And so begins the slog.
A Crown of Swords is by far the slowest book of the series thus far.
What was once a climactic battle–Rand versus the one or more of the Forsaken, in Shadar Logoth no less–feels somehow less for all the times we’ve seen it, even if Rand does end up conquering another kingdom.
Egwene spends the entire book trying to solidify her position as Amyrlin in truth, including a whole handful of things ‘that have never been done’ (we hear quite a lot of that series).
The main plot line in this book follows Elayne, Nynaeve, Birgitte, Aviendha, and Mat in Ebou Dar, searching for the Bowl of the Winds–a ter’angreal that could be used to heal the weather. It’s an interesting enough plotline, but do in large part to every single main character in this series’ inability to communicate with one another, it takes far longer than it should. And hey. The Seanchan are back.
Unfortunately, together with The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, and Crossroads of Twilight, A Crown of Swords begins the slow section of a Wheel of Time, with the vast majority of plotlines likely to be cut if/when the series moves to TV. There’s still a whole pile of fascinating storylines and epic battles, but they do tend to come fewer and further between.
Still worth the read. Just perhaps with a bit more skimming.