despite all the Deathgates, zomaran, and bolt cranks, the best parts of this book center on the main characters finally reaching what is probably (or will be) the pinnacle of their destinies. To Emma, the webmaster of the official Nynaeve fan club: your heroine might have played out her biggest plot point by helping to cleanse saidin, but she stole the show in this book with one particular chapter about half-way through. All of you will know which chapter it is. After that powerful, emotional chapter, I had to put the book down for a while. Sign me up for Emma's club.

All good stories are filled with iconic moments. They're those moments that are so good that they stick with you and are often all you remember years later when the details of the books fade. Moments like Rand taking Callandor, Mat hanging from the Tree of Life, Dumai's Wells, and Elayne putting on her 5th robe in as many pages. (Okay, kidding about that last one. You get the picture). Knife of Dreams has several of those iconic moments. The above mentioned Nynaeve moment, a certain vision coming true, a critical change in Rand, and yes, even Egwene's special tea. (That's not a joke). All of them are iconic moments in my mind. Not too big, however. You can tell that even now Robert Jordan is holding onto his best cards for the final novel. The biggest battles and encounters are yet to come. The end of the novel is not as abrupt as CoT, but it was just enough to whet my appetite for the last book.

Boiling it down
Knife of Dreams is a strong, strong addition to the series. It is not, however, all action and secrets revealed. Like the rest of the novels, the narrative is long and conservatively paced. It wouldn't be Robert Jordan if we didn't get every detail of armor, every insight into the situation, and yes, a description of every dress in the room. It's his style and you probably would not have made it this far if you didn't enjoy it on some level by now. Also, although I understand that the sub-plots need to happen, but I confess I wish there was more of Rand in particular. Don't get me wrong: he's in this book (way more than he was in CoT), he does a lot of stuff, gets in trouble doing it of course, and all the things that Rand normally does. But oh how I wish we had just a little more time with him. Fortunately, Jordan cleared up enough plots in this novel that I'm guessing we're going to see an abundance for al'Thor in the final novel. I mean, we've got to, right?

As every chapter reminds us, the Last Battle is coming. Plots are burned away, minor characters fade, and long kept secrets are revealed. All eyes are turning towards the same direction, and the question is being asked: Who rides for Tarmon Gai'don? After reading Knife of Dreams, easily the most enjoyable overall book in the series in years, I am absolutely certain that I'll ride with Robert Jordan into the final Wheel of Time novel.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 17:52 Thread Starter
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Publisher's Weekly magazine review

Publisher's Weekly magazine released their "starred" review of Knife of Dreams. Here it is:

The previous book in Jordan's massive Wheel of Time, Crossroads of Twilight, may have come out in 2003, but don't let that fool you; the 11th tome in this epic fantasy is the one Jordan fans have been eagerly awaiting for the better part of a decade. The breakneck pace, lyrical beauty and astonishing scope of the early Wheel of Time volumes established Jordan as one of the top writers in the Tolkien tradition. While more recent entries have maintained that beauty and scope, the pace has slowed to a crawl as the central characters dispersed in six directions. In contrast, the latest explodes with motion, as multiple plot lines either conclude or advance, and the march to Tarmon Gai'don--the climactic last battle between the Dragon Reborn and the Dark One--begins in earnest. Jordan has said that readers will be sweating by the end of the book, and he's probably right. Sweating or not, they'll also be dreading the long year or two before the 12th installment.

--Publishers Weekly, starred review, September 12, 2005
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 17:57 Thread Starter
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I'm rereading the books, I just finished book 7, and will be reading massively the rest so that I better enjoy KoD. I have to say that I'm excited again.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 19:59
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This guy from Dragonmount praised Book 10 too, he even said that the series picked the pace in Book 10, so I don't really care about his reviews. But other people have similar reviews so maybe this time this Jason is sincere.

“But we're a university! We have to have a library!" said Ridcully. "It adds tone. What sort of people would we be if we didn't go into the library?"

"Students," said Senior Wrangler morosely.”
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 21:10 Thread Starter
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Yeah, I know, his review of CoT came to be known as something that almost everyone disagreed with. But I've read reviews of other people that thought CoT was horrible and they say this book is definately way better. Too bad Rand isn't in it too much but I think RJ is waiting to unleash him in the last book.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 22:39
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That doesn't bother me, I don't really like Rand. But apparently there will be a lot of pages about Elayne's extremely boring " I want to become Queen of Andor" storyline.

