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Review Revisited: Robert Jordan – The Path of Daggers

July 17, 2016

Jordan, Robert - The Path of Daggers - 400Re-read. The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan (1998)
The Wheel of Time, Book 8

Read my review of book:
1. The Eye of the World
2. The Great Hunt
3. The Dragon Reborn
4. The Shadow Rising
5. The Fires of Heaven
6. Lord of Chaos
7. A Crown of Swords
12. The Gathering Storm
13. Towers of Midnight
14. A Memory of Light

Read By: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading
Length: 23h 31min (704 pages)

Genre: Fantasy

Originally Read: 20 March 2005
Re-read Started: 19 May 2016
Re-read Finished: 29 May 2016

Where did it come from? Audible; my paper copy was bought used on Amazon.

We’re halfway through the
series, but damn, this is where
we hit a slow spot.

Summary: Perrin goes to confront the Prophet to stop his so-called “Dragonsworn” from their depredations on the countryside. Nynaeve, Elayne, the Kin, and the Windfinders escape Ebou Dar ahead of the Seanchan invasion, and finally use the Bowl of the Winds to break the Dark One’s endless summer and restore the weather to normal. Egwene, despite being nominally Amyrlin Seat of the Salidar Aes Sedai, is still being treated as little more than a figurehead by the factions within the Hall, although she’s got a plan to seize power for real, and force the Salidar rebels into a more direct confrontation with Elaida. Rand is steeling himself to the destruction he must cause leading up to the last battle, and he begins with doing battle with the Seanchan that have invaded Altara. Mat spends the entire book under a building.

Review: Ugh. Normally when I finish a book, if I don’t write a review right away, I’ll at least write myself some notes to jog my memory when I actually do get around to writing the review. For this book, all my notes say is “FOR F***S SAKE NOTHING HAPPENS.” Which pretty accurately sums up my opinion about this book.

To be fair, stuff does happen. The stuff I outlined above, plus a number of things that will be important later, like the appearance of Cyndane, the oath between Cadsuane and Sorilea to teach Rand laughter and tears again, the capture and bonding of the Red sisters sent to the Black Tower, some interesting scheming with Elaida and the search for the Black Ajah within the tower, the Shaido Aiel continue to be awful. But the problem is that… actually, scratch that, there’s not just one problem. Problem #1 is that there’s no through-arc, no story line that’s unique to this book and that gets wrapped up in the end. That was also a problem in A Crown of Swords, but at least that had the fight with Sammael at the end. Everything in this book is doing the work to set up the rest of the series, but there’s no pay-off yet – for anything – and it’s a problem. Problem #2 is that this book, even though it does have some important set-up stuff happening, draaaaaaags. Maybe not as much as I remember the next two books dragging, but damn. A lot of the set-up work that needs to be done could happen in a chapter or two, and yet it gets dragged out for three or four. And even the stuff that should be exciting and major, particularly Rand’s battle with the Seanchan, which I guess is supposed to be the climax of the book, is written so choppily and from such a strange perspective (Rand sending Asha’man to harry the Seanchan from all sides via gateways, but not really doing much himself) that it winds up being kind of boring. It doesn’t help that Rand’s made himself into a total jerk by this point, Perrin’s annoyingly obsessed with his annoying wife, and Mat doesn’t show up at all the entire book, leaving me with really only Egwene to cheer for. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: This book is the turning point in the series, the start of an (at least) three-book slump. If you’re invested enough in the story that you’ve read the previous seven books, then it’s definitely worth pushing through to get to the substantially better later books, but this book and the two that follow it are what make me hesitant about recommending the series as a whole to newcomers.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Adventures in Reading, A Dribble of Ink, The Labyrinth Library, The Wertzone, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Ethenielle had seen mountains lower than these misnamed Black Hills, great lopsided heaps of half-buried boulders, webbed with steep twisting passes.

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