Synopsis: (from Goodreads) The dead are walking, men die impossible deaths, and it seems as though reality itself has become unstable: All are signs of the imminence of Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, when Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, must confront the Dark One as humanity’s only hope. But Rand dares not fight until he possesses all the surviving seals on the Dark One’s prison and has dealt with the Seanchan, who threaten to overrun all nations this side of the Aryth Ocean and increasingly seem too entrenched to be fought off. But his attempt to make a truce with the Seanchan is shadowed by treachery that may cost him everything. Whatever the price, though, he must have that truce. And he faces other dangers.
The winds of time have become a storm, and things that everyone believes are fixed in place forever are changing before their eyes. Even the White Tower itself is no longer a place of safety. Now Rand, Perrin and Mat, Egwene and Elayne, Nynaeve and Lan, and even Loial, must ride those storm winds, or the Dark One will triumph.
After several books in this series moved along quite slowly, not really progressing the story very far despite the length of the books, I’m happy to say that Knife of Dreams has broken that mold. The Last Battle is coming and there is much evidence showing that the Dark One is touching the world. The dead appear before the living, people die horrible deaths, food spoils long before it should and the spring crops aren’t growing.
Perrin could care less about all of this, of course. His only focus is getting his wife back. Like, obsessively! Yes, she’s his wife and he loves her, but he even witnesses an impossible and horrifying death and shrugs it off because it has nothing to do with rescuing Faile. I’m sorry, really? I don’t think my wish is going to come true. Faile is likely going to survive all the way to the end of the Last Battle.
Mat is still on the road, though he has left the travelling show. If readers recall to several books ago (I can’t remember precisely which one) Moraine, the Aes Sedai who brought them all out of the Two Rivers, sacrificed herself to kill Lanfear and save Rand from that Forsaken. You may recall that she left a letter for Rand, as well as one for Thom Merillin. All this time, we have never known what was written in that letter. Well, in this book we finally find out. Personally, I never truly believed that Moraine and Lanfear were dead. Rand was throwing around a whole lot of balefire (which burns out threads from the Pattern) while fighting one of the other Forsaken. The author certainly made us wait to find out what happened to them. And we’ll continue to wait because we only learn the contents of the letter, not what actually happened.
Moving on. Egwene is captive in the White Tower, reduced to being a novice again by Elaida. Egwene, of course, refuses to become a novice again and continues to behave as though she were the Amrilyn Seat, earning herself a lot of strappings. She has instructed her people not to rescue her because she thinks she can bring Elaida down from the inside. I’m not sure how well that is going to work, but Egwene seems to have a good start so far.
Elayne is besieged on two different fronts. One by her rival for the Lion Throne and the other by Aes Sedai who think to bring her back to the White Tower. While also dealing with her pregnancy symptoms and everyone trying to coddle her, Elayne remains one of the strongest characters in this series. She has had a few moments of stupidity, just like anyone else, but overall, she knows who she is, who she is meant to be, and what she wants.
There is a great deal more action in the book than there has been for the last few books. I don’t want to give anything away, but there are numerous battle, including attacks by Trollocks, which we haven’t seen for awhile.
This was the last book Robert Jordan wrote before he passed away. I’m glad that this was his last book, as opposed to book 8 or 9, which may have left readers not particularly eager to continue it after the break to find a new author and him to start writing.
I’m really looking forward to how Brandon Sanderson picks up this series. As of this writing, I haven’t read anything by him in the past.
I rate this book 4/5 stars.