Book Review: A CROWN OF SWORDS by Robert Jordan

Title in black on white on grey wheel of time symbol
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3 stars
Series: yes - book 7

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE EYE OF THE WORLD, THE GREAT HUNT, THE DRAGON REBORN, THE SHADOW RISING, THE FIRES OF HEAVEN, and LORD OF CHAOS*

Synopsis:

Book cover for A CROWN OF SWORDS: title in yel

The war for humanity’s survival has begun.

Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, has escaped the snares of the White Tower and the first of the rebel Aes Sedai have sworn to follow him. Attacked by the servants of the Dark, threatened by the invading Seanchan, Rand rallies his forces and brings battle to bear upon Illian, stronghold of Sammael the Forsaken . . .

In the city of Ebou Dar, Elayne, Aviendha and Mat struggle to secure the ter’angreal that can break the Dark One’s hold on the world’s weather – and an ancient bane moves to oppose them. In the town of Salidar, Egwene al’Vere gathers an army to reclaim Tar Valon and reunite the Aes Sedai . . .

And in Shadar Logoth, city of darkness, a terrible power awakens . . .

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

This is the second book in the series where I’ve enjoyed the start, and then it’s all gone downhill. We start with Perrin and Egwene, and they feel like they have a purpose and challenges to deal with (Perrin with Rand’s erraticness and Egwene all the Aes Sedai politicking.) I got though their sections very easily, which was a nice change. They were engaging as they had to deal with that, and it felt like conflict was being set up for later in the book.

Alas, they don’t come back (or if they do, it’s for one chapter that doesn’t really add anything.) This meant there was no sense of closure or payoff, no sense that the ending had been set up earlier and thus was fulfilling promises. Alas, this seems to be a highly common theme in this series. I just want to feel like the ending delivers on the rest of the book, rather than being plucked from nowhere.

In previous reviews I’ve remarked on how nothing happens for most of the book and then something not set up happens in the last 150 pages? Well, in this book’s case, with Rand, it’s the last 20 pages where things finally happen. In an absolute rush that makes no sense and is so unsatisfying because nothing in the book leads up to it.

This blurb says he’s spending the book rallying forces to march on Sammael. NOPE – he spends the book dealing with Aes Sedai, then heads after Sammael literally on page 700. Of a 725 page book.

Nynaeve and Elayne are the only ones who actually achieve the goal they start out with, but it does rather get confused and bogged down with the endless other characters narrating. Many only for a chapter or two. This series has just got too big to really follow, because not enough time is spent making the characters memorable or engaging, because they never get any payoff. Honestly, a few more characters with obvious goals they can make progress on (or be stymied by other forces in a way that’s set up) would go a long way to engaging me more.


Read my reviews of other books by Robert Jordan:

The Wheel of Time (this series):

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