on October 2, 2003
I waited eagerly for the coming of the tenth installment of this gargantuan series, but when I finally made the pilgrimage to the bookstore, handed over the $40 that I will never see again (note-this is one to borrow) I listlessly took it home. I placed it dutifully on my bookshelf, with all its' brothers and sisters, and there it stayed.
For almost two months.
Now, it's not that I didn't want to read it. I was just, shall we say, apprehensive? As most of us know, dear old RJ has been slacking off in the most shameful manner, putting out in his last two volumes such slow moving, irrelevant drivel that I now cringing with embarrassment that I ever compared him to Tolkien. What was I thinking? I used to worship this man. I praised his inventiveness, his swift storytelling, and especially his magnificent characterization and ability to pull you into his web so that you felt you were there, taking part, one with the book. Do you remember the first inkling you had that Rand could channel? So thrilling. Or when Lan finally married Nynaeve? I rejoiced. Who could forget the epic chapter in which Moiraine sacrificed herself to kill Lanfear and save Rand? I practically needed therapy, I was so overwrought. What happened?
I shall tell you, as I have been pondering the downfall of the Wheel of Time for a while now. Mr. J. has quite simply spread himself too far over the world that he created. He introduced so many subplots, intrigues and conspiracies that he has lost his focus. Now, dozens of characters have apparently starring roles who should simply have been kept in the background, for colour. At this point if he were to tie up the hundreds (I do not exaggerate...hundreds) of loose ends he has tripped himself up with, the series would go on for another decade. Horrifying thought, isn't it?
Now he is stuck trying to make sense of the colossal maze in which he finds himself, wandering aimlessly, spitting out useless garbage about who is wearing what, why this raised eyebrow could mean disaster, the significance of weevils, and how weak tea tastes. Like we care.
Lastly, I am sure I am not the only female to have been happily surprised at the status women enjoyed in the early novels. The women were portrayed as strong, intelligent, powerful and far from helpless. In other words, not stereotypical. Now, Jordan's women are either utterly heartless, with no concern for anything but her own manipulative ways, or headstrong and foolish, with only a thin line separating her from outright stupidity. Furthermore, I am becoming more and more impatient with the way all of these women treat the men, as though they are useless, incompetent and needing to be 'carefully handled', lest they go astray. I have gone from being thankful that RJ did not portray women as helpless and frail, to sheer mortification at the behavior of his female characters, especially towards the male ones.
Mr. Jordan, do us a favour. Either wrap this series up with a snappy ending, ASAP, or just put it out of its misery.
on May 13, 2003
Egwhine smoothed her skirts and sat and pondered about the issue of what to do about the problem concerning matters involving the taking of the White Tower, first considered lo these many many pages ago. Then she had some mulled wine. But not just any mulled wine. This was the finest mulled wine in all of Randland, made from grapes that were as plump and ripe as the finest, sparkling cleavage and sparkled like a thousand silvery moons and that were trampled by feet as pretty as a thousand golden sunsets in the most gorgeous of all wooden tubs...
Meanwhile, Mat sat there and thought about things and how nice it would be to have a plump serving girl on each knee and a great deal of ale. And Perrin, finding many weevils, weevils of considerable size and ghastliness, in his breakfast cereal, considered that maybe he would think about considering the possible rescue of his annoying wife Faile, whom he loved, deeply, more deeply than anyone who ever imagined anything imagined. Even though she was more annoying than someone hitting you with a carboard tube and saying "Yeeee! Yeeee! Yeeee!" over and over and over and still over again. And much, much, more did Perrin ponder over another bowlful of weevils, much that would ultimately, indeed, lead to much, much, more pondering...
Nynaeve twitched and fidgeted and tugged her braid. In truth, no one was safe from her formidable braid-tugging. Not even the rough side of her tongue was as greatly feared. Anyway, as did her friends, so, too, did Nynaeve ponder and ruminate. And ruminate and ponder. Truly did she miss Lan and how he liked the color blue...
