Robert Jordan
A Crown of Swords (Volume 7 of The Wheel of Time)
Tor Books 1996

This is the seventh book in the Wheel of Time-series. If you haven't read the six previous books, don't read any further.

After almost two years, he's back. At last, the new and eagerly awaited Wheel of Time book has arrived. Was it worth waiting for? Was it worth buying in hardcover? Was it even good? Will we wait for the eighth book just as eagerly?

Let's start with the last question. Yes, we will be waiting for the next one, too. But not for that long, I hope. After almost two years, I didn't remember that much of what the characters were up to, and a lot of minor characters had completely slipped my mind. Always thinking "Who's that guy?" when someone you should know about is appearing isn't that funny. And there are so many characters that it's hard to keep track of them even if you're reading the books right after each other.

There are so many stories going on. In an ordinary fantasy book, the story about the hunt of the Bowl of the Winds, or maybe even Mat's rendez-vous with the queen of Altara, would be enough. In Mr. Jordan's enormous work - a magnum opus in every sense - they just become sub-plots, not necessarily without importance but still not the really big thing. The bad thing about that is that the story never ends. After 660 pages, it doesn't seem closer to the end. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Mr. Jordan will need another seven books to finish the story. The good thing about it is that the story never ends - that is, we aren't forced to leave Rand and his friends, to whom we over the years have become quite attached.

In my opinion, "A Crown of Swords" wasn't as good as the earlier books. Without any supernatural strength of will, I was able to leave the book for a couple of days after reading 200 pages. That has never happened to me before when reading a Wheel of Time-novel. Maybe it was harder to get into it this time because of the long time since "Lord of Chaos", or maybe it is the ever increasing amount of sub-plots that makes it less easy to become totally involved in the doings of Rand & Co. Or maybe this one just wasn't as good as the previous. Anyway, the second half, when I really had gotten into the story once again, was just as good as usual.

Which is: great story-telling, a truly unique world and loads of memorable characters, good and evil. But also a world that is not quite realistic, especially not the linguistics. Where new major improvements are added after almost 5,000 pages, things the author obviously hadn't thought about in the beginning of the series. And where the characters while becoming easily recognizable also become quite predictable - much more predictable than most real people, I think. It is a great series, this is a good book, but it is not the perfect fantasy book or the ultimate fantasy series. But while waiting for those, I can recommend you to read what probably will become the world's longest fantasy novel ever. It's great.

Karl Henriksson

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See also Fantasy Finder's guest book: 960523, 960726, 961230, 970202, 970217, 970312, 970313, 970323, 970412, 970413, 970428 , 970526, 970529, 970722.

Books by the same author:
The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Shadow Rising
The Fires of Heaven
Lord of Chaos

The Waygate (Wheel of Time fan page)

Reviews - FantasyLinks - BoardRoom - Top 5

Henriksson & Henriksson 1996.