Crossroads of Twilight: THE PLOT DOES NOT MOVE

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsepic fantasy book reviews Robert Jordan Wheel of Time Crossroads of TwilightCrossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan

Crossroads of Twilight was maddening. I read it years ago and ended up giving up on The Wheel of Time after this book. I tried again in my preparation for reading Memory of Light, and I just couldn’t manage to do it again. So, as with Winter’s Heart, I cheated by reading many of the chapter summaries at Encyclopaedia WOT. I skimmed the chapters involving Perrin’s hunt for Faile because I remembered how slow, grueling, and painful they were when I read them the first time. And even though about 25% of the novel was about this storyline, it did not advance at all. I also skimmed a lot of Elayne’s campaigning and dealing with the constantly whining Sea Folk because not much happened there, either. There were only two chapters (out of 30) from Rand’s point of view. Mat was entertaining, but he didn’t get anywhere either.

In Crossroads of Twilight, expect more politicking, planning, negotiating, committee discussions, bathing, dressing, shopping, and description of tapestries and seating arrangements than action. THE PLOT DOES NOT MOVE. There were very few significant occurrences — mostly the characters just talked to themselves and others. Only one major event happened, and that occurred in the last 3 minutes (on audio).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsHere is a sample of some of the pulse-pounding action you’ll encounter in Crossroads of Twilight:

“I see,” Egwene said slowly. She realized she was massaging the side of her head. The throb behind her eyes beat on. It would grow stronger. It always did. By nightfall, she was going to regret having sent Halima away. Bringing her hand down firmly, she moved the leather folder in front of her a half inch to the left, then slid it  back.”

Riveting… But at least we didn’t have to hear about Nynaeve’s braid…

There are 1880 characters in The Wheel of Time and it’s impossible for anyone who’s not writing a dissertation on the series to keep them all straight. It doesn’t help that so many of the names are similar, either. At this point, many of them are all just a big jumble and you have to use a resource like Encyclopaedia WOT (who have all 1880 characters listed, described, and tracked) to even begin to understand all of the politicking. It also doesn’t help that Jordan made occasional mistakes along the way (nicely pointed out by Encyclopaedia WOT).

If it weren’t for Brandon Sanderson‘s finale, I would absolutely give up at this point (I did once). By the way, let me say here and now (March 2009), for the record, that I don’t believe Mr. Sanderson will be able to clean up this mess with only one volume.

[edited March 31, 2009: TOR announced today that A Memory of Light will be a trilogy! The first novel, The Gathering Storm, will be released on October 27, 2009. See the announcement here.]

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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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