Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2018
Whew. This one took me a while. But clocking in at a little over 1000 pages (and according to Wikipedia's word counts), it's the longest one yet. Don't be fooled though, into thinking my long read time was due to the book itself. No, real life simply got in the way. The Shadow Rising, much like The Great Hunt, was entertaining all the way through. And like The Dragon Reborn it felt very complete. I felt that it accomplished a lot for being the fourth of a fourteen book series.

There was a particularly satisfying amount of worldbuilding in this one, still Jordan's greatest strength I'd say. We especially learned a lot about the Fremen- er, the Aiel, in this one, through some really excellent Rand scenes. I've always said that Brandon Sanderson is very accomplished at answering reader questions through his books, while at the same time using those answers to raise greater, and even more complex, questions. I now see that this was a tactic he'd had some inspiration for in the form of Robert Jordan. Jordan does exactly that in this book, showing the reader a glimpse, giving us a taste, of the vast, deep mysteries surrounding certain elements of this story. He gives us some answers. And I have a whole lot more questions. I'm also consistently pleased with just how.. cosmic, and mystical, this series can be. For a traditional Fantasy story, the Wheel of Time has some truly trippy moments brought about through the One Power. To the point of me wondering how multiverse theory could fit in with the Power and the True Source. Exciting stuff.

Beyond that, there was some very solid character development in this installment, and unfortunately some areas where I'd like to see improvement. Perrin's plot line took center stage for me in this one. Perrin is a character in turmoil. A man struggling between the life he'd choose and the life duty has seen fit to give him. Ta'veren can only stray so far from the Pattern.. And as he wrestles with this internal battle, Perrin is growing. I won't give anything away, but the events surrounding him in this book are really fun, and I'm looking forward to seeing him progress. Now, the other side of the coin. I'm a little put out at some of the female characters. Specifically Nynaeve and Elayne's plot line. Don't mistake me, I really enjoyed it. It was a worthwhile segment of the story. But at times Jordan's female characters do feel a little underdeveloped. Not all of them mind you, but some. Many of them seem to be driven by nothing more than either unending desire for men, or hatred of the same. Aspects of Nynaeve's character for example are really well done, and very interesting. And then there's the part of her that seems to be perpetually spiteful to everything moving. It's a little.. stale. So as I said, it isn't that I didn't enjoy it, but I'd like to see improvement there. As for our 'main' character.. Rand's chapters were some of the most interesting in the book. It's hard to review these and mention specifics, because the characters and their situations have changed so much from the first book. Rand has come a long way from sheepherder in the Two Rivers. Watching him do so has been exciting, and I'm eager to see what he'll do next.

Hell, I'm eager to see what all of them will do next. I am loving this story, and the journey so far. Book five up next.
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