The Path of Daggers (Volume 8 of The Wheel of Time)
Tor Books 1998 This is the eigth book in the Wheel of Time-series. If you haven't read the seven previous books, don't read any further.
'The Path of Daggers' is finally here. Book eight in the never-ending Wheel of Time story, it's probably one of the most awaited fantasy books ever. And I must say that it was a book worth waiting for.
Robert Jordan is Robert Jordan. Some always say 'next book will be moving faster', but I don't think that's possible. He's created a style of writing, describing the emotions and thoughts of the characters in great depth as well as trivial details, that he can't change. And he has far too many main characters: this time, the first of the three Ta'veren boys to appear is Perrin - on page 157. Rand first appears on page 281, Mat doesn't appear at all. Still, it feels like more is happening than it did last time. And maybe we have some indications of drawing nearer to the conclusion of the series. Perhaps just two, three or four more books and we're there. For some the end of the series will come as a shock. We've been living with Rand and his friends and foes for such a long time now, it will be a little empty when he finally leaves us. But I think there is also a big and growing population of people who wants a conclusion to it all, as long as it's good enough. The worst case scenario is of course Robert Jordan dying of a heart attack or something like that before he's finished the series...
No, let's not dwell on such horrible thoughts. Let's dwell on the book. But, really, those of you who've read a few of the previous ones know what it's all about. The only thing that struck me when reading this book was how misogynic Jordan really is. Some fantasy writers might be criticised for conserving old patriarchal stereotypes, always showing women as weak and tender. What Mr. Jordan does is quite the opposite: always depicting women as strong, hard, self-important and power-hungry. When Aes Sedai meet Aiel Wise Ones and the Sea Folk Windfinders, it becomes a little bit too obvious. It's not hard to understand Mat's unwillingness to settle down and marry.
Another thing that struck me was the gigantic proportions. In most fantasy novels, the main characters are a small party of people from different backgrounds. In some epics there are several different plots with parties of people from different backgrounds. In Wheel of Time there are several different huge armies of people from different background: Elayne, Nynaeve and Aviendha with their company of Aes Sedai, Windfinders and the Kin plus a couple of others; Perrin with his armies from Two Rivers as well as the Winged Guards of Mayene and Aiel forces, and Faile's loyal Cairhienin Aiel wannabes, together with a few Asha'man, Wise Ones and Aes Sedai; Egwene leads an procession of rebel Aes Sedai followed by an army led by a former Andor general, and one led by one of Mat's officers; Rand's armies consists of Cairhienin, Illianers, Tairens and Saldaeans, plus of course a good bunch of Asha'man. Forgive me if I've forgotten some participants in any of the parties, and please observe that I've only chosen a few of the hero-lead parties moving across the world... Robert Jordan seems dedicated to a vision to create the greatest fantasy epic of all time in every sense.
A third thing that struck me was that when I'd read this book - it took me maybe two weeks - I'll have to wait one or two or maybe even three years for the next book. It's still a long, long way to the end of the world.
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
A Crown of Swords
The Waygate (Wheel of Time fan page)
© 1998, Henriksson & Henriksson.