Okay, book 11 of the Wheel of Time. I started this series in 7th grade when there was just 6 books. Most people consider the first 6 the only good books of the series, and while I do think they are the better books (with #9 Winter's Heart up there) it's not like the latter books are bad. Trust me, I've read worse books (fantasy or no) than Crown of Swords or Paths of Daggers. Also, if you haven't read these books, do yourself a favor and pick them up, they are fantastic. The depth, the detail, the origionality... they are just spectacular.
Where does book 11 fit? Well, I think it's better than 7-10, though during my last re-read I really enjoyed those books more than I remember. What happens is a new WoT book comes out, and I waited 2+ years for it. So I buy it the first day it comes out, and rush through it. I'm so eager for new plot stuff that I just race through the entire thing. And during that first read, if I'm not reading about Mat, Perrin or Rand, then I'm pissed. But during a reread, where I know ahead of time I'm not going to be seeing the main 3, I can appreciate it a lot more.
But Knife of Dreams, was it worth the wait? I say yes, stuff happens, it's not all politcal, there's a good deal that occurs, some stuff I figured I'd never see. Needless to say, exciting, fun stuff.
As for what that stuff is.... well... spoilers and all that jazz...
The overall sense of the book was 'the end is near,' the last battle is coming. More and more dead people keep popping up, and even a whole town. The world ripples from time to time and the builings change. Like the hallways and the like. Rooms disagpear.
The book definitely had some smiling/chill moments. What I define as a smiling/chill moment is when I read or hear something and I just grin or get chills. Examples are whenever I read the part in The Great Hunt where Mat blows the Horn or when I first heard George Harrison's version of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I just get chills and start grinning. Well, this book had its moments too.
The first time was when Nynaeve went to the Borderlands and recruited people to ride for Malkier. Seeing here ask the men to ride with Lan, for their forgotten country... awesome. I mean, that is just cool.
The second really sweet part was the Trolloc attack on Rand in...(okay, so I forget what palace he was in at the time, he jumps around a lot). Rand and Logain began to fight back witht he normal fireballs and stuff... but then Rand loses control of saidin and Lews Therin takes over. Rand can't control whats going on and he starts making crazy weapons. And they are bad ass. These giant fire flower tornado things (or something like that) and some Deathgates (like gateways). And he just keeps doing cool shit, but Rand has no idea what he's doing and can't control it. Also, Logain starts copying the weaves, so you have a lot of badass shit happening.
Those two scenes stuck out to me as the best in the book.
But the biggest part of the book was that plot threads got wrapped up. Jordan spent a lot of the last few books setting things up; positions people and events, like a calm before the storm. Well, a lot of them end here. Perrin and Faile get reunited, which I was grateful for. I just got sick of all the Shaido Aiel stuff to be honest. Just plain sick of them, and when they captured Faile, which made Perrin stop doing cool wolf kickass stuff, well, this shit had to end.
And it does here, it actually ends. The only real intersting part of the whole Faile rescue was the fact that Perrin had to fight Aram, the tinker. I think this was Jordan's 'gasp' moment: Aram turning on Perrin. Not completely unforseen, but many people (including myself) liked Aram. I liked the violent tinker. It's too bad he died. [The 'gasp' moment Jordan mentioned was the Ayamar's mass suicide, meh].
Also, one of Min's first viewings of Rand was of a bloody hand. This could've been about his heron-marked hands or maybe Mat's Band of the Red Hand. But we learn in book 11 it had to do with him losing his (left?) hand, in a fight with Semirhage. It was a quick battle, Rand went to see the Seanchan, expecting to see the Daughter of Nine Moons, and he's strolling up with a bunch of channelers and they get attacked by Semirhage. But Rand is the only main person seriously hurt and Semirhage gets captured rather easily. I'm torn on this scene. It felt really really rushed (as was the Aram scene), and though it was cool, it just went too quick.
The Band of the Red Hand returns, which is always fun, with Olver and is 'Uncles.' The Mat and Tuon scenes are some of the most fun in the book, with each side not trusting the others cultural beliefs. Oh, they finally get married. Mat is actually married to the Daughter of Nine Moons, I never thought I'd see the day.
Elayne's main plot thread wraps up nicely too. She wins the Crown of Andor AND she captures some Black Ajah (but not before getting caught hereself). I was worried sick when Elayne got captured towards the end of the book, cause I didn't want this thread hanging over into the next one. It was so close to being completed that I wanted it finished, I didn't want to wait. And thank God, I didn't. Jordan had her saved within a chapter or two and that was that.
Also, the Rebel sisters figure out that Halima can channel saidin and she ran off. We find out who ratted out the Rebels to Elaida and we figure out who killed Adelas. Also, we see Tam and Elyas again (but still no Hurin).