And Rand ...sat there and ...brooded. And mused. And still brooded and mused till his brow darkened with the brooding and the musing and...oy! Dark One save us all!
on July 17, 2004
Wow. That's all I can say. I buy a book, actually excited from the end of book nine (where Saidin was cleansed) and read... and read... and read. After almost 650 pages of reading, I get to the *first* chapter that features the Dragon Reborn (Rand) - who is, supposedly, the "main" character and the most important figure to grace the land in 3000 years. Once I get to his chapters, I convince myself that AT LEAST 90% of the rest of the book must be devoted to him, seeing as how it was so starved of him in the beginning. But I kept reading. And I finished the book. And two chapters were what I got. Two chapters, out of thiry. Paid by the word? Yes. Paid by the book? Yes. But, if Robert Jordan intents to write any more books about the Dragon Reborn and Tarmon Gai'don, perhaps he should *include* the MAIN character in his books. Otherwise, he should not even consider them part of "The Wheel of Time", as they truly aren't about the Last Battle. What he wants to do is write a 3000 page index of what the styles, accents, colors, and tendencies of every individual or object in any given country is like under 30 different circumstances.
on July 15, 2004
Can Amazon.com adjust their rating so that a book can be given half a star? Frankly this is what RJ's Book 10 of WOT deserves. Call me all sorts of a fool, but I started with Book 1 and have read NOTHING ELSE but this series, one after the other. I have now finished Book 10 and am humbly grateful that there is no Book 11 to even half tempt me with: "Surely it's going to start FINISHING soon". Rand will never fight the final battle, Elayne is only just pregnant so it will take at least another three books to bring her to term, the internal politics of Tar Valon and the Tower have the Aes Sedai characters so blind-sided they are literally disappearing up their own backsides and as for the rest of the characters ... please, enough! I have also come to detest RJ's endless descriptions of what women can do with their eyes - flay a man's skin, drill holes through them, chill, frost, bake, burn etc - ad nauseum. WOT started off a pretty decent yarn a long, long time ago (in ages past) now it's just a penny dreadful with the women spending most of their time "planting their fists on their hips", "glaring" "opening their mouths" [only to shut them again] and "smoothing their skirts". WOT stops here for me. I'm disappointed in myself that I have spent nearly a year reading this drivel. Enough. Life's too short to waste it on stupid books with no heart, absolutely no brain, and no end to it.
on July 12, 2004
The last five books in this series have strung us along with no real resolution to any of the multitude of conflicts set up in the earlier volumes. They where essentially filler, seminglly written for no other purpose than to pad out a story that didn't need any padding. Finally in Crossroad some of the major issues get resolved. The taint on Sadin and rands lovelife issues. But in doing so Jordan delivers the ultimate slap in the face by having all of this occour between the last book and this one. After slogging through the muck of the previous volumes I finally get to the stuff I wanna hear about and instead I'm told it already occoured and all I get is vauge referenses to it and brief occasional flashbacks. Now that's the ultimate insult. I bought this book against my better judgement and now it turns out my better judgement was correct. Just as a side note, the Wheel of Time was origanally intended to be a six volume series. It should of stayed that way. Everything of consequence from book five to eleven could fit in one book with room to spare.
on July 12, 2004
Now apart from any complaints about fractured storylines and glacial pace of the books I find that RJ's concept of magic has grown more and more ludicrous as the books progressed. Take the Aes Sedai for example. These women study often for at least ten or twenty years before achieving the shawl. Yet these three gits(you know who I'm talking about) acquired the shawl in about one year without any real training in the tower. To top it off they are far more competent than the Aes Sedai. Why should any woman have to go to the tower? RJ takes away the mysteriousness of the Aes Sedai and makes it seem like no great achievement.
For three thousand years women have studied terangreal and could never figure out how to make one of their own. Along comes the stupid up herself Elayne and makes one of her own. RJ makes the white tower appear to be foolish and incompetent.
Egwene can now make cuendillar after a bit of direction from Moghedien. Even Mog couldn't make it with all the knowledge of the age of legends behind her. What makes egwene so special?
Worst of all is Nynaeve. Being able to heal stilling? Ridiculous!Again, none of the forsaken were able to accomplish this with all their knowledge put together! RJ had the potential to make a tragic character in Siuan and Leanne. Instead these idiots are now sniffing, bickering Aes Sedai like all the rest.
So RJ can't kill characters and he can't let characters suffer even a little bit. But he is able to let us, the readers suffer from this trash he calls writing. I for one am done with this ridiculous farce of a series.
on July 7, 2004
Crossroads of Twilight, by Robert Jordan. We should all thank him for writing this book, really. Because now, creative writing teachers the world over can use it as a teaching aid, as a textbook in everything one should avoid in writing.
