Thursday, January 17, 2019
Crossroads of Twilight
In the tenth main installment of the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Mat Cauthon flees Ebou Dar with the captive Daughter of the Nine Moons, a prospective wife, with the Dark One and the Seanchan Empire in search of them. Meanwhile, Perrin Aybara attempts to emancipate his wife Faile from the Shaido, although his loyalty to Rand al’Thor is tested on the way. Furthermore, Egwene al’Vere, serving as Amyrlin for the rebellious Aes Sedai, fights to unify the White Tower, for if not, only the male Asha’man will be left to defend the world against the Dark One. Moreover, Elayne Trakland fights for her rightful Lion Throne, although Darkfriends hinder her crusade. Finally, Rand has removed the Dark One’s corruption of the male half of the True Source, saidin, and must deal with a world where men who can channel are taboo.
As with its predecessors, Jordan dedicates the tenth to his wife Harriet, and opens with an excerpt from the fictitious Prophecies of the Dragon inspiring the book’s title. The prologue transcends viewpoints as in the previous installments, with the main chapters commencing in the Rhannon Hills, where the hand of the ruling Seanchan Empire places itself lightly upon those who don’t contest their rule, among the apathetic being the farmers. The harbor of Ebou Dar, in the meantime, is decimated from a recent attack, but is relatively at peace in the book’s present time. Mat eventually finds himself touring with Valan Luca’s Grand Traveling Show and Magnificent Display of Marvels and Wonders, with its leader, Egeanin having a policy of two captains on his vessel, which he applies to his entertainment group.
The Aes Sedai civil war from prior books continues, with a common sentiment that divisions among the various Ajahs leads to disaster. Rand doesn’t get very many chapters, although the book says that he cannot fight the Shadow and the Seanchan Empire simultaneously. Overall, this entry of the series is fairly enjoyable, if like its precursors convoluted at times, another issue being the confusion within the text at times, for instance, with a lack of clarity about whom the Dark One marks, and several paragraphs passing without mention of the names of characters to whom particular pronouns refer. Even so, those who enjoyed the tenth entry’s prequels will definitely enjoy Crossroads of Twilight, although as is the case with most newcomers to various literary franchises, starting from the beginning is a good idea.