My big surprise was that Jordan might still bring back Moiraine. We finally get to see the letter that she wrote to Thom. Mat asks to see and Thom shows it to him, thats all it took. And they mention the plan to go save her, with the Tower of Ghengi and all of that. (See various wotmania.com theories for more explanation). After book Crossroads of Twilight, I didn't expect to see Moiraine again, I figured with the way the plot was trodding along now, there's no way we'd see her again with two books left. I mean, at this point she's been gone for more books than she was in.
Overall, I enjoyed it a lot. But I was going to enjoy it no matter what. Personally, I don't think Jordan can finish up the series in just one more book. I just don't. And I'd rather he not. Since we're close to the end, and we can all see it coming, I don't really mind waiting for him to take his time. I'd rather him take 5 years and have a thorough, complete last battle with lots of detail, instead of some quick stuff. Like if Logain comes in and says he just battled Taim and killed him. That would suck, I need to see everything happen. He spent tons of time and pages building up these stories, and if he just runs through the last book just to finish it... oiy.
But anyway, for more thoughts on the book (cause this post took me awhile, I'm not exactly sure how coherent this is), here's a KoD discussion I recently had, enjoy:
AJBoucek: so. what were your thoguhts on the book
AJBoucek: now that i've been through it
Benny08302: i think he rushed stuff
Benny08302: i mean, i enjoyed it, but i was going to enjoy it no matter what, you know?
AJBoucek: i think he should have brought mat perrin and rand together as they were in the first few books...at least periodically
AJBoucek: that way we can get all the main characters and storyline moving in minimum pages
Benny08302: plus i tend to rush through a new one right when i get, i enjoy them more on rereads
Benny08302: yea, like he keeps hinting at shit
Benny08302: like that mat perrin and rand should be to together
Benny08302: but he doesnt do it
AJBoucek: i hate how he writes sometimes. he'll spend a chapter on some random character i don't care about...and its not that i don't enjoy the sidestory point of view....but the whole time i'm thinking of how i'd rather be reading about the main characters
AJBoucek: so taims demandred?......thats what i gather. not like it hasn't been assumed for the last few books
Benny08302: tahts what im sayin, i did a reread a few summers ago, and really enjoyed the secondary character stuff, but when i read it the first time i get all pissed off that im not reading about a main character
AJBoucek: its like if you would come out with them faster i wouldn't mind all that stuff
AJBoucek: btu i feel like "ok i get 600 pages for the next 3 years....." and then it turns out 200 of them are on shit i don't really care for
Benny08302: allegedly this is the second to alst book
AJBoucek: i really hate elaynes point of view
AJBoucek: yeah 13 is the number i think
AJBoucek: 13 spokes on a wheel
Benny08302: yea, plus i think theres no way he ends it in one book
AJBoucek: but i had heard this was going to bethe last battle book
AJBoucek: and trhe next was going to be like new age of legends shit....and then in the final book he does shit with a new age or something. but i guess not
Benny08302: i thought the taim/demandred thing was debunked
AJBoucek: like you firgure he killed all those forsaken and now they're back
Benny08302: he has to start the whole moiraine rescue
AJBoucek: clarify what you mean by debunked?
Benny08302: and complete it
Benny08302: like i thought a character (i forget, some punk) talked to taim and then talked to demandred, and thus proved that they werent the same
Benny08302: or some crap
AJBoucek: i really dislike the women point of views. i wish he'd write just from mat/rand/perrin for the last few books and knock this shit out
AJBoucek: i dunno taim is one of the forsaken though
AJBoucek: that last line where he says "let the lord of chaos rule"
AJBoucek: \wasn't it only the forsaken that had that order
AJBoucek: like all the forsaken he killed are alive again.....like come on, is balefire good for nothing
AJBoucek: i had counted them as finished plotlines...now its like hes going to have to deal with them all again...or all at once which i think would be kidna lame myself
Benny08302: like, i assumed we were going to get smaller towards the end, all the characters would meet up and then we'd have a single point of view (or mulitple points of view from one scene)
AJBoucek: like tie up loose ends and bring everything back together
AJBoucek: i don't want the series to end with a bunch of shit not resolved ect
Benny08302: yea, but i hope he doesnt just try to tie shit up really quickly
Benny08302: like he killed aram in two paragraphs
AJBoucek: like if the books end without giving closure to certain characters ect it would be kind of lame.
