The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Robert Jordan’s Redemption Song
If you had told me six months ago when I finished the third book in the Wheel of Time series, that not only would I would enjoy The Shadow Rising, but I would absolutely love it, I would have called you crazy.
The previous book, The Dragon Reborn, was three hundred pages shorter than The Shadow Rising, yet it was one of the slowest books I’ve ever read. It had major pacing issues, and protracted about two hundred pages of material to over six hundred. Lots of the storyline didn’t make sense, and most of what did wasn’t very interesting.
Part of me wanted to quit the series.
But I’m so glad that I didn’t.
This book is definitely on my list of the best books that I’ve read this year. It had three excellent major plots that were woven together superbly, and some good subplots to keep things lively. All of the characters, who normally feel rather flat, were interesting and enjoyable.
One thing that this series has struggled with is making good on each book’s promises to the reader. In the first three books, hooks were set that often went one or two books without getting resolved.
In this book, there was a clear beginning, as well as a clear ending to all the major story arcs. Obviously some of the overarching story arcs that will persist through the entire series didn’t get wrapped up, but this book didn’t feel like attempt at a cliffhanger. It was complete, engaging, and an overall outstanding epic fantasy novel.
As Jordan does a good job of summing up key events from his past entries, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in trying the series, even without having read the first three.