5.25.2011

Currently Reading: A Crown of Swords (The Wheel of Time, Book 7)

A Crown of Swords (Wheel of Time, #7)She did seem to be peering down her nose at Rand, though tall as she was, he stood head and shoulders taller. “You must let yourself be guided by us. One wrong move, one wrong word, and you may deliver to Cairhien the same disaster you gave Tarabon and Arad Doman. Worse, you can do incalculable damage to matters about which you know almost nothing.”

Perrin winced. The whole speech could not have been better designed to inflame Rand. But Rand simply listened till she was done, then turned to Sorilea. “Take the Aes Sedai to the tents. All of them, for now. Make sure everyone knows they’re Aes Sedai. Let it be seen that they hop when you say toad. Since you hop when the
Car’a’carn says it, that should convince everybody I’m not wearing an Aes Sedai leash.”

Author: Robert Jordan

Synopsis: Rand, having escaped the imprisonment and torture from Elaida’s Aes Sedai, returns to Cairhien to remove Colavaere from the Sun Throne and then heads to Illian to take down Sammael. While trying to establish her independence as the rebels’ Amyrlin Seat, Egwene sends an apparently dying Lan to protect Nynaeve. In Ebou Dar, Nynaeve and Elayne and Aviendha seek the Bowl of the Winds to turn the weather, and Mat is unwillingly seduced by Queen Tylin as he tries to keep track of his friends.

Notes: Do forgive me for posting Wheel of Time books two weeks in a row. I'll try and vary it up for the next couple of weeks.

My sincere amusement to Tor. They’re a great SFF publisher, and I dream like a fangirl of writing a book for them someday. But I have to laugh at the cover for this book, which I am almost embarrassed to be seen with. I guess I’m lucky that the ugly but super-buff image of Rand isn’t cradling a swooning, big-busted Min.

At this point, after reading sometimes until my sight blurs over, I’m starting to get a touch frustrated with the story. For starters, I don’t like being made to want characters to wind up in unchaste relationships. But I’m so tired of the suspense between Rand and Min and Elayne and Aviendha that I want to put the four of them in a house together, make all their feelings known, get the Wise Women to set them all up in Aiel polygamy, and be done with it. And polygamy is chaste compared to the general direction things seem to be going. At least Jordan fades to black.

For seconds, this book left me in suspense on too many other points as well. Nynaeve and Lan? The Seanchan and Mat (will the Daughter of the Nine Moons come around in book eight?) Perrin, leading the explosive Faile and Berelain and a handful of Aes Sedai into who knows what? Why did Professor Fel die? And would somebody please take down both Alviarin and Elaida, because I can’t stand either of them any longer?

For thirds, Rand actually was arrogant in this book. And that simply must change. I’ve loved him—he’s the first and foremost of what keeps me reading. I can live without knowing the answers to cliffhangers, but not with an unlikeable protagonist. And while I might put up with Rand having three wives, or even three concubines, he simply cannot go on being arrogant. Can. Not. Happen.

All right, I’ve blown off my steam. On to the good stuff.

The Atha’an Miere, whose name—to my amused annoyance—is given two different pronunciations in the glossary, showed up with more frequency in this book. (For now, I think I’ll stick with ah-thah-AHN mee-EHR.) I enjoyed getting a further sense for their culture, although I wince at the very thought of wearing a chain between an earring and a nose ring. That has to hurt at first, and it’s just asking to get caught on things. But their strict egalitarianism and equally strict rank, their bright colors and big ships and Windfinders all fascinated me.

Egwene is handling her role as rebel Amyrlin with admirable strength and grace. I generally enjoy a turn in her head.

Cadsuane fascinated me. I’m not sure yet that I trust her, but Rand needed her to do what she’s done. He also needed Min to counteract that, of course, although Min got Rand into some of his mental distress in the first place. As for Min, I like her a lot now—most of the time.

Tylin and Mat drove me nuts. Just nuts. They’re both horrible to the opposite sex, and what Tylin did was unthinkable.

Nynaeve and Lan have my heart and sympathy. And I’m curious about that Atha’an Miere wedding—cautious and amused, but curious. Post-wedding, what is Lan feeling, really? And what about Nynaeve? I can guess, but that’s not nearly as much fun as reading about it.

I wonder if Jordan intentionally chose Asha’man for the channeling men because it reads a shaman. That’s an odd little mystery that distracts me every time I see the word.

Recommendation: If you’ve read the last book, you won’t be able to escape this one. And yeah, I’m going to read on.

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