Author: Robert Jordan
Published: October 1998
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Series: The Wheel of Time #8
672 pages (mass market paperback)
Been a while since I read another WoT book. I’m still determined to finish the series, but I admit, the series is progressing in such a way that it’s been difficult to find the motivation to read it sometimes. I was already starting to see plot progression slow down a few books back, and in The Path of Daggers, it’s really starting to grind to a halt. I literally cannot pinpoint what was the overall plot of this book.
From what I can remember, this is what generally happens to the characters in the book: Egwene deals with people treating her like a puppet Amyrlin, but she’s determined to rise above them. Perrin is on some sort of mission for Rand but gets sidetracked by his crazy wife wanting Perrin to be more bossy (WTF?). Elayne, Nynavae and Aviendha are … I don’t know, actually. They were trying to right the weather with the Bowl of Winds, but I can’t remember what the heck happened after that, just that Elayne eventually ends up taking back the Lion Throne (which, by the way, her return to the throne was rather anti-climatic). And Rand. Ohhh Rand. I don’t even know. I think I started skimming some of his chapters, they just bored me to death. There was a lot of fighting going on, he’s conquering cities, he’s trying to fight back the Seanchan, he tries to use Callandor and all hell breaks loose, he’s trying not to be crazy … I don’t know. I have a feeling there were too many pages spent trying to describe what Rand was doing when in reality you only needed maybe ten, and as a result, I ended up confused.
To me, very little plot occurs in this book. I think it tried to pass itself off as an in-between book — you know, those books that happen in the middle of the series that aren’t as great as the beginning or end books of a series, but has to exist just to progress the story. That’s this book. Except I’m pretty sure you can put all the important things that happened in this book in the next book and it would still have been fine. So much of this book was just long and boring descriptions. I know, I know — descriptions are important in books. I’m not saying get rid of all of them, but there is a limit to how much description a reader wants to take in. I do not need to know every little detail about every body’s clothes or rooms or whatever, especially if they are nothing more than some barmaid or innkeeper or whatever.
Robert Jordan provides even more evidence that he does not really know how to write love relationships in this book. Some past examples include Egwene and Rand *suddenly* realizing they don’t love each other romantically, Perrin’s dislike for Faile and then *suddenly* she’s the love of his life, Lan and his ambiguity towards Nynavae (sure, Jordan says Lan loves Nynavae, but Lan has said or done nothing to convince me of this). Siuan’s one of my favourite characters, but she just got butchered in this book. Essentially, Siuan’s become Nynavae — she has completely taken her personality and her attitude and is Nynavae. And for some reason, Siuan’s in love with what’s-his-face but, like Nynavae, treats him really bad and pretends she hates him when really she secretly loves him. WHAT IS THIS, KINDERGARTEN?
Then there’s Faile and her desire to have Perrin dominate her, so to speak. She wants him to be assertive and boss her around, which, in her mind, will show that Perrin believes her to be a strong enough wife to put up with his shenanigans. I actually can be okay with this bizarre logic if it was only Faile, but it turns out every woman who is Saldean (like Faile) thinks like this. What kind of bizarre culture do Saldean women have? It’s actually kind of almost offensive. The weird thing is, in Robert Jordan’s books, there are never any exceptions. If you are a female from Saldean, you want a dominating husband so you can play the who-has-the-power-in-the-relationship game. I can’t think of more examples right now, but it’s the same with characters from X, Y, or Z places. If you come from such-and-such a place, you are automatically like this or that. So weird.
Okay, so if you can’t tell by now, I didn’t really enjoy The Path of Daggers. It was difficult for me to get through, as the majority of it is just fluff. Honestly you could probably skip this book in the series and continue without it — that’s how unimportant the “plot” was in this book to the overall story. I do look forward to Winter’s Heart, the next book, because I was tipped off (accidentally) what happens in it and it sounds exciting …