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Review Revisited: Robert Jordan – Crossroads of Twilight

June 20, 2017

Re-read. Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan (2003)
The Wheel of Time, Book 10

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
8. The Path of Daggers
9. Winter’s Heart
12. The Gathering Storm
13. Towers of Midnight
14. A Memory of Light

Read By: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading
Length: 26h 03m (846 pages)

Genre: Fantasy

Originally read: 19 June 2005
Re-read started: 27 May 2017
Re-read finished: 11 June 2017

Where did it come from? Audible; paper copy was from Amazon Marketplace back in the day.

Everyone wonders
what Rand is up to, but NO
ONE DOES ANYTHING.

Summary: NOTHING HAPPENS. Mat is fleeing Ebou Dar with Valan Luca’s traveling circus, with Tuon, the kidnapped Seanchan princess, in tow. He knows he’s destined to marry her, but he can’t figure her out. Perrin is marshaling his forces to rescue Faile, who was taken by the Shaido Aiel and is serving as gai’shain to Sevanna in the captured town of Malden, and plotting her own escape. Egwene has both literal and figurative headaches, has Traveled the rebel Aes Sedai to Murandy, and is making plans to re-take Tar Valon, although it’s not clear what the plans actually are until the very last chapter, when (surprise!) they go badly wrong. Elayne is pregnant and is tired of drinking goat’s milk or weak tea and generally being coddled and is trying to secure her claim to the throne of Andor, but support for House Trakand is thin on the ground. Rand is… in the book? He doesn’t actually do much of anything in this book other than listen to Loial’s report on the Ogier and the Waygates, although we learn that despite having cleansed the Dark One’s taint from saidin, Rand’s still getting sick when he seizes the power. Everyone is freaking out about the blaze of the One Power from Rand cleaning saidin at the end of the previous book, but no one really does anything about it or believes it if they hear that the male half of the source is now clean. SERIOUSLY NOTHING HAPPENS.

Review: As *may* be apparent from this summary, this book is not very good. At all. I think it’s easily the worst of the series – while I know I have complained about nothing happening in previous books, at least there are sizeable battles or saidin being cleansed to cap them off. In this one, there is truly nothing happening. Probably about 80% of the book takes place the day of the cleansing of saidin, or at best a day or two afterwards, as we get a handful of chapters on what each of the non-Rand characters was doing at that time. And the answer to what they were doing? MORE OF THE SAME. It emphatically does not require an entirely separate novel just to tell us so. There also is no climactic battle or other final scene; it ends with a bit of a cliffhanger for one character, but five pages of excitement are not enough to justify the preceding 800 pages of tedium.

I’m giving it three stars, but even that is a stretch, and at least one and a half of those three are purely out of residual fondness for the series as a whole. Actually, fondness for the series as a whole is probably resulted in this novel in the first place – it really is more of the same, and it sort of feels like Robert Jordan said “Oh, you liked the previous books? HERE’S MORE OF EXACTLY THE SAME THING WITHOUT ANY FORWARD NARRATIVE MOVEMENT.” (I’ve given up even trying to keep track of the sixteen thousand factions and allegiances among the Aes Sedai – there are so many of them that even with the help of Encyclopedia WoT it’s just a losing battle.) That said, the fact that fans of this series have already invested so much time in these characters (most of them, anyways, there’s a chapter in the middle from the point of view of one Elayne’s rival claimants to the throne that just feels wildly out of place) means that we probably don’t mind spending time with them, even if they’re not doing much of anything. I know that’s true for me; even when I first read the series, I’d spent so much time in the WoT universe that even though I was frustrated that more wasn’t happening faster, I didn’t entirely mind just hanging out. (When I originally read it, though, this was the most recent book published, so the cliff hanger seemed much more dramatic and exciting than it does now that I can immediately go pick up Knife of Dreams.) 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Despite the fact that nothing happens in this book, there’s still *enough* that happens that you’ll need to know about for future books. (But barely.) If you’ve read this far in the series, read this one fast and don’t worry about picking up the details, and keep pressing on… the next one gets better, and the last three (co-authored by Brandon Sanderson) are better still.

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

Other Reviews: A Dribble of Ink, 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: Rodel Ituralde hated waiting, though he well knew it was the largest part of being a soldier.

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