Monday, 30 March 2015

A Crown of Swords - Robert Jordan


Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, is not a man to be trifled with as he grapples with madness and bears the weight of the world upon his shoulders. He has taken Tear, Cairhien and Andor, uniting their peoples and armies beneath his banners. Now he turns his attention to Illian and Sammael, the Forsaken who has taken up residence there. Rand has made his plans and it is time to for them to be put into motion. His armies of Aiel, knights, footsoldiers and Asha'man bear down on the city, either to their ruin of that of the forces of darkness , , ,

Even as Rand declares his latest war, Elayne of House Trakand continues her search for the Bowl of the Winds. The climate is only getting hotter and lands which should be seeing the first of winter's snows are arid and barren. Crops and forests are dying and, soon, the cities and free folk of the world will begin to starve. Along with Mat, Aviendha and Nynaeve, she continues her search for the relic in Arad Doman, a dangerous city that is ruled by knives and those skilled enough to wield them. But the city is on the coast and that itself brings other dangers. Eyes of ambition and conquest are turning there; the Seanchan are not defeated lightly.

The Good
Robert Jordan has continued to develop the tension from the previous book and he finally allows it to come to a head in A Crown of Swords. We get to read about Rand's plan to destroy Sammael and the break the hold he has over Illian in action! I think this has been a long time coming because Rand has spent the last few books holed up in the cities he had already taken. This did subtract from the excitement of The Wheel of Time a bit and it was nice to see the story pick up again!

Jordan has also begun to develop some of things that have only been mentioned so far, such as stasis boxes and the infamous gholam that even the Forsaken fear! He has introduced new characters of terrifying power that I think will help to heighten the danger of later books, mainly because the story's protagonists have become so powerful now that the Forsaken and Trollocks pose very little threat to them.

The Bad
Once again, I feel that the book was a little too long and it was very padded out with mundane matters that Jordan could have quite easily compressed without taking too much from the story. There are a lot of scenes where Rand is just stalking about one of his various palaces and the problems between Perrin and Faile and beginning to baffle me a bit since I can't really see where they are stemming from anymore, which has got slightly annoying! The story would have been faster and a bit more exciting without some of these scenes, but that's the only problem I had with the book really.

My Thoughts
Despite it's flaws, which aren't really major issues, A Crown of Swords is a superb book and Jordan has outdone himself once again! I found the book very difficult to put down and it was a real Godsend for some of the more boring physics lectures I was stuck in at university! I thoroughly recommend The Wheel of Time to any fan of epic fantasy and can't wait to continue the story in The Path of Daggers!

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