Robert Jordan's bestselling Wheel of Time epic is one of the most popular fantasy series of all time for a reason. Jordan's world is rich and complex, and he's assembled an endearing, involving core of characters while mapping out an ambitious and engaging story arc.
But with the previous book, Crown of Swords, and now with Path of Daggers, the series is in a bit of a holding pattern. Path continues the halting gait of the current plot line: Rand is still on the brink of losing it, all the while juggling the political machinations around him and again taking to the field against the Seanchan. The rest of the Two Rivers kids and company don't seem to be moving much faster. Egwene continues to slowly consolidate her hold as the "true" Amyrlin (finally getting closer to Tar Valon and the inevitable confrontation with Elaida), and Nynaeve and Elayne keep on wandering toward the Lion Throne, again on the run from the Seanchan. Mat Cauthon is barely mentioned, and fellow ta'veren Perrin keeps busy with politics in Ghealdan. The ending does provide promise, though, that book nine might match the pace and passion of the previous books.
If you're already hooked, you could sooner overcome a weave of Compulsion than avoid picking up a copy of Path of Daggers. But if you're new to the series, start at the beginning with the engrossing, much-better-paced Eye of the World. --Paul Hughes
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From Publishers Weekly
The eighth book of Jordan's bestselling The Wheel of Time saga (A Crown of Swords, etc.) opens with a renewed invasion by the Seanchans, a conquering race whose arsenal includes man-carrying flying reptiles and enslaved female magic-workers as well as powerful soldiers, many of whom have joined the Seanchans out of fear of the Dragon Reborn. The Dragon himself, Rand al'Thor, appears in only a small part of the narrative, but during that time he endures the ugly experience of seeing his magic kill his friends, heightening his fear that his destiny is to slay everyone he cares about. The first third of the book is a little slower paced than is usual for Jordan, emphasizing the growth of relationships, but the action picks up soon enough. More compact than some previous volumes in the saga, this one has the virtues readers have come to expect from the author: meticulous world-building; deft use of multiple viewpoints; highly original and intelligent systems of magic; an admirable wit; and a continuous awareness of the fate of the turnip farmer or peddler caught in the path of the heroes' armies. Unlike some authors of megasagas, Jordan chooses his words with care, creating people and events that have earned him an enormous readership. For sheer imagination and storytelling skill, if not quite for mythic resonance, The Wheel of Time now rivals Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. 500,000 first printing; $500,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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