Book Review – A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan

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A Crown of Swords (Wheel of Time, #7)

TITLE:  A Crown of Swords

SERIES:  The Wheel of Time Series, book 7

AUTHOR:  Robert Jordan

FORMAT:  Epub via Google Play Books

PAGES/LOCATIONS:  843 pages of story, 866 pages total

GOODREADS’ AVG. RATING:  3.95 out of 5 stars; 67,923 ratings

SYNOPSIS PROVIDED:

In this volume, Elayne, Aviendha, and Mat come ever closer to the bowl ter’angreal that may reverse the world’s endless heat wave and restore natural weather. Egwene begins to gather all manner of women who can channel–Sea Folk, Windfinders, Wise Ones, and some surprising others. And above all, Rand faces the dread Forsaken Sammael, in the shadows of Shadar Logoth, where the blood-hungry mist, Mashadar, waits for prey.

DATES READ:  May 30-June 4, 2015

MY REVIEW:

Truth be told, I tore through this book.  One of my largest complaints in regards to Jordan’s novels has been the pacing, but I had no fault with the pacing of this novel and I am sure that had I been able to I would have read this book from beginning to end in one sitting.  I was that interested and invested in the story at hand.  What I enjoyed most about A Crown of Swords was observing the continued growth in Jordan’s characters and meeting an exciting new one.  I am going to start off with Egwene because she seems to be the character who is experiencing the most growth currently, going from a girl beginning her training to be a Wisdom in Emond’s Field to sitting as the Amyrlin Seat and leading the Salidar Aes Sedai.  I find it absolutely hilarious that Sheriam and her group thought to raise Egwene and have her act as their puppet parroting out the decisions that they thought best, only to have it blow up in their faces.  Egwene has found some serious backbone and is learning to hold her own against many who don’t feel she should wear the stole, against those who have been full Aes Sedai longer than she has been alive.  Siuan is doing a great job in teaching Egwene how to be an effective Amyrlin, but I hope that this won’t come at the same price it did for Siuan.  I worry for Egwene though, I worry that her plans may be too bold and that they could lead to disaster, yet I also know that she is surrounded by strong allies who can help lead her to success.  We will have to see what the Pattern has in store for her.

Elayne, Aviendha, Nynaeve, and Mat’s story in Ebou Dar finally came to a close with them procuring the ter’angreal they were looking for.  I liked their story line, as always there were good parts and not so good parts but overall it was well done.  I appreciate Aviendha’s role among this group because she really does make Elayne and Nynaeve hold themselves to higher standards – the Aiel way of ji’e’toh allows for nothing less if you mean to be an honorable person.  This leads to them treating Mat better than they have previously which is something that I think Mat does deserve.  Mat has been considered nothing more than the same troublemaker he was in Emond’s Field by Nynaeve for the majority of this series, but he hasn’t truly been that for a while.  Sure, he still enjoys to drink and swear and gamble – but he has simultaneously maintained himself as a strong and capable individual.  After being separated at the end of the book as the Seanchan attack, I can only hope that he will be able to reunite with the group quickly.  One of the happiest moments for me in this book happened when Nynaeve was finally reunited with Lan and they ultimately married.  It was obvious just how deeply they cared about each other and even though they are both wrapped up in serious events in trying times, I am glad that they were able to marry and share their love between them.  I am curious how their story is going to continue now that they have the Bowl of the Winds in their possession – hopefully, they will be able to restore the weather to its normal pattern.

A new no nonsense Aes Sedai has appeared in our midst by the name of Cadsuane, she is regarded by her fellow Aes Sedai as a legend and has the strong-willed personality to match.  Cadsuane is demanding, she demands respect and she demands to be obeyed without question, which isn’t something that Rand is very good at doing.  What amazes me about Cadsuane is that while she is regarded as such a legend by those around her, she doesn’t let it go to her head – she is an incredibly grounded individual.  What worries me about Cadsuane is that I am not entirely sure what her motivation is – is she there to hunt down and still Rand as she has done with other men who could channel or is she there to help guide him and prepare him for Tarmon Gai’don?  I don’t know, I hope that she is there to help rather than hinder.

Let’s take a minute to focus on Rand – sure he did some good things like finally admitting to Min that he loves her, but after that he seriously went full blown idiotic in this book and it made me incredibly angry.  After finally taking the time to meet with the Sea Folk, he decides that since his being ta’veren is working in his favor he should go and sneak around the camp of dissenters hoping to neutralize this rebellion looking to reclaim the Sun Throne – sounds like a great decision, right?  Wrong, while his sneaking starts off well beforehand it turns out that Cadsuane is present and observing the going on’s as well as Padan Fain using a new name in hopes of manipulating this camp to his own ends of destroying Rand.  An attack descends upon the camp of a monstrous fog, much like Mashadar bound to Shadar Logath, and Rand is ultimately injured with Fain’s dagger – the same dagger which corrupted Mat found in Shadar Logath.  Thankfully, two Aes Sedai were able to prevent the death of Rand through fast thinking healing and upon returning to the castle one of his Asha’man added his efforts as well.  Not long after waking up, Rand does the unthinkable and decides it is time to attack Illian and ultimately Sammael – this is where all of his planning comes to fruition over the last couple books.  His attack upon Illian chases Sammael out of the city to Shadar Logath where the two men do battle, Rand ultimately finding victory after Mashadar consumes Sammael.  Rand is then presented the crown of Illian, which becomes known as The Crown of Swords.  I understand that Rand needed to attack Illian and rid them of Sammael, but I also worry that he is taking needless additional risk by doing this while injured.  Ultimately he was successful, but who’s to say that he will be so lucky next time?  I am also interested in the man he met in Shadar Logath, their beams of balefire touched seeming to create some sort of link between them maybe – what is this going to mean for Rand?  Doesn’t he already have enough people inside of his head?!

TL;DR REVIEW:  5 out of 5 stars. Overall, I was incredibly impressed with this book and really enjoyed reading it.  It was a well done continuation of the story line with a good strong pace, setting up the next novel well.  I am interested to see where the story is going to head next, with Rand currently in charge of four lands and the Seanchan on the rise – I can only imagine the difficulties facing Rand in the coming novels.  I look forward to finding out what’s in store in the next book, The Path of Daggers!

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