Oct. 27th, 2009

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It's well up to the standard set by past WoT books, and with the introduction of Brandon Sanderson the pace moves faster and More Things Happen. Several long-standing plot threads get cleared up (some of them offstage, thank goodness), a couple of long-term goals get achieved, a couple of characters who've been around since the early books die, and the action scene near the end is more fun to read than Dumai's Wells and less morally icky.

On the other hand, as far as character goes Sanderson paints with a very broad brush, which tends to amplify a lot of the rather tedious gender stuff which has always been a feature of the series. I'm not using "rather tedious" in the same sense as most fans, of course - it's blatantly obvious that the books are about male-female relations, and I have no problems with this. It's a fascinating subject to write about. On the other hand, Jordan always just kept hammering away with the same sledgehammer, over and over again. Yes, we know that often people don't talk to each other and thus cause problems. Yes, we know that sometimes people just try to manipulate each other rather than communicating, and that that's silly. The key words are 'sometimes' and 'often'. In this series, they're all at it, all the time, and it gets really rather depressing. Sanderson's doing the same thing still (though, refreshingly, we do get some actual information exchange between characters - some trust and some basic competence, and that's why the plot is suddenly moving) and it's still annoying.

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