Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of ‘The Wheel of Time’

November 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Twilight Books

Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of ‘The Wheel of Time’

In the tenth book of The Wheel of Time from the New York Times #1 bestselling author Robert Jordan, the world and the characters stand at a crossroads, and the world approaches twilight, when the power of the Shadow grows stronger.

Fleeing from Ebou Dar with the kidnapped Daughter of the Nine Moons, whom he is fated to marry, Mat Cauthon learns that he can neither keep her nor let her go, not in safety for either of them, for both the Shadow and the might of the Seanchan Empire are in dea

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5 Responses to “Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of ‘The Wheel of Time’”
  1. Tom E. says:

    Review by Tom E. for Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of ‘The Wheel of Time’
    Rating:
    Those who can appreciate great setup will really love this book. Personally, I thought the setup in books 8 and 9 were good … but this was absolutely stupendous. Fans of total plot inertia will be in heaven.

    I’ve grown to hate the character of Rand because whenever he makes an appearance the plot is in danger of moving incrementally forward. Thankfully, Mr. Jordan saves us from any threatening plot developments by keeping Rand almost totally absent from this book. And when he is introduced – briefly – towards the very end, Mr. Jordan quickly whisks him off to the sidelines before anything interesting can happen. Whew! I’m wiping the sweat off my brow becasue that was a close one.

    Have you ever wondered how many stripes should be on the dublet of an important dignatary from Illian? How many shawl twitches are appropriate when Aes Sedai negotiate momentous agreements? What kind of stool the general of an Aes Sedai army sits on, and how stable said stool might be? Well buckle up for a wild ride, amigo, because you’re going to learn all that (and more!) by the time you’ve tediously slogged to the conclusion of this book.

    Part of what really makes Mr. Jordan’s worlds so unique are the wonderful characters which populate them. I like nothing more than to scratch my head in befuddlement as yet another Aes Sedai is reintroduced into the plot whom I can no longer recall. It gives me an excuse to page to the back of the book and open up the ‘Robert Jordan Appendix of Useless and Irrelevent Characters’ which is always such a joy. I’ve created my own drinking game based on this called, […]

    For anyone who wants to play along the rules are simple:

    1.) Is the character you’re looking up totally irrelevent? Take a drink.

    2.) Do you have reason to suspect said character will remain totally irrelevent? Take a drink.

    3.) Does the character twitch her shawl? Take two drinks.

    4.) Is she looking “cross-eyed” at someone? Take a drink.

    5.) Do you know the exact design of the embroidery on the fringe of her shawl? Of course you do – take a drink. For your own sanity, consider taking another.

    Anyhow, I don’t want to pretend everything about this book is negative … there are a few positives.

    First off, Nynaeve is completely ignored. I suspect Mr. Jordan will make up for this oversite by indulging in an orgy of braid-tugging, yellow-shawled action in books 11-16, but you will be blessedly free of it in this tome.

    Secondly, Jordan has stopped even pretending to provide “setup” for future books with CoT. Nothing Of Any Signifigance happens – at all – in this novel. Nothing. There’s not so much as a cliffhanger. He’s no longer bothering to maintain any facade. I appreciate that kind of bold honesty. He’s just holding out his hand and saying, “Listen suckers … we all know you’re going to give me your money – so just hand it over. I could personally visit each of your homes and beat it out of you, but isn’t this more civilized?”. And, yes, I suppose it is more civilized. So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Jordan for allowing me to voluntarily hand him my hard-earned money rather than forcing him to pummel it out of me in my own house. It is very much appreciated.

    I can’t wait for Volume 11.

  2. Zhakrin says:

    Review by Zhakrin for Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of ‘The Wheel of Time’
    Rating:
    PREQUEL TO MY REVIEW

    I shook my head incredulously. Light, of all the bloody ashes… I look over to the book. It lies there, as plain as it ever been, as plain as the horns on a trolloc. 700 pages. 700 bloody pages?! Blood and ashes. Of all the boneheaded, stubborn things… Well, there’s nothing for it now, I decided, and with a sniff of my nose I looked up from the book, and with a hard sniff, a sniff that in Ebon Dar might make strong men faint and women gasp, I turned sternly towards the keyboard. A memory flashed in my head unbidden. I am not sure where it came from; it could be from any of the nine books that I read before in this series, memories that would have been long resting in the cold, return shelves of the library, or in the scandalous embrace of another. “Blood and ashes,” I muttered through my teeth, and despite the gentle weather, I shivered and drew my coat closer to me, folding it carefully.

