The peak of the series, March 14, 2006
Reviewer: Karen Anne Webb (Centerville, UT)
I'm writing just as I'm starting Knife of Dreams (Book 11). I really feel the series peaked with this book and *The Fires of Heaven*. The info (especially the big thread of getting Rand recognized by the Aiel) is fresh, original, and thought-provoking (and Lan, for my money the most interesting character in the series, is still a Presence). Definitely a page-turner. I was sad to learn that the later books where the plot is really bogging down and Jordan is introducing yet *more* characters to an already mired series, are the ones that made #1 on the NYT bestseller list while the earlier books, where something was actually happening that you cared about, didn't rate as highly. I'm reading the series mainly for closure at this point and have been borrowing them from the library rather than buying. But at this point, the series was still a real grabber.
Having declared himself the Dragon Reborn, Rand al'Thorspacing correct must proceed to fulfill the prophecy that he will protect the world from the return of the Dark One. Jordan's hefty addition to his massive series begins very much in medias res as an unknown danger threatens the city of Tar Valon, home of the powerful, nunlike Aes Sedai. In a whirlwind of uncertainty stirred up by the conflicting motivations of such groups as the Whitecloaks, the Darkfriends and Trollocs (among an abundance of others), Rand travels to the city of Rhuidean in the Aiel Waste for answers. (synopsis by Reed Business Information, Inc.)
I have to admit that I never finished this book, and this is the one that made me abandon the series. (Not a great way to try to sell the merits of this book, but I want to be honest.)
The 1st book, Eye of the World, was decent, while the follow up, The Great Hunt, made me want to read more. So I delved into the 3rd book, The Dragon Reborn. I could hardly wait to read this, the 4th book in the series.
It started out well enough, but, alas, it degenerated into characters displaying annoying tics. One of the worst ones was a female with a long braid down her back (see, I've even blocked out her name, it was so bad to me) pulls on it whenever she got angry or upset. And she seemed upset at every man that crossed her path, save one. I read about 1/3 of the book before giving up.
I hope this book and the others in the series finds a good home/good homes, as these are just collecting dust at home. What a shame.
Excellent book! Rand continues to grow in power, but also comes completely close to going mad! Perrin continues his own personal struggles with the wolves and Mat continues to be a lucky dog! The battle against evil continues to grow as we learn about the past and speculate about the future.
In this book we have plenty of squaring off between our Two Rivers heroes and the Forsaken. I wont tell you who comes out on top, but it wasnt a sure thing either way. Nynaeve has some fears she has to face. Meanwhile, Perrin struggles against his blossoming wolfish nature; the Whitecloaks are on the hunt and Perrin is in there sights.
I liked a lot of things about this book, especially Perrins inner struggle (though for a teensy bit there I felt it went on for too long). I think Perrin sees things in black and white sometimes; once he goes down a road, there is no turning back. But there is, or at least sideways. Once you pick up an axe to see to some business, doesnt mean that you cant put it down again. Through Perrins ordeal, we learn a little bit about what the Two Rivers folks are made of and also the guiding principles of the Whitecloaks.
Min has more visions, and this time they concern the White Tower. I wont spoil anything for you, but it gets real and some of my favorite characters have to make some tough choices. Meanwhile, in other parts of the land, we see Rand becoming a leader not just of men but of nations. Its a big step for him and he does OK, and doesnt get his head handed to him.
Theres plenty of Aiel time, and specifically time in the Aiel Waste. We really get to experience their culture, and for some, it is quite a shock. Of course, there are many funny scenes related to the culture shock. I was glad to see that Robert Jordan fleshed out this people.
Overall, the pacing was great, the plot moved forward, and my favorite characters got plenty of page time. I wanted the bad guys destroyed and I cheered the good guys towards victory. While there was some of that teen angst flirtatious/hate-you behavior that permeates the series, I was able to tune out during those parts and enjoy the rest.
Jael S. reviewed The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, Bk 4) on
I have never been one for epic fiction before I was introduced to this series some time five years ago. I'm re-reading them, now in the middle of this exact book, and I must say it is one of the best I have read so far. Thrilling, exciting, and with the ability to grab the reader in and keep them on their toes, it is truly a series I would recommend to everyone, no matter how long it is! (and for those of us who like reading, sometimes more is definitely more, not less!)