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January 22, 2003

Book Review: Crossroads of Twilight

Book Review: Crossroads of Twilight

Way back in 1994, I noticed the Robert Jordan "Wheel of Time" novels. There were three out at the time and I thought to myself: "A complete trilogy! How convenient. I can't stand to read a book and realize there are two sequels yet to come. I think I'll buy them all, read them back to back and be done with them." I read them, enjoyed them, and was much chagrined when I reached the end of the third novel only to realize that the series wasn't done. I would have to wait for a fourth novel.

I was stoked when the fourth novel came out. Finally, I could find out how the series ended. And then I reached the end of that novel. And then the fifth. And the sixth. And seventh...

Well, the 10th book in the series was finally released this month, and I hate to say it, but this series may never end.

Don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed the novels, for the most part. They were and are original, creative, and incredibly detailed. There-in lies the problem. After 9 novels, there have been so many detailed characters, places, events, etc. that, unless you go back and re-read the previous novels, you don't remember exactly how everyone relates to one another. Of course, you can assume that all of the women are stony harridans or doe-eyed rabbits, and all the men are frustrated and harrassed by all the women, and each is more powerful and dangerous than the next, but at least he deals with women, and that is something for fantasy novels. While I did enjoy the novels, I have no intention of spending the next three months catching up before reading the latest. Jordan also feels that each major character needs to have his or her own story told, which is fine, but Jordan is still introducing new characters and story lines.

In fact, he is so busy introducing new characters and story lines that you get the feeling that he's forgotten where he was going in the first place. The book is totally stagnant and there is no movement. Nothing happens in the entire book. Nothing. I mean it. No exaggeration. If you read the 9th book in the series and want to skip this one and pick up with the 11th when it is out, you won't miss anything. Really. I mean it. If you don't believe me, read the book. All the plot lines are left essentially where they were when the 9th book ended, and some of those didn't even make it into the 10th book. It's like the book was written almost entirely as filler, a means of extending the series without having to do anything like start to wrap things up. I even think that maybe Jordan inserted this book simply to make more money off the series. Hey, if you can sell millions of copies of each book, why would you ever want to end it? It's a money machine! People want to know how it turns out at the end! People have invested a lot of time to get this far, why would they turn away now? Who knows? Maybe he just wrote it to fulfill contractual obligations or something like that.

All-in-all, this is by far the worst novel in the series. I was very disappointed, because I do genuinely like the series. After reading this book, I am seriously debating just giving the rest of the series a miss, or picking up the remaining novels in paperback when the series is truly-and-for-real finished. I do enjoy the series, but I was offended by the latest shoddy offering, especially after forking over $20.00 bucks for the hardcover. If you really want to read the novel, wait until the paperback is out, or get it at the library.

Posted by Kehaar at January 22, 2003 05:44 PM | TrackBack
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