on 27 June 2001
I stumbled across Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series by accident when I bought a 5 for the price of 4 offer on the first books in several famous fantasy series. The Eye of the World gripped me much more than the others, and I've just completed this 4th episode. The major characters have been developed very well over the 4 books, and the 3 or 4 starnds of narrative are always interowrked skillfully. What sets this episode above the first 3 for me ( and they were very good) is the thread where the central character, Rand Al'Thor, discovers the history of the Aiel through the memories of his direct ancestors. Another development is the increased importance of the dream world "Tel an' Rhiad?" and the development of the powers of Egwene et al. The continued presence of the Forsaken , the Seanchan and the black Ajah keep all threads exciting and interesting: I like my plots complex!
on 4 December 2000
This is the fourth in the series and, in my opinion, the best so far. I say that after having read up to Volume Eight.
It's written, as usual, from the POV (Point of View) of a number of the major characters. The POV characters here are Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve. There are also a number of one off POV chapters including one by Moiraine which is revealing. I never realised quite how cynically manipulative she was. As before, the main characters split up and go to different places to do different things, some to the Aiel, some to chase the Black Ajah and one, Perrin, returns home.
The Aiel chapters are interesting, revealing much about them, their customs, history, lifestyle, etc. We find out why they let traders from Cairhien travel the waste up until Laman's sin and also why they dislike and avoid the Travelling People. The chapter where all this is revealed is one of the best in the book and it also contains a few tantalising glimpses of the world around the time of the Breaking. Many prophecies are revealed and fulfilled here and it's probably a good idea to look up Min's viewing in Volume One and Padan Fain's scrawl from Volume Two to see how they fit in.
The hunt for the Black Ajah I found the most disappointing, it takes a long time for anything to develop and Nynaeve isn't a very sympathetic character in my opinion, there's only so far you can go with an arrogant, pushy and stubborn woman like her. Thankfully there are less of these chapters than the other segments.
Perrin's return home is the best section, developing Perrin as a character and fleshing out the Two Rivers. Part of Padan Fain's scrawl in Volume Two is explained here so it's a good idea to look it up. As for the rest, I can't say much more without revealing the plot so I won't.
Criticisms can be levied, and have been by other reviewers. Yes it's long (1005 pages) - but if it's a good story that's a plus not a criticism. Yes, it takes a while to develop - but, again, that's a plus, the story isn't hurried and unwinds at a natural pace. This is the best book so far. Buy it.
The Shadow Rising is definitely a book divided in to thirds. The first few hundred pages expertly entwines the build up of this chapter with a summary of the last three books. There is then a further, less pacey section with deals with culture, exploration of new content in the form of dreamscapes and the further definition of the Forsaken, the minions of evil. This middle section is tough going and before the action gets going another four hundred pages have passed. The final third, a siege, a daring infiltration and a clash of culture are all well crafted and ensure the first two thirds are well spent. Many of the main plot lines are closed, with a myriad of new paths created to ensure the fifth instalment is eagerly sought out. Overall, Shadow Rising is a competent entry in the series, but it is too long, with content that could be presented in a more slick fashion.
on 19 September 2000
This has to be one of the best books I have ever read. I am completely hooked on The Wheel of Time series. The world created seems so real, it is amazing! I loved the development of the storyline and the characters. The way Robert Jordan writes is magic. I finished the book within two weeks and would gladly pick it up again. As soon as I had finished it I wanted to carry on with the next one. Definately a worth while read.
on 25 May 2011
Don't have anything to say on the story really. We learn more about the Aiel, get a hint of Moraines thinking, Perrin goes home.
Overall I like the story and will continue to the end but there are huge flaws for me.
The women are doing my head in. Elayne and Nyneave - so far, could do without them. Got tired of them very quickly. Well, by book 3 anyway. Min so far in my view is the only woman character I have much time for.
Love Perrin, Mat, Loial, Rand, Gaul - actually the male characters are far more preferable to the women, the women let the story down I think, too much about fool men, yanking braids, chins up in the air in haughty manners, getting one over on each other, putting each other in their places - seriously - get over it already..wish they would mature and get a serious sense of humour. It's just too much of the same rehashed without moving on. Maybe I don't get them, but so far I don't want to.
