Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Review: The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

The Path of Daggers (Wheel of Time, #8)The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The eighth installment of Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series, The Path of Daggers, continues the numerous storylines that feature the main characters of the epic but doesn't have a story unto itself.  The lack of a lone storyline contained wholy with it's pages makes The Path of Daggers a collection of various stories all of which feature the same theme: danger.  Although this is an interest approach to contain his epic series, Jordan's decision results in the reader finding it hard get involved in the book.

While the transition from one storyline to another was well done, none of the storylines seemed to reach out and grab the read as being the most important.  While Jordan's world building continues to be outstanding, the characteristics of some of his main characters or characters in general continue to frustrate though if one has read this far into the series you should have found a way to deal with it.

Finally, I will admit that due to outside factors that affected my reading schedule most likely had a direct affect on how I viewed this book.  I found it a step down from the previous three installments (The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, and A Crown of Swords) though if I could have given this book 3.5 stars instead of 3, I would of.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review: The Story of The Moors in Spain by Stanley Lane-Poole

The Story of the Moors in SpainThe Story of the Moors in Spain by Stanley Lane-Poole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Though originally written and published over 125 years ago, The Story of the Moors in Spain by Stanley Lane-Poole is an quick, easy, and informative read.  Although the book is not up to the scholarship standards of today, Lane-Poole uses the sources at his disposal along folklore, traditional Spanish ballads, and romantic history written by Washington Irving to produce a most engaging book.  Lane-Poole always denoted in the text when he was going on either the folklore, ballads, or romantic history insertions for the reader as a way to bring history alive and when they were contrary to actual history he made note of it.

One of the biggest negatives of the book that one notices is that Lane-Poole engages in perpetuating the Black Legend that has tainted the perception of the Spanish since it's creation.  At the beginning and ending of the text, Lane-Poole laments that the Spaniards decided to reject the civilization of the Islamic Moors for the backwardness of the Catholic (note I said Catholic not Christian) "crusaders" then points out certain incidents that prove his point.  To be fair to Lane-Poole, one can not use today's standards to judge him and when a Christian showed "civilized" behavior and a Moor "uncivilized" he did point it out.  However, there was always the perception that these incidents were few and far between.

Even with this negative to the text, The Story of the Moors in Spain is an excellent way to begin learning about the Islamic period on the Iberian peninsula.  However this book should not be your last on the subject.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan

A Crown of Swords (Wheel of Time, #7)A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Crown of Swords is a well balanced installment of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, especially when looking at it as part of the series' 2nd Act.  The book's various story lines pick up where they left off in the previous volume, Lord of Chaos, and either continue or come to a conclusion that quickly leads to a new one taking its place and either bringing together or separating the large cast of characters.  Unlike the previous installment, A Crown of Swords seems to be better paced as Jordan stuck with a story line for several chapters in a row until it came to an appropriate place to transition to another story line or for the next book.  Throughout the book, a variety of character developments take place with the most important happening with Nynaeve followed by Mat and Rand.

There were a few things that were somewhat of a drag, mostly the usual complaints one hears from longer time fans like in-depth detail on clothing, hair pulling by a certain character, the interactions of various women with one another, etc.  The one that continues to be a personal problem to me is that the climax at the end of the book seems rushed with all of it occurring during the last chapter of the book.  But since these "problems" or complaints have been present throughout the series an objective reader does get use to it.

Overall, A Crown of Swords is a good read and I recommend you continue reading The Wheel of Time series with this book.

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