James's Reviews > The Dragon Reborn

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
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M 50x66
's review
Jun 28, 2010

it was amazing

The most telling thing about this review isn't even in the contents: it's the posted date. The intention was to pace myself reading the Wheel of Time, but I finished book 3 in under 48 hours. While I remembered loving the Great Hunt, I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did. It is in almost every way a refinement of the previous book - unfortunately right down to its narrative structure. The highs aren't quite as high, but the lows have been all but ironed out completely.

So let's start with the bad. The heroes split up and all go off chasing things in different directions, and all happen to end up in the same place for a spectacular finale? If you've read the Great Hunt, that should sound familiar. Hell, the end result of the books is almost identical, at least as far as prophesized heroes go. There is definitely a sense of deja vu here. Fortunately, Jordan seemed to have perfected his pacing in TDR (I say "seemed" since it tragically didn't last more than a few books). And that's really all the bad. Unless you really like Rand, who spends most of the book off-screen and really starts to enter "I'm not so sure about this guy" territory at this point.

The good? Well, most everyone's favorite gambling hero finally becomes likable here (he's almost a new character), and even Perrin gets a good helping of character development. The bit players that show up or return are all entertaining, and this book introduces the undisputed coolest part of the series - no, not Faile, silly - balefire. (It's so cool, they couldn't even tell you why it's cool in this book.) More Shadowspawn, more Forsaken, more Aiel, even more riverboats - the Dragon Reborn has more of pretty much everything.

What makes the book work despite being a bit of a plot retread is that every bit of it is interesting and entertaining. Even Faile doesn't do anything jaded fans can really complain about here. The major characters are finally becoming who they will eventually be, and there aren't yet enough factions that the plot has become hard to follow. In the grand scheme of things this is still a setup book, but you get the impression that is Jordan's real strength.

I don't have much more to say about TDR, partially because doing so would necessitate entering spoiler territory, but mostly because it's just a very solid book. I'm saving up my criticisms for later...

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