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Title: Crossroads of Twilight
Series: The Wheel of Time #10
Author: Robert Jordan
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
From Tarvalon.net & authored by Toral Delvar
In Arad Doman, Rodel Ituralde hatches a plot to defeat Seanchan invaders. This plan involves using Taraboners to draw them out. Rhadam Asunawa realizes the Whitecloaks are united with the Seanchan by their hatred of Aes Sedai. He is willing to sacrifice the Whitecloaks if it will lead to the destruction of the Tower. He tries to convince Valda to support this course of action, even going as far as to suggest the use of damane to bring it about.
Deira Bashere and Dobraine are both attacked, presumably by men looking for the remaining seals. Dobraine is almost killed. Loial and Karldin arrive, looking for Rand. Samitsu is surprised that Karldin doesn’t submit to her. Logain decides to do something about Taim and takes men and Aes Sedai to the Sun Palace to try and find Rand. From there he Travels with Samitsu, who feels discontent at having her authority usurped by Sashalle, to meet Rand, who isn’t pleased by Logain’s bonding Aes Sedai and says it must stop. Logain tells Rand that Taim is a traitor and has named several of those loyal to Rand as traitors, but Rand decides that Taim must wait. He sends Logain with Bashere and Loial to arrange a truce with the Seanchan. Min sees Logain’s aura of glory more strongly than ever. Bashere returns to say the Seanchan are willing, but only if Rand is there in person to meet Suroth and the Daughter of the Nine Moons.
The Black Ajah hunters in the White Tower are forced to go slowly, until they can get the only known Black sister on her own. They are puzzled by the premature raising of many of the replacement Sitters and the fact that it seems the Ajah heads conspired in it. Katerine arrives outside Tar Valon at the same time as Tarna and both demand passage into the city. Gawyn no longer feels obligated to the Tower as they tried to have him and the Younglings killed and then abandoned them. However, not all the Younglings share his views. He learns from Tarna that Elayne supports the rebels. Alviarin returns from Tremalking and sees rats about the Tower, a sign of wards failing. She learns that Elaida has survived the knowledge of the debacle at Dumai’s Wells, as well as the loss of sisters sent to destroy the Black Tower, going public. Alviarin is told she is no longer Keeper. She notices Talene look to Yukiri and Doesine before keeping silent when the Green is asked a question. Elaida tells her how much she looks forward to her execution when sufficient proof has been found of her treachery. Alviarin uses a device to contact Mesaana to tell her this. Mesaana is unimpressed and decides to punish her before Shaidar Haran arrives and puts a stop to all channeling, showing Mesaana’s true face. She announces she will kill Alviarin for this, but Shaidar Haran forbids it, announcing he is the Dark One and briefly casting off his Myrddraal form. He puts a mark of protection on Alviarin and tells her to find those who threaten the Black Ajah. She decides to start with Talene.
Tarna visits Pevara and, after mentioning Pevara’s unusual views, suggests that the only way to control Asha’man is to bond them and that the Reds will be the only ones willing to do it. Pevara reveals to her that Asha’man have already bonded those sent to destroy them, saying this will change the world
Perrin learns that Masuri and Annoura have being meeting with Masema, though he doesn’t know why. Berelain stops hunting Perrin, but is content to let everyone else believe that she still is. She tells him of a letter Masema had from Suroth and that her thief-takers, who obtained it, are missing. They discover the Shaido camp. However, it is too large to attack and might have as many as five hundred Wise Ones in it. Masema suggests they restock in a town where the dead are walking and corruption and decay are rife. Perrin discovers a large pack of Darkhounds, though they are not hunting him. He stops the futile torture of a captured Shaido and instead chops off his hand, then threatens to do the same to his other limbs and leave him behind to beg on the streets, in order to get him to talk, but learns little. Tallanvor informs Perrin that the Seanchan are also hunting the Shaido and he decides to align with them to get Faile back.
In the Shaido camp, Faile plots her escape and continues to spy on Sevanna. Galina informs Sevanna that Faile has kept a weapon. Lacile and Arrela, two members of Cha Faile, who escaped with the help of Bain and Chiad, are retaken. Aravine pledges fealty to Faile. Rolan takes a liking to Faile. She believes he may help her escape.
Elayne Travels to several locations in Andor, gathering support from minor Houses. Dyelin brings the High Seats of four of the larger Houses, whose pledges of allegiance Elayne needs to take the throne. Careane and Merilille talk of their disapproval of Hanlon, whereas Sareitha talks of how wonderful he is. Elayne makes a bargain with Zaida, giving her a square mile of Andor in return for fourteen Windfinders to open gateways and keep Caemlyn supplied while the siege goes on. Merilille is to go with the Sea Folk, but she flees first, taking one of the Windfinder apprentices with her.