“But we're a university! We have to have a library!" said Ridcully. "It adds tone. What sort of people would we be if we didn't go into the library?"

"Students," said Senior Wrangler morosely.”
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2005, 23:29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anomander Rake
That doesn't bother me, I don't really like Rand. But apparently there will be a lot of pages about Elayne's extremely boring " I want to become Queen of Andor" storyline.
I liked her, I want to marry her.

the books have been like a falling stock, but I will await reading it from the beginning until all books are out, not use in reading this or book 10 before they all are out as the gap will be to big.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old October 2nd, 2005, 00:00
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I like her too, especially compared with some other female characters from the series but her plotline is so boring.
Apparently there will be "only" 12 books so you won't have to wait that long. Although the last one might be quite long, if he tries to resolve most of the plotlines in his usual long-winded manner.

“But we're a university! We have to have a library!" said Ridcully. "It adds tone. What sort of people would we be if we didn't go into the library?"

"Students," said Senior Wrangler morosely.”
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old October 2nd, 2005, 00:12 Thread Starter
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The storyline of the Andor politics has been stretched out way too long. I hope it gets finally resolved, though I would have wished to be done in a chapter or two at most.

Rand is the man dude, I always liked his storylines, I just can't stand Egwene sometimes . Though from reading the prologue of this book it may get interesting. I just hope this White Tower storyline gets completed as well, this has been going on for a while too.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old October 2nd, 2005, 00:23
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I can't stand Egwene all the time, I just hate her. And all the storylines have been stretched for far too long, a lot of them depending on the character's unbelievable lack of common sense and communication with each other. That really gets on my nerves sometimes. So I wanted to know some mild spoilers and asked someone who had read Book 11 which plotlines get resolved and his answer was quite satisfactory.

IMO, Mat is the man in this series, not Rand.

“But we're a university! We have to have a library!" said Ridcully. "It adds tone. What sort of people would we be if we didn't go into the library?"

"Students," said Senior Wrangler morosely.”
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old October 2nd, 2005, 00:29 Thread Starter
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I'm pleased with your answer regarding the storylines.

Yeah, Mat is the man as well, more fun than Rand for sure, but Rand is still the main man.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old October 2nd, 2005, 18:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anomander Rake
IMO, Mat is the man in this series, not Rand.
Mat can be my best pal and Elyane my wife.

= lack of communication. they need cellphones to talk over their differencies, I mean many things are all to silly.

but the problem is that there are now to many spread out people and its lost its more compact story from before. I would write it more the opposite, to have things a bit more closely tied together, but as important, not describe everything into detail. could had as well made it a comic then
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old October 2nd, 2005, 22:11
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Spreading out the characters is not a problem per se, it's their inability to communicate that it's the problem. They rarely share information even when they are together.
BTW, the Mat-Elayne funny conversations were probably the best part of book 7.

“But we're a university! We have to have a library!" said Ridcully. "It adds tone. What sort of people would we be if we didn't go into the library?"

"Students," said Senior Wrangler morosely.”
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old October 3rd, 2005, 04:40 Thread Starter
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I have to say that I like it the way it is, with exceptions in the las couple of books or so. I like RJ's world development and character development evenly, I'm not one of those people that like only character development especially when it comes to epic fantasy works.

But the pace slowed down way too much in the last 3 books and there are some events/plotlines that are still not finished and started 4 books ago. That gets annoying after a while especially if you're waiting for years to see the resolution.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old October 3rd, 2005, 07:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anomander Rake
Spreading out the characters is not a problem per se, it's their inability to communicate that it's the problem.
I was to say that the spreading out of characters is a problem for the story as it becomes harder to follow and be interested in as you jump around the world.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old October 3rd, 2005, 18:07
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But the good thing is that you can skip or skim the chapters devoted to a character which you can't stand.

“But we're a university! We have to have a library!" said Ridcully. "It adds tone. What sort of people would we be if we didn't go into the library?"

"Students," said Senior Wrangler morosely.”
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old October 4th, 2005, 20:11 Thread Starter
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RJ is doing a book signing on the 11th in NYC at a B&N, I may actually go and get the book signed.
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