on July 24, 2000
I read this book twice a couple years ago. I loved it; it's my second-favorite of the series (after Lord of Chaos). This is a VITAL book in the series, it answers many questions about Rand's background and the Forsaken. In fact, for the first time in this series, a book manages to tie up more loose ends than it leaves!
There are a couple parallel threads in this novel (Rand/the Aiel, Nynaeve/Egwene, and Perrin/Faile). All threads are independently resolved nicely at the end with no major cliffhangers, although the protagonists remain in different parts of the world throughout the book and at the end. The Rand/Asmodean and Nynaeve/Moghedien conflicts in particular were very well written, with outstanding portrayal of these characters' distinct personalities coming alive in their struggles.
The Two Rivers part with Perrin/Faile vs. the Whitecloaks was in my opinion weak compared to the adventures elsewhere. However, this narrative takes up so much of the book that it's impossible to ignore, and interesting questions are brought up (i.e. Who is Slayer? What is the significance of the Manetheren heritage in the Emond's Fielders?).
on March 4, 2001
Wow. Action, adventure, romance, mystery, humor - this book (and the entire series) has it all. I can't even begin to describe it. I love these books so much, when I'm not reading one I go through a sort of depression, in which the world around me seems drab and dull...until I pick up the next Wheel of Time book. Jordan describes everything so well, making the land rich in detail AND history/lore. You can picture the great White Tower of Tar Valon, and this image also brings to mind the history and current affairs of the Tower...it's just amazing. I've heard that Robert Jordan made ten pages of notes for each country in the Wheel of Time...and it shows! All the history is very consistent, and believable. But, don't get the idea that it bogs the books down - it's just the opposite. It makes the land much more believable and enjoyable.
You really care about the characters. Each one treats the situations he/she gets in differently - Jordan doesn't go by stereotypes, he actually creates "real" people, that are very easy to believe in and identify with. There is a large cast of characters, and each one basically has different adventures that appeal to different people. This makes the books rather complex - the Shadow Rising is the first book where all the seperate threads didn't come together at the end. But this just makes the books more interesting. For example: Some people thought Rand's adventures in the Aiel waste were the best scenes in the book. I didn't like them at all, and would have found them pretty boring if Moiraine hadn't been there. (Moiraine's my favorite character.) Instead, I was hooked on Elayne and Nynaeve's quest in Tanchico.
There are three main plotlines in this book, with a fourth (Min and the White Tower) popping up occasionally...which was funny, because I thought that was more important to the series as a whole then, oh say, Perrin's adventures in Emond's Field: population 10. But there were several good battles with Perrin and Faile - the last one brought tears to my eyes, and the note he left her was sooo sweet! All four are all resolved (somewhat) at the end, but like I said before - they aren't connected.
Once again, there were several humorous scenes in this book. Incredibly, I heard some people complaining about them, saying that they're "immature" and a "waste of time." I, personally, am very glad that Jordan puts them in, because they certainly help you care about the characters more. Remember that this is a STORY, not a TEXTBOOK. If Jordan suddenly made every character not make ANY mistakes, and ALWAYS say just the right thing, then the series would get drab and dull, fast.
The Wheel of Time books are the best that I've ever read. But if you haven't read the first three, then by all means do so now, because they MUST be read in the right order to get the best enjoyment out of them. And if you choose not to read them at all? It's a pity, because you're missing out on the best fantasy series (no, the best series, period) ever created.
on April 5, 2000
The Wheel of Time turns and brings Volume 4 of the saga, TheShadow Rising (TSR). For my money, TSR (perhaps along with Volume 5)form the peak of the series, before it meanders and loses itself. In TSR Rand edges ever closer to his destiny and we start to understand the Aiel, that fascinating people based on Frank Herbert's Fremen of Arrakis. We learn a bit more about Min (my favorite character of all!). Perrin too comes fully into his own in TSR as the attack on the Two Rivers reaches a crescendo. The White Tower is shaken with dissension. The Atha'an Miere or the Sea Folk also make their appearance and one can sense how the Dragon is slowly but surely gathering all his people for the final campaign. But the highpoint of the book is the Rhuidean experience where the history not just of the Aiel but the world of the WOT series is recapitulated as series of time capsules. At long last, many of the threads spun by Jordan... start to make some sense. The ingenious manner of the unveiling of these threads is almost enough to make one forgive Jordan for the absence of a decent prologue to the series. A book not to be missed; even if you are one of those tired with long plotlines, keep at it and I promise you will not be disappointed. But still only 4 stars for my now patented complains about Jordan's cartography and the excuse for a glossary of characters and concepts. END
on December 27, 2005
After the last three books, where everyone embarks on a long journey for their own reasons and end up in the same place, this one is mildly surprising for breaking that mold, and having everyone embark on a long journey for their own reasons and ending up across the world from each other.
