As seen on my blog, Stumptown Books
And thus do we enter an amazing stretch of books. I loved The Shadow Rising
, I loved the parts of the world we got to explore here, and I loved the new points of view.
I'm still amazed at how brilliant the idea of "ta'veren" was. I, along with the rest of the fantasy reading world, got sick of the farmer-turned-savior trope right about when the hobbits return to the Shire in The Lord of the Rings
. It was fine for Tolkein but man, we all know how done to death it is now. So how do we make a fantasy novel compelling when you really just want your characters to start as farmers? Make them ta'veren! Brilliant! Of course they end up becoming important to the world, the very fabric of reality is weaving itself around them. Of course random people will all of a sudden look at Perrin and say "Now there goes a leader!" even if we the readers know Perrin sucks at it. The Age Lace or Time Tapestry or some other weaving analogy wants it to happen this way! I just love the idea, it makes it impossible for me to be annoyed that a couple farmers are deciding the fates of entire countries.
I already feel so rewarded for sticking with the series this long. The little things, like Egwene saying "Be steadfast" when Aviendha has to go through her Wise One ordeal. The echo of Egwene's rise to Accepted brought a huge grin to my face, and it really meant something for her character. I feel like she's put all those crappy visions behind her and accepted her fate. The Aiel call their loved ones "shade of my heart" and that just made me melt, I think it's so sweet and endearing. And then the epic chapters in Rhuidean, where we learn how both the Aiel and the Tinkers started. A sharp eye will pick out all sorts of references in that chapter, and it really is amazing and rewarding if you've stuck with the series.
Although this installment starts out pretty slowly, I love having Rand back instead of just glimpses of him through other character's eyes. I've never been a fan of Perrin but his chapters are really good in this book. Mat, to make up for being a non-entity in books 1 and 2, does something awesome in every chapter he's in. He is by far my favorite of the three farm boys! But everyone's opinions differ on that. The world has become a lot larger for the Emond's Fielders, but it shrinks at the same time. We have characters spanning the continent and traveling quickly becomes more and more simple. It really does give us the feeling that a world and everyone in it is at stake.
Siuan and Egeanin are new points of view and I loved both of them. Really looking forward to more from both of them, especially Egeanin.
Can't wait to start the next one!