My disorientation in this book included, but was not limited to trying to figure out:
-who was bonded to who. I MEAN REALLY. EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG IS BONDED TO AT LEAST ONE PERSON.
-who the bad guys were. The problem with WoT is that the good guys are unaware of several villains, and if the reader IS told that they're a villain for sure, you get one scene telling you so, and then you have to remember it forever more.
-the state of Sea Folk politics. Again, I MEAN REALLY. Sea Folkiness is complicated enough.
-and, of course, who the heck all of the characters are besides the main 10 or so.
I could, of course, have re-read the whole series before tackling Knife of Dreams. But that would have taken me another 5 years at least, probably. :P
Anywayyyy this is supposed to be a review. Despite all of my confusion, this addition to the WoT series was pretty fantastic and lovely. For once in a long while, we had plotlines with ALL THREE of the Male Leads: Rand, Perrin, and Mat. Usually one of them will not be present in a book, just because there is sooo much going on in the series at this point. It was GREAT to be able to spend time with all three. The same mostly goes for Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne, who I consider to be the main Female Leads (but feel free to dispute that). Elayne, unfortunately, still made me want to slaughter villages of angel kittens. She's already the most moody, selfish girl ever, and now she's got wayyyy more hormones than she knows how to deal with. *SIGH*
In this book, Jordan seems to have really made an effort to start tying up threads, even if just started. :PI don't think I should go into too much of the plot, as it would be nonsensical to people who haven't read the series or aren't up to speed. But the Tower (Black and White) threads (pretty much all of them) get a lot of progress, as do Perrin's rescuing rampage of Doom, Mat's hilarious pursuit of the Daughter of the Nine Moons, and Elayne's bid for succession. The ending of the book didn't have an ENORMOUS HUGE OMFJAM climax like WoT books often do, but in a way it was kind of nice. It got some stuff done that needed to happen, and in mostly satisfactory ways.
My main complaint in this book was a few scenes from POVs that seemed completely pointless. That's my main complaint of WoT in general: if Jordan kept his plotting and characters a little bit tighter, the story wouldn't get quite so out of control and epic and bogged down. I mean, for example, did we REALLY need a scene with Arymilla and her cronies? No, no, we did not. Everything that we learned in that scene we learned AGAIN from Elayne's POV. All it did was add a completely boring meal scene in the middle of THINGS HAPPENING.
Overall though I really enjoyed this book; it's probably my favorite WoT since Lord of Chaos (book 6. Yeah. Forever ago.). One of my favorite things about the series is Rand and his insanity, or lack of, or battle against, and he got a lot more POV-time in here than he usually does. Many of the other characters got much-needed "character moments" as well, to remind us of just how much we love them and why.
I'm looking forward to tackling The Gathering Storm sometime soon!