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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Shadow Rising: Book 4 of the Wheel of Time: 4/12
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
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!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 December 2007
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.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I enjoyed Books 1,2,3 and even 4. The story is good, even if it sometimes feels like the Lord of Ring, but I would have enjoyed them much more if it was not for the women's characters, especially Nynaeve, Eugwene and Elayne. I understand the need for strong women characters/heroins in a book, women power and all, but the women in The Wheel of Time are something else. They have no sense of humour, and they take everything personally when no offense is meant. They are insufferable ''know it all'' , never accepting they can be wrong and very derogatory to men and of course, never accepting advice from others (and surely not from men), but they still moon about men when no one sees them and plot how to get them. The only one I like, really, is Moiraine Sedai. I cannot understand why the author has made it that she is so hated, because she is actually cool, brainy and sensible. I have managed to stand them all in the first 3 books, but in book 4 I have found myself skipping huge chunks of reading just to get away from reading for a zillion times : ''wool brained man, mule headed man, Men! fools, fool men etc.. and of course, not to forget Nynaeve's braids yanking and pulling when she is angry (which is nearly all the time). I wonder if the author really thought that all women are like them.
I have not discussed the story because other reviewers have done better than me, but this was my opinion about the women characters. It is a shame that so many characters ruin a good story in some way. I could deal with one or two, but nearly the lot of them? Obviously, I like to see strong women characters in books, but when they intelligent, sensible and fair. Nynaeve, Elayne and Eugwene in particular could take a lesson from the Taming of the Shrew. A lesson in humbleness would not go amiss with them three!
I will still go on book 5 nevertheless, because I want to know what will happen to Dragon reborn, I will just have to skip more pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Shadow Rising, the fourth book in the Wheel of Time saga, continues the story of the kids from Emond's Feild, of the Two Rivers. Rand'al Thor has raised Calandor in his hands and thereby announced to the world that he is the Dragon Reborn. The Tear has fallen to the Aiel and the Emond Feilders have been reunited. But their individual journeys since the first book have created a barrier between them. Perrin has fallen in love with Faile, a Hunter of the Horn and can communicate with the wolves. Mat Cauthon, cured of his attachement to a tainted dagger is missing chunks of his memory, but has the luck of the Dark One and the remembered battle skills of a general from the lost city of Manetheren. Egwene and Nynaeve are now Accepted amongst the Aes Sedai, and along with the Daughter Heir of Andor, Elayne, have been sent on a mission to hunt down members of the Black Ajah (dark jedi). And Rand . . . Rand is the Dragon Reborn, a man who can channel the One Power and has faught and defeated the Dark One in single combat and Lewis Therin Kinslayer reincarnated.

Trouble is brewing in the Two Rivers, with Whitecloaks hunting for Rand and Perrin. Perrin can not allow his family to be hurt because of him. He sets out with Faile, the Ogier and three Aiel, braving the Ways and Machin Shin to reach their destination quickly. Ahead he learns that the Two Rivers is crawling with Trollocs and Fades, and someone called the Slayer is stalking the dream world killing wolves. Perrin, unwittingly by merely being taveren (someone who can influence the weave of time)draws the Two Rivers into revolution and accidently creates a legend for himself, Perrin Goldeneyes.

Egwene meets a Wise One in the dreamworld and is told to come to Rhuidean in the Waste Land to learn how to dream walk safely. Rand al'Thor and Mat Cauthon also decide that they must go to Rhuidean, for their own reasons. Moiriane and Lan follow too, along with all the rest of the Aiel, but not before Rand plunges Calandor back into the Stone, a reminder that the Tear is still his and that he will return for Calandor. Rand, Mat and Moiriane enter the mystical cityof Rhuidean and learn what they must do to fulfil their destinies. For Rand must be recognised as the One Who Comes With the Dawn to gain the loyalty of the Aeil.

Elayne and Nynaeve head to Tanchico were they must hunt out the remaining members of the Black Ajah and retrieve an artefact that supposedly has the power to control Rand or any other man who can channel, before the Black Ajah do.

As if life wasn't difficult enough, the Forsaken are loose in the World and disguised as regular people, in an attempt to control the taveren and the others who will shape the final battle between the Dragon and the Dark One.

This book, though it resonates a little with Frank Herbert's Dune, again departs from the formula of the previous books, which no doubt is a big part of why the Wheel of Time series is counted amongst fantasy's big classics. The individual stories of the characters continue to sustain interest despite the scary size of the books. The writing also seems to be getting stronger with each volume, which means I'm definately going to keep reading this series.

The only bugbear I have is that, although I understand what Jordan is trying to do with his empowered women and thereby bringing female readers into the fold, I wish he had managed to pull it off without making the female characters so annoying. Its like they have to act like cows for them to be empowered, bullying and manipulating the men around them, simply to reinforce their authority. Nynaeve seems to be the cookie cutter for all the other women, who incidently all seem to be hot (the only non-hotties tend to be characters who are just in the background) which is unrealistic and a tad sexist in itself, i.e. you have to be hot to be a main character. Blame Hollywood. Everyone else does. Aside from that, this is an excellent read.

By Noor A Jahangir
The Changeling King (The Trollking Saga)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2011
I used to read only fantasy books a few years ago, so it wasn't a surprise that I would stumble upon the Wheel of Time series, and after the second book I was fully hooked. The series follows a group of different characters, but the main role belongs to a young shepard Rand al'Thor who has been named the Dragon Reborn. The Dragon always comes to the world to signify the end of an age and the beginning of a new, and with the Dragon comes a war with the Dark Lord, who is breaking free from his prison.

