New Spring - a Wheel of Time Book Review
New Spring - the begining
Written fourteen years after the Eye of the World first introduced readers to the world of the Wheel of Time, New Spring tells the back-story of how Moiraine Damodred and Siuan Sanche become involved with the search for the Dragon Reborn and also how Moiraine meets a'Lan Mandragoran and bonds him as her warder.
The story begins at the end of the Aiel war. The Aiel army is outside the walls of Tar Valon, determined in their quest to punish Moraines uncle, Laman Damodred, the King of Carhien, for cutting down Avendoraldera, a cutting of Avendesora, the Tree of Life, which generations before had been a gift from the Aiel to the people of Cairhein.
In the white tower, the Accepted, Moraine Damodred and Siunn Sanche are in attendance with the Amrylin seat, Tamra Ospenya, and the Keeper of the Chronicles, Gitara Moroso, when Gitara has a foretelling about the birth of the Dragon and then dies, apparently from shock.
Meanwhile, outside the walls of Tar Valon, a'lan Mandragoran witnesses the end of the war when a troop of Aiel march past on their way back to their home in the Aiel waste.
They have succeeded in killing the King of Carhien. The Battle of the Blood Snow is over and the war is won. It's just not clear who won.
The Black Ajah
Moraine and Siuan are sworn to secrecy by Tamra and sent back to their lessons.
When it's announced that Tamra has died in her sleep, Moraine and Siuan begin to suspect the existence of the Black Ajah. But as accepted they can do nothing except wait, watch and learn, until they are allowed to undertake the final test before becoming Aes Sedai.
Once they pass the test for the shawl, and are raised to the rank of Aes Sedai, they realise that nothing much has changed and that they have even less time to themselves than before. Every day is spent learning about their new Ajah and all the rules and restrictions that come with the rank of Aes Sedai.
Meanwhile, there are more unexplained deaths in the tower. For Moraine, every corner hides the shadow of the Black Ajah.
All the while, the net of intrigue tightens around them. Moraine, realising that there is a plot to put her on the throne of Carhein, flees Tar Valon, determined to search for and find the Dragon Reborn.
Moraine and Lan- a forging of bonds
It's at this point that we come to the heart of the story. Moraine and Lan meet, and from the beginning it's a clash of wills.
The uncrowned King of Malkier versus the diminutive Aes Sedai.
In the ensuing battle of wits and wills, we get to see aspects of both characters that are never more than hinted at in the Wheel of time. It's both humanizing and endearing.
Jordan handles the interactions between them with skill and humour.
It's never clear who is going to come out on top.
Searching for the Dragon Reborn
Almost against his will, Morainne manages to enlist Lan's help. It comes at a cost.
In the climax that follows, Lan's world is turned upside down and shattered by betrayal and death.
When Moraine asks Lan to be her warder, Lan refuses. In a show of trust, Moraine finally explains what her mission is and why it's so important.
Lan must decide if his battle against the shadow is more important than Moraines mission to find the Dragon Reborn, or whether their goals are aligned.
There are several light hearted moments as Mr Jordan skillfully explores the relationship between Moiraine and Lan, developing and sculpting the storyline until it fairly hums with energy.
The climax is satisfying and indeed room is left for several books to fill the gap between the ending of this book and the beginning of the Wheel of Time series proper.
New Spring is an excellent introduction to the world of the Wheel of Time and is a stand out read in its own right. It's helped by the speed of the story and absence of Mr Jordan's usual detailed descriptions.
New Spring can be read either prior to reading the original series or after. The choice is yours.
Many thanks to Ariel Burgess aka Reddera on DeviantArt for allowing use of her amazing artwork.
If you enjoyed her renditions of Moraine and Lan, why not head over to her Patreon site and support her.
Also a big shout out to Jason Chan for his outstanding book cover artwork downloaded from Tor.com
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