Nicole's Reviews > Knife of Dreams

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan
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May 02, 2011

it was amazing
Recommended for: fantasy readers
Read in April, 2011

Finally! I don't remember when I started going through this series again, but I think it was last year sometime. It's taken me forever and I partially resent Robert Jordan for being so ridiculously prolific. It was like he was afraid to let it end. At this point, I'm really looking forward to finishing the series with Brandon Sanderson, who's not afraid to end a series.

On my previous read-through, I think the last Wheel of Time book I finished was Lord of Chaos. That was several years ago and it was before any of the later books were complete. I thought I would wait to read more of the series as it came out until Jordan actually finished the series. That never happened, so when Sanderson took up where Jordan left off, I thought I would give it a last hurrah, knowing that Sanderson would definitely finish it. His other books are well done.

Rest assured that though I haven't reviewed all the other books in the series, I did read them. There were some low moments during this jaunt and some high moments. I've had a few bones to pick with Jordan, but for the most part, I still have to recognize that he's got a mastery that no other author does. I've already begun the first Sanderson book of the series and while I think Sanderson is quite decent, I notice occasional slips that Jordan would never make. Minuscule things like saying "he sat atop his horse on top of a hill," which is pretty minor, but you can see that it's irritatingly repetitive. Jordan never made mistakes like that. Not that it's so much of a mistake. It's just a style choice, really, but Jordan didn't do those things. All in all, I know Sanderson will do a good job and he'll pace it at a better clip (one of the irritating problems with Jordan. He struggled to handle several strands of the story and keep the pace moving and satisfying).

One thing that also began to bother me in this book was the continual references to "pillow-friends." Perhaps my memory is foggy, but these relationships were hardly mentioned in the previous books, and now, suddenly, in book #11, they're like everywhere. And they're accepted as rather normal among all the women. Egwene thinks to herself that Nicola and Areina are pillow-friends and she's just non-chalant about it. But I don't remember for a second the small-town Egwene ever really acknowledging these types of relationships much. So it strikes me as sort of out of nowhere that these are such a big part of the Tower. And yeah, it makes me uncomfortable, and slightly irritated that Jordan would pander to the male part of his audience but totally neglect the opposite deviation from the established norm (in the book) and include gay-male relationships. Of course, it makes sense. He's uncomfortable with gay men, but titillated by lesbian behavior. I thought better of him until I read a quote from his personal blog about pillow-friends where he essentially sounds like a dirty old man. Something along these lines, "pillow-friends are unique to tower society and they occur between the novices due to the hardships of tower-life....of course they get all hot and sweaty in the sheets too!" Or something disgusting like that. Thanks, Robert Jordan. Thanks.

My main problem with it is the dirty old man feeling of it and the inequality of it. That bugs me.

As well, at this point there's something totally absurd about the names of characters. Jordan apparently has NO PROBLEM distinguishing between a Falion and a Faolain. But as a reader, it's a bit frustrating to keep them straight, especially when they're mentioned so rarely and with so much time elapsing between each mention. He does it a lot too, with names. Often there will only be a letter placed differently or it will vary only slightly. And the glossary at the back of the book doesn't help much. For some reason, Jordan uses this glossary to explain things no one reading the series would ever need help with, like Aes Sedai or the Pattern. So it's comical in a way.

BUT, all that said. It's still a masterpiece. It will just take a couple years of your life to complete, unless you're like my younger sister who devours books at an impossible pace.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Michael Chantry I'm finally reading this book after spending months stuck on book ten. Overall I agree with your review but I don't understand how you think Brandon Sanderson isn't afraid to end a series when he broke Jordan's last book into two books.

Nicole Thanks for your comment, Michael. Stay strong. It gets better. :)

The reason I say that Brandon Sanderson isn't afraid to end a series is because he's finished some of his own series'. The Mistborn series, for example. True, he revisited elements of it in the recent book, Allow of Law, but that's a stand-alone and doesn't require that Mistborn be read to follow it.

And I'm not sure if you've read Brandon's remarks on having split the final book, but the thrust of it is that Jordan's story strands were so spread out and vast that to wrap up everything and to accomplish what Jordan wanted done, it was going to take him three books. I tend to think Brandon is right. He's written enough and managed enough multi-stranded stories in his own writing to have a feel for those things. I'm betting Brandon won't go over that number.

And once you read the books Brandon did, you'll see that he doesn't waste time. And actually, I think Brandon split it into three books. :) He does an excellent job, in my opinion, of picking up where Jordan left off.

Loren I appreciated your comments on the gender inequality of the "pillow-friends" in this book. I think I remember that from early books, but it would have been one mention rather than multiple mentions. As for the lack of a gay-male relationship I think that's an unfortunate result of an older mentality and it would take a more modern author to add that to a story.

Nicole Thanks for the comment, Loren. Can you believe the last one is about to come out? I'm debating whether or not to go camp out at the BYU bookstore to get one of the first signed copies. Hmmmmmm.

Anyway, yes, it was such a nuisance. I shouldn't be surprised, though, like you say, because of Jordan's background. The pillow-friend thing seems like something that might have been lifted from Japanese/Chinese culture. I'm thinking of the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagan, in fact. I'd never heard the term pillow-friend, till Jordan's book, but I DID know what a pillow book was. In any case, I'm not saying he took the concept from those cultures, just the terminology.

I agree with you completely--it's a generational thing, more likely. I could get into the implications more, here, but I'll spare us both. Have you finished the all of the published series yet? Brandon Sanderson does a phenomenal job. His own writing has improved enormously due to taking on this project, I think.

Loren I have read the entire series. I started after Winter's Heart had been published so I've only had to wait on books 10 through 14. I still rank these as my favorite books and it is very easy to get lost in them. I find that's what I enjoyed about my re-read of Knife of Dreams - I remembered why I liked the books so much...although it did take a few hundred pages. :)

I haven't read any of Brandon Sanderson's work and I think I appreciate the writing he presented in books 12 and 13...I also eagerly await the completion. However, and I've read this in other reviews, Sanderson does makes some pacing errors and small grammatical mistakes that slow down the read - leading to some frustration. I think you yourself commented on "The Eye of World" that Jordan writes in a way that you can read 30 pages at a time and barely notice it. Not so with Sanderson. Perhaps it is just the immensity of the Wheel of Time that only Robert Jordan could have finished the series perfectly. That being said though: I am still happy with the finish that we are receiving. I also think I may look into his other works...

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