The Path of Daggers: At least it’s shorter

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Robert Jordan Wheel of Time The Path of DaggersThe Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

The best thing I can say about The Path of Daggers is that it is significantly shorter than the last few novels have been — only 700 pages (mass market paperback) compared to the 900-1100 page novels that have preceded it. There is much less of the repetitive backstory. I guess Mr. Jordan finally realized that new readers aren’t jumping in at this point.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsHowever, that’s not to say that there are 700 pages of plot here, either. For again, most of the pages are devoted to minutia such as nearly every word spoken during one of Elayne’s 3 hour long rides, every thought that Perrin has while walking around his camp, etc. Most of the significant action is squeezed into the last couple of chapters. The story is still interesting, but The Path of Daggers doesn’t advance it far enough.

But what’s annoying me most is that the female WOT characters are the cattiest bunch of women I’ve ever encountered. Supposedly the Aes Sedai are dignified, cool-headed, and calm, but yet we see them constantly bickering, back-biting, squabbling, thinking about their positions relative to others, and worried about what everyone else is thinking. For such powerful women, they are continually showing their shock, getting into petty disagreements, trying to out-wit each other, widening their eyes, adjusting their shawls, and smoothing their skirts (apparently this is an indication of uneasiness, though I have never actually seen an uneasy woman smoothing her skirt). And why the heck are adult women spanking each other?!?

I find it irritating that women leaders are portrayed this way while the powerful men are portrayed as hard, reserved, and distinguished. I’m sure that Mr. Jordan meant for his female characters to seem strong, but they just come across as bitchy. I really can’t figure out why they all take each other so seriously.

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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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