My predictions for The Shadow Rising:
-Seeing as this one is a good deal longer than the three before it, I imagine it’ll spread the scope out more among the viewpoint characters, maybe adding a few that can have more equal time to the leads unlike in book two.
-After the last one got Rand mostly out of the way to develop Mat, Perrin, and Egwene, this one is going to give us more of Thom and Min, after their rather small roles before this.
-We’ll see more of the Sea Folk, a culture that’s been on the periphery this whole time but apparently has some role to play given how Jordan went to the trouble to add them to this world.
-Perrin and Zarine’s relationship will develop further, and she’ll become a bit less annoying as she grows more accustomed to the kind of life he has.
No prologue this time, so right into chapter one:
Min arrives at Tar Valon, after taking almost all of book three to get there. Everywhere she looks are signs that something very bad will happen here soon, and probably form the climax this time. Naturally she’s a bit behind on current events, so Jordan has an excuse to do more reminding of what’s going on. She also runs into Gawyn, who’s getting quite upset about not knowing where his sister is.
Siuan suspects Min’s visions mean the Blacks will attack, but for now she wants Min to stay in Tar Valon, and take over the job of finding any Black sleeper agents. And then there’s a Crowning Moment of Funny as she wants to make sure no one recognizes Min, so she has her go undercover as the biggest girly girl possible.
Elaida joins the point of view characters, and we learn the real specifics behind her Knight Templar nature. She really does oppose the Dark One and wants to do whatever she can to keep him from winning the Last Battle. Unfortunately, she sees that as keeping Andor strong, and the best way she can think of to do that is stopping what Siuan is up to. And she gets a White named Alviarin to help her by laying her case out. Poor Communication Kills, guys.
Dain Bornhald deals with Ordeith, a consultant he’s been saddled with who is upset with having to put up with a bunch of Tinkers. I like him already. This is the beginning of their plan to attack Two Rivers.
And now something even more unexpected: Suroth is now a viewpoint character, as she’s been in hiding on the Sea Folk’s islands since the defeat at Falme. Ryma, now completely broken, is interrogated about the Dragon Reborn, but of course she knows nothing. Suroth is planning to launch a new attack against Rand so the Seanchan Empress will never know about her defeat, and is also keeping another piece of information from her, which I assume is the discovery of two collared Seanchan.
The first three books all suffered from slow beginnings, with not much happening in their first several chapters. Not so here, as Jordan immediately gets several plates spinning. I guess we’re far enough into the series now that he felt fine dispensing with pandering to people who haven’t read earlier books (which I’ve never understood why you would do, anyway, so that’s fine with me). I loved Egwene and the others’ Alias story in the last book, so seeing Min take it over while even deeper undercover should be lots of fun. And the reintroduction of several hostile forces promises a book packed with plot, which the increased length should certainly be up to holding.