Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Wheel of Time reread: "The Shadow Rising" by Robert Jordan

Huh, I am again late with me reviews, but better now than never.

So, the story goes onward in "The Shadow Rising". After successful taking of Stone of Tear, Rand is now unquestionably the Dragon Reborn. While in previous books it was he who was unable to adapt to this, now it's almost everybody else - but mostly nobles, for whom this means degradation in power. To thwart them (and all future opponents), Rand must do two things: become smarter and stronger, and to find people for himself who are not with only from fear and ambition. Thus he embarks on journey to Aiel Waste... Our heroes get separated: Perrin, Faile and Loial go back to Two Rivers, on a trail of rumors about Whitecloacks making problems there; Nyneve and Elayne, followed by Thom and Juilin, travel to Tanchico, trying to find more of escaped Black Ajah sisters; while Mat, Egwene travel with Rand, Moiraine and Lan, everybody for his or her specific reasons...

Well, I think that this book, and next two ("The Fires of Heaven" and "Lord of Chaos"), will be the hardest to review. All three are big books (close to 1000 pages), with multiple plots, and split characters. And even more problematic, this is where the "Wheel of Time" series makes a transition from collection of more-or-less standalone books to books that contain chunks of bigger story. Sure, there are some definite endings (Rhuidean, Tanchico, Two Rivers), but they are not definitive as e.g. defeating of Ba'alzamon. And later books will all have those "small" motives to remember them (e.g. the Bowl of Winds, cleaning of Saidin, rescuing Faile...). Also, this is the last time we will see our main characters all together until "Memory of Light" (I presume, at least).

I really enjoyed this book - especially the first part in Tear: Rand and Elayne chapters; Mat is hillarious; Thom and Moiraine. And I always like seeing manipulators manipulated - the High Lords or Tear. This book gives us first POVs from Moiraine and Elayne. Elayne we will become used to, but Moiraine's was pretty special. Mat's visit to the Foxes is also among my best chapters.

Elayne's and Nyneve's part was the least favorite part of the book for me - not that it is bad, but not as good as events in Aiel Waste. But on the other hand, there are things introduced there that will be important in future books: the Return, confronting Forsaken...

In this book Egwene is becoming a particular character. In last three books she was important, but she was always a part of group - now she is becoming a strong woman in her own right.

I always liked Jordan's time-shifted scenes - those flies and family dinner in the village in Shienar (was it still Shienar?), and especial the travel using Portal Stones, both in "The Great Hunt". But here we have one equally good and definitely more important - in Rhuidean.

"The Shadow Rising" presents a change in the "Wheel of Time" series - but not a change to worse. This and forward books are definitely different from first, but they definitely have the WoT flavor and are as good as any other.

No comments:

Post a Comment