TITLE: The Shadow Rising
SERIES: The Wheel of Time, book 4
AUTHOR: Robert Jordan
FORMAT: Epub via Google Play Books
PAGES/LOCATIONS: 1140 pages
GOODREADS’ AVG. RATING: 4.19 out of 5 stars; 94,244 ratings
The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.
In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken?
In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn.
In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland.
In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.
Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn…
DATES READ: February 3rd to 12th, 2015
I ended The Dragon Reborn with some disappointment and hoped that The Shadow Rising would turn out to be a better book, it was just that and so much more. We pick up not long after the events of Tear where Rand has instilled himself as ruler by right of wielding Callamdor and his therefore implied status as The Dragon Reborn. A major part of this series deals with the ideas of foretelling and prophecy, both of which are open to interpretation. Prophecy can be interpreted to suit the needs of the individuals who are reading it because it is impossible to know or understand the entirety of what is said in them due to a lack of context. When I found out that Rand was taking time to study what has been proclaimed about The Dragon Reborn, I became incredibly circumspect – prophecy is a tricky thing. Rand is reading and following the prophecies, but only so far as he can understand them. Moiraine has cautioned Rand of attempting to follow prophecy as he is because there are many more things that they don’t understand compared to what little they do, but Rand isn’t exactly too keen on taking advice.
Jordan has a knack for the dynamics of a range of different relationship types between his character. Rand and Moiraine are an excellent example because Rand refuses to trust Moiraine in fear that she will use him as an Aes Sedai pawn, yet Rand keeps hinting at his plan which includes him using the Aiel in roughly the same manner. This can be further exemplified by the banter between Perrin and Faile, the sheer emotions between Lan and Nynaeve, the friendship between Elayne and Egwene, and so many others – all of the relationships are different and yet they are dynamic and well done. I love this sort of character development, I love seeing how they interact with each other and how the story unfolds around them. One of the most important facets of a relationship comes from trust and it is interesting just how much trust factors into these relationships whether it is present or not. Rand finds it too difficult to trust and Elayne trusts too easily, yet both of them manage to find trouble!~
I am again in awe of the character development, specifically how it regards to Lanfear because every time I begin to think that I understand her I later find out that I have no idea what she is up to. I really want more of her history, to understand who she is and how she is related to the history of The Dragon. One minute she is opposing Rand and then at another she is assisting him, I don’t entirely understand her decisions. I know that her history is tied up with that of Lews Therin and I know that she loved him, but her actions don’t appear to be motivated by love for Rand as Lew Therin’s reincarnation. Rather, Lanfear is motivated by power more than anything and I would venture a guess that she only wants to control Rand because of the power he represents, not just her fixation on Lews Therin.
TL;DR REVIEW: 5 out of 5 stars. The Shadow Rising did everything right when it comes to continuing a series by continuing to flush out the characters and their relationships in addition to moving the plot forward. There was a well done balance between character and plot development which moved the overall story arc along in a way that remained engaging and exciting for the reader. I am hoping for that same experience in the next book, The Fires of Heaven.