A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan

This is the seventh Wheel of Time book, which I read almost back to back with the eighth – it’s a comment against both of them that I can’t easily remember which events happen in which books without checking a synopsis to remind myself.

I didn’t not enjoy this novel, but I feel that it’s generally moving in a direction I don’t enjoy so much. There’s a lot about Rand as the Dragon Reborn trying to expand his influence by combatting the Forsaken. He has Min with him more often this time, which is nice, because I kind of like her and she makes his scenes more enjoyable – however, they do also share a romance, which is kind of eye-rolling (everyone loves Rand) and it contains one of the stupidest sex scenes I’ve ever read.

As always, I was more interested in the goings on with the Aes Sedai. Here the faction in Salidar debates whether or not to return to the fold with the White Tower, which, of course, Egwene and Siuan are staunchly opposed to. Egwene as Amyrlin also changes up the dynamic a little, and as much as I felt the previous book just kind of made her Amyrlin pretty randomly without much explanation (and Egwene herself not seeming to question it) I was pleased that that was given more context here.

Something I enjoyed, which adds an element of tension to things, is that the temperature gets hotter for everyone as the novel goes on. The Dark One is effecting the climate, and so everyone has to deal with uncomfortable heat and the droughts and other problems that follow. It helps make everything feel more connected, and I like seeing how the world changes, even if it’s a relatively minor thing. Nynaeve and Elayne are both trying to find a solution to this in their portion of the story (along with Mat) and they end of encountering a group of women who can channel, but are separate from the White Tower.

All things considered, it wasn’t a bad installment (and I was glad Perrin and Faile weren’t in it) but it just didn’t captivate me quite as much as some of the previous ones. It feels like a while since there were any really clever or interesting developments, and unfortunately, I know this doesn’t get much better in the next book either… Even the relatively exciting bits, like the return of a certain character (which I won’t spoil) are handled in a quite an underwhelming way. I’m still entertained as I read, but it’s not at its peak.

Rating: 6.8/10

Buy it here.

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