Hunt for the Black Ajah was somewhat disappointing. Big build up and then over and done with and out of there..
Overall Perrins story and Mat kept me interested in this book.
The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time)
on 31 August 2004
This book is simply brilliant. I loved it.
I always say this about Jordan's books (see my other reviews!!) but the same applies, good character and plot development, great suspense and a good overall experience. Yet this book is even better than all the others so far in the wheel of time series.
This book features more of Rand Al'Thor than the last book (a big relief) and furthers the plot a great deal. We see Rand's adventures in the waste take up a major part of this book. Yet also Perrin Ayabara has his own sub-adventure to follow and add more suspense to the plot.
A lot of people say that these subplots are simply to pad out the books and are only parts people want to get past. But i disagree as I think that they do add something to the plot and make for a good read. They can also be a bit easier going than the complex dealings with The Dragon Reborn and his work.
Perrin's part is also supported by old charcters such as Tam Al'Thor, not seen since the first book and a good character. I will not say what happens in the sub-plot as it will ruin your reading of the book but i will say that you should read this.
The second sub-plot involves Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom Merrillin and the Thief-Taker from TDR. This bit seems to be a good piece but the weakest plot arc of the book. While the characters and general story are well developed, they spend too long walking through the streets of a dangerous town for my liking. Not a major downpoint (the only one I can think of!!)
The ending of this book is as fast-paced and powerful as ever with a mighty double barrelled fight involving Perrin and Rand, both fighting seperate battles on opposite sides of the continent. Yet these battles follow one after the other to bring the close to another piece of magnificent writing by Robert Jordan.
As I always say with these books i will reccomend this but if you have not read books 1-3, read them first. This book will make absolutely no sense without the knowledge contained within the first books.
on 13 October 2012
For a massive 34% of this novel the characters remain in the Stone of Tear. This has the possibility of being a very slow beginning, but much happens during that time. Egwene and Elayne attempt to teach Rand what they know of using the Power; and while interrogating the two Black sisters caught at the end of the last book, they discover some information leading to Tanchico. Mat struggles with being unable to leave as he wishes, due to the pull of ta'veren, eventually leading him into a ter'angreal to get answers. Rand finds out the difficulties of being a ruler amongst a bunch of scheming high lords who only follow him out of fear, leading him to seek out the Aiel, who would follow He Who Comes With The Dawn because they want to. Perrin finds out the Two Rivers has been overrun by Whitecloaks and attempts to investigate, while trying to upset Faile for her own good so she won't go, inevitably leading to arguments and a devilish trick by the Saldean leaving Loial stuck in the middle.
With all of this going on, Jordan seems to have thought the audience would get bored without a little action, so he inserts a random encounter with 'bubbles of evil' and a trolloc attack. Neither of which seem to have any bearing on the plot. The 'bubbles of evil' more so; it seems to be just another thing for the characters to worry about. And by the time of the trolloc attack (an event that is becoming increasingly tired and predictable at the beginning of these books) everyone is well on their way to their separate paths. The only important scenes within this attack are Lanfear encouraging Rand to use Callandor, leading to an excellent scene where he tries and fails to resurrect a dead girl.
After the first third, the novel branches out into three separate stories in three man locations: The Two Rivers, Tanchico, and The Aiel Waste. With a shorter but no less significant, plot set in the Tower. Once the characters go their paths, they never intersect, so I shall review them separately.
The Two Rivers
Probably my favourite part of the novel. Perrin, Faile, Loial, Gaul, Bain and Chiad travel through the Ways to get to Manetheren. Despite the many warnings before about the dangers, and Loial's insistence that he never travel them again, the biggest danger they face is from Faile's and Perrin's arguments. However, when they actually get to Emond's Field, things start picking up. Perrin learns that Trollocs have been invading the district and discovers the terrible fate of his entire family leading to an emotional scene between him and Faile. He begins to rally the villagers to arms and most of the rest of the novel is him doing just this, including the fulfilment of Min's viewing of a Tuatha'an with a sword. This last is very well handled showing the weakness of the Way of the Leaf, lamenting its honourable concept that can never be. The final attack is climactic, exciting and uplifting, leaving you to wonder if The Two Rivers will ever be the same again.