Rand travels to the desert to recruit what he views as his promised people, the tribal Aiel. Mat goes with him, and obtains some neat little items and a scar. The Aiel Wise Ones, a group of matriarchs, are introduced here. Unfortunately, rather than making them an interesting counterpoint to the manipulative Aes Sedai, Jordan prefers to just make them a grittier version of the same. Egwene also tags along, and is apprenticed, after a fashion, to the Wise Ones to learn about dreamwalking.
Perrin travels to the Two Rivers to ward off various threats to his hometown. On the way, he is involved in an inane subplot involving Faile's commandeering of the expedition as revenge for him (completely understandable) trying to protect her. Frankly, Perrin deserves better than to be caught up in that kind of adolescent crap. I kept expecting Loial to wash his hands of the whole affair and leave for the stedding. Once they arrive in Emond's Field and surroundings, the stupidity tapers off and Perrin leads the defense against both Trolloc hordes and insidious Whitecloak plots.
Elayne and Nynaeve embark for Tanchico, to combat a Black Ajah plot to attack Rand. On the way, they are assisted by the Sea Folk of porcelainware fame. This first glimpse of the Sea Folk is interesting, and hints that their women may not be as arrogant or domineering as they are seemingly everywhere else (this notion will be nicely disposed of later, but it's nice while it lasts). In Tanchico, our heroes meet a new Forsaken and guerilla strike the Black Ajah.
Overall, this book maintains the inertia of the series while developing along different lines than the previous three. Tarmon Gai'don is still in sight (though no one seems very concerned about it), and the characters still seem focused on that fact. There is a sense that the story is starting to get away from the author though. Several new elements are introduced without being clearly tied into the main story. Still, fans of the series won't be disappointed.
on September 5, 1999
I am a 14-year old girl with no patience and hardly any attention span at all (you know how we teenage girls are!) and I have to say, this series has had me HOOKED from Book One. Rand, after getting proof of just exactly who he is, continues his fight against the Shadow, while all around his world chaos multiplies. Robert Jordan has done a wonderful job of mixing action and adventure with romance in very intricate detail. You skip so much as one page, you miss something important. Every page is essential. The only thing I'm not sure of is how Perrin "Goldeneyes" Aybara fits in...I guess the Pattern has yet to make his purpose clear. This series is greater than epic: the word hasn't been invented that can describe this series, and (so far: they've been getting better and better!) THE SHADOW RISING is the pinnacle of it all...I hope that Book Five continues this trend. This is a must-read for everyone at some point. You've got to get this series.
on April 23, 2003
The fourth installment of the neverending Wheel of Time sees our hero Rand traveling to the Aiel Waste to fulfill another prophecy. Rand isn't only the Dragon Reborn, he's appearantly He Who Comes With the Dawn as well.
The premis of this book was a lot more interesting to me than book 3. I mean, finally Rand get's some limelight and half the book's not about three girls at school? A lot of interesting background about the Aiel is revealed in this book as well as where Rand's own history fits into all this. You'll be surprised at some things.
Unfortunately, by this point, Jordan is now Juggling over a dozen characters over four separate story threads. Let's count them. In the first thread we have Rand, Egwene, Moiraine, Lan, and Mat. In the second thread we have Perrin, Faile, and Loial, In the third we have Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom, and Juilin. In the fourth thread we have Min, Siuane, and Leane. That's not to count all the other supporting characters that readers of Jordan know could have their own threads at any time.
In some ways this is both good and bad for the story. For those that enjoy the long drawn out soap operah, it's great. There's plenty to get sucked into. For those anxious for the plot to reveal itself however, it's sometimes agonizing. This book had a lot going for it. The subject matter was more interesting than in the previous books, but unfortunately, Jordan doesn't give you enough of it and worse, he doesn't stick to it. Everytime the book jumps to the characters and the storyline happening in Tanchico you're tempted to skip the chapter.
Present, again, is Jordan's use of "convenient" storytelling. This time however, it's not Rand who's miraculously able to save the with much overdone powers-he-never-knew-he-had. Who woulda thought that one of the other characters (besides Rand and Moiraine who really cant) had the ability to take on a Forsaken toe to toe? I sure didn't. Well in this book, one of the characters is instantly elevated to Forsaken power level status. There hasn't been anything this dumb in the series since Nynaeve and Lan instantly fall in love in a matter of pages with no foreshadowing whatsoever in the first book.
Some parts of the book are so great and others make you want to pull your hair out in frustration. Nothing really gets resolved in this book, though we do get to learn about the Aiel and Rand's history which is not limited to this life. This makes the book a worth addition to the series, but I sure hope it doesn't it doesn't turn into an "another book, another forsaken" formula.
