The Dragon Reborn

Look, you have done me a favor here. A big favor. I know you’re all going to be Aes Sedai […], but if you ever need help, if there is anything I can do, I will come.

Rand al’Thor has declared himself to be the Dragon Reborn, but what will happen next is still unclear. One thing is certain, however: as his ability with the One Power grows stronger and less controlled, it is no longer safe to keep his friends nearby. And so he strikes out on his own on a reckless mission to fulfill an ancient prophecy.

The Dragon is not the only one who shapes the Pattern around him. Perrin longs to be the simple blacksmith he was raised to be, but when he encounters a beautiful and willful woman named Faile, it is just another reminder of the frightening new destiny taking shape around him. Mat, meanwhile, is finally cured of the curse of Shadar Logoth, and is free to see the world on his own terms … after fulfilling just one last promise.

And Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne have scarcely returned to the White Tower when they are commissioned by the Amyrlin Seat to hunt down the escaped members of the Black Ajah.

All roads lead to the city of Tear, where the Dragon Reborn will claim his destiny.

·   ·   ·

I actually remember not liking The Dragon Reborn as much as its predecessors when I first read it. Rereading it now, I can see that it marks a significant shift in the Wheel of Time. Up to this point Rand has been the key protagonist, but here he is completely absent for huge portions of the book, and only vaguely sane when he is on stage. The story in this book really isn’t about Rand anymore.

As I’m rereading the series, though, the shift feels more like Jordan is finally hitting his stride. This is the first book to really feel like the Wheel of Time to me, where the story is tracking many main characters in many parts of the world, each with their own problems and concerns, but all inevitably focused on helping Rand defend the world against the rising power of the Dark One.

The chapters about Mat are particularly enjoyable to read. The problem of the Shadar Logoth dagger is at last resolved at the beginning of this book, and for once we are able to see Mat’s character really facing the larger world outside his home village with an untainted perspective … and for all his mischief, he, too, finds himself drawn down the hero’s path, as relentlessly as any of his companions.

My Grade: A

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