How bad is this book? How bad has the series become? To answer that, let's ask some other questions:
1. Is Rand the main character? Does the fate of the entire world rest on his shoulders? Is he the point of the books? Was the first chapter of the series written about him? The answer, of course, is yes. So, Mr. Jordan, WHY is the MOST important character in the STORY only around for ten pages?
2. Were the core characters all friends in the beginning?
The answer is yes. Perrin, Mat and Rand were all friends. Rand and Egwene were in love. Nynaeve, despite her attitude, loved them all. Now, in CoT:
The characters have not all been together since book 4. Perrin and Mat are all terrified of Rand, and Rand uses them. Egwene and Rand are practically enemies. Do we really want to read about characters that can't even remain true to their friendships?
The problem is, there are so many problems to the story now. Not since Moiraine has an important character died. And most people think she'll come back eventually. Thom was first thought to be dead. Nope. Lanfear, Ishamael, Balthamel and Aginor were all supposed to be dead at one point or another. They are all back. Jordan can't kill his characters, and so more and more and more keep coming in. There are so many now, it is impossible to keep track of them all unless you take copious notes, and as their names are all so similar anyway (I'm convinced he uses some name generator found on the internet for the Aes Sedai) the task is doubly hard. And you know things are bad when a woman named Naen (do you know who she is? Of course not) has as much screen time as the Dragon Reborn, or Nynaeve, or Min or Aviendha.
Notice how everytime Rand has gone up against a Forsaken, he has won? Notice how most people fear him more than the Dark One? So why doesn't he get it over with and kill the forsaken, as we all know he can? Notice how the chief threat right now is NOT the dark one, but the seanchan? What does THAT tell you about the Wheel of Time?
Throughout the story, only a few important things have happened: Rand learns that he is the Dragon. Rand gains the Aiel to his side. Moiraine dies. Perrin and Mat do a few other litle things. Egwene becomes Amyrlin. And finally, Rand cleanses Saidin. The rest is all filler.
These are all huge problems to the STORY. I'm not talking about the writing now, not what Jordan writes about and what he doesn't, not how boring it is, or whatnot. This is just the STORY itself. There are too many flaws! This will NEVER work out! I'm sorry to say it, but the series is incontrovertibly doomed. It will never get better, it's dead, gone beyond repair.
I have to finish with a gloomy prophesy. People have been complaining how slow the last books are. Jordan has said only 2, maybe 3 books remain. From where they are now, ask yourselves: are the characters REALLY ready to fight the last battle? What real evidence (not what Jordan says, but by the events he actually writes) that the last battle is at all closer now than it is when the series began? Can Jordan really resolve this all in 3 books? The answer is yes. But he'll do it so quickly, it'll seem so rushed and forced, that the problem in the end will be the opposite of the problem now. The end will have been a blink of an eye...and it says a lot about a series when the most important part of it, the part that REALLY matters, is the shortest, quickest, and least developed of all. It's over folks. Jordan should be sent to jail for murdering his own baby.
on July 5, 2004
Before I begin I have been a loyal reader of the TWOT for since the beginning. The first books were written with such quality and imagination and care for the charaters. The books had become the center piece of my book collection. I've gone out and rebought all the books in hard cover so I could have a decent collection for these book that I held in such high regard, up too the Lord of Chaos.
Unfortunately, as with most fans of the series, I have been continuosly disappointed with quality of stories that I shutter whenever a new book comes out, because I look forward to them so much and yet they continue to disappoint. Well Winters Heart book 9 while not the best in the series did seem to reinvigorate the series where it seemed like Jordan had finally begun preperation for the final battle. While I did not expect it to happen in the next book, I did hope it would happen eventually at it was coming within a couple of books. When an author puts out junk like Crossroads, I question wether I will buy another book, yet I will and He has got me hooked like a heroin dealer.
Crossroads is bad not so much because of the writing. It is bad because nothing happens in the book. There was no progression of the plot, story, no new character development, no epic battles. Winters Heart ends with the imminent battle over the White Tower, Matt meeting his soon to be wife the daughter of the nine moon, perrin wife faile being kidnapped, and Rand cleansing the power. Nothing changed from the end of book 9 to the end of book 10, except the ridiculous ending with Egwene. Yet, there was almost a 700 page book I just read. One of Jordan greatest talents as a writer is his attention to detail, but it is his greatest fault as well. The book is nothing but detail, and he gets side tracked telling you about the drapes on the wall and forgets to move on with the story.
This time I really felt dooped by Jordan, and I want my thirty dollars back. I even defended the series when others complained he was just sucking readers wallets with the never ending story. With this book he did just that.