    “I never saw run-on sentences before that extended this long,” I brooded darkly. That is, if a reader can brood, and I detected a twinkie in the hard, frozen reaches of my freezer. Readers are just supposed to FAWN at Robert Jordan, and this is most decidedly out of the ordinary. “I am going to write the review,” I decided, and light be blasted! But what is it that the review needed? Is it a woman? I frowned, and wringled my nose, a move that is more a force of habit than out of irritation. Women! What does Robert Jordan find so hard to understand about them? I wondered. Light! By the way he talks about them once every paragraph, this novel is more fit as the pre-puberty study of a taraboner stable boy than a fantasy novel! I shook my head, quickly banishing the thought. No, no… perhaps there is some grander conspiracy at work here… The ageless face of an Aes Sedai looked out at my memory, laughing at me, tugging suggestively on my lower intestine and her braid at the same time.

    That did it, I decided, I’m really going write a review this time. The memory at the edge of my consciousness tugged again at her braid, hard, and bit her lip as hard as she can. Light, would that woman ever shut up? Women. I can never understand them. I’ve decided to read the words more carefully, however, the names just started to give me a headache. Bevedine or Beradine? or maybe it is Bevin and Moadine and veradine and bevelleihillbillienineOtwoOneOdine. I can never remember their faces. Only the songs, like some rude limerick, ring mockingly at my ears… “There once was a man with a name like Jordan, sold his book and want to be like Tolkien, so he went out one day and started to write, and next thing you know he screwed the children of light… whitecloaks that is, Altarian sea… ”

    I sighed, put down my keyboard, and rubbed my eyes. Light! I must be getting on with the review.

    CHAPTER ONE: TIME TO BE GONE

    The Wheel of Time turns, and Books come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Book that gave it birth comes again. In one Book, called the Tenth Book by some, a Book yet to be written, a Book already burned, a yawn rose in the Crossroads of Twilight. The Yawn is not the beginning, there are neither beginning nor endings in the Wheel of Time (not if Jordan is still paid by the word.) But it is a beginning.

    BEGIN REAL REVIEW

    OK look here guys, I admit, the first few books had been fun. And you know why? I got one word for you. DragonBall. It is pretty cool when Goku went out and kicked some ass each episode huh? Yeah, one forsaken each book. Super Rand attack. But let’s face it. There’s only so much that he can DO, before we realized that the Wheel of Time is about as complicated as Pokemon when they are still out there collecting Gym Badges. “I defeat the Aiel Guardian! I receive power-up — Heron Mark V. 2!”

    Yeah. The guy is running out of ideas.

    So what does he do? Can he save some shred of dignity and credibility by ending the series gracefully, in an ultimate episode of Wheel of Time Extreme! ™ and a final showdown between Super Rand W and the Dark One?

    No.

    He tries to make it into a series of intrigue, of mystery, of boring dialogue.

    Which is pretty sad folks. I mean, that kind of depth takes PLANNING. It takes EFFORT. Also, it takes the wisdom of seeing a dead horse, and refrain from beating it.

    If you want an in-depth novel, I would suggest Gene Wolfe. Now that is complexity without obfusication, and true depth folks. This book is like watching the Thought of the Day from the Jerry Springer Show.

