Wheel of Time Re-Read-Along
Book 4 – The Shadow Rising

April 17, 2017 Books, Read-Alongs 6

Welcome back to our little 15-book re-read-along!

Book 4 – The Shadow Rising

The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.

In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken? In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn. In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland.

In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.

Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn….

My Thoughts:

This is one of my favorite books in the entire series.

It’s also arguably the last mostly-awesome installment in the series up until the last few (and the prequel, though that’s a little controversial in and of itself).

That’s not to say that this is the last book in the series worth reading — this is just a fair warning that things get a little… rougher… as the story goes along from this point.

SO MUCH happens in this book (which I think is one of the longest, if not THE longest), it’s hard to parse through it all after finishing the book and sitting down in front of a keyboard to whip up this discussion post. I think for future books I’ll need to work on the discussion post draft as I go along.

Anyway, one of the main reasons that The Shadow Rising is a favorite of mine is the Aiel. This isn’t the first we’ve seen of them, but they do finally have major roles to play, and Rand & Co.’s little jaunt to the Aiel Waste and all the cool stuff that happens there is just a big world building, character developing, decently violent, “You Know Nothing, Jon Snow” bundle of fun.

The Three Rivers characters in particular are all growing up nicely by now. They’re evolving from slightly bratty farmboys/girls into intensely motivated and courageous (accidentally or on purpose) grown-ups with goals. Makes a reader proud, it does. *sniff*

Questions:
  • What are your thoughts on the Aiel at this point? Does their culture strike you as interesting, savage, too cultural appropriation-y, or… ?
  • Do you think that the younger main characters we started out with are really maturing/developing, or do you still find yourself wishing they’d just grow up already?
  • There are a lot of surprises and twists in this book; did any of them in particular really shock you?

Are you reading this series along with me? If you have reviewed or discussed this book online, please feel free to post a link to that in the comments. (But you don’t have to be an “official” participant to discuss this book in the comments if you feel so inclined.)

Please note: Even though I try to avoid major spoilers in my blog post, I can’t promise that the comments will remain spoiler-free too — so read at your own risk!

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6 Responses to “Wheel of Time Re-Read-Along
Book 4 – The Shadow Rising

  1. Rob

    I remember really liking this one, mainly because Mat finally starts to become really interesting. If I remember correctly (it’s been a looong time since I read these), he was kind of just whiny dead-weight before this.

    • Louise

      Yes, exactly! His character development in the later books is much more satisfying because of this rough beginning, though (IMHO).

  2. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority in thinking that this where things start getting really good! I love the longer middle books, with their world development and epic changes to the way magic works. I tried revisiting this series as audiobooks and found they were too long that way, but your posts on the series are making me wish I could make the time to actually read them again. Hopefully someday 🙂

    • Louise

      Yep, you’re probably in the minority. But the middle books get kind of a bad rap sometimes, so it’s nice to hear from a reader who actually appreciates the cool stuff that happened in them!

  3. Captain

    I loved the whole Aiel thing. While I love the super strong women figures, I find it interesting that the “battle of the sexes” and gender stereotype biases from both sides exist apparently in every culture! I love how he tries to describe the social customs (Duh! What’s wrong with us for not getting them?) WITHOUT explaining them fully. What a tease Bob is! I want to spend more time with these awesome folk.
    Rand is a little less crazy. Sure he’s matured some, but has lost some of his loyal “good guy-ness”. I suppose it’s the weight of being the Dragon. He seems to be growing into a different perspective better suited for destroying/saving the world.
    I still have no use for Matt. I actually tended to forget about him through much of the book. He seems to really have no loyalty to anyone else but himself. I found his death/revival very interesting. I would have liked to have seen a bigger difference in his character…you know, the whole second chance at life thing. Maybe he’ll surprise me yet.
    Oh Perrin. My sweet don’t-call-me-lord leader is a romantic, married man now! I was so moved at his willingness of sacrifice and the whole Two Rivers thing. Looking forward to seeing him get his reward at some point.
    And the ladies are coming into their own. They seem to be getting better at not bickering and growing up into real Aes Sedai. And I love how they can really kick butt when they throw their whole heart into things.
    My biggest shock was the whole think with Siuan Sanche. I can’t believe she’s been stilled! I’m pulling for her to make a comeback. Come on Moiraine. What the heck are YOU doing? Kinda losing respect for you….

  4. Warren

    This was a long, long slow read for me, and I must admit the whole Aiel backstory and Rhuidean left me bored and wanting to get back to the other threads. I do like the Aiel in their modern, mysterious, veil wearing warrior mood but the world building left me cold for once. And I’m afraid Rand, Mat and even Egwene are just not riveting me with their stories.
    On the other hand I really enjoyed Perrin defending the Two Rivers, fighting Trollocs, Whitecloaks and The Slayer on different levels yet all at once, with time for a wedding in between. I also enjoyed the hunt for the Black Ajah in Tanchico, and the revelation of the Seanchan in their midst. A little surprised over the speed of events at the White Tower, and Gawyn’s actions!!??!!
    I have fallen back in the monthly goal of a book a month and cant see Book 5 getting finished in May, but I did get my own copy second hand for $2 last week so will be ready when I get to it.

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