Book Review | A Crown of Swords

Hi bookworms! It’s nocrackedspines here again with another book review! A Crown of Swords is the seventh book in the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. This will be a spoiler review. I took a several month hiatus from the Wheel of Time after finishing Lord of Chaos back in February. I did this for several reasons. I wanted to recharge my batteries before I started working my way towards the end of the series; there are still seven more books left. I also wanted to read several other books and series. I won’t lie after the ending of Lord of Chaos it was quite difficult to take a break! Wheel of Time has been a series that is always on my mind. It felt like coming home when I opened A Crown of Swords and stepped back into the world of the Wheel of Time.

Spoiler Review

Warning Spoilers will follow! Turn back now! You’ve been warned!

A Crown of Swords picked up right away after the battle at Dumai’s Wells. It almost felt like this was supposed to be part of Lord of Chaos (Book 6). The battle of Dumai’s Well’s was one of the greatest highlights for me so far in the entire series. Robert Jordan is a master of packing a huge punch in the last 100 pages of the story. The ending of A Crown of Swords did not disappoint in that department either! I was absolutely shocked and surprised by the moves Jordan made. I’m definitely picking up A Path of Daggers as soon as I can.

We follow three main plot lines – Rand and Perrin, the Ebou Dar group and Egwene. The Ebou Dar group consists of Mat, Nynaeve, Elayne, Aviendha, Thom, Juilin and Brigette. The Ebou Dar group progresses the most for me in this story. A lot happens around Mat, Nynaeve and Elayne. This was the first book I felt Aviendha was just along for the ride and that rather disappointed me. Ever since The Eye of the World, Thom hasn’t served much purpose besides watching over the girls – Elayne and Nynaeve. I personally didn’t like that Robert Jordan brought Thom back after he fought the fade in The Eye of the World but I’m curious if Thom will ever play a bigger role again.

Rand and Perrin

I did, however, really enjoy Rand’s story in A Crown of Swords. Rand is still very stubborn and makes rash decisions… and he’s lucky to even be alive. Before I can tackle this poor decision making, we have to talk about a new character in the series – Cadsuane! Depending how you read the series this could your first introduction to her. I read New Spring (Prequel) after The Fires of Heaven (Book 5) and briefly encountered her towards the end of the story. I had a feeling she would be an interesting character when I meet her in the main series. And she did not disappoint!! She is currently the most feared and most powerful Aes Sedia since the Age of Legends. I loved how she walk in to talk to Rand and just commanded the room. I have a lot of feelings about Cadsuane. I really hope she is one of the “good” Aes Sedia because I feel she will be a powerful person to have at the Last Battle on his side.

Rand decided to take Min and go to see the Rebellion outside of Cairhienin. Padan Fain again torments Rand, wounding him with the dagger Mat stole from Shadar Logoth. Cadsuane heals him enough to save him and her group gets Rand back to safety before saving him further.

I felt the last chapter was rushed way too much for me. Rand decides to take the Asha’man to Illian to battle Sammael. Rand and Sammael end up in Shadar Logoth before Rand ends up taking down another Forsaken. Maybe I am wrong but I felt that was too simple for Rand. I feel Sammael is still alive. I will have to continue reading and see if I am right or wrong on this one.

“The trumpets of war shall sound at his footsteps, the ravens feed at his voice, and he shall wear a crown of swords”

I was rather disappointed with Perrin’s storyline. It’s no secret Perrin is without a doubt my favorite character in the series. I was rather excited to see him get more page time but it didn’t really do a whole lot of me. He spent a lot of time worrying about Faile on his return from Dumai’s Wells. When he finally met up with her, he spent more time worrying about his relationship with her and trying to stay away from Berelain, who also likes him. It seems like no matter what he does Berelain will always be chasing him throughout this series even though he is happily married to Faile. There was some set up for Perrin’s storyline in the future. Perrin, Faile and Berelain leave Caemlyn and traveled to Ghealdan. I’m not really sure where this will go in the next book but I’m definitely curious how Perrin will deal with the Faile and Berelain situation.