AJBoucek: i hated aram anyway
AJBoucek: aram was a little punk bitch
Benny08302: true, but it was like hey my body guard is attacking me, hey hes full of arrows, next page
Benny08302: and the whole faile rescue was anticlimatic
Benny08302: for being drawn out for like 5 books
AJBoucek: i liked the chapter where lan left nynaeve to go to tarwins gap and then she goes and rallies all those malkier ppl for him
Benny08302: yea, that scene and the scene where rand lost control and lews therin started doign crazy shit
AJBoucek: i personally wish faile had died a long time ago. i was never a fan of her character and i think perrin's character would be a lot more interesting if he was like this brooding general type who lost his wife
Benny08302: i did like the tam apperance
AJBoucek: yeah its just like rand never tells anyone wabout lwes therin
Benny08302: like if the last battle doesnt involve mat, perrin, rand and a comination of lan/tam/logain/elyas killing things...
AJBoucek: logain is bitching about how hes holding onto the soure ect and rand says nothing but he should say "hey i'd shut your fucking mouth before this crazy guy kills us all"
Benny08302: and the whole semirhige thing was too quick also
AJBoucek: thast what makes the interactions so good but so irritating at teh same time. no two characters are ever aware of all teh information at the same time
AJBoucek: so its like theres that "whens he gonna find out" kind of feel
Benny08302: which he kinda does n purpose to make it like 'real life' because no one always shares everything, but as a reader, reading along watching,its frustrating
Benny08302: like the whole halima shit
Benny08302: with egwene, your god damn headaches are from the bitch
AJBoucek: i hate how the men take it up the ass too. they just let women walk all over them in these books.
Benny08302: also, no fain/shadar harin/slayer, waht gives
Benny08302: no fade/dark one rape scenes
AJBoucek: like come the fuck on you 3 are ta'veren and have all these powers/skills ect and yet you let these people who don't know teh half of it walk all over you
AJBoucek: haha rape scenes
AJBoucek: yeah what ever happend with that slayer guy...i bet he shows up at tower og ghenji
AJBoucek: wasn't he like half rands uncle or something
Benny08302: yea, like a lan uncle/rand uncle combo or some crap
AJBoucek: i hate fain too. i think he shoulda been killed off in any number of the scenes rands fought with him. everytime i think "this will be the end of that fucking jew peddler" but no he makes it out alive
Benny08302: hes gonna be gollum
AJBoucek: yeah but the female points of view like elaynes ect...those kill the whole books
AJBoucek: like they make book 5 unreadable
AJBoucek: in tanchico.....and this book gets really boring in those chapters
Benny08302: also, aviendha can now tell ter'angreal by touching them
AJBoucek: that was kinda cool. it at least added something to elayne bitching about her 'babes'
Benny08302: so egwene can make cuellindar, nynaeve can heal stilling, elayne can make ter'angreal and they are all super powerful
AJBoucek: they should just have rand mat and perrin come together and start killing shit.
Benny08302: yes, a scene with mats luck, the wolves and rand blowing shit up
AJBoucek: and like that steam engine thing....
Benny08302: mat can make guns
AJBoucek: like herid fel was a cool character until the gholam wasted him
Benny08302: yea, that thing wasnt in here either
AJBoucek: but that was way back
AJBoucek: now they bring up his steam engine and shit....its like jordans way of ushering in a new age
AJBoucek: rememebr when that gholam killed that old guy fell in cairenhein
AJBoucek: like apparently that guy had solved soem jaor shit....but never got to reveal it b/c he died
AJBoucek: i bet thats never resolved
Benny08302: i thought he gave rand the idea on how to cleanse sadin
AJBoucek: like the earlier books there was more face time with the main people and more oh them actually fighting or doing shit. now its kinda like a news report. "rand met with bashere, rand traveled here"
AJBoucek: much less personal or soemthing, i dunno
Benny08302: mats gotten decent face time the last few books, which has been cool, i like mat
AJBoucek: maybe i missed that....i thoguht he died before he could tell anyone and they made it out to be this huge thing
AJBoucek: yeah mat had a good story this book
Benny08302: perrins face time has been annoying as hell
Benny08302: and rands has been uneventful
AJBoucek: but at the same time i feel like......you spent the whole book riding with valan luca and tuon...get to advancing this shit faster
Benny08302: im just glad theres no more luca
Benny08302: i like how he basically said the noal was jain farstrider
Benny08302: er... 'cousins'
AJBoucek: see i think i'm forgetting shit b/c how did mat first end up with jain
AJBoucek: lor noal if you will
Benny08302: he saved him from the gholam i think
Benny08302: at soem point, and then just stuck around
AJBoucek: i didn't reread shit when i picked this one up so i was like just going with the flow when they named 50 dif aes sedai i didn't remember and shit
Benny08302: plus there was 'noal' sightings throughout the early books, old wrangly hermit guy hanging out in the background
AJBoucek: i was unaware of this