Wheel of Time: Knife of Dreams

After I first graduated from college, I moved to an apartment in Chicago. However, my job at Geneer was located far away in the northewest suburbs of the city. I was without a vehicle, and thus took public transportation to and from work every day.

My commute was 1.5 hours in one direction. Perhaps it’s unnecessary to say, but I read a lot of books. One of the series of books I began reading was The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan. I read the first eight or so that were out at the time, and hence have been sucked into buying the new entries as soon as they are released.

I just recently finished the recently released Knife of Dreams, and I have good news and bad news. If you’re not familiar with the story, you might want to stop here, since the names and situations won’t mean much. Furthermore, there may be spoliers ahead. If you intend on reading the novel yourself, you should stop here.

First, the bad news: As usual, Jordan has allocated a disproportionate number of pages to Perrin and Mat, and infuriatingly few to Rand. Perrin’s part continues to be dull, boring, and two-dimensional. While he finally does rescue Faile, it could have been accomplished in a third of the pages. I think Mr. Jordan was simply using that story as tree killer.

Now some good news: Mat’s story is dramatically improved. The wonderfully amusing tension between he and Tuon is a delight to read, and his inability to fathom either her or her motives leads to some great situations and dialouge. In a fantastic single-chapter departure, the story is told from Tuon’s perspective. The pieces of Mat’s life that she had been slowly collecting since her kidnapping suddenly fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, and her realization that her Toy is not at all who he appears to be is quite satisfying to the reader.

Rand’s continued second-hand treatment by the author leaves much to be desired. As usual, the few moments that he gets are never dull, full of amazing new Power weaves and plot twists. Lews Therin continues to plauge him, and Rand’s fear that he might do something with the Power is finally realized.

Finally, it seems the next book will be the last. The characters continually beat over your head that tarmon gai’don is near. The dead have been seeing walking, and waves of unreality sometimes ripple through the pattern as the Dark One continues to strain the bonds of his prison.

Overall, Knife of Dreams is a far sight better than either Winter’s Heart or Crossroads of Twilight. I look forward to what will hopefully be the last of the series, though. Robert Jordan has worn this world out with the mindless multi-book-spanning filler plots (read, Faile’s kidnapping) he’s created. Final closure on the people and events in his world is long overdue.