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…
The fourth book in the Wheel of Time series is something new. The first three are much more similar to each other than to The Shadow Rising. Sometimes this is good, sometimes not. Mostly it is for the better.
There are three major plot threads this time around, the difference being that they really are separate and do not converge at the end. One is Perrin and Faile, in the Two Rivers, second is Nynaeve and Elayne in Tanchico, and thirds is Rand and co. in the Aiel Waste. There’s a lot of variety in between the three as well – one is all out action, one is stealth ops etc. Thanks to this, you never really get bored and the story feels fresh.
The writing is great as ever, and so is the worldbuilding. The worldbuilding in particular expands greatly this time around, and there are some really huge revelations that I won’t spoil, but suffice to say that they’ll change the way you look at things.
Character wise, this felt Perrin and Rand’s book. They both are showcased great, and kick some serious ass. I particularly liked Perrin’s chapters.
The only issue I had was the beginning. The story takes a really long time to get moving – the first few chapters are basically everyone hanging out in Tear. It was really boring at times. Once the plot picked up pace though, it was a great ride.
Another niggle is Jordan’s tendency to overuse words and phrases – women sniffing (who sniffs to show displeasure?), smoothing their skirts, braid holding/tugging etc. And the way men and women interact is truly cringe-worthy at times. It’s the men are from mars, women are from Venus sort of thing, but taken to an extreme.
None of which outweighs the sheer fun the book was for me however.