Let me begin by saying that I'm a fan of The Wheel of Time. And I've been one since 1991. So I certainly have a bias when it comes to Robert Jordan's series. I will agree that the last few volumes are not as great as the initial six volumes, those which established The Wheel of Time as the most popular fantasy series in the world (other than Harry Potter, of course). In recent years, many readers started to doubt that Jordan could pull this off. And a multitude of haters began to appear on message boards, mud-slinging Jordan and his work at every opportunity. Be that as it may, for my money WoT is still the best fantasy series on the market.
Although a big fan, I will be the first to admit that the pace of the last three volumes doesn't compare with the others. But having finished Knife of Dreams, it is now apparent that Jordan had to set many pieces on the board before he could make his move. In any event, my opinion is that The Path of Daggers is the only novel that left things to be desired. It is now evident that A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart and Crossroads of Twilight were transition books tying up the storylines of first six volumes with that of the last two volumes.
Readers will be glad to learn that the pace of Knife of Dreams takes an abrupt turn for the better. A sense of urgency permeates every plotline. Tarmon Gai'don is coming soon. There is no longer any doubt about it. Those who were blaming Jordan for stagnating storylines will see that things are rapidly going downhill now.
Without the shadow of a doubt, Knife of Dreams is the best WoT novel since Lord of Chaos. Several main and secondary plotlines converge toward the Last Battle. We witness the resolution of a number of them, some that have begun in The Eye of the World. One in particular (which has been hinted at in the very first book) truly blew my mind. Jordan is really moving forward now, and series is gaining momentum with every chapter. Those who have been keeping tabs of Min's viewings, Egwene's dreams, and the Prophecies of the Dragon will realize that many of them are being fulfilled in this book.
I don't wish to include "true" spoilers in this book review, but everything I say here could be perceived as one. So don't read the following if you are afraid that you might discover anything you shouldn't before you've read the book. So what plotlines are converging toward Tarmon Gai'don, you ask? Here are a number of them:
The Children of the Light seemed to lack direction since Pedron Niall's murder. Having sworn fealty to the Seanchan invaders, many Whitecloaks are not happy about that. And many are willing to forget both law and custom, if only someone will lead them to ride for the Light in the Last Battle.
Rodel Ituralde sets events in motion that will, or so he hopes, bring the Seanchan armies after him and into the deadly trap he has set for them.
Terrible tidings from Seanchan threaten to shake the Empire to its very core. Suroth, who is still searching for the Daughter of the Nine Moons, is presented with an unexpected opportunity which could have grave repercussions on both side of the Aryth Ocean. All she needs is to kill someone. . .
The Red Ajah secretly plans to deal with the Asha'man, unbeknownst to the Amyrlin Seat. But will the M'Hael let them set foot in the Black Tower?
The Black Ajah continues to foment discord to break the White Tower from within. But more and more Black sisters are found and forced to swear new oaths on the Oath Rod.
Perrin plans to rescue Faile and the others from the Shaido Aiel. And in the town of Malden, he will set in motion a bold plan that requires an agreement with the damned Seanchan to succeed. Perrin has not played such an important role in a book since The Fires of Heaven.
Betrayed at the end of the last book, Egwene is returned to the White Tower, but not the way she expected. She soon discovers that dissension threatens to break the Aes Sedai apart. Elaida doesn't have the full support of the Ajah. Shielded and drugged, Egwene nevertheless forbids any rescue attempt by the rebels massed before Tar Valon.
With their Amyrlin Seat captured, there are troubles among the rebels, as Lelaine and Romanda fight for leadership. One sister will return to Tar Valon with the hope to make the White Tower whole again. But she is not received the way she expected she would be.
At a Forsaken meeting, Moridin reveals that a Chosen thought dead appears to have resurfaced. The Nae'Blis orders them not to kill the Dragon Reborn. But Mat and Perrin must die. It becomes obvious that both have very important roles to play in the struggle to come.
There is discord among the Shaido. Sevanna continues to speak for the dead clan chief Couladin. But if a new clan chief returns from Rhuidean, her leadership of the clan will come to an end.
Mat continues to court Tuon. But he soon realizes that the High Lady is no easy catch. He finally understands what Aludra is planning. He also learns that the Seanchan version of the Prophecies of the Dragon proclaims that finding the one who blew the Horn of Valere is as important as finding the Dragon Reborn. The damane foretelling pertaining to Tuon is finally revealed.
Thom reveals the content of Moiraine's letter to Mat, thus revealing a secret that we have been waiting for for years.
Pregnant with Rand's children, Elayne can no longer channel the One Power as she used to. Still, she must attempt to secure the Lion Throne and bring order back to the city of Caemlyn. No easy feat, especially since that there are powerful enemies she is not even aware of. Meanwhile, Kinswomen continue to be murdered.
Aviendha discovers that she possesses a new Talent. But she is separated from Elayne when Rand sends the Wise Ones and the Aiel to Arad Doman.
Rand barely escapes death at the hands of his enemies. After a battle with one of the Forsaken, he realizes that the presence of Logain, Cadsuane, Nyanaeve and Alivia doesn't guarantee that he will reach the Last Battle alive. Lews Therin continues his fall into madness, seemingly bringing Rand down with him. Revelations are made pertaining to what he learned from the Aelfinn.
Loial must address the Great Stump, for he is the bearer of secrets he must keep even from the Dragon Reborn. But he promises to be at Rand's side at Tarmon Gai'don.
Major developments between Nynaeve and Lan. Very satisfying indeed!
Troubling news reach the Atha'an Miere, but the Coramoor has need of them. Logain warns them that the Last Battle is approaching.
The rebel Aes Sedai receive an unexpected offer from the Dragon Reborn, an offer they can't refuse. As the identity of the murderer in the camp is finally revealed, Halima and Delana disappear.
We finally discover where the original sisters of the Black Ajah, those who left the White Tower in The Dragon Reborn, are located and what they are doing.
And this is just a glimpse of what Knife of Dreams has to offer. It's the most satisfying WoT novel in years. With enough revelations, action, battle scenes, resolution, etc, to make any reader happy. If this book doesn't reconcile the doubters with The Wheel of Time, nothing will. As for the haters, well. . .;-)
The final verdict: 10/10