Review of A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan

A Crown of Swords is book 7 of 14 in The Wheel of Time series. A Crown of Swords is oft-criticized for covering only a very small sliver of time (11 days) from several different POVs. Which is, on its face, a perfectly valid criticism. But Dumai’s Wells was a Big Deal. It had to have reverberations. One thing that Vietnam veteran Jordan does as well or better than any other writer, including writers consciously trying to write anti-war stories, is to show the psychological consequences of man killing man. We were not built to do such things, and Jordan knows it; not merely on an academic level, but on a personal level.

Crown of Swords cover

A Crown of Swords has its weaknesses as a whole, but has some great individual moments. It has one of my favorite scenes—in the throne room upon Rand’s return. It has one of the funniest chapters in the entire series—Perrin’s thoughts on Saldean farm girls and Rand repeatedly saying Berelain’s name (Perrin, by the way, makes an excellent comedic straight man). It has my favorite line of the entire series—a character with prodigious drinking ability is described as having a “hollow leg and a hole in the bottom of his foot.” It has, I believe, the first POV from Avienda, showing off Jordan’s inimitable talents at putting us into the head of someone from an utterly foreign culture. Mat (my favorite character) and Ebou Dar (perhaps my favorite city) are featured heavily.

Crown of Swords cover 2

A Crown of Swords is just the sort of book to evoke strong and disparate reactions from fans. Yes, there are the aforementioned Crowning Moments of Awesome. But then there is the lurching halt to the pace. And A Crown of Swords is very heavy on plots upon which Your Mileage May Vary (many of which, sadly, continue for multiple books). It’s not that I don’t dislike much about those plotlines—I do—but for this book at least they pale beside the great stuff. A Crown of Swords also features the introduction of Cadsuana, whose awesomeness as a hero is unfortunately neatly subsumed by her terribleness as a person.

The original cover art is hideous (power walking Rand!). The new, e-book art is slightly better.

Supergirls ‘It’s a Trap!’ Counter: A Crown of Swords-2, total-6

Original or new cover? New. (Original 2, New 6)

4/5 Stars.

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About H.P.

Blogs on speculative fiction books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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