This book is not quite as good as the books two and three, though parts are fantastic (ie seeing Perrin develop into the part he's destined to play). It's good enough to get fans to read the next book, but you just can't help thinking these books could be so much better.
on January 14, 2001
Robert Jordan triumphs in this, the fourth volume of his grand, epic, and best-selling fantasy series. This characters grow, the narrative matures, and the already complex plot twists and turns until the reader is either swept up in the storm or left bewildered. The Shadow Rising is an intesnse and tasking novel, but the patience required is well worth the wait.
In Shadow Rising, we find Rand meeting the Aiel in the wastes, discovering both who the Aiel are and more about himself. This plot line is one of the more interesting and epic in the novel. Here, Jordan eschews the simplistic narrative style he started with in The Wheel of Time, and Rand experiences a series of dream sequences. This gives the novel a richer and more complex texture. That makes it more intereting, but also harder to follow. Readers who expect just more swords and blood will likely be left bored and disappointed (at least until the action quotient picks up).
We also see Elayne and Nanyeve pursuing the Black Ajah in various places. This forbodes the splitting of the White Tower as well as the coming of more Foresaken.
Meanwhile, Perrin learns that the Children of the Light have overridden the Two Rivers and that his homeland is now being terrorized by Trollocs. This sequence is fascinating, because the old Jordan would have made it a straigtforward adventure. The new Jordan has added texture which helps bring Perrin and the Two Rivers folk to life, adding complexity to the narrative in his relationship with Faile, the closing and reopening of the ways, and of the tough choices in challenging the Children, the trollocs and Lord Luc.
The novel starts off slow--even slower than the previous three volumes. What makes the novel tough also is that at the beginning, none of the characters is particularly appealing. Rand is a jerk, Mat is boring, and the others seem to have entirely lost any semblence of friendship or even of decency. Jordan seems to have struggled to keep the plot going while making his characters interesting. But when the adventure begins, the characters again become likable.
Jordan continues to "pay homage" to Tolkien. The Perrin return to the Two Rivers is, in plot and theme, a retelling of The Scouring of the Shire from Tolkien's Return of The King.
The characters, most of whom strarted the series as young adolescents, continue to grow and mature. Jordan's thinly veiled treatment of sexuality is still very adolescent. At a certain point one hope the characters grow even more. We see the beginnings of adulthood in Perrin's relationship with Faile, although one hope that this also begins to show itself in other areas as well. His childish stubbornness in the first charge on the Two Rivers is annoying. Well, there are five more novels to go.
With that caveat and the fact the Jordan does not seem to know what to do with Mat, the world Jordan has created has more depth, more magic, and more history than before. The reader also has the very strong feeling that this all comes togethor in some thread, woven into a large tapestry. We can't see the whole picture, but we can feel it out there.
Overall, Jordan has taken a fairly simple and straightforward fantasy to a far more complex and nuanced level. The Shadow Rising is intricate and imaginative tour de force--a triumphant fantasy novel.
on March 25, 2002
Book Four of the Wheel of Time is a transition book for the series. Yes, this book has much action, but there is more explaning and revelation of the plot. Where in previous three novels, there was a goal to be acheived, (i.e. Finding the Eye of the World, Finding the Horn, Getting Callandor) this novel acheives nothing specific. It provides a link to whatever follows in the following novels. If I were to compare this series to Tolkien's work, I would say the each of the first three books would be similar to the Hobbit, while the Shadow Rising is similar to The Two Towers, lots of action without much changing.
What does happen. Rand leaves Tear with Mat, Egwene, Moraine, and the Aiel to go to the waste. Nyn, Elayne, Julian, and Thom go to Tanchico to hunt the Black Ajah. Perrin, Loial, and Faile go to the Two Rivers to fight Trollocs and Whitecloaks. In Tanchico, the Black Ajah escapes, and Nyn fights one of the forsaken. In the waste, Rand becomes He Who Comes With the Dawn, and finds a teacher in one of the Forsaken. Egwene learns more about dreamwalking. Mat almost dies, but has his memory filled with other soldier's memories. Perring defeats incredible odds, marries Faile, and rescues the Two Rivers.
I like this novel because of the development of Mat and Rand who are my favorite characters. I have just finished reading it for the second time and highly recommend reading the series. While someone could start the series from the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd book, too much has occurred to start with the 4th book.
on September 27, 2001
The fourth book in The Wheel of Time is chock full of detail about people, places, societies and plots. As far as I'm concerned, this is where the series really departs from just another, albeit exceptional, fantasy series. The amount of detail in the world is mind-boggling. Every character -- even those you thought were only in that one scene back in book one -- has a purpose and every society is so intricately thought out that it is literally hard to remember that this place was invented by some guy.
