A Crown of Swords: Someone stuck a stick in the spokes of The Wheel of Time

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews The Wheel of Time A Crown of SwordsA Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan

My reviews of The Wheel of Time novels are getting just as repetitive as the actual books. There’s really not much more to say. A Crown of Swords is another long slow installment in which there are too many detailed descriptions of clothing, references to spanking, concerns about bosoms, and people blushing. There are pages and pages which chronicle secondary characters’ extensive internal thoughts. But what bugs me most, though, are the constant depictions of people and places as if they have a corporate personality:

Men strutted arrogantly along the streets with often ragged vests and no shirts, wearing great brass hoops in their ears and brass finger rings set with colored glass, one knife or sometimes two stuck behind their belts. Hands hovering near knives, they stared as though daring someone to give the wrong twist to a look. Others skulked from corner to corner, doorway to doorway with hooded eyes, imitating the slat-ribbed dogs that sometimes snarled from a dark alleyway barely wide enough for a man to squeeze into. Those men hunched over their knives and there was no way to tell which would run and which stab. By and large, the women made any of the men appear humble, parading in worn dresses and twice as much brass jewelry as the men. They carried knives too, of course, and their bold dark eyes sent ten sorts of challenge in every glance … Children darted from every second door with chipped pottery cups of water, sent by their mothers in case the Wise Women wished a drink. Men with scarred faces and murder etched into their eyes stared openmouthed at seven Wise Women together, then bobbed jerky bows and inquired politely if they could be of assistance, was there anything that required carrying? Women, sometimes with as many scars and always eyes to make Tylin flinch, curtsied awkwardly and breathlessly asked whether they might supply directions, had anyone made a bother of themselves to bring so many Wise Women?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsIf I found myself in this place, I’d think it was The Twilight Zone!

I will say, however, that someone must have told Mr Jordan to quit with the braid yanking, because Nynaeve seems to be attempting to stop the habit. Now, if we could just get all of those ladies to stop adjusting their clothes every time they feel any sort of negative emotion… and I’ll be happy on the day that an Aes Sedai can walk down the street without making someone flinch, cringe, jump, squeak, drop something, or run away.

With all this detailed description, there’s not much time for action. There are only a few significant plot developments. The most important one is an event which we’ve been waiting for for the last 3 books (at least) which finally occurs very quickly and anti-climatically in the last chapter of this book. But, if you’ve read this far into The Wheel of Time, that’s no surprise, is it? And, if you’ve read this far, you feel like it’s too late to stop now, don’t you?

I’m still listening to this on audiobook (no patience for the print versions) and I should mention that Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are amazing readers. After all this time, I suppose these characters are almost like family to them, and they’ve got the personalities down perfectly. Their voices and additions of droll humor really instill some much-needed life into these novels.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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