Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time - Book Four)

Title: The Shadow Rising
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of Time

Score: 10/10
How long I would stay up reading: All Night
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


This book is incredible, and that's just the least I can say. Apart from being the longest, largest book so far, it is also the best. Beyond that there are not enough superlatives to do it justice.

The biggest improvement on the previous books is the lack of a prologue. In the first three books I felt that the prologues harmed the story somewhat by being either irrelevant or confusing. The absence here is a huge benefit and means that when you read the opening paragraph you know that you are reading a wheel of time novel.

Most importantly though, is how well the independant storylines are woven around each other. Whenever the narrative moves between them it masterfully generates a sense of longing for the previous scene and excitement for the one that is upcoming. For me, no other book has managed this so acutely, so finely building suspense.

The characters, as always, are well written and developed. I personally grew quite attached to Faile (a character introduced in the last book, but more major in this one). But the three main characters truly come into their own here, especially Perrin. We learn how they see each other, and how they see themselves, which brings their character to a new depth. In particular the way each of the main three characters believe the other two to be better with women helps to tie the three men together in a way that i've never seen before in fiction.

To summarise then, this is the best book in the series so far, and one of the best out there. It does really need to be read as part of the series, but I would read the previous books as many times as i had to in order to read this one once. The Shadow Rising is brilliant, and sets an incredibly high standard for the rest in the series to meet.

More Information
Main Protagonist(s): Several Mixed
Main Antagonist(s): One Entity with Mixed Lieutenants (The Forsaken)
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Brief Synopsis: (From Amazon)

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.....

ISBN: 1857230272
Website: US Publisher's Author Page
Amazon Link: UK Site US Site
Pages: 1046
Publisher: Orbit Books
First Published: 1992

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