Arymilla keeps Elenia, Naean and Nasin hostage to force their support, though Elenia plans her escape and revenge. Hanlon plots the murder of everyone.
Mat and Tuon get to know each other. She asks if he remembers Artur Hawkwing’s face and he denies it. He learns the Windfinder he freed had freed others and many people died for it, and also that Tylin is dead. He struggles with Egeanin for control until Tuon strips her of her nobility. Tuon then promises Mat that she will not try and escape. Rendra is keen to use the a’dam again on the Aes Sedai travelling with them, but Bethamin is resigned to the fact that they will not. Mat forbids it. Rendra tries to kill Egeanin before fleeing, in order to keep the secret that she can be made damane, a fact that Egeanin is forced to reveal. Rendra is killed to prevent her from contacting a Seanchan patrol. Tuon forbids Mat from mourning. Mat learns that by claiming that Tuon is his wife three times, he has completed his half of the Seanchan marriage ceremony. Mat and Tuon play a game where he buys her gifts but doesn’t give them to her. Setalle takes a liking to Tuon, who herself takes a liking to Olver. Tuon gives Luca a guarantee of safety and a list offering protection to most of the people she has been with, except Mat.
Back with the rebel Aes Sedai besieging the Tower, Egwene has people turning iron into cuendillar, both for practice and to provide funds. She is exerting more authority over the Hall. Delana is trying to cause trouble and insisting Elaida should be named Black. Keepings have been failing and food has been rotting. The sisters sworn to Egwene have become her official council. Most of the Sitters who were Sitters when they fled are pressing to negotiate. Egwene allows this, on the condition they insist on Elaida’s resignation and exile. Elaida meanwhile is insisting that the Blue is disbanded and all the rebels are no longer members of any Ajah. Sitters return from where the taint was cleansed and report that Shadar Logoth is no longer there and that saidin was used, which leads them to assume it was the Forsaken. An alliance with the Asha’man is approved, much to the disgust of the original Sitters. Lelaine later suggests bonding the Asha’man, modifying the bond to allow them to be compelled. Egwene believes Rand is doing similar but still refuses. She tells Romanda of her plans for the Kin, but Romanda is not interested, insisting she will die as Aes Sedai. Sharina takes on much of the responsibility of ensuring the novices do as they should, to the bemusement and annoyance of various Aes Sedai. Nicola disappears and Anaiya and Kairen are murdered by Aran’gar, who is continuing to give Egwene headaches with the Power. Egwene converts the harbor chain to cuendillar before being betrayed and caught by Tower Aes Sedai.
I felt like this was really a 3.51 rating and so I rounded up to 4. This was my first time re-reading this and it has been 10 years since I originally read it so beyond the whole Perrin/Faile thing, this felt very brand new. It also made me realize how much detail Jordan shoves into these books, important details that are easy to overlook because of the all the other crap he sticks in. This was the book where Jordan reveals just what the super Myrddraal, Shaidar Haran, actually is. I’d completely skipped over that in my previous read.
I don’t see how one can take this series in without at least one re-read. That being said, I’m never going to be reading this series again once I finish it up. I was talking with Mrs B about it and I was able to finally articulate why. There are no positive relationships anywhere in this book or series. None. Even the good guys think nothing but criticisms or cattiness about each other. Every single character is trying to control things to their satisfaction and will do what ever they need to to accomplish that and we get to hear their inner thoughts throughout it all. Characters might “say” they are friends but their actions, words and thoughts say otherwise. It was a very unpleasant realization for me.
I realized this near the beginning of the book and it simply overshadowed everything. It’s not that this type of thing hasn’t been present before, as that is how Jordan has been writing for the whole series, it’s just that I truly noticed it for what it was and I couldn’t un-see it.
It also made me question just what it was that made Rand, Matt and Perrin the “good guys”. My answer? They aren’t. They are simply less worse than having the Dark One rule the world. That was the point where I decided that once I’m done this read through I’ll be getting rid of my hardcover copies and never reading this again.
My mind kept turning to Corinthians I, chapter 13, which is known as the Love chapter of the Bible. In it, Love is described both by positive and negative things.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I just kept waiting for some of these characteristics to show up and I never saw them.
I realize I’ve done nothing but complain about this book and yet I gave it 4 stars. The thing is, the story itself is still awesome. While the plot has ground to a halt, Jordan is using this time to setup his playing pieces just where he wants them to be. I like what is happening, where things are going and what the characters are doing. I just don’t like anybody.