I've been reading TSR. Like, a lot. I'm about 2/3rds of the way through. As I've said before (maybe not in this thread, but in another): TSR is my favorite book, and even though it's the longest, it reads like one of the shortest.
Let's start with the beginning. TSR is odd in the series in that it's the only one that starts with chapter 1 and not a prologue. But, here's the funny thing: TSR's "chapter 1" reads exactly like every other prologue in the series (except perhaps the first, which is special). And the other funny thing: chapter 2 begins with the wind, but without context. You get the tail end of a wind scene that obviously got chopped off when it was decided not to have a prologue.
It's not a very well-done edit. The seams where they cut and transplanted are still visible. I'm curious as to why it was done. Did the prologue fall out of favor in the publishing world for a bit?
the prologue chapter 1
is a solid reminder that the world is not divided into good people and darkfriends. Case in point: Elaida. Completely on the side of the light, and working very hard to ensure the Last Battle is won. But she's completely, monumentally, disastrously wrong about how this is to be done. Also: more than a little crazy.
Or take Dain Bornhald. Putting aside that he's a whitecloak and thus, by definition, not quite right in the head: he wants good things (justice, the eradication of darkfriends). He's just tremendously misinformed and plain blind stupid.
Moving on, the beginning of this book is quite slow. Dull, even. I think it had to be this way because of the book's structure. All of the characters had to decide to depart the Stone in three different directions, which means a lot of thinking and talking and not a lot of doing. Also, Jordan has to repeat his lengthy and detailed Setting of the Scene three times over. But the end result is worth it. Three stellar plotlines, far flung and far removed from each other, each with multiple climaxes of its own.
The Shadow Rising is actually a lot like three books in one. What if Jordan had written them sequentially instead of cramming them together? Would that have been better? I want to say no, but I also kinda want to say yes too.
Anyway, Rhuidean is epic as always, but surprisingly, it's Perrin's story that I have enjoyed most on this read through. Fail is an apocalyptic dingleberry, of course, but the Scouring of the
Shire Two Rivers
is such a deceptively complex bit of storytelling. You've got the Whitecloaks, and Padan Fain, and Slayer/Luc/Isam (Slucisam?), all with their own goals, and into it steps Perrin, reluctant leader, Wolfbrother, ta'veren; and he totally kicks everyone's butt. Even Fail's.
The other character whose development I'm watching closely is Egwene. I am a little impatient with the Wise Ones' slow pace of instruction WRT tel'aran'rhiod. I mean, everyone says it's dangerous, but it's not often shown
to be all that dangerous. The main characters blunder about in it all the time with no ill effects at all.
And speaking of the wolf dream, Perrin thinks offhandedly to himself at one point that he might like to live there when he dies, like a wolf. Foreshadowing that he is going to be bound to the Wheel and the Horn? Man I hope so.
Anyway, right now Trollocs are attacking Emond's Field. Gotta go read before I go to bed.
Nobody likes a sham, except when it comes to poo.