Yes, my review of book 11 comes only a few days after my review of book 10. Part of that’s due to my taking a brief break from posting — the book 10 review was ready well before it went up — but also part of it is simply that Knife of Dreams only took me ten days to read. That’s a lot faster than most of the later entries in The Wheel of Time have gone, and it can be attributed directly to the fact that when reading Knife of Dreams, it actually felt like things were happening in the story, in stark contrast to some of the immediately prior volumes, most particularly Crossroads of Twilight.
Of particular note is that Knife of Dreams actually concludes a couple of the subplots. It having been quite a while since we’ve seen a subplot actually get resolved, this is remarkably refreshing. Even better, one of those subplots getting resolved is that of the kidnapping of Perrin’s wife, a subplot which felt like pure filler from the beginning — a way to give Perrin something to be doing while he wasn’t actually having any effect on the main plot. That subplot is finally resolved, and is even reasonably interesting while being resolved, with some small hints as to Perrin’s eventual role in the main plot. Elayne’s succession subplot is also resolved, and is moderately interesting, though the near-constant pregnancy humor (I think he was trying for humor…) got old quick.
Also drawing to at least a partial conclusion was the subplot dealing with Mat’s peculiar courtship of the Seanchan princess Tuon. While it may not always have been the most exciting part of the story, it at least had enough action and fun interspersed to keep it interesting. It felt a little bit more like the Mat chapters of the earlier books, with a bit more of a sense of humor than the chapters devoted to other protagonists. Additionally, the relationship here felt considerably more realistic than many of Jordan’s romantic pairings, as while each was approaching the relationship due to various prophecies, it played out in such a manner as to show why they would be interested in each other — and why it also wouldn’t be all wine and roses.
Finally, although the plots involving Rand and Egwene each progressed rather slowly — neither could be said to have progressed significantly, in truth — the scenes devoted to them were at least interesting. What’s more, they set things up for the next few books to go in potentially interesting directions — the last few chapters dealing with Rand in particular push a lot of things to the forefront that have been lurking in the shadows for a while. It’ll be interesting to see how Rand’s allies start acting around him now that his sanity is not just in question, but openly challenged.
One interesting thing about re-reading this series is discovering how much I had forgotten. While I remembered bits and pieces, there’s quite a bit from this book that I didn’t remember at all, including some parts that were interesting. Truthfully, I didn’t even remember that I had gotten this far in the series before — I had thought I had stopped one book earlier, and if it weren’t for remembering one or two scenes from this book, I’d probably still think that. I also had forgotten exactly how long it had been since I’d read any of them; this book was released in 2003, but it honestly had felt like it had been longer than 10 years.
But I know for certain that I hadn’t read any of the books written by Brandon Sanderson based on Robert Jordan’s outline. Knife of Dreams is the last (non-prequel) written by Robert Jordan before his death, and therefore the last in the series that I’ve read. The last I’ll have even scraps of memory of. From here on out, it’ll be completely new to me. And Knife of Dreams gives me some hope that the last three books will be ending on a high note.