Title: New Spring [Prelude to the series]
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure
Publication date: 2004
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.
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is one of my favorite series of all time. Truth be told, it is not everybody’s cup of tea and I have found that many grow bored with the massive world-building, numerous storylines and more characters than you can remember. But not me. I love that shit. I love the world, the tiny details that make everything come to life and the care with which the author builds every character.
A fun fact is that I haven’t finished the series (don’t judge me, it can still be my favorite – those books are 600+ each and he has, like, 14 of them) but I have now set my mind to it. I’m on maternity leave with a baby and I’ll be going on a lot of walks so long live the audio books.
I decided to start with New Spring which is a prelude to the first book of the series although the events in it happen years prior to the first one. It focuses entirely on Moiraine and Lan, switching between their points of view until they meet and bond. It starts with Moiraine being an Accepted in the White Tower – while I did love those moments when Nynaeve and Egwene were at the White Tower and training to become Aes Sedai, it felt a bit dull when I read it all over for Moiraine and Suan. Not bad, mind you, just repetitive. If I hadn’t read about Nynaeve and Egwene I would have liked it better, probably. Still, we learn a lot of things about the White Tower which I believe are not mentioned in the other books.
Most of the book focuses on Moiraine and the prophecy about the Dragon Reborn, emphasizing on her journey and her determination on finding the dragon after witnessing something like a prophecy made by another Aes Sedai. I liked the fact that young Moiraine was nothing like the Moiraine we know from the main series – it shows how much she has grown, how time and her position as Aes Sedai has changed her. I would have liked to learn more about Lan since his pov was there just to introduce the character and to push it in her direction so he can later become her Warder. But I guess we may learn more about him in the main series, I’ve only read up to book 6 so there is plenty of time to learn about Malkier 😀
One thing I cannot go past is that they ruined the character of Lan for me. I saw him as strong, dutiful, restrained man who is also an amazing fighter (duh!) but at the later chapters of the book he was like a trained puppy in the hands of a woman (and not Moiraine!). I’m not sure if it was the Malkier custom he was bound to or the author was trying to show his soft side but it threw me off. I really hope he is not all mushy and romantic inside when he finally gets together with… ooops, okay, I almost spoiled this for those of you who haven’t read the series yet.
All in all, the book can easily be read before or after the main story-line. While it does go into more details about scenes and people mentioned in the main series it doesn’t really give spoilers. I decided to start with it this time mostly because Moirane is one of my favorite characters and I wanted to learn more about her. On the other side, every time I start with book 1 I read until 6 and then stop for some reason 😀 Hopefully this will break the cycle.
I’ll give New Hope a solid 4/5 rating. It has the same style and it was really entertaining but it felt like an extra for me and the chapters with Lan were a bit weak and dragging. And I really hoped for more time to be focused on Moiraine and Lan getting to know each other and working together before he becomes her Warder. I’ll definitely recommend it for anybody who loves the series and especially if they like Moiraine and Lan. It adds even more depth and nuances to their characters.
What about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Wheel of Time: New Spring?