My Wheel of Time reread with associated reviews and thoughts hasn’t gone to plan. I’m currently about three quarters of the way through book 5; The Fires of Heaven, which, considering the pace I read the previous four books, is quite disappointing. Anyway, here are some of my brief thoughts on Book 4; The Shadow Rising.
Needless to say, there will be spoilers.
It took me around ten years to read the Wheel of Time the first time (mainly due to having to wait for books to be published), so it’s safe to say I had forgotten a lot about the earlier books by the time I finished A Memory of Light. I had completely forgotten how good The Shadow Rising is. The series really turns epic in this book.
But it was the little details that I really enjoyed this time round, things I hadn’t really picked up on on first read, particularly thing relating to the world building and lore. For example; the ruined city Perrin sees in the Mountains of Mist when he first encounters Slayer. A remnant from the Breaking? Or Manetheren itself?
One of my favourite scenes in the series is in this book, and it was actually more harrowing the second time than the first; the Glass Columns of Rhuidean.
Seeing the history of the Aiel through the eyes of Rand’s ancestors was quite heartbreaking. Especially the ‘memories’ closer to the War of Power and the Breaking of the World. I always pictured the scenes playing out to the music of the song Dauðalogn by Sigur Ros. Absolutely heartbreaking – although on first read I had always thought that ‘Untitled 4’ by Sigur Ros from the album ( ) would also be quite fitting.
I also never fully grasped the sheer ‘sci-fi-ness’ of the Age of Legends until this second read through.
The only thing that weighs on my mind on my reread is that now I know the Forsaken are all just normal people, I don’t really fell the dread when they are around. Well, as normal as evil, genocidal Aes Sedai can be. What I mean is, they’re not the supernatural demon types that was my first impression of them on first read through (in the early books). Though, I already felt that way by the time I completed the first read through, they lose their menace as time goes on and we see more of them and they are no longer the figures of legend they were at the start of the series. They’re just men and women, corrupted by power etc. But, I guess that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Humans are ultimately their own worst enemy, not the Dark One. This is, of course, just my opinion.
Overall, The Shadow Rising is one of the best books in the series, and I can’t wait to stop procrastinating and reread the rest.
Score; Four Myrdraal out of five.