The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A fantastic read, previously rated 4 stars, I had to up it to 5 after this go through.
Let me start by saying I love this series. Ok, now that that's out of the way, let me tell you why I love The Dragon Reborn. For me, there are three main draws: Mat gets interesting, Perrin gets wolfish, and Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene get into trouble. Oh, and don't even let me get started on the Aiel. Love the Aiel!
Mat has to be my favorite character in this series. He's the reluctant hero, the rogue. He's always been lucky and cocky, but in The Dragon Reborn, his luck starts going wild. He can't lose at games of chance and piles up an enormous wealth in a short time. But he's also caught in the Amyrlin's web. As the sounder of the Horn of Valere and as ta'veren, he finds his options limited more than most, but then again, his supernatural luck and the pull of the Dragon Reborn himself ensure that Mat does not stay caught for long.
Perrin, the quiet thinker among Rand's friends gets more of a spotlight in this book and he struggles against the call of the wolves, both in the waking and dreaming worlds. As he learns what little there is to know about his strange affinity to them, he begins to fear that he may lose himself entirely and actually become a wolf, in mind if not in body. This is also the book where the symbolic premonitions of Min concerning Perrin begin to become more clear. I won't go into any more details about that, but I will say it makes for an interesting read.
Meanwhile, Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve have returned to the White Tower in disgrace, everyone having thought they'd just run off. But despite spending a good deal of their days elbows deep in dishwater, the three find themselves on a dangerous quest, assigned by the Amyrlin herself. But they are, after all, still in training and they are ill equiped for the magnitude of their endeavor. A chance meeting with the Aiel brings a new element into their story and introduces Aviendha, one of my favorite female characters after Nynaeve.
And that brings us to the Aiel. In the books leading up to this one it is heavily hinted that Rand is Aiel, but who are they? The Dragon Reborn begins to answer that question, as the main heroes and heroines encounter various Aiel who are searching for He who Comes with the Dawn well beyond the borders of their own Three Fold Land (known as the Aiel Waste by most). One of my favorite things about the Aiel, besides their awesome fighting skills, is the mix between a fatalistic world view coupled with a quirky sense of humor, which most of them seem to share.
Another thing I love about this book is how prophecy, luck, coincidence, or maybe all three, conspire to draw all of the major players and threads into one massively satisfying battle royale.
Overall, a fantastic addition to the series. I highly recommend it to fans of the epic fantasy genre, especially those who enjoyed the first two in this series. Of course, those who like a book to get to the point without a lot of description or side plots may not find this series to their taste, so keep that in mind.
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