CB Book #4 Path of Daggers

Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

Note: It’s hard to talk about a book in the middle of a series without some spoilers. I tried hard to not get into details, but I want to put up my sign anyway just in case. So… SPOILERS

Of all the Wheel of Time books, Path of Daggers was definitely the quickest read. Part of the reason was it was the shortest—but only part. Another reason was the way the book was set up. The previous books were set up so a huge chunk of the novel would be centered on one character and then another huge chunk would be about another character. The fact that the PoD goes from character to character every few chapter made the book seem faster paced. It also felt more logically set up and less…wandering. It’s hard to read a book when you’re not sure it’s going anywhere.

There were two major themes that I noticed in Robert Jordan’s Path of Daggers. (PoD from here on) The first theme deals with Rand’s childish arrogance. According to car insurance companies, it’s normal for men in their early twenties to feel a small sense of invincibility. I suppose if you’re a male in your early twenties AND the Dragon Reborn, Lord of the Morning, feared savior and destroyer of your world, then you have slightly more reason to feel powerful. But after the hearing for the umpteenth time, “I’m the Dragon Reborn; I do what I want,” I wanted to slap Rand. Thank goodness for Cadsuane coming along and treating Rand like the simpering child he is. Oh and on an related note—can anyone tell me why THREE women are attracted to this brooding, half-crazy, tantrum throwing, paranoid twat!? GRR. Anyway, Rand’s arrogance is fully addressed in PoD. I’m hoping the hard lessons he received after the situation he got himself into blew up in his face sticks with him for good.

The second theme throughout PoD is watching the Aes Sedai start to stumble. From the beginning of the series, Aes Sedai have been presented as the most powerful society of people in the world. The Aes Sedai basically rule the world. They have power literally via the One Power, but they have also held power over the people through seemingly unnatural calm and secrecy. Aes Sedai are feared by everyone from the farmer to the king. Unfortunately, after hundreds of years of holding the world under their thumb, it seems the Aes Sedai have developed tunnel vision. So often, we hear an Aes Sedai assume that if she hadn’t heard of something, it can’t exist. But the world is changing and this near-sightedness is biting them in the ass. The Knitting Circle (a group of over a thousand White Tower drop-outs) are starting to transition from revering to resenting the Aes Sedai. This sentiment echoes one that the reader should have already been developing. It will be interesting to see if the Aes Sedai will be able to pick themselves up and pull themselves together in time for Tarmon Gai’don.

PoD is still an episode in a larger story, but at least the larger story moves forward. The crazy weather sub-plot finally goes somewhere. Rand’s growing arrogance comes to a head. Elayne and Nyneave get out of Ebou Dar. Perrin’s voice is heard again. (Although, unfortunately, Mat’s is not) Morgase’s story moves forward after several books that saw her playing chess with Pedron Niall. And while the Atha’an Miere turn out to be a pain in everyone’s ass, at least they’re doing more than sitting in their boats waiting. This book is a definite departure from the previous two installments which seemed to meander aimlessly. Maybe Robert Jordan had writer’s block with the previous two and lost his place in the greater story before finding it again in time for PoD.  I don’t mind the scope of Wheel of Time or the ridiculous amounts of characters. All that I wanted was to feel like I was reading a story again. So, it turns out that when I’m not reading about a bunch of people standing around waiting, I can really love the world of Wheel of Time.

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