Wheel of Time pt 5: the Prequel and Book 11

Robert Jordan's swan song. Reviews for the final books he wrote in the Wheel of Time before passing, New Spring and Knife of Dreams.

Wheel of Time pt 5: the Prequel and Book 11

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#0 New Spring

Published: 2004

Read: August 21st, 2022

A man’s past belonged to himself and the people who had lived it with him; it was not a matter for gossip with an inquisitive woman.

Jordan loves realistic details, even if we as readers don’t. What begins as an exciting view into the end of the Aiel war and Moraine’s development as an Aes Sedai becomes bogged down by menial tasks and problematic relationship writing.

I loved getting Lan’s perspective and seeing the relationship between a younger Moraine and Siuan who at chance are present to hear the foretelling of the Dragon. However knowing where they will go with this storyline, this novella didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose past this point apart from reintroducing readers to Moraine and Lan, who haven’t had as much attention in the middle books of the Wheel of Time series. Whilst it is great to get explicit confirmation of Moraine and Siuan’s relationship, elsewhere there are some downright odd choices made in sexual and relationship writing. This is so bad it almost sours me on one of the characters in particular.

“You know the hills are high, but not how they lie,” he muttered as if quoting some Malkieri saying.

The world-building was just as large here as anything else Jordan has written, but made more bearable by the shorter page count. Having spent so much time in the continent, I loved visualising individuals from different nations by their hairstyle or sense of clothing. The shorter length also means that these are appropriately passing mentions, but still enough information for the reader’s imagination. This should have kept us in the action for longer, but Jordan also loves his realism and we get caught reading about auditing, dress buying and horse riding.

Overall a fun little divert from the main story, which definitely should not be read as the first piece in this series.

#11 Knife of Dreams

Published: 2005

Read: September 20th, 2022

Great payoff finally, but also just the necessary end to some drawn-out storylines. Jordan has strong beginnings and endings, yet unfortunately loses himself significantly around the one-third mark.

I won’t summarise the story here, but basically every plot thread that has been hanging over “the slump” gets resolved and pushed forward. In particular, plotlines with Perrin, Elayne, and the Seanchan get significant progress. And every step forward at this stage in the game comes with significant struggle and losses, which makes it more exciting to read and more rewarding to achieve.

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