  3. Matthew says:

    Review by Matthew for Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of ‘The Wheel of Time’
    Rating:
    I started reading this series at the beginning of high school, now I am about to finish college, and I think I will have completed grad school, a postdoc, and gotten tenure by the time this series is finished. After finishing the first 6 books, I was mesmerized. They were outstanding; fantastic characters, cool story, etc. I started getting disappointed with book 8, and it has only gotten worse. Even after book 8, I defended the series to all of my disappointed friends who had thoughts of abandoning WOT, explaining away their criticisms saying that the recent unremarkable additions to the series were merely foreshadowing awesome events to come. But after reading book 10, I am going to have to side with them, my patience has worn thin. I don’t think I will be able to abandon the series entirely, but I keep getting excited for the new releases only find myself frustrated and annoyed after finishing them. As stated by many others, the plot goes absolutely nowhere in book 10. Nowhere! I still don’t know how that is possible considering the size of the book, but it’s true. As I pushed on through the book, I began to get worried because it didn’t seem like anything big was going to happen, and that feeling climaxed to disappointment as I reached the end. Unfortunately, you can summarize this entire book in about five lines. Also, as previously stated by other reviewers, Rand, the main character mind you, barely plays a role and the other characters progress at a turtle’s pace. I am talking about the slowest turtle that has ever been or will be on the face of the earth. Robert Jordan needs to realize that he doesn’t need to explain every little detail if he has already explained it before, multiple times. If you’re reading book 10, chances are you have heard of Aiel, know what an Ajah is, and are familiar with the Seanchan. I like details, but I don’t need them repeated to me just to fill up space. Considering that the cover price of this book was more than any of the others, I suggest the next one be free to all who purchased this one. I don’t know how many more chances I can give Mr. Jordan to redeem himself.

  4. Anna Svensson says:

    Review by Anna Svensson for Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of ‘The Wheel of Time’
    Rating:

    1) A good writer has the ability to keep the reader’s interest even when he is writing setup.

    2) A good writer masters the ability to time the execution of story-lines with appropriate pacing and a sense of the dramatic.

    3) A good writer does not need to spell every little thing out for the reader.

    4) A good writer knows how to keep his/her story focused.

    5) A good writer possesses the knowledge that a book consists of a beginning, a middle, and an end.

    6) A good writer respects his/her characters as individuals and recognize their unique abilities to develope in different directions.

    Let’s take a look at Jordan, shall we?

    1) If Jordan had managed to keep his readers interested, he wouldn’t be recieving 1-star reviews. Even when you are writing setup you need to keep the reader interested. Robin Hobb, for instance, does this by simply using a language so formidable that reading her words is in itself a pleasure. Jordan’s words have become very bland and tasteless over the last few books, not unlike MacDonald’s food.

    2) As any professional writer knows, when you are dealing with two or more parallell storylines you have to maintain some sort of balance between them and time the unfolding of events so that the reader is able to follow the different threads. You can either divide the different storylines into large “blocks” like Tolkien did in The Two Towers, or you can switch back and forth between them. If you have many different storylines, you have the wonderful advantage of being able to tell only the most interesting bits from each one – kindof like GRR Martin is doing in A Song of Ice and Fire. With so many different storylines in the loop, why would we want to read about people clippnig their toenails? Honestly, one wonders if not a good writer would have been able to derive more interesting events from all these storylines than people drinking tea, going to the tailor or styling their hair?

    3) Why does Jordan constantly dedicate half a page of text to every little feeling? A good writer, such as Robin Hobb for instance, only needs a few words to convey the same feeling. Why? Because she uses the groundwork she laid up in the early parts of her stories. She has introduced and developed her characters so skillfully that she after a while does not need to spend many pages describing them or their emotions. The reader knows them well enough to be able to understand their feelings without lengthy explanations. Why then does Jordan need pages and pages of laborously describing every little thing? Either he does not trust his readers to know his characters well enough, or he has simply confused lengthy descriptions with emotions.

    4) I think we can all agree that Jordan’s story has become unfocused. The main characters are lost like extras in a soap-opera, just hanging around the set drinking coffee and waiting for someone to remember them, though unfortunately the producers seem more interested in filming new, fresh actresses doing threesomes and getting amnesia. In essence, the story of Wheel of Time is simple: there is a bad-guy and there is a good-guy who is destined to fight him. Why then are we reading about the main guy’s ex girlfriend’s friend’s aunts drinking tea and discussing the weather? I’m not saying you can’t take small trips away from the main story, but you need to return to it and keep the main story always moving forward. And to all the fans who defends this style of writing with that this deepens his world and how it’s essential to the story, I can simply say: you are wrong. And I can also say that a good writer could have spent these hundreds and hundreds of pages deepening the world and adding essential parts to the story in a more fulfilling manner, for instance by keeping focus on the main characters and having them interact with the world around them instead of staying inside their heads, gibbering to themselves. My theory is that all of Jordan’s mains are locked as characters. They can’t interact with the world in a normal way anymore, and so he has to resort to secondary characters to do it. Except that there is a flaw in this: when a secondary character does it, it becomes redundant.

