(I Finally Finished) The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

Despite The Shadow Rising being arguably the best book of the series so far, I just could not get through the first 500 pages.  The second half was so much better

The issue with a 1007 page book? It just doesn’t seem like I am ever making progress, and as much as I am here for “the journey”, it’s SO HARD sometimes.  Reading for hours and hardy making a dent kills my morality these days.

That said … I don’t love how the book world spends so much time focusing on numbers, and my favorite reads of 2021 were all over 800 pages, but still

Bookish Quick Facts:

  • Title: The Shadow Rising
  • Series: The Wheel of Time #4
  • Author: Robert Jordan
  • Publisher & Release: TOR Books, September 1992
  • Length: 1007 (MMPB)
  • Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⚡ I mean I think everyone should give the series 4-5 books then make a decision

The new synopsis:.

Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time®, Rand al’Thor now wields the sword Callandor. He is both the Champion of Light and the Dragon Reborn. Now, he seeks answers to another prophecy that lies with the warrior people known as the Aiel to put him on the path of learning how to wield the One Power.

Accompanied by Moiraine Damodred, Rand arrives at the Aiel Waste and is granted permission by the Wise Ones to enter the sacred city of Rhuidean. After passing through a doorframe ter’angreal, Moiraine gains foresight while the Aiel await Rand’s return, either with both arms marked by dragon symbols, validating his identity as He Who Comes With the Dawn, the Chief of Chiefs of all the Aiel―or to never emerge at all.

Overall, each storyline had a lot more going on and keeping it exciting in the final 400 pages or so.  I think again that just the length throws me off more than anything, but I think this was the best of the books (and that seems to be a common thought among Wot readers that the 4th is the pinnacle befire the 5-9 slog).

Rand is still figuring out how to lose the last vestiges of a Two Rivers boy, but he is the Lord of Tear and the Dragon Reborn and a big part of the book is him coming into these roles.  Rand had to stand in defense of his stronghold, then set off and claim his right with the Aiel people.

We finally learn about his birth too.  The history of the Aiel and the concepts of Rhuidean were probably my favorite part

Meanwhile, Part in rides back to save the Two Rivers from the Whitecloaks.  I hate Faille with every ounce of my being and am just waiting to see what exactly she trapped Perrin into without his knowing.  It was absolutely wonderful watching him bring Emonds Field together with the other towns to defeat the trollocs though, the people did proud to their Manetheren bloodlines!

The Nynaeve and Elayne storyline … Ugh I mean they are hunting black ajah and did Rand a huge service finding a certain artifact, and we saw exactly how strong Nynaeve really is.  There’s just so much braid tugging and arguing with those two that I can’t.

Mat hung out on the sidelines but I liked how he stuck by with Rand no matter how dangerous it got.  Their friendship got a boost in this book and I couldn’t believe what happened in Rhuidean to Mat – I’m not entirely sure I understand fully what happened but his new spear is bad ass.

Min, Elaida, Siuan, and Leanne – why!! Elaida has to be absolutely insane.  I had trouble understanding why Galad and Gawain didn’t side with Siuan, and how the warders possibly lost, but the dice are cast I guess.  What happens now with the White Tower broken?

Some miscellaneous thoughts and things:

  • I enjoy seeing different nationalities takes on the Dragon prophecy.  Each have a different name and story but all are being fulfilled.
  • Getting a glimpse of the sea people were interesting
  • Lanfear cracked me up at the end with the fat suit thing
  • The forsaken! It’s hard to remember that the forsaken were human (Aes Sedai) once, but the scheming and aligning of them in The Shadow Rising is a good reminder
  • Everything about Asmodean – this is the only reason I am reading book 5. Lanfear was a bit of a genius on that one
  • It looks like Aviendha, Min, and Elayne will be the three lovers.  It makes sense since Aiel lords have multiple wives

Questions going forward:

  • How will the Andor line affect the final battle?
  • Mat is going to marry … One of the Seanchan princesses? Someone from the court of the nine moons? I wonder how that comes about
  • What exactly does marrying a lady mean for Perrin?
  • How do Siuan, Leanne, and the stilled Logain affect things going forward?

I am maintaining these posts as a reading journal more than anything else but if you have read and would like to chat about these books, find me on twitter or IG at @OneReadingNurse !

4 replies on “(I Finally Finished) The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan”

Hello, I am glad I found your post! I am reading the series for the first time and just finished The Shadow Rising today. I think this is the best of the series so far by far. I would argue that some of the chapters regarding the history of the Aiel were some of the most impressive fantasy writing I’ve ever read. Goosebumps!

I think Perrin shined the most for me in this book. I felt a lack of development compared to the others in the last book or 2. I think I am finally understanding him on a human level and not just someone important in Rand’s story. I was super annoyed with Faile at the beginning but by the end of the book I’d say she’s one of my favorite characters. One of the more memorable moments of his story was Perrin running into a distant cousin child of his after thinking his entire family were killed at the end.

Rand made a lot of progress to me as well. It seems like this book starts molding the part crazy, part farmboy side of him into a more confident (albeit still borderline crazy) individual. You can see how by the end of the book he was commanding some of the strongest characters (Rhuarc, Moraine) where before he would complain and object but thats about it.

Matt is a cool and sly character to me. I think he is very relatable to many readers which is why he is a fan favorite. He has some cool thinks about him that I think we are just starting to realize when it comes to the Old Blood, understanding the Old Language and the whole Mantheren memories.

The Tanchico story itself was the least interesting part of the story lines. I do think Nynaeve grew on me in this book. I am starting to see through her sternness and attitude. What I took for rudeness and arrogance is actually a deep underlying fear and weight to protect those she cares for. Not much changed for Elayne or Egwene for me. I actually really enjoy the newer female characters (Aviendha and Eaganin) and hope they continue to play bigger parts to come.

Overall entire background from learinng about Aiel, Age of Legends, and the Forsaken made me read this book faster than I’ve ever read one of this size. I read very slow and struggle to concentrate, but this book sucked me in where time just flew by and pages kept turning. I’ll be starting the 5th one most likely tomorrow and look forward to reading more thoughts about it when I’m finished!

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Love hearing your thoughts! Its always interesting to me to see how different people respond to the same book. I haven’t started book 5 yet but probably should before I forget what happened! I feel like I miss so much while trying to follow these books

The forsaken were definitely my favorite part in this one, that and the White Tower scenes. Plus I’m really curious to see if we ever learn how Lan’s cousin (or brother? I already forget who he was – Isam) turned evil!

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Haha I don’t want to be sucked into the trap of only reading books with quick results, these long epic journey series still have a place i think

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