Review Revisited: Robert Jordan – The Shadow Rising
Genre: Epic Fantasy (pretty much the epic-est)
Originally Read: 25 November 2004
Re-read Started: 24 January 2015
Re-read Finished: 03 March 2015.
Where did it come from? The library (audio); used bookstore (my paper copy).
Why do I have it? Wheel of Time! I mean, c’mon.
As the Dragon learns
history, agents of the
Dark One draw closer.
Summary: After the fall of the Stone of Tear, word has started to spread that the Dragon has been Reborn. But now the Two Rivers folks must head in their own directions. Rand, Mat, and Egwene head towards the Aiel Waste, with Moiraine and Lan accompanying them – Rand because he must enter the holy city of Rhuidean in order to claim his place as the Aiel’s Car’a’carn, Egwene to train with the Aiel Dreamwalkers and Wise Ones, and Mat unwillingly, because of a cryptic answer he got from the strange creatures he encountered through a doorway ter’angreal in the heart of the Stone of Tear. Elaine and Nynaeve are torn – they should return to the White Tower to continue their Aes Sedai training, but the Black Ajah sisters they captured have indicated that there’s something in Tanchico that could prove dangerous to Rand. There’s also trouble brewing in the White Tower – the Amyrlin Seat is facing pressure about what to do about the Dragon Reborn, and Min keeps having viewings that portend terrible violence to come. Reports have also started to reach Tear that there’s trouble in the Two Rivers – although whether that trouble is trollocs or Whitecloaks – or both – is unclear, so Perrin, Loial, and Faile make their way through the Ways back to Perrin’s home, only to find it vastly changed from when he left, and to discover that Perrin is hunted not only by the Whitecloaks, but also by a deadly figure that stalks the wolf dream.
Review: After my first two readings of the series, I always used to say that The Shadow Rising was my favorite book. And there were a lot of things about it I really liked: Mat’s first encounters with the Aelfinn and the Eelfin, and the consequences. The history of the Aiel that Rand learns in Rhuidean. Elaine and Nynaeve chasing the Black Ajah around the museum in Tanchico. Even Perrin coming back to the Two Rivers and seeing how his view of it has changed, although the rest of his storyline is not my favorite. And on a re-listen (or a re-re-listen? This is my third time through the series.) I still really enjoyed it a lot, although we’ll see if it remains a favorite.
In its favor is that almost half of the time is spent with Rand, Mat, and Egwene in the Aiel Waste. Rand is still not entirely sure of himself yet, not completely cold and hard yet, and not going mad yet, so his chapters are still enjoyable. While on my original read, I don’t think Mat started to be my favorite character (replacing Perrin, *sigh*) until the next book, he’s got a great story arc in this one. And I love Aviendha and the Aiel, so getting to spend time in the Waste and watch Rand and Egwene try to navigate that is also fascinating.
On the other hand, the other main storyline – Perrin returning to the Two Rivers – involves a lot of Faile being obnoxious, so there’s that. (Perrin still has a few moments of awesomeness, and Faile’s not yet as bad as she’s going to get in later books, but ugh I tire of her so quickly.) It also involves a fair amount of battle tactics, which are never my favorite part of these books. But at the same time, it was more enjoyable and went by quicker this time than it did in memory, so may I had just exaggerated it in my mind.
Regardless, though, this book’s still pretty great. Jordan’s overuse of certain character tics is certainly noticeable, but it hasn’t gotten to the point where it bothers me yet, at least not by this point in the series. And for as long as this book is, it doesn’t feel that long when you’re in the middle of it, and it still has the power to make me transport me to another world that feels almost as real as this one, which is really the main thing I love about these books. 5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: This is the series that made me a lifelong fantasy fan, so of course I think it should be read by anyone who likes the genre. Don’t start anywhere but the beginning, though.
First Line: The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.
© 2015 Fyrefly’s Book Blog. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Fyrefly’s Book Blog or its RSS feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is being used without permission.