Saturday, December 5, 2015

Crossroads of Twilight Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: The Wheel of Time Book Ten
Pages: 846

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(Spoilers for the nine previous Wheel of Time books are below).

The Wheel of Time turns and the ages…. can’t really seem to move the plot forward.  The tenth installment in the Wheel of Time is near a complete disaster due to the fact that almost nothing happens.  The first 500 pages of this 800 page book mostly consists of reactions from all the major characters to the events that occur in the final chapter of Winter’s Heart.

The final 300 pages don’t even build to a significant conclusion, which was the great thing nearly every previous Wheel of Time book has done.  I begin to wonder why this book was even written?  It could have easily been shortened, or some other creative solution could have saved readers from this book, but alas that never happened.

I can easily say up until this point, Crossroads of Twilight is by far the weakest book in the Wheel of Time.

Rand al’Thor is largely missing from this book with the exception of one chapter that shows up later. Mat, Egwene, Elayne, and Perrin largely dominate the story as Crossroads of Twilight looks to present its focus to the various subplots that had been started a few books prior, but weren’t getting too much chapter time… I’m thinking specifically of Egwene’s plot thread.  Bullet pointed are the plot lines below:
  • Rand goes into hiding with Cadsuane and Nynaeve and begins to recover.
  • Egwene continues her siege of Tar Valon.
  • Elayne continues to try to unite Andor.
  • Faile continues to plot escaping from the Shaido Aiel.
  • Perrin continues to plot to rescue Faile.
  • Mat begins to learn more about Tuon, and he continues his make his escape from Altara.
  • Elaida and Alviarin continue to battle for direct control of the White Tower.
Looking at the bullet points above from Crossroads of Twilight to the bullet points I lined up with Winter’s Heart, nearly all of the bullet points are still the same except for Rand’s and Mats.  So if your wondering what new events will be occurring in Crossroads of Twilight then you will see Rand resting and Mat talking to Tuon.  The rest of the book has a same shit, different day type of mentality, with the exception of course of everyone reacting to the large amount saidin and saidar that was channeled by Rand and Nynaeve at the end of Winter’s Heart.

The first 500 pages of Crossroads of Twilight feels like an extremely lengthy excuse to include reactions to the cleansing of saidin.  Nothing of any serious significance occurs, nothing that wasn’t new or different from the previous book occurs in the first 500 pages of this book.  It is literally an excuse to let the readers see all of the major characters reacting to the large amount of channeling.  It’s hard to believe that these reactions could not have been condensed into something shorter, and more interesting.

Rand’s one chapter in the book brings a new scenario to the table and the result of his decision is what ultimately concludes this book.  Rand has one of the few good chapters in this entire book, because it moves the story forward and adds an interesting new thread to the plot.

Mat, is humorous like he always is, especially when he is having one on one conversations with women and constantly making an ass out of himself.  Tuon is still largely an enigma, and the finer points of Seanchan culture are, too, but I have to say this relationship is intriguing.  Besides Rand’s one good chapter, any time Mat’s chapters steer towards conversations with Tuon, the book gets better.

Egwene who has been dealing with the split tower now since she became Amyrlin in the sixth book is finally getting some more book time.  Her beginning the siege of Tar Valon was barely discussed in Winter’s Heart, and Jordan tries to make up for it here.  Of all the reactions to the cleansing of saidin, the rebel Aes Sedai’s reaction draws up the most interesting dialogue.  Otherwise, despite getting more Egwene chapters, this plot thread really doesn’t move to much farther forward either.

This is the first truly disappointing Wheel of Time book.  The series has had its flaws, and there are plenty of flaws in the previous books, but in regards to Crossroads of Twilight there are just too many problems to look past.  There are some interesting moments in this book, but they are few and far between.  The only reason to get through this book is so that you can read the next one, which will hopefully redeem the series from this dissatisfying mistake of an installment.

Score: 7.2

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