Review: As the third book in The Wheel of Time series opens, Rand Al’Thor, after days of arguing with Moraine Sedai, leaves during the night, forcing Moraine, Lan, Perrin, and Loial to try to track him…which leads them through many towns where his passing has caused extremely odd things to happen. In one town, Perrin frees an Aiel named Gaul from a cage and a Huntress of the Horn named Zarine decides to tag along as they flee the town by river after Perrin and Gaul slay/defeat twenty Whitecloaks. They are chased out of Illian by Darkhounds and Gray Men and arrive in Tear.
Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne bring Mat and the Horn back to Tar Valon. The girls are raised to Accepted and put on secret assignment by the Amyrlin Seat to search for members of the Black Ajah.
During this time, Egwene also starts to learn about Dreaming and Tel‘aran‘rhiod, the World of Dreams. Her first trip, using a ter’angreal given to her by Verin, gives her a glimpse of a number of things, including Rand’s dream, Perrin’s dream, and a glimpse of Callandor, confirming the ladies suspicion that they need to go to Tear to track down the members of the Black Ajah. On their way, they meet a number of Aiel, including Aviendha, Bain, and Chiad, and Rhuarc, who are quite a way from the Dragonwall, in search of “he who comes with the dawn.”
Mat is healed, his connection to the dagger from Shadar Logoth broken, and he is told that he is effectively a prisoner of the White Tower, until a scheme of Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve allows him to escape downriver with Thom Merrillin. Due to his unnatural good luck, he and Thom survive a couple of encounters on the way to Caemlyn, where Mat overhears a plan to kill Elayne, Egwene, and Nynaeve. He and Thom then make tracks for Tear.
All our parties converge on Tear and the Prophecies are fulfilled: Rand wields Callandor and proclaims himself The Dragon Reborn!
Bottom Line: Changing gears a bit, The Dragon Reborn spends more time building the characters and story of the girls, Mat, and Perrin. Most of Rand’s face time is through other characters’ points of view this time. It also provides quite a bit of foreshadowing and name recognition that has come with having read the entire series previously…some of those moments where a character is introduced, almost in passing, that I know has a much bigger part to play later…that when I read them in here now, I think “Oh, wow…I didn’t recall <insert name> being introduced here.” I love those moments during re-reads. Another great book.