I’ve read a lot of big books in my life and I still can’t tell you whether or not I love them or not. I always start out fresh faced and determined, ready to start a new epic journey with these characters, not knowing what they’re going to have to face. But by the end of the book, I’m tired and weary, half skipping through paragraphs just so I can get to the end and say I’m finished. This was one of those books.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Robert Jordan. I discovered him in 9th grade when I was at the local bookstore and saw it face out with a cover review comparing it to Tolkien. When I read The Eye of the World, I was enthralled. But it’s also 900 pages. And so is every book in this 14 book epic. And that’s why it took me over ten years to read this fourth installment of the Wheel of Time series and almost a month to read it at that.
The Shadow Rising is the book where the wheels have finally built momentum. The characters are finally splitting up and following their journeys and parts in the grand scheme of things.
“You have made a place in my heart where I thought there was no room for anything else. You have made flowers grow where I cultivated dust and stones. Remember this, on this journey you insist on making. If you die, I will not survive you long.”
Surprisingly, I loved Perrin’s story the best in this story. Not long after the story starts, he breaks away from Rand and makes his way back to Two Rivers. There are rumors of Trollocs and the Whitecloaks wreaking havoc in the place he once called home and he’s determined to set things right and protect his people. I was also pleasantly surprised by his love story with Faile. The two of them seem to balance each other out and keep each other going on a thankless journey.
“Do not trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.”
As far as the other characters are concerned, I found them to be a little self serving and out for themselves, acting like they’re the only ones who can help fight the war against the shadow. Min pouts because the Mother of the Tower wants her there to observe, Egwene pouts because her mentors won’t allow her to go into the World of Dreams on her own, and Mat just seems useless as he only half attempts to do as he pleases but keeps going back to Rand. These stories seemed almost drivel and unnecessary; something that could have been said in half the time that it took in this book.
I give this book a 4/5 because the characters have finally split off and going their own ways. I love turning point books and I’m hoping that this is the book where it finally occurs.