    5) A book should have a beginning, a middle and an end. A beginning to set things up (or, in the case of a sequel, bring the reader up to date), a middle to execute the plot of the book and do build-up for the ending, and an end which should contain some sort of dramatic climax to the build-up from the middle and the beginning of the book. Jordan does not seem to realise this. A book needs a plot of its own. It needs to be about something. Crossroads isn’t. It is simply filler without any build-up in the beginning or any end that delivers anything to the reader. In the early books Jordan managed to keep a distinct theme for his books, the travels in the early columes, the great hunt, the chase for the sword in Tear and so on. His last installment totally lacks this. It is not a book that can even remotely be dreamed to stand on its own – as a book should to some extent, even if it’s part of a series. Saying that he’s doing like Tolkien and writing one long book and not a series is not a valid argument, as Tolkien wrote his entire series before he got published and there was plenty of oppertunity for both himself and for the editors to edit the book as a whole and to conside the series as a whole. Jordan can not pull this off, as his books are written one at a time. He has not means of going back and changing things in the earlier volumes that would need changing in order to convey a sense of this series being one long book rather than a series.

    6) Most of Jordan’s female characters seem to have developed in the exact same direction, regardless of where they started. I honestly don’t think I would notice if someone switched all the “Elayne”s on a page for “Nynaeve” or whomever. They all think the exact same way, use the same words, the same rhythm of speech, and they have basically the same opinions about everything. Except that Nynaeve feels that a braid is the only acceptable hairstyle and other characters have more lofty hair-morals. In any case, this is not the mark of a good writer. A good writer is a person whom after a certain length of text can write a line of dialogue without having to specify who said it or in what tone of voice – the reader can understand anyway if the author is good enough, and given only the choice of words, the reader can feel the tone of it. Robin Hobb is a master in this regard, and she can pull it off because all her characters have distinct personalities and just like real people they have different vocabularies and different rhythms of speech.

    Jordan is not a good writer. His writing is well below par for writers published by serious publishing houses. If you still believe he knows what he is doing, you are either deluded, naïve or simply unable to recognize talent. A good writer would never have written this book or taken this series in this direction.

    I recommend you stop reading Jordan until he has finished this series completely (which would be at the earliest 2008, but that is optimistic). There are so many better writers out there!

    Read GRR Martin, Robin Hobb and CS Friedman instead!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Review by for Crossroads of Twilight: Book Ten of ‘The Wheel of Time’
    Rating:
    With over 1400 reviews, the only change you’ll have of reading this is if it gets picked for the main page.This book was exciting. That is to say exciting as watching paint dry is exciting. I had more fun picking out today’s socks that I did reading this latest installment.”Honey, I’d like you to read Crossroads of Twilight. It’s got some amusing andecdotes for you. Oh, and here’s a gun so you can blow your brains out. You’ll thank me for it.” I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. And they’d say “How can you stand it?” And I’d say “‘Cause I’ve read Crossroads of Twilight. I can take anything.” And you know what thy’d say? They’d say “I know what you mean. The 10th Wheel of Time book. Whoah!”Jordan took literally over HALF of the book to get us to where he left us at the end of Winter’s Heart. I can remember when even the character stuff was good enough to keep me up to 2 or 3 in the morning. This one put me right to sleep, but like a trained WOT fan, I finished it – with a bad taste in my mouth.Sure #9 ended with a bang, but you never hear a single echo of it. Jordan doesn’t even TOUCH on the squeeky clean saidin. It’s hardly used in CoT.Go ahead and buy it – if you don’t, you’ll lay awake at night wondering if it really is as bad as people here say.Blah blah blah filler blah blah blah Third Age fashions blah blah blah Aes Sedai like cheese with their whine blah blah blah.(Insert your own amusing comments here – I’m too tired)

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