Sometimes the plot in this volume is a little slow as action gives way in favor of information. However, some of the action is the best yet. Perrin's return to the Two Rivers is particularly affecting and the climactic battle scene there is so moving that I actually cried.
I was also glad to see Mat coming into his own. From humble beginnings as an annoying sidekick, he is starting to have experiences that make him one of the most interesting characters in this book.
Another fine job by Robert Jordan!
on December 5, 2012
The Stone of Tear has fallen. Ishamael has been defeated by Rand. Be'lal has been balefired out of existence by Moraine. The Dragon has been reborn. So ended the previous book. Rand rules Tear but all across the world nations are at war and people are on the move. Now Rand must somehow learn to channel while all around him the Forsaken plot his downfall and others merely plot his death so the way things were can return.
In The Shadow Rising, the protagonists of the series all find themselves in Tear for a brief interlude before they once again disperse. This seems to be one of the ways Jordan liked to write. Every so often the protagonists would come together before going off in small groups to different parts of the world. It made the narrative coherent for small bits of the book, but the dispersal mechanism allowed Jordan to explore his world building more. Not that I am complaining. The descriptions are informative, if overly verbose. Seriously, his editor should have done a better job. Still, the section on Tear is pretty good stuff. Trollocs. Battles. Kissing in corners. Not too many descriptions of dress materials. Lanfear makes an appearance and there is a lot of diplomatic maneuvering.
Now Rand, Mat, Egwene, Moraine, and the Aiel head to Rhuidean via the portal stones. Rhuidean where Rand means to bind the Aiel to himself by proving that he is He Who Comes With the Dawn. Rhuidean where Mat must go or he will surely die. Rhuidean where Egwene will go to find answers from the Wise Ones about how she can become a dreamwalker. And Rhuidean where Moiraine will do what she must to ensure that Rand stays alive to face the Dark One. The parts of the book that take place in the Aiel Waste are some of my favorite of the entire series. In particular, Rand going through the ter'angreal that shows him his ancestors' past all the way to the boring of the hole during the Age of the Legends and the beginning of the Collapse. Those two chapters are probably my favorite of the entire series and the reason I give this book five stars. It is also here in the Aiel Waste that we learn about the customs and history of the Aiel. And what an interesting people, especially given the past. Here it is where we see Aviendha again (you met her in The Dragon Reborn). She is one of the new protagonists added to the series. Just be happy that there is really only one main protagonist added to the series here.
I've purposely left out what happens to Mat and Egwene in the Waste because honestly, their plot lines are really not that important or that interesting. As per usual since The Great Hunt, Lanfear stalks Rand's dreams, wants him as her own, and plots to get him to be hers. New antagonists are introduced and the climax of the book occurs in Rhuidean against a Forsaken. And a chora tree gets hurt. Sadness.
There are two other sections to the book. One finds us following Elayne, Nynaeve and Thom as they journey to Tanchico hunting for the Black Ajah. Forsaken in this plot line too - Moghedian. What does that mean to you? Nothing yet.
The other plot line follows Perrin, Loial, and Faile in the Two Rivers where they journey to protect Perrin's home from Trollocs, Whitecloaks, and worse. It is here that Perrin transforms into one of the stronger leaders of the series. It is also here that Faile becomes even more annoying. How is that even possible when she was so annoying in The Dragon Reborn? You've been warned. Again.
Oh and I suppose there is one tiny other section of note concerning Min, The White Tower and the Aes Sedai there. I suppose its important. ;)
I've been keeping track of the sniffs in the book because Jordan has his women sniff way too much. Jordan does a lot of things way too much. For this book,
Faile - IIIII
Nynaeve - IIIII II
Egwene - II
Jorin - I
Moiraine - I
Marin al'Vere - I
Adine - I
Bair - I
Melaine - II
Liandrin - I
Jeaine - I
Elayne - II
Leane - II
Rendra - I
Lanfear - I
And for the four books so far,
Nynaeve - IIIII IIIII IIIII I
Moiraine - IIIII II
Elayne - IIIII II
Egwene - IIIII I
Faile - IIIII
Leane - IIII
Min - II
Elaida - II
Liandrin - II
Laras, Mistress of the Kitchens - II
Cook at Inn - II
Melaine - II
Females in Crowd - I
Woman in Fal Dara - I
Suian Sanche (the Amyrlin) - I
Selene - I
Suroth - I
Bornhold - I
Women of Emonds Field - I
Verin - I
Tavern Wenches at the Woman of Tanchico Inn - I
Aludra - I
Ailhuin - I
Jorin - I
Marin al'Vere - I
Adine - I
Bair - I
Jeaine - I
Rendra - I
Looks like Nynaeve is clearly winning. I don't know if any of the others will overtake her.