Arminion's Reviews > A Crown of Swords

A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan
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Sep 01, 2012

did not like it

** spoiler alert ** A tear fell down my cheek. It was both a tear of happiness and one of sadness. I was happy that finally, after months of torture, I have finished reading Crown of Swords. But at the same time, I was sad for all the trees that were cut down to make printing of this book possible.
After book 4, I started noticing certain things about Jordan prose (if you can even call it that). Here, these things were so obvious and so over the top, that they burned my eyes and consumed my soul every time I saw them. So, here is the list:

1) He is extremely wordy. A normal sentence, in any other decent book, would go something like this:

"We will meet again" said Egwene.

In Jordan's book? That same sentence goes like this:

"We will meet again, Aviendha" said Egwene adjusting her shawl and glaring at the plump innkeeper scrubbing the floor.

My example was actually short! Still don't believe me? Ok, then here is a sentence from chapter 28:

The third woman, tall and dark in neat gray wool, maybe a Tairen, crossed two bridges before entering a large shop where she was greeted with smiles by a skinny bowing fellow and began supervising the loading of lacquered boxes and trays into sawdust-filled baskets that were then loaded into a wagon.

Jesus, that was a mouthful. Or how about this one, in chapter 37:

Her notion of what to wear visiting the roughest part of the city without attracting attention was a wide green hat with green-dyed plumes, a light dustcloak of green linen worked in golden scrolls hanging down her back, and a high-necked green silk riding dress with gold embroidery climbing the divided skirts and thickly emphasizing the oval that exposed half her bosom.

These are prime examples of sentences that are completely useless and the one that don't advance the plot. Now imagine every other sentence like that. This makes for a slow and frustrating read. This leads me to my next point:

2) His books don't have a plot anymore. I mean they have, but it's completely meaningless and it can be summarized on one page. That should be clear just by looking at some of the names of the chapters in this book. I mean, when you have chapters like "A Bath" and "Bread and Cheese" you know there is some action packed adventure right there!

3) I hate all the women in his books. All of them. There is not a single woman who I actually like, and care about. Well, maybe Moiraine. And maaaaybe Egwene, but that's already pushing it. They can all be described by one word. Arrogant. They are all petty, angry, irritated and pissed off. They are constantly arguing, bickering, glaring, frowning, sniffing, blushing and barking out orders. And it's always men's fault. I don't remember if I ever, in all seven books, read a chapter where women actually laughed, and they were happy, nice, polite and charming. No, there is constantly a tension and a struggle between them. Don't believe me? In chapter 31, Lan saves Nynaeve from drowning and how does she thanks him? She slaps him five times on the face and punches him in the stomach. And no, I'm not kidding. I would really wish that Jordan just kills all these women, but knowing Jordan, he would probably resurrect them after a different name. And this takes me to my next point:

4) The characters DON'T die. They just don't. Even those that he kills come back somehow. This removes the entire tension and sense of danger out of the book. Why should I fear for Perrin's safety or Random Aes Sedai #216 when I know they won't die? Unlike the previous books, here a few people actually die. But that's a drop in the ocean. There are still 997 more characters alive.

5) Each character has a unique name. God, this pisses me off to no end. I would understand this notion if the story had like 50 characters, or hell even 100. But Wheel of Time by this point has over 1000 characters! I know that having two different characters with same name would just further complicate things, but at least it would be realistic! I don't think anyone would be confused if there is a random innkeeper in Ebou Dar whose name is Mat. What's even worse 90% of all these characters are completely meaningless to the story! Or are they? Sometimes Jordan pulls some minor character from previous books and places him in the new one. At first I found this cool, but now it's just annoying and it gives you a sense that Randland is actually a pretty small place. I also hate how some characters have "fantasy" names like Lan, Nynaeve, Mogheiden and so on, while others have "realistic" names like Elayne and Nicole. Ugh!

6) The Last Battle is approaching (apparently) and yet everybody thinks about some pointless things, like what dress to buy or if they should marry someone or not. Who cares, people? The end of the world, the frickin armageddon is approaching and nobody doesn't even care! Maybe Last Battle isn't the end of the world, but then what is it? It's book seven and Jordan still didn't explain it. Also, Rand is pretty much a ticking time bomb yet three girls are fighting over him. Don't they realize that he will (probably) die and kill half the humanity? Apparently not. They just want to "share" him. Ugh, I want to throw up every time I read about this. There is also a lot of other questions bubbling in my mind, like do Aes Sedai and their Warders ever sleep with each other? What am I saying? Of course not. Nobody in this series gets laid. Actually no, scratch that. We finally have a first rape scene in this book. And I say finally not because I love reading about it (quite the contrary actually), but because for some strange reason, fantasy book just can't go without at least one rape scene. But guess what. The rape victim isn't a woman. Oh no, no, it's a man! Why am I not surprised?

7) And finally, my last point: repetition. Jordan uses two types of repetition in his books: major and minor. Major repetitions is when he describes things, cities and people that we already know how they look. Why do I have to read about Tar Valon's white towers in book seven when I did that in the previous six ones? Minor repetition are various words or actions that Jordan likes to use, again and again. I actually keep track of certain words to see how often do they appear. It makes reading more bearable, as I have my own little Easter egg hunt. Here is the list (you may check my other WoT reviews for more data if you are interested):

Frown – 146
Sniff – 36
Braid – 46
Dress – 138
Muttering – 99
Silk – 110
Blushing – 70

Although, I should probably add more words to that list, like: sitting cross-legged, gave a start, mouth tightening, folding arms beneath breasts, big dark eyes, ageless face, wetlander, wool, Sea Folk porcelain, skirt smoothing, shawl adjusting, licking/wetting the lips, dice spinning in Mat's head, ear-boxing, eyes bulging, and so on and so on.
Often times, while reading this book, I asked myself: Why is this important? The answer? It isn't.
I will never read another WoT book, not even for money. This is just slow, painful and meaningless drivel. This book ends my Wheel of Time adventure thank God.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by John (new) - rated it 1 star

John Martindale my thoughts exactly

Crow me too. gave up after this one.

Andrew The reason he does the minor repetition is to paint a exact picture in your mind so that you can see what he sees as he writes the books. I understand where you are coming about explaining the cities all over again but you have remember how much time was spent in between each book that came out. Every author that writes a fantasy series always explains the major cities again when they first come up. So while I think he could have cooled it down at least a little bit I think you got too angry over things that was ridiculous to get angry over since he was trying to help readers see what he imagined.

David Sarkies Yep, I think you have covered everything that annoy people about these books. I wonder if somebody would actually create an abridged version of the series (it certainly needs it).

message 5: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Janes Well said. The women characters in his books made me want to chop my books in half. I once wrote that every woman in Hus life must have been quite rough on him since there wasn't really a single nice one in the booms. Maybe Min. He got "strong" confused with "annoyingly and abusively b••chy." I loved so much about his writings, but I agree with all you have here on the many different points. It seemed to flow faster when Sandersen finished things and now in The Way of Kings.

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