After finishing The Shadow Rising, I am comfortable in saying that is this book in which The Wheel of Time series became an epic series. Author Robert Jordan changes things up for the second book in row, first with Rand Al’Thor’s return as a major point of view character and the second with all the major plot threads did not end together in the same location as the previous three books had done.
With Rand return as a major point of view perspective, we find him more confident in his role as the Dragon Reborn and learning to direct as well as react to events better than he had previously. Interestingly it is Rand, who had never interacted with an Tinkers or Aiel in the previous three books, that learns of their history as well as his own in the Aiel Waste. Along with Rand are Egwene, Mat, and Moiraine who’s views of Rand’s development round out the picture of a young man learning to use the One Power and if he is going mad or not. Perrin returns to Emond’s Field with Faile, Loial, and three Aiel planning to turn himself into the Whitecloaks to save his village and family, by the end he has become a local hero and war leader. Then there is the hunt of the Black Ajah by Nynaeve and Elayne to the western shore of the continent only to find something even more dark than former Aes Sedai. And on top of all these major plots are the events taking place at the White Tower, the news of which hasn’t reached any of the major characters.
With all these plot threads and new locations, it would have been easy for this book to become a mess. However this book was so good that I found it hard to put down when I had to get back on the clock. To me that is the best way to express how much I recommend this book.