Clocking in at 672 pages, The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan is one of the shorter volumes in the Wheel of Time series, but definitely still large enough to give me hand cramps. It is the eighth installment in the Wheel of Time, and probably one of my favorites. Sure, like all the previous volumes, it does tend to drag at times and the reader is bombarded with names of characters that don’t matter, but over-all this particular story in the series is action packed and moves the epic narrative forward by leaps and bounds.
The book follows a group of people, most of whom all grew-up in the same village. Rand al’Thor is the prophesized Dragon Reborn—a man of legend who can channel (use magic) who is reincarnated throughout time. Each time, he is The Dark One’s advisory. Also among the cast of characters is Egwene, who is now Amyrlin Seat of the Aes Sedai rebels and is trying to assert her power over the Aes Sedai who follow her; Nynaeve and Elayne, who active the Bowl of the Winds in order to fix the weather and restore Elayne to the Lion Throne of Andor; Perrin Aybara, who, along with his wife, Faile is sent to capture the nefarious Prophet of the Lord Dragon; And Min, the young woman who has visions and is Rand al’Thor’s current lover. There is also a host of other, minor character, that the point of view switches to every once and a while. If the reader does not pay good attention, it can get very confusing.
Missing from this particular book is Mat Cauthon, one of Rand’s childhood friends, who has been in all the books so far. His path diverged from the story in the last book, and Jordan did not pick it up in this installment. I’m sure he’ll be back in the next book, like how Perrin disappeared for one whole book only to come back and have a huge part in the next. Sometimes you have to let one story slide to make way for the others, especially in books that require this much storytelling.
The Path of Daggers continues the epic story of Rand al’Thor’s rise to power and his pending fight against a foe known as “The Dark One.” The Dark One has been stuck in a metaphysical prison since the last Dragon broke the worlds in order to trap him. There’s whole rich background to get into, and this review doesn’t even scratch the surface. There’s so much depth into the magic of the world and it’s history, that I don’t even know where to begin except that there’s two different versions of the True Source (magic energies)–Saidin and Saidar. Saidin is the male half, while Saidar is the female half. Saidin is tainted and any male who can “touch” it (read, use magic) is gentled, or put through a ceremony which cuts him off from the True Source. For the rest, you’ll just have to read the book yourself.
Overall, this is one of the better books in the series. I love all of them so far, but this one really moved the story forward a lot more than the previous books. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.