The fourth book opens with the aftermath of Rand taking Callandor and being named the Dragon Reborn, and the book follows Rand as he must travel into the Aiel Waste to be named He Who Comes With The Dawn, and unite the Aiel to his cause. At the same time all the characters are now well aware that the Forsaken are loose in the world, with the sole intent of taking as much power as they can. Perrin must return to his home town to face the crimes set on him by the Whitecloaks, Elayne and Nynaeve continue their hunt for the Black Ajah, and Egwene and Mat follow Rand into the Three-fold Land.

The flaws in this book are as would be expected in a series of books that number 13 so far, they are drawn out. Rand remains in Tear for quite some time, sitting about brooding over everyone that is trying to manipulate him, causing him to mistrust everyone including those who were once his friends. However it is understandable for Rand to mistrust some, Moiraine continues to follow him, her story remains quite secret, which helps mould the character, while Egwene follows her own path which drives a wedge between her and Rand, and it soon becomes apparant that they shall never be as close as they had when they were children. Mat and Perrin both seem to want to trust Rand, though both have reasons for fearing he is turning mad, but both know that they are always drawn to Rand, even if they are not with him. This book also takes a long time to go through the beliefs of the Aiel, which is needed as they become a constant people throughout the books, and we also have the new customs of Tanchico to learn and understand. All of this causes the book to reach over a thousand pages.

The characters themselves develop more in this book. Mat has become a strong likeable read, while Rand is brought back again so we can see that he isn't mad, but can see why people now think he is. Egwene is placed on the back burner in this book, though she is in the book a lot of the time, she becomes a side role by the end, but this is needed as they bring through Elayne's personality. Elayne unfortunately isn't the best read, she spends half her time mooning over Rand, and the other half worrying she isn't fit to be a queen, which soon gets tiring, and because of her being brought forward we see Thom only as a side character. Thom is a great read, better when you hear about who he was, and how cold and calculating he is, which is explained when Moiraine talks about Morgase's husband being killed because he had planned to take the throne from her, and again he just becomes a side role. Perrin is again at the front of this book, but sadly spends a lot of his time going on about Faile, and how he wants her safe, but she refuses to let him leave her, this again tires after the twentifth time he moans about it.

The plot though is good, and ties a few storylines up, while opening others, and leaving some open, making it a good place to finish the book, by finishing a plot, while keeping the story going (if that makes sense to you). I say these books are worth reading, and bring on the final book!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 March 2010
The fourth installment in the Wheel of Time series, The Shadow Rising picks up the tale of The Dragon Reborn after the taking of the stone of tear. Whereas the third installment followed Matt and Rand quite closely, Matt takes a backseat as Rands not so enthusiatic friend, with the main story focusing on three groups. Elayne and Nynaeve in their hunt for the black ajah, Perrin and Faile attempting to save the two rivers and finally Rand, who with Moiraine, Mat and Egwene in tow is fighting against the people manipulating him as the shadow. You cant help but feel sorry for Rand as his old friends have all turned their backs in search of their own interests and everyone else is out to manipulate him as the dragon reborn, including the now free forsaken. He's acutely aware that hes barely harnessing the power he has, and theres a tough battle ahead so with no-one to teach him and no-one to trust he turns to the Aiel and heads for rhuidean in search of answers.

All in all its a long book and i found myself skim reading paragraphs as it was simply taking too long to get anywhere. in comparison where almost 2 years have passed across the 3 previous books, each day seems to drag for a lifetime..especially each day of Rand Al'Thor. The overrall plot and twist to the book is good, and i still finished it with a sense of wanting to know more of what happens to the characters and will be reading the next installment for sure, it just didn't feel enjoyable to read as the pace was all out, making it difficult to get enthusiastic about and felt like too much effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2007
What Tolkein had only begun to achieve in LOTR - to construct a whole other world - Robert Jordan is fulfilling in grand style. Whereas Tolkein told a rather tight, focused story of a relatively small group of people, whose adventures take different paths through various landscapes, hinting at the histories and cultures he envisions, Jordan's vision is much more sprawling and complete; taking in an entire continent, intricately constructing countries and peoples, with their individual customs, beliefs and politics. This can ultimately lead to an overload of information at times; the sheer number of characters you need to keep track of is staggering, and although Jordan's reminders can be sometimes jarringly out of place - no matter how subtle - they are required to keep up with many of the less prominent plot threads.

And the plot development in this book is the best so far, with many of the more prominent characters finally getting a chance to shine without relying heavily of support from those around them, and all the carefully woven elements from the first quarter of the series finally bearing tangible fruit. In many places, Jordan manages a hat trick of not only extending the history and canonical lore of the world even further whilst simultaneously progressing the storyline, but at the same time threads in information and characters which you just know are going to open up even more of the same in later chapters and books.

The pace of the book is fantastic; Jordan manages to thread the narrative skilfully throughout, whilst keeping the action flowing in a strong, steady stream, making sure there's always something to keep you reading - almost all of the time, at least.

One of the few flaws of book 4 is that some of the more obtuse subplots do tend to receive an seemingly unnecessary amount of attention. Whilst all the extra background will doubtless come into play in later books, reading through large chunks set aside from any of the main plot lines or characters can feel like a bit of a slog sometimes.

I would have to say that book 4 has been my favourite so far, with not only the characters becoming much stronger, but also the way that all the information scattered throughout the first three books is being pulled into a rich tapestry serving as the backdrop to a story that can be called nothing less than epic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2006
If you enjoyed the first 3 books you will love this one, provided you take the time and effort. There is lots of travelling of the characters throughout the book which can get a bit tedious, but the excitement of the battles and comfrontations of the characters more than makes up for it. The plot is more equally divided than in the previous books with chapters from the points of view from all the major characters. I particularly thought the hunt for the black ajah was the most exciting part of the book and jordan has developed the ladies Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene making them more like aes sedai with each chapter in their way of thinking and giving them more independence than before.
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