I am uncertain as to how the time went by. I get that in Annwyn time goes by differently than in the mortal world. But it seems as if just a couple of weeks were covered yet we're told it was more like a couple of months...maybe? Confusing.
The H is something that shouldn't exist...or more precisely, something that is difficult to maintain. He's the result of a grey (banished) fairy and a mortal. He's not fairy enough to survive without a soul, yet because of his fairy parent's grey status, doesn't have one. So he has to feed. He has, for reasons, decided to stop goofing off and do something for the mortal world following the war and other assorted things that bled over from Annwyn. This attracted the attention of Felan - the king.
The h, former handmaiden to the king's not-so-dearly departed mother, has been a shadow for a year and a day (something about a theft to aid the then-prince). To prove her loyalty...or something...she's sent to spy on the H. Given that she falls for him, I'd almost suspect the king of matchmaking. I can't imagine that the Hunter hadn't spied on him previously.
There are some interesting characters - Kaid the kelpie for one - and you sort of wonder if in the future various greys won't get their sentence commuted. At least one of the H's friends had been banished because she got pregnant.
The h is a fairy who left Annwyn centuries ago. The king is dying apparently and she's feeling the urge to go home. There's just one last job...
The H is a changeling whose sister knows just enough about fairies to be dangerous - to everyone - and she's figured out somehow that the h is a fairy so has laid a trap.
Never make a deal with a fairy. She gives up her brother without a thought, the h takes him home with her (literally), and well, the sister gets fame alright - being accused of kidnapping and murder of a well-known fashion designer will certainly put you on the front page.
This is a toughie. There are many reasons why this book is so notorious, but I'll stick with two reasons. The first is that the bulk of this book is people reacting to the admittedly awesome cleanse of saidin at the end of 'Winter's Heart'. It was awesome, but did we really have to read through all of those reactions, we easily could have just jumped right to people's responses to the phenomenon.
The second reason is Elayne and Aviendha taking a bath together. There's nothing salacious there, and we had plenty of Egwene and the Wise Ones sweating together in the lodges back in 'The Shadow Rising', but it was such a long bath. So very, very long.
'Crossroads' spends a lot of time reeling out some of the back storylines, without a whole lot happening. The bath is just too good of an example to pass by. Elayne and Aviendha are successioning in Andor, and we learn that claiming the throne of Andor, and carrying babies, can be deadly serious business.
Perrin is still chasing after Faile, who is still a prisoner of the Shaido along with Morgase, Alliandre, two others and two Aiel. Masema is...around.
Mat is playing getting to know you with his suspected bride along with Egeanin, Domon, and once-prominent characters Julien, Thom, etc.
Egwene's politicking with the Aes Sedai is more showing us the steps characters must take to grow, but it sure isn't exciting. I chaired the main administrative body of my municipality (sounds exciting right?) for two years, and sat through many meetings that mimicked the meetings of the Hall of the Tower. Jordan nailed it. It was like I was there! As dull as those scenes could be, I had to grant points for accuracy.
Rand... shows up! He does orchestrate important things, and we get to see Loial again (yay!), but there's not a whole lot of movement.
After 'Crossroads' came out there was a longer wait than usual for the sequel, as Jordan chose to flesh out a prequel story called 'New Spring'. I was too disgusted to read it at the time, but I'll get to it this reread, eventually.
The Wheel of Time:
Next: 'The Knife of Dreams'
Previous: 'Winter's Heart'