Book Review: Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn

The Dragon Reborn (Wheel of Time, #3)The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Dragon Reborn is a bit of a departure from the previous books in that the narrative doesn’t really follow Rand’al Thor (the main character of the first two books), despite him being ‘the Dragon Reborn’ of the title. Instead, it focuses on the adventures (or misadventures) of his friends from the the Two Rivers, Perrin, Mat and Egwene. Perrin Ayabarra is experiencing wolfy dreams and is afraid of loosing his humanity to the wolf that threatens to take over his mind everytime violence is called for. He journey’s with Moiriane Aes Sedai, Lan the Warder, Loail the Ogier and Faile, a young Horn Hunter. Mat Cauthon is finally recovering from the affects of a cursed dagger, healed by the Amrylin Seat at the White Tower (Hogwarts for Aes Sedai). He is manipulated by Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne to carry a letter to Elayne’s mother, the Queen of Andor. He learns two things during this trip, a) he has more than any one person’s fair share of luck and b) somebody wants the three girls dead. Egwene and the other two girls continue their training at the White Tower and have been raised to the Accepted. Egwene starts having surreal dreams that can leave scars and the three are charged with a mission by the Amrylin Seat to uncover and destroy the Black Ajah (Aes Sedai who have gone over to the dark side). Inevitably, Perrin, Mat, Egwene and the other girls are drawn together in Tear, where Rand’al Thor is destined to take up a magical sword that only the Dragon Reborn can draw.

The writing and plotting seems much stronger in this book, with the characters developing slowly but surely. As a reader I definitely missed following Rand’al Thor’s perspective, but liked that I got to know the other characters better too. One thing that did jar is that Min, another girl with a talent who has fallen in love with Rand, is mentioned a few times at the beginning of the book, but then seems to disappear for the rest of it. I don’t know whether this was the result of some heavy editing or whether it slipped the writer’s mind. I would favour the former explanation as these books do run to epic lengths. My main frustration, however, is that despite the size of each individual volume, the knowledge that there is still another nine books or so to go in this series, and the worst thing is that I’m growing fond of some the characters, and therefore feel that I’m being emotionally black-mailed into reading the whole lot. There is so many books waiting for me to be read, so can I really afford to read all the Wheel of Time books back to back? At the moment, the answer seems to be yes!

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