This is the weak point of the novel. Not much goes on here, it's basically Elayne and Nynaeve sitting back while Thom, Juilin and a re-re-re-introduced Domon Bayle do all the investigating off page. While it's great to have recurring characters like Bayle, it is starting to become a stretch to believe that he appears everywhere, and aside from lending an army of bodyguards, he doesn't do much for the plot. Neither does another reintroduction; that of Egeanin. However, she does give an example of a Seanchan who is beginning to have her faith shaken.
I really would have liked to read more about the investigations rather than hearing it second hand, however, this is balanced by a fantastic introduction of Moghedian. She comes out of nowhere, with no announcement or previous foreshadowing, just like her character. The climax for this story ends at the Panarch's palace with Nynaeve fully realising the extent of her power (when she CAN channel).
I can't really say much here without spoiling it, but this story marks a monumental change and even when you expect it, you really desire for things to go differently. However, the best part of this story is a small scene between Min, Siuan and Gawyn, leaving you to wonder about the Andoran noble's loyalty.
The Aiel Waste
Here, we get a look into the warrior culture of the Aiel. I'm not a huge fan of Warrior Societies as they are often an overused concept in fantasy and science fiction. The Aiel aren't really any different, they have a huge obligation to honour and a complex system of strict customs. However, they aren't as badly realised as they could be.
It is in this storyline that we have, probably, the most interesting part of the book: a glimpse of the Age of Legends. It is told through flashback in a reverse chronology (similar to the film 'Memento') so it is difficult to understand fully and may be a good idea to read it in the proper order afterwards to get the best out of it. Once this flashback is over, the story leads on to more travelling as they make their way to Alcair Dal to inform the clan chiefs that He who Comes With The Dawn has arrived. Again, this is riddled with Trolloc attacks and side plots which feel like filler. By the time we get to the climax, we're used to things going a certain way, which makes the surprising ending more so, setting things up for the next novel.
All in all, a very decent addition with many surprises and wonderful character moments, though pointless skirmishes needlessly break up the quieter moments.
on 21 June 2016
I gave this book 5 stars despite it being a bit slow to start with. When it picks up it turns into a great book with a lot of filling some questions I had i.e. about the Aiel. Perrin is my favourite character and he has quite a large part dedicated to him. Of course Rand continues to be the main character. On to the next book, book 5......
The Shadow Rising is the fourth Wheel of Time novel and, through the highly scientific method of checking a few fan-forums, appears to be regarded as the best. At a whopping 1,000 pages and just shy of 400,000 words in length, it's also the longest.
The Shadow Rising picks up after the events of the third book. Anyway, Rand al'Thor has taken the Sword That Is Not A Sword, Callandor, The Sword Which Cannot Be Touched, The Sword Which Has Too Many Fricking Names, Just Pick One And Stick With It. As a result he has been proclaimed the Dragon Reborn and the nations of Tear and Mayene have sworn loyalty to him. With the evil Forsaken seizing control of other kingdoms across the continent, it appears that Rand has little choice but to go to war against them. Instead, he wrong-foots both his enemies and allies by delivering humanitarian aid to the neighbouring, warring kingdom of Cairhien and travelling into the Aiel Waste, where he hopes to unify the feuding warrior-clans under his leadership. At the same time, his friend Perrin returns home to the Two Rivers, which is under attack by Shadowspawn, and Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom and Juilin head to the distant city of Tanchico in pursuit of the evil Black Ajah, Aes Sedai sworn to the service of the Dark One.
This breaking of the narrative into three storylines which proceed simultaneously worked very well for the third volume, The Dragon Reborn, and continues to work well here. Jordan's sometimes sluggish pacing isn't so much of a problem here as we flip between events in Tanchico, the Two Rivers and the Waste fairly rapidly, and there's an additional subplot set in Tar Valon which delivers some devastating plot developments on the Aes Sedai front in a very economical manner. The worldbuilding is advanced impressively as we get a decent look at the Age of Legends and the way the world was before and during the War of the Shadow, and character-wise we see some interesting maturing and advancement for the likes of Mat, Nynaeve, Perrin and Rand. Unfortunately, other characters come off badly. Moiraine is inert for a lot of the narrative, and Elayne continues to annoy whilst Aviendha is probably the most irritating character in the series at this point. Also, Jordan's somewhat juvenile views of male-female relations reaches their apex here, with supposedly comedic or ironic musings on the way men and women interact falling very flat indeed. The book also wears its influences strongly, although the mixing of Dune with the Scouring of the Shire is diluted by enough original characters and ideas so it doesn't irritate as much as the first book's nods to Tolkien.
