This review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books
What amazes me to this day about the Wheel of Time series is the masterful way Robert Jordan works me into a frenzy. When The Great Hunt
(book 2) ended, I was whipped into a hurricane of conflicting emotions. I wanted to cry because it was over. I also wanted to cry because I was so excited. I felt like shivering from spent emotion and energy. I wanted to run to my book shelf and pick up book 3. I also wanted to wait because I'm participating in a Wheel of Time read along and I didn't want to get ahead. I settled with walking very sedately to the couch and watching reruns of "Say Yes to the Dress" until I was completely calmed down. Well, I still ended up yelling at some of the brides, but at least I wasn't worked up about the Wheel of Time anymore, right?
Well, The Great Hunt
is over. Let's continue on this journey and see what other amazing things are in store for us. Only, the emotions are brought down, not just to a simmer, but to a complete and cold darkness. We read about our characters sitting in camp. Riding across plains. Complaining about prophecies. None of this is exciting, but of course we're completely entwined with their stories now and curious as to what is going to happen. Robert Jordan-isms sprinkle the pages, but we're slowly making sense of the world he's describing to us. He had so much planned from the very beginning I am now in awe at his patience. I always want to get it all out on the page as quickly as possible but he's ok making us wait, for literally thousands of pages if need be.
Slowly...oh so slowly you don't even hardly realize it, things start coming to a head. The net gets drawn closer, and closer, until there I am sitting on that same couch and reading so fast I'm probably missing important details and I turn to the last chapter...
And my boyfriend walks in the room and turns on the TV. I balk, my mouth open, and snatch the remote back from him. "You don't understand," I say, "I'm literally at the climax of the book."
"Can't it wait? I want to fold my laundry. I need to watch some Deep Space Nine while I do it."
"Too bad! Fold it somewhere else!" My indignation should have him backing away with his hands up defensively.
"Well I don't mind, read it aloud to me." He says with a shrug, like I do this all the time.
I start out with another sassy comment but then I think, Why not? He knows enough of the story to know what the phrase the Dragon Reborn means, who Rand, Mat, and Perrin are. So there we are, the climatic battle that occurs at the end of every Wheel of Time book, and I'm reading it out loud. I know my voice caught in my throat a few times because I got all excited and teary (I cry at every emotion, it's crazy!) but when my last "The Dragon Reborn!" faded away, we both just sat there, stunned. We started out in a camp in the middle of back ass nowhere and we ended here
. "Wow," he says. "That was actually pretty intense."
Wasn't it just! A lot of readers will tell you that this is the beginning of the highlight of the series, books 3-6, and I couldn't agree more. Just thinking about where we started a mere three books ago is mind boggling - both the reader and the characters have come a long way from sheep herding! The stakes are high and they keep getting higher with every book, but we never feel out of depth. I can hardly wait to start The Shadow Rising
- though I hope I can keep this enthusiasm later in the series!