zondag 27 december 2015

Robert Jordan: The Shadow Rising

Hi

This is the fourth book in The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
I felt like reading one extra this month instead of waiting another month. I should still read the next one in January though because I want to keep a bit of a schedule. I don’t want to plan all the series I’m reading (The Dresden Files, Discworld and Wheel of Time) in the same month, leaving me no time to read anything else but these series.

You can find all the reviews in the series here. 
The Shadow Rising has a whopping 1009 pages.

* SPOILERS! *

Rereading this series has given me a whole new outlook on it. I first read it when I was around sixteen years old and except for The Lord of the Rings it was my first experience with anything SFF-related. I LOVED The Wheel of Time back then. Right now, I find I’m more critical of Jordan’s writing, the characters and the story in general. I’m not that fan girl anymore that loved everything about it.
I still enjoy it a lot and it will always be special to me because it was the start of my SFF love. I just don’t love it as much because I know now that there’s better out there.

Back then, I could relate more to the characters because of my age. Now, at just 27 I feel like Nynaeve for example can behave like a child and Matt is still a toddler with a lot of growing up to do (which he does). But I have more love and appreciation for the world-building and the politics. Like I said; I changed. It’s not so much about the loving the characters. I can appreciate bad characters and I especially love good, solid world building and lots of details.

I simply love Tam, Min, Tom and Siuan for example. They are amazing characters. I do not love Matt but I enjoy him and he has a purpose.
While I hate Elaida with every fiber in my body, I still appreciate the important role she plays.
Faile is a 'good' character but she's also a 
hateful, self important, highly irrational, manipulating, bitching, childish and abusive bully. I hate her, I hate her, I hate her.

From this book on it gets really big. We truly begin to see the sheer depth and the epic greatness of this series. It is so much more than a simple story where good has to defeat evil.
Politics start to play an important role because Rand has to unite all nations to fight The Dark One. But he has a lot of growing up to do and a lot to learn. Aside from that, he really doesn’t care about the nobles and their ideas. He is still a farm boy in his mind. I like that a lot because a person doesn’t change where he comes from. His whole storyline in The Waste is great.
He comes into his own and it’s not that easy anymore to push him around.

Aviendha’s reaction to Rand’s supposed ill-treatment of Elaine is way over the top. It’s not like we read about a real bond between them. So why does Aviendha care so much about Rand’s behavior towards other women? She really got on my nerves.
And the whole relationship stuff in general doesn’t interest me. Rand and Min and Elaine. Faile and Perrin. I simply don’t care because it’s so juvenile. Elaine and her stupid letters and her whining about Rand reading those letters.
The repetitiveness in general of the reactions towards the opposite gender is eye rolling and sigh worthy. All men are wool headed and all women are strong and able to manipulate men. Each gender doesn’t understand the other and the boys especially think the other boys are better at talking to women. Each gender thinks the other gender needs guiding, gossip whenever given a chance to talk and are generally plain stupid.

The breaking of the narrative still works great. We get to know what’s happening to everybody at moments in time that are important for those characters. This is great because everything influences everything else; even though events or characters might seem unrelated at one point.

The Shadow Rising is a fast read because a lot happens in this huge (!) novel and the world building gets even better in this one. So many details you could drown in them but I love that. But the talking about dresses, yanking braids, sighing and puffing is too much. 
Jordan doesn’t need to remind me about everything that happened in the novels before this one. I know what happened! I read the books and I’m not stupid.

This is fantasy to lose yourself in, not for the prose which just does the trick but isn’t exactly elegant but for how epic it is.

3 STARS

Happy reading!
Helena

Reviewing with Licor 43. Bliss.