What is it?
Fantasy (The Wheel of Time #3)
Who wrote it?
What did I like?
Once again, Robert Jordan held me spellbound in the world he created in the Wheel of Time series. You would think that an epic, high fantasy series like this would be hard to read and difficult to slog through, but it’s not. Seriously. I read this book on Memorial Day Monday. True, I didn’t do anything else that day, but I just couldn’t stop reading. One aspect of this third book in this 14-book series that I really liked is the fact that the story shifts perspective. Up until now, the main character voice has been Rand Al’Thor. He’s the main character. He’s the Dragon. So the story has been mainly about him, and the side characters who travel with him have been featured in only minor bits. Every now and then, you’d get a chapter from Egwene’s voice or Perrin’s voice or Nynaeve’s voice. But The Dragon Reborn turned the tables. The majority of the book is told from Perrin’s voice or Egwene’s voice, with a few chapters in Mat’s voice.
True, if you only care to read Rand’s perspective, you might not enjoy this one. But getting the POV from the other characters in the story is magnificent and helps you really solidify just exactly who these people are. For example, I really had very little respect for the Mat character. He drives me bananas, and I’ve spent the majority of the first two books just wanting to slap him. But finally getting his perspective on things, finally getting to hear his voice, helps me understand who he is and what he wants. And I’ve got to admit, I fell in love with Perrin. He’s been a wonderful side character, but after this book, I’ve decided he’s just about one of the most awesome characters ever created.
What didn’t I like?
Story-wise? Plot-wise? Seriously, I don’t think I dislike anything so far. My only concern is getting so far away from the main character, Rand, but as I stated above I like the way Jordan did it. Getting this part of the story into the overall scope is essential, and he managed to move the plot forward while he made it entertaining, introduced new characters, deepened existing characters, and strengthened cultures.
Character-wise? I don’t like Egwene. I don’t know if I don’t like her voice, or if I don’t like her character. I want to climb into the book and strangle her half the time, and she’s had a couple of major chapters to herself in the other two books. I’ve tried to like her, but she just bothers me. Maybe that’s by design. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens with the series, but when she’s not being argumentative or difficult, she’s whining. True, she has some sympathetic moments, and she proves herself to be something of a heroine. But overall, she grates on my nerves. Additionally, Mat is a bother, but he’s got a part to play, just like Egwene does, and it just demonstrates what a great writer Jordan is that he can create such lovable characters like Loial and Lan and Perrin alongside characters like Mat and Egwene who make you want to scream.
Should you read it?
This series belongs in any fantasy-lover’s library. There are many similarities between it and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it shares some common themes as other well-known fantasy and science fiction epics. But Jordan has a way of writing that causes the pages to just fly by. The cultures he’s built and the histories he’s maintained are vibrant and captivating. Some fantasy series are difficult to read. What I’ve discovered about this one is that it’s hard not to read. I’ve already got #4 off the shelf, and I’m ready to start it as soon as I can!