3 stars, Viki's review

Review ‘New spring’

Title: New spring
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of time #0
Genres: Epic fantasy
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The city of Canluum lies close to the scarred and desolate wastes of the Blight, a walled haven from the dangers away to the north, and a refuge from the ill works of those who serve the Dark One. Or so it is said.

The city that greets Al’Lan Mandragoran, exiled king of Malkier and the finest swordsman of his generation, is instead one that is rife with rumour and the whisperings of Shadowspawn. Proof, should he have required it, that the Dark One grows powerful once more and that his minions are at work throughout the lands.

And yet it is within Canluum’s walls that Lan will meet a woman who will shape his destiny. Moiraine is a young and powerful Aes Sedai who has journeyed to the city in search of a bondsman. She requires aid in a desperate quest to prove the truth of a vague and largely discredited prophecy—one that speaks of a means to turn back the shadow, and of a child who may be the dragon reborn.

I was contemplating to start this series for a while now but at first glance it rather falls into the stuffy fantasy category for me where the plot is not only heavily political driven but the romance is so insignificant in it that it’s practically nonexistent. Don’t get me wrong, I like these too. There are some phenomenal fantasies out but I need a different mindset and much more time than I usually got for reading it.
When I finally arrived to the junction to start it I decided to start with New springs. I normally don’t read books with the 0.5 or any similar definition because most of the time they are short companion novellas. In this case however the book not only more than 400 pages long but as I got from the reviews I read beforehand, it lays some pretty important political and structural layers which helps in following the next books.  Let me tell you that after finishing it I don’t exactly agree with the last statement but its water under the bridge now.

As it’s a prequel expected explanations, introductions and descriptions of the whole Wheel of time universe, the nationalities and costumes especially since new words and whatnot are thrown around quite frequently in the story. Well there are really little explanations in the book so it took me quite a while to figure things out and I still have things that I’m not sure about. However this is not the book the author wrote first, this came around pretty late in the series so if somebody didn’t start with New spring then he/she probably doesn’t have problem with this. Anyway, Robert Jordan created a phenomenal, intricate and complex world for his series and it’s admirable.
Though I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I expected, not just because I didn’t understand a lot of things but I found it pretty restricted too, in regards of places and characters. Most of the events play out between the walls of the Tower and even if the story is told from multiple point of views I would say that the real protagonist was Moiraine, things revolve around her.  I found her point of view easier to read but I liked Lan character way more.

The story starts out way too slow and in the beginning goes into so many unnecessary details. Like when describing the Tower, I can safely say that I know every nook and cranny in it, every corner and spider web. I found this too much and when I pair this with Moiraine personality, what I kinda despised you got my drift. But excitement aside the concept is really interesting.

I found it strange how high the Aes Sedai regarded themselves even when it was clear from descriptions and some scenes in the story that the general population doesn’t like them, some even fear them and simply want nothing to do with them.  Whereas they declared themselves spiritual leaders and such. Among these prideful and superior atmosphere emitting people we can find the lead character Moiraine, who is even more arrogant and snobbish than her peers. As most of the initiates she is rash and has quite a bad temper which strongly clashes with the teachings of the Tower about peace and serenity. I found her annoyingly curios, a meddler and her need to know everything and manipulate others in order to reach this need of hers is not really a good characteristic. She has a flippant and over confident, ‘I’m invincible’ attitude and a sense of entitlement about her. I also found her naiveté and somewhat childish behavior funny at times. When she declares something along the line ‘I’m not an innocent I saw horses breeding’, I almost fall down the chair. Yes girl, you are quite an expert, teach me!  So she wasn’t my favorite character for sure.

Apart from my disappointments and some struggles I found a couple of good elements to the story too. The world building is certainly one of them, and then there are plenty of action and secrets too around the end of the story. All in all I liked it but could have been better, it’s a solid middle ground for me.

 

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