Ebou Dar

The Ebou Dar group can really be broken down into two groups at this point. Robert Jordan splits Mat and the women – Elayne and Nynaeve – apart. A lot of this has to do with Elayne and Nynaeve’s feelings towards Mat. For Nynaeve this stems way back to The Eye of the World when she was a Wisdom and it only got worse for Nynaeve when Mat rescued Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve. I struggle to like Nynaeve entirely because it’s always her way or the highway. I think this is a great character flaw but it drives me insane, especially since the Wheel of Time is not just Rand’s story but the Emond’s Field five – Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene and Nynaeve.

Nynaeve and Elayne are searching for the Bowl of the Winds and their search has taken them to Ebou Dar. They’ve been hunting for this Bowl for over a month with no luck. I found it intriguing that they discover a hidden organization lead by a group called the Knitting Circle. This is basically a large network of women that were let go from the White Tower. I can see how this will eventually play into Egwene’s hands as she is looking to unite as many women under her. Besides finally finding the Bowl of the Winds, I felt like that was the biggest take away for them in the story.

I found Mat’s story to be intriguing. He hasn’t had a lot of page time since The Shadow Rises but I feel we get a lot of him in A Crown of Swords, which excited me at first. I was not prepared for the direction that his story would take though. I was not expecting Mat to be raped. It was honestly a crazy gender role flip Robert Jordan plays here. The Wheel of Time already reverses the gender roles with Women being in power but this took this to another level. There were many cues I felt that lead to this moment, which made his story more tragic for me.

I was not expecting the return of the Seanchan after their appearance in the end of The Great Hunt. The Morgase chapter was quite interesting. We saw the Seanchan return from her point of view and she finally escape from the White Cloaks. I expect her storyline to eventually end in tragedy only because I see it as the only way for Elayne to finally take the Throne. We not only see the Seanchan return from her point of view but from Elayne, Nynaeve, and Mat’s point of view. I can’t wait to find out what happens with Mat since he was still in the city during the invasion.

Egwene

I was bored by Egwene’s storyline. We barely got anything with all of page time she received. We knew Moghedien and Logain have escaped from the Salidar Aes Sedia but that was covered in the very ending of the Lord of Chaos. Egwene’s entire story felt like it was more about the black mail she was receiving from the newer novices. Honestly, Moghedien had a more interesting story compared to her. It was awesome to find out how she escaped and what is happening to her now. Reading her story kept making me wonder if we will ever find out who killed Asmodean. We are running out of Forsaken to be a problem for Rand before he faces the Dark One.

Final Thoughts

I am really hoping Robert Jordan gives Perrin more meaningful page time in the next few books. I feel like he peaked back in The Shadow Rising, which saddens me greatly. I enjoyed his time in Lord of Chaos but it wasn’t enough for me. I have similar feeling with Egwene ever since she took over as Amyrlin Seat of the Salidar Aes Sedia. I have great expectations of where she might go as a character but dealing with some black mail from novices just didn’t do it for me. As tragic as Mat’s story was in this book, I expect to see him continue to step forward as a favorite. I still remember the moment in The Shadow Rises where Mat is undressing to go into Rhuidean and the Aiel are impressed by the amount of knives he is carrying. I need more Mat moments like that! Mat also has some series talents that I think play a huge roll in the later portion of the series. As for Rand, I expect his stubbornness to continue. I am hoping the introduction of Cadsuane will help Rand. Maybe I’m mistaken and should suspect that Cadsuane doesn’t want to help Rand but I’m going to believe she has good intentions. We will see….

Overall, I really loved A Crown of Swords! I definitely think this was a bit slower than the other books but there was a lot of set up. I felt the ending was a bit rushed especially with Rand and Sammael. I was definitely expecting more after all of the set up between the two since at least The Shadow Rising. There were a few storylines I loved and a few I just didn’t care for like Perrin and Egwene’s story. This also didn’t feel like a slog either. I’ve read a lot of things where people consider A Crown of Swords the start of the slog but I though this was an excellent story with a lot of set up. I would rate A Crown of Swords 4 stars. Let me know in the comments did you like A Crown of Swords? Did you like it?

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