Yet, I hold out I will eventually buy book eleven because the story at the beginning was so good, I hope it too be good again. I'll probably pre-order the thing like I always do. Jordan always said he had the ending plained from the beginning. It seems to me he never had a plain on how to get there. But I hope the next books will be better than Crossroads, the worst one yet. Thank you for your time.
on July 2, 2004
Well here we have it folks, another typical "Crossroads of Twilight" defender:
PREVIOUS REVIEWER: "If people out there don't like reading the books, and haven't liked reading them for a while, well, isn't there quite an obvious solution to your problem?"
We continue to read the books (even though a lot of us "haven't liked reading them for a while") because we liked the first several novels in the series. We know that even though the last several books have been of distinctly lower quality we remember that they used to be better and because of this we believe (or are at least trying to believe!) that there's a chance that they can be better again. It angers a lot of people when they see something that had such potential decline due to less than honorable motives (ie., a drawn out series to milk loyal fans for their money).
PREVIOUS REVIEWER: "Instead of clogging up review sites with your petty sneering, stop reading the books and leave the reviews to the people that would be probably looking to buy the book..."
What are review sites for? Why are we given the option of 1 or 2 stars as well as 3, 4 or 5? Are review sites only supposed to be for good reviews? Why do people VISIT review sites to begin with? To reassure themselves with false hopes so that they can spend their hard-earned cash on a book of poor quality written by a man who is more interested now in milking his loyal fans rather than loyalty towards his fans themselves?
PREVIOUS REVIEWER: "When you read The Wheel Of Time...You read it for an INTRICATE TAPESTRY OF SUBTLE TWISTS AND TRUNS ("turns"?) that WEAVE TOGETHER into gradually larger and larger patterns...As the STORIES GROW IN SCOPE, they deserve the length that Robert Jordan gives them...The pace of these books allows the story, and the characters, to have some INTEGRITY - look it up in the dictionary, because you won't find it within yourself." (The caps are my emphasis).
Hmmm: INTRICATE TAPESTRY OF SUBTLE TWISTS AND TURNS...sorry, but after reading this book , I don't see anything at all intricate or subtle...all I see is a huge mass of needless, mind-numbing detail. The first several books were great because the description provided in them added to a new world that we wanted to know more about. What is added to Randland in this volume?
The STORIES GROW IN SCOPE and WEAVE TOGETHER...I hate to contradict you gain, but the stories don't grow at all in this book and certainly nothing weaves together: quite the opposite. More and more pointless characters are introduced and the myriad plot lines are all the unresolved. I don't see any WEAVING TOGETHER of anything whatsoever.
And the characters having INTEGRITY? Come on! They characters are all one-dimenional bores! When you get right down to it, there are only two kinds of characters in this huge, sprawling epic: males and females, the males being clueless indecisive fools and the females being whiney obnoxious...I'll refrain from using any of the many colorful metaphores that come to mind.
Anyway, to wrap this up, I would like to say that I'd like to know the previous reviewers' ideas of SUBTLE TWISTS AND TURNS, of WEAVING TOGETHER, of STORIES with SCOPE and characters with INTEGRITY. Perhaps he could have provided us with some examples from "Crossroads of Twilight". Oh wait, I forgot! He's one of those "Crossroads" defenders.
on June 21, 2004
I purchased this book without reading any reviews, so it was with much relief that I saw the other reviews. This book isn't very good at all. It is dense, impenetrable, rambling. Etc. You can skip pages of dialog, and still not miss anything of consequence, why? There is so little of consequence in the book, you don't worry about missing anything
I have felt for some time that most of the characters were completely unlikable. If this wasn't an Amazon.com review I would use stronger language, in times past they would almost all be boors. Men and women both. I imagine if they gave the horses more lines they would be boorish too. How can they continue to fail to communicate? They make an art of it? The situations are so improbable, for example the windbags, you know the women who sail on ships. Many of the Aes Sedai, Aes is misspelled in the book by the way. I think it should have too s's. They talk all the time and never communicate, The Ash'Aaman again misspelled. Two s's no h. there is no let up. If these people are the saviors, it is clear why the Forsaken are arrogant, they can't help it! The drivel just continues and continues.
Don't get me wrong, the series has an interesting plot line. The characters were at one time OK, and showed some potential for growth. It is worth reading but view volume 10 as a punishment, your punishment. If you think the series is worth it, this is your burden