Robert Jordan

This weekend, I finished Knife of Dreams (Yes, I’m over 35 years old and am just now reading the Wheel of Time… Yes, I’m reading it anyway). That’s the last written by Robert Jordan before his death, the eleventh in the series, and the penultimate book of the series. I look forward to the ghostwritten final book when it is completed and published, likely some time this year.

The good: Complexity. A dizzying array of agents and involvements support an extravagantly tangled knot of plot lines, each expertly tied to the central plot. Subtlety. Intramural controversies carry nearly as much of the suspense as overt hostilities. Those overt hostilities, in turn are nearly equally divided between squabbles among factions aligned loosely with “the Light” (good) as between them and the factions – also in internal disarray – associated with “the Dark”. In other words, there is realism about international relationships which all but upstages the trite “cosmic” struggles.

The bad: Wooden characters. Each character could be summed up almost completely with a paragraph of text. Rarely do we see any character development past what can be summarized this way. The “Power” is a touch too powerful, and is overly depended upon. Cosmic struggles are like all cosmic struggles in fiction – contrived, simplistic, and cosmic. And, by cosmic, I mean not reflective of the real world sources of goodness and evil.

Overall, I enjoyed the books, and would recommend them for a youngster who has already read Tolkien and Lewis and is still interested in reading fantasy.

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