Wheel of Time Readthrough, Part 7

Firstly, I just wanted to get out quick that the audiobook for Lesser Evil has been officially released.  It is available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  If you’ve never tried it before, Audible is free for 30 days, and you get to keep whatever book you took (whether that’s mine of whatever audiobook you’ve been meaning to listen to).  If you already own the Kindle book from Amazon there should a discount for buying the audiobook there, but I was unable to confirm exactly how much that is.  I was very fortunate to have the talented Richard Coombs (twitter @goombasa) narrating, he did an excellent job.  There are samples up on all three sources for you to see for yourself.

Secondly, I want apologize for how long its been since my last post.  “A Crown of Swords” only took me about a week to read once I got into it, but I had a very…well, the last couple of weeks have not been great for me, leaving it at that, which is why I haven’t posted shit all lately.

Okay, on to the book.  I was warned, both by friends and by several redditors who have been following along with my read, that I was coming now into the “slog,” the series low point, which would continue on for a few books before getting better.  There was some disagreement as to when, exactly, the slog started, some saying this book, others the next, with a general agreement that 9 and 10 are definitely the heart of it.  I try to put aside these warnings and go into the book with an open mind, though.  And overall, it was … well, a solid next chapter to series.  There is definitely less progress in the story arc when compared to the previous books, though, with the whole story taking place over just a couple of weeks (if I got the timing right), so I can see where these opinions are coming from.  I’m in the position of binge-reading these books one after another, with the next always at arm’s reach; I can just imagine if I had been reading these books as they came out, having waited a couple of years for the next installment, having read this and realizing it would be a few years yet for the next, being slightly disappointed with the lack of new developments.

The Ebou Dar crowd spends the book still looking for the Bowl of Winds, fortunately they finally find it and hopefully by the next book the ‘unending summer’ finally comes to an end.  If only to put an end to description of people sweating (or the pointing out that they are not sweating, as the case may be).  I live in one of the hottest states in the country, and we have been having record hot months down here that have been forcing me indoors even more than someone like me would normally be.  I don’t need to be reminded what awaits me should I step outside! What I wouldn’t give to master the Aes Sedai trick of ignoring the heat…

Rand spends most of the book just trying to keep his shit together long enough for him to finally execute his plan again Sammael.  He can no longer hear Lews Therin (I can not tell if that is good or bad; if Lew Therin was a figment of his mad imagination, then surely losing him is good, on the other hand, Lews seemed to know a lot of things Rand couldn’t know, so maybe he was real and Rand needs him in some way).  Lew Therin or not, he is definitely just one bad day away from true madness.  It seems Min is the only thing keeping him firmly on this side of sanity, which is a shit ton of pressure for her; ‘hey, don’t let anything happen to you, if you die, Rand is going to fuck shit up.’  I still think Min is the most likable of Rand’s three love interests and I’m glad she’s got this time with him, however stressful this time may be.  Also, that she has the balls to just tell Rand how she feels, which neither of the others have really managed.

Some thoughts:

Mat being raped by Tylin was a bit of an uncomfortable scene.  For once, I was grateful of Jordan’s habit of fading to black.  I suppose the whole point of the scene was the show Mat was it’s like when the shoe in on the other foot, perhaps give him a new perspective to his womanizing, but it still felt kind of fucked up.

The gholam might be the creepiest of the shadowspawn creatures so far.  A creature with no bones (and apparently no blood … or internal organs) that can squeeze under doors, then take the form of a man with the strength to rip throats out with its bare hands.  That’s nightmare fuel there.  It might be telling that it was described as ‘snake-like’ and was vulnerable to the foxhead medallion; there is still a lot with those snakes and foxes that has yet to be explained.

Cadsuane…another old, no-nonsense woman who everyone defers to. With the Aes Sedai mysteriousness cranked up to ten.  I don’t believe I am going to like her.

Pedron Niall is killed in the prologue while he is just moments away from putting the Whitecloaks towards an actually good cause.  To me, the scene played out something like this:

"Oh, shit.  These Seanchan actually do exist, and are every bit as dangerous as I feared.  Well, I suppose I must put the Children against -"
Gets stabbed. 
"That was close, High Inquisitor.  He almost made us ... useful."  
"Good work, Valda, we certainly don't want that.  Now we can continue to be idiots.""As long as we can also continue being secondary antagonists!"
High fives.

I am so grateful to Aviendha for pointing out that Elayne and Nyneave owed Mat more than their condescending attitudes.  I was grinning while they were building up the apology, which turned to a frown when Elayne was already trying to figure out the loopholes to her promise before the words were even out of her mouth.  It seems Elayne may have learned a little better after Mat saved her ass yet again, though Nynaeve doesn’t know the meaning of gratitude.

Very little Perrin once again.  He witnesses the retaking of Cairhien, then way sneaky-sent to Ghealdean to deal with prophet, and that was it for him.  Of course, this book took place over a very short period of time; it’s likely he hasn’t had time to even start with the Dragonsworn.

The Forsaken really aren’t having a good few months.  Moghedien went from being bound by the Aes Sedai to being bound by yet another mysterious character, Moridin.  A lot of them are dead, or would be dead if not for the Dark One’s revivey powers.  And whatever Sammael was planning has come to an end becuase for some reason he thought super-cursed city was the right place to fight Rand.

I spent a long time wondering what the titular ‘crown of swords’ was going to be a metaphor for, only to find out it was an actual crown…featuring swords.  I have to learn to take some things literally.

What happened to you Rand?  On the cover of the last book, you were looking like protagonist of some housewife’s dream.  As a reminder:

How did you go from that, to this:

It looks like you started boxing, and have not been doing too well.  Great biceps, though.

That’s all I got for this one.  I intend to approach the next book with an equally open mind and hope that the slog is not as bad as it has been made out to be.  Next week…something!

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