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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

My Crossroads of Twilight re-read. (No major spoilers, just some POV names)


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"We rode on the winds of the rising storm,
We ran to the sounds of the thunder.
We danced among the lightning bolts,
and tore the world asunder."
 
So ends Book 10 of the Wheel of Time. I have some thoughts. This was my third read of this book.  I read it first at release, again in 2009, and just finished again today.
 
First, I'll address what I liked. I enjoyed the structure of this book. That may be controversial, because many others find this book frustrating, but humor me. It went; Mat then Mat adjacent, Perrin then Perrin adjacent, Elayne then Elayne adjacent, Egwene then Egwene adjacent, then Rand. Then, a Perrin conclusion, a Mat conclusion, and a Egwene conclusion. All the while all of the timelines that had grown out of sync over the last three books were all brought to the same point. We got a glimpse of mostly everyone, to include Loial, Logain, and Gawyn. I also feel like I know all of these characters much better after this book. No one has Jordan's ability to put the reader in the head of a character. Little things, take Mat for example. In a previous book, he thwarts multiple attempts at people trying to kidnap him, but he considers them all unrelated petty crimes even though it is obvious to the reader they are trying to kidnap him. In this book he is blind to who is influencing young Olver. Its obvious to the reader that it is Mat himself influencing Olver, but Mat just doesn't see it. Little things like these add to the depth of character development and how the world is viewed through a plethora of unreliable narrators. Also, as may be obvious, I am not a trained literary critic, but there was something about the prose in this book that I thought was a step up from previous books. The flow, cadence, or turn of a phrase, or whatever, really felt comfortable and enjoyable to my untrained mind.  Better than previous books.
 
Now for what I didn't enjoy.  The chapters seemed overly long.  Almost 700 pages, with an 80 page Prologue, and only 30 chapters gets the average chapter length over 20 pages, with some of them near 30 pages.  Some chapters felt like Jordan spent the first 5-8 pages of the chapter describing EVERY SINGLE PERSON the POV sees before getting to something actually happening in the chapter.  This was most noticeable in the Elayne and Egwene threads. So while I enjoyed the structure, each thread could have been edited down a bit. Also, significant page time was given to developing people I don't really care about.  Granted, we need to see something from Hanlon's and Elenia's POV, but it seemed excessive to have 30 pages dedicated to them.  I feel like there was a missed opportunity to better develop the Forsaken, and the split in the Black Tower.  I would have enjoyed a couple dozen pages getting behind the scenes at the Black Tower, or seeing Forsaken pulling strings.  Also, having 19 families decide the Andoran succession seemed excessive; because now Jordan has to WRITE ABOUT 19 FAMILIES.  Why not 13, 11 or, god forbid, 9?  It wouldn't change the plot an iota.
 
Many fans consider the next book, Knife of Dreams, to be a favorite, but I believe that Knife of Dreams would not be as good as it is if it wasn't for Crossroads of Twilight. I liked this book.  A lot.  The Path of Daggers still is my least favorite of the series. While The Path of Daggers was bleak and frustrating, Crossroads of Twilight was refreshing and only mildly frustrating.  Onto Knife of Dreams.  It will also be my third read of that book. (publication, 2009, now)
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Excellent analysis. I agree wholeheartedly. Of the "slog" books, I've always felt Path of Daggers was the worst. It is bleak and nothing really gets resolved. Plus, no Mat?!?

 

That being said, when you break down the overall structure of the series, it makes sense that it's bleak and that nothing gets resolved. It's very meta (as the kids say). I just have such a deep love for this series that I end up appreciating things I didn't originally like.

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Elder_Haman, Thanks for the feedback.  I remember the first time I read tPoD, it was the first, and only, book in the series that I was actually MAD when I finished reading.  I remember slamming the book down and saying out loud, "THEY OPENED A GATEWAY.  THAT'S IT!!  THAT'S ALL THEY DID THIS WHOLE !##$%#$%$%ING BOOK!!! IS OPEN A M!#$!#$R F!#$%!%ING GATEWAY!!!!!!!"   

 

Rand's PTSD and unhinged aggression really didn't bother me.  No Mat in the book irritated me, but Egwene... that whole book and all they did was open a gateway... Don't get me started...

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