Title: The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time #4)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy Pages: 1001
First published: 1992
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 2003
This book is a paradox. That is my first thought. On one hand I felt like a lot was happening at once and at the same time I felt not much happened at all. I could almost hear the scrape of pieces shifting on a chessboard in this book.
For a thousand-page book I have to say I did not find it a hard read at all. The characters (for the most part) are engaging, enough was happening to keep me interested and the world feels so well-developed. In contrast, I feel maybe the female characters remain a little underdeveloped in this installment. They get much less page time, but then I guess our main characters were always Rand, Mat and Perrin, who I all love in different ways. Having read the series before and knowing the conclusion already, has added to the joy of following them on their respective journeys.
There are characters in this that I am not so fond of. Faile never ceases to bug me. She is the kind of woman that deserves a good slap. And therein lies one of Jordan’s main issues. He tends to write female characters as obnoxious, obstinate and bossy. Maybe with the exception of Min and maybe Elayne. And yet, these are definitely traits I recognise from women around me, so I am not sure how I feel about that.
This is very much a middle of a series book. It continues building up to something big, the characters are still developing and are moved like chess pieces are being moved across their world. Battles are fought, but you always feel like they are just bricks in the wall of a plot yet to play out. Not that strange considering this is a 14-book series and this is only the fourth book.
Having read the series before, I feel it is a series well worth reading and this book is well developed and for the most part well written, but I know many people by this point would be wondering where it was all going. If you like the most epic of fantasies, do give this series a try. If you feel you could not commit to reading fourteen books, this is not for you.
I still have a big soft spot for The Wheel of Time.
5 out of 7 stars