John's Reviews > The Shadow Rising

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
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Aug 17, 2009

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bookshelves: fantasy
Read in August, 2009 , read count: 1

I finished this book this evening, and am rather unsure how to go about even reviewing it, let alone assigning it a star rating.

When I first started reading it, I was enthusiastic, but that quickly waned. The first third of the book felt like a history textbook. Dates, names, places. Political plots, too-detailed descriptions of things. "Wool-headed men", "unfathomable women", "Rand/Mat/Perrin knows about girls" memes kept on to the point of annoyance. And when things did start to move, we'd shift to a different set of actors in similar boring activities. I almost stopped reading.

And then it all changed. Everything I loved about the series came back. The story pulled me in. The characters were again vivid. The shifts in location were mostly acceptable (though sometimes frustrating). New friends, new enemies, and we're not always sure which is which.

The time with the Aiel was priceless, even though it did repeat the "wool-headed men" (or "wetlander") theme way more than needed.

The ending to this book was good, but not great as the endings to the first three were. Yes, there was a triumph of sorts, but very little was resolved, and there was some sadness there on the last page. (And no, this is not a spoiler, it's a minor detail.)

If it had a better start, or even a typically grand ending, I'd have probably given it 4 stars. But I just can't bring myself to do so just now.
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Reading Progress

07/03/2009 page 90
8.94% "Off to a fun start. Scene in Rand's bedroom was surprising and fun."
07/25/2009 page 340
33.76% "Jordan is the master of building momentum and suspense. Then completely squandering it."
07/26/2009 page 480
47.67% "Awesome scene with the Aiel in Rhuidean. Don't want to put the book down now, vs. not wanting to pick it up earlier."
07/27/2009 page 520
51.64% "The return to Two Rivers is more interesting than I expected."
07/27/2009 page 600
59.58% "Some great scenes in the Waste. Then very annoyed when Jordan suddenly veers off to Tanchico. Finish the Waste story first!"

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