John's Reviews > A Crown of Swords

A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan
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Jan 04, 12


I read a lot of comments about Jordan's epic which mention (or outright complain) about its pace and staging. As far as I'm concerned, it's deliberate pace and intricate staging are pluses. It's not often that one finds such thoroughly realized visions of epic stories. This series is a genuine throw-back in story-telling style. Instead of going the route of non-stop, breathless action, Jordan spends a good deal of time taking his readers through the sometimes withering grind of day-to-day existence during a period of huge shifts in his world. The Chinese have an old blessing/curse, "May you live in interesting times." I think "Wheel of Time" offers a good example of just what a mix of good and bad that wish can be. Early in the series, there's so much discovery. Everything is new and exciting. By the time we reach this point, things are becoming more grounded in the realization that the struggle is not going to be won quickly or easily. That, my friends, is a sort of realism not generally seen in the fantasy genre.

That said, Jordan does indulge quite a bit in what I've seen called his obsessive writing disorders. He has his peculiarities and tics, and they can get somewhat tiresome over time. I took a break for a couple of months after reading this installment, and it helped tremendously. When I picked up the series again, the idiosyncrasies were less grating. The first time I encountered one my reaction was less there-he-goes-again and more oh-yeah-he-does-that. I don't know if this one break will be enough to see me through the remainder of the series, but "Path of Daggers" is moving along just fine.
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Lostt so true....
Thts how ive managed so far...
But ths is only book 7 of 13 (so far)...:/
I wonder if ill make it...


Ziyaad I once watched part of a low budget Iranian (I think ) movie. Early in the movie the "hero" left home for work. He walked out of his house. Closed the door behind him. Walked down a flight of stairs, turned right walked for 3 minutes, stopped at a traffic light, waited for the light to change, crossed the street, walked a min or two more before turning left, walked and greeted (just greeted) people he knew for another 3-4 minutes before reaching the next traffic light. In total, it took him about 10 minutes to get to work. They filmed the entire walk! You cant get more "real" than that!
Realism is wonderful, but should not excessively include the mundane.


John Lostt wrote: "so true....
Thts how ive managed so far...
But ths is only book 7 of 13 (so far)...:/
I wonder if ill make it..."


I had to take another intermission partway through Book 10, but it helped me get through the end. Brandon Sanderson takes over writing the series in Book 11, and things really get moving nicely. I don't want to speak ill of Jordan, but he wasn't the greatest writer ever. His imagination was exceptional, but his execution was wanting much of the time. Keep going. It'll pay off.


John Ziyaad wrote: "I once watched part of a low budget Iranian (I think ) movie. Early in the movie the "hero" left home for work. He walked out of his house. Closed the door behind him. Walked down a flight of stair..."

Perhaps. Perhaps not. It really depends on why such things are included. If you're facing a situation in which the mundane is integral to the story I'd say you're going to have to try pretty hard to convince me it doesn't belong even if it's positively excruciating to witness. Sometimes the pain is the point. On the other hand, if you're dealing with excessive expository content for no better reason than the author doesn't know when to stop and the editor can't conjure the spine to establish limits then you have a point.

Jordan could almost certainly tighten up the narrative progression without losing anything crucial to the story, and it's quite likely the overall experience of reading this series would improve. However, I would argue that the daunting size of the books as well as their sheer number is, in large part, important to the tone and mood of the epic. Was that result partly accidental? Probably. Accidents (or at least what passes as an accident in art) often result in some of the best surprises you'll ever encounter.

Just my take.


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