Top positive review
'To destroy or be destroyed. When that's your choice, is there a difference?'
Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2019
So ends the eighth book of the Wheel of Time. I'm marking this one on the low end of four stars. I will warn that there may be slight, slight spoilers below. If you don't want to know things like who is still alive, or who is in this book, I'd steer clear. Otherwise, I will keep any major spoilers contained and marked, which I've done in my recent reviews for this series.
So here I am. In the middle of the series. I think I can now say that I've reached the point that fans often refer to as the slump. The infamous slowing of pace that readers often point to in (and this is up for debate) books seven through ten. I want to address the so called slump, seeing as how it's such a pervasive topic when this series comes up.
Firstly, and you'll hear this a lot, the slump really isn't so bad for readers now a days for one simple reason; we don't have to wait for the books to come out. I can absolutely see why waiting for these books would be somewhat tortuous, especially seeing as how Jordan likes to end the books with a bang; often with some twist or large plot-changing event. So revving the pace way up at the end only to have your readers waiting for a couple years on your next installment is understandably frustrating. Be that as it may, I don't have to wait. And while I'll be reading something else before I go on, I could jump right into Winter's Heart if I wanted to. So that's one big part of it. The other is that I simply think it's overstated. Now, the next couple books could slow to a mind-numbing crawl, forcing me to eat my words, but even so, thus far the slowing of pace has not been so bad. It has been noticeable, but not nearly as noticeable as I anticipated. Yes, events have slowed. One of the biggest contributing factors to that is that our characters are so spread out. It may be ten chapters before you get back to a certain plot line. It's just the nature of the beast when it comes to these huge epics. I guess I also benefit from having anticipated it, but it really just isn't that bad. The Wheel of Time has never been a series of lightning fast pacing. Jordan is a very descriptive writer; he has been from the beginning. And sometimes that means a slower pace. However it also means a larger payoff, a bigger reward, when the weaves come together. And as I've mentioned before, I'm so invested in this world and story at this point that I'm willing to read through slower bits to see how the story unfolds. The Path of Daggers also happens to be the shortest book in the series, and it looks like Winter's Heart isn't much longer. So it's hard to get upset about a slower pace when I feel like I'm finishing the book rather quickly. Okay, that's enough about that.
There's not too much I can say about the story that doesn't dive into spoiler territory at this point. Jordan has woven many threads into this thing, many threads. And I enjoy reading about each one. I was glad to have Perrin get some great chapters here. Egwene's story is more interesting by the chapter, and as usual I can't get enough Rand chapters. I'm always a bit disappointed to leave one behind. I was surprised and a little bummed to have no Mat POVs at all in this one. I expect he'll have a fair bit next book to make up for it. Fingers crossed. Eight down and six to go.