Fiction, The Wheel of Time

The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time – Book 4)

Posted by Max Bellmann

Written by Robert Jordan, published in 1992. Summary and review.

Here we begin the 4th installment of the Wheel of Time epic saga. I’ve heard from various sources, this might be the best book in the series… and I’m hoping that is not the case. While I did enjoy this book, it was a bit confusing and focused a lot of Mat and Perrin. !

That said, we start with an eerie premonition by Aes Sedai, Min, that 3 will die. From there our crew must hunt the Black Ajah. And from our previous books, it seems basically everyone has universally accepted that Rand is in fact the Dragon Reborn.

He does seem to flex solid proof in that when he battles his mirror self, but more so when they are invaded by a hoard or trollocs and murdraal. He whips out his mighty sword, Callandor, and goes HAM on everyone. Fire and lightning. Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening, me! Galileo!

We also have a Matrix style love story between the forsaken Lanfear and Rand, though she loves “old Rand” aka Lew Therin. Are they the same? Still don’t know, but there does seem to be something there.

After this, Rand goes off to Rhuidean and spends the rest of the story trying to unite the Aiel. And also there is a lot of wild dream world encounters (with basically all the characters) that’s very Inception-esque.

Beyond that, we really spend most of our time with Mat and Perrin (different story lines). Perrin marries his love Faile, is stalked by Slayer in the dream world, and leads the Two Rivers against both the White Cloaks and Trollocs.

While much of this book was confusing – folks traveling through the ways, lots of dream world encounters that aren’t real (but also they are), and flashbacks to early days just after the breaking. I did enjoy the stories that were weaved throughout. And we did get a wild ending with Rand and Lanfear (the hottie forsaken) with a twist that leads to a great premise for the next book(s)??

I will say, now that I’m 4 books deep into the series I can start to understand how some folks, for lack of  a better word, complain about Jordan’s writing style. He is very descriptive… too descriptive. We ALWAYS get a breakdown of how women’s hair is looking (braided, color, to the left or right, etc.). And while that can sometime be useful, it isn’t need every time we meet or re-meet a female character.

TLDR: A solid story within the confines of the WoT universe. I haven’t finished the series to know where this ranks in the overall series, but out of the 4 I’d put this in probably 3rd place. I’d have preferred more Rand, though can respect the focus and added depth to Mat and Perrin specifically. Would Recommend. 4/5 Stars.

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