The pacing is crisp, the characters and world develop most satisfyingly, and Jordan very cleverly laces some narrative time-bombs into the mix which don't bear fruit for several books, but when they do are all the more satisfying.
The Shadow Rising (****½) is indeed the best book in The Wheel of Time sequence and impresses as it marks the transition of the books from the 'adventure' phase to the 'political' phase and does so most satisfyingly. The book is published by Orbit in the UK and Tor in the USA.
How am I even supposed to write a review for this book? I honestly have no idea where to start because there was just so much going on and all of it was fantastic! This is the longest instalment in the Wheel of Time series so far (coming in at just over 1000 pages) but I never once felt bored and that's a testament to how brilliant Robert Jordan's writing is. I am so totally pulled into this world and so invested in all of the characters (even the ones I don't always like that much!) that I never want to leave and I'm so happy that I still have 10 more books to look forward to.
I can't possibly talk about everything that happened in The Shadow Rising unless I want my review to be a small book in its own right so I'm just going to discuss some of my favourite characters or particular events that really stood out for me. Even narrowing it down that far is difficult though so you'll have to forgive me for any fangirling that occurs in the next couple of paragraphs. Perrin has always been my favourite of the Two Rivers boys and he shines brightly in this book. After finding out that his home has been invaded by the White Cloaks who are looking for himself and the others Perrin knows he has to go back and try to put things right. It's a dangerous journey but he has the ever loyal ogier Loial to protect his back, a few fierce Aeil willing to fight alongside him and the incredibly stubborn Faile acting as a thorn in his side. I absolutely loved everything about Perrin's storyline, it was fun seeing how differently the Two Rivers folk see him when he returns (he left a boy but he's definitely returned as a man!), I enjoyed the banter and romance between him and Faile, the friendship he has with Loial, the way he takes charge, brings the villagers together and teaches them to fight, everything. It was all perfect and I can't wait to see his confidence continue to grow.
Rand and Mat haven't abandoned Two Rivers without good reason and they have their own journey to face into the heart of the wastelands to try and win the support of the rest of the Aeil people. Their story was an interesting one and there were certain stand out moments but I'm not going to spoil it by going into details so you'll have to read it for yourself. I did love finding out more about the Aeil though, their culture is fascinating and we get to see more of it through Egwene and Moiraine's eyes as they travel with the boys. I hate to say it but when Egwene and Nynaeve are in the same room together 90% of the time they are getting on my nerves so I was incredibly relieved when they finally split up and went in different directions. Egwene has started training with the Aeil Wise Ones and I have to say I loved how they punished her when she went against their orders, I'm hoping that the time she has spent with them will have made her grow up a little and perhaps she'll be less irritating in the future.
Nynaeve and Elayne separate from the others to go off hunting Black Ajah on the orders of the Amyrlin and that probably places them in the greatest danger (alongside Perrin) for the moment. They have a few familiar allies though and I really enjoyed seeing them working together. They are much nicer to be around when Egwene isn't in the picture and although they have their work cut out for them there were also some very humorous moments when Elayne seriously underestimates the amount of alcohol she has consumed. Oh and watch out for the very heartfelt moment between Nynaeve and Lan - I need more of those please, lots more! Another thing I really enjoyed was getting to see a lot more of Min's point of view in this book, she has returned to the White Tower with a message for the Amyrlin and while I can't say more for fear of spoilers let's just leave it that things are getting VERY interesting with the Aes Sedai and nothing is quite what it seems at Tar Valon.
This was definitely the most interesting instalment in the series so far, now we're all so familiar with the world and the characters we're really able to enjoy all the different plot threads and we're starting to see how various things tie together in unexpected ways. Most of the characters have come a long way since we first met them but I'd like to see a bit more growth from Egwene and Mat in particular in the next book. I just can't wait to see what our heroes are going to have to face in The Fires of Heaven!