A few weeks ago Rob from Malkier Talks tagged us in a Hype Train with eleven questions to get us excited for the eventual return of The Wheel of Time on Prime Video. Here's the questions Rob proposed: Questions 1 - What is your favourite episode from season one? 2 - Who is your favourite character from season one? 3 - What is your favourite piece of dialogue from season one? 4 - Which character did you end up loving that you didn't expect to love so much? 5 - Who had the best outfit in season one? 6 - Who portrayed their character the best and why? 7 - Tell us about a moment that unexpectedly made you laugh or cry in season one? 8 - What moment was the best homage to the books? 9 - Aside from Blood Snow, what was your favourite Cold Open? 10 - What was the best moment in the BTS footage of season two? 11 - Which new actor are you most excited to see on screen? Ceara, Donal, or Ayoola? We responded with our own video over on YouTube. Check it out to find out how Thom, Kathy and Kitty answered Robs' questions! Let's keep the hype train going! Let us know your answers to Malkier Talks questions in the comments below!
Katy is a news contributor for Dragonmount. You can follow her as she shares her thoughts on The Wheel of Time TV Show on Instagram and Twitter @KatySedai This story contains spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, until the very end of A Memory of Light. Please proceed with caution if you haven’t finished the book! Brandon Sanderson and Harriet McDougal hold copies of A Memory of Light in January 2013. It has been ten years since A Memory of Light, the final volume of The Wheel of Time was released. Since then fans have read and reread the books. New fans have found their way to the books, and have finished the series. Most of the mysteries from the series are tied up, but not all of them. For ten years, author Brandon Sanderson has been holding onto one final secret, which he revealed during a recent interview with Matt Hatch on The Dusty Wheel YouTube channel. Brandon talked with Team Jordan, and the plan was to always reveal this final secret after ten years. Matt and Brandon also discussed other secrets that have been haunting fans for the last ten years. They divided the conversation into three parts, the first, are secrets that are perhaps resolved, and have been discussed before. The middle is the big new reveal, and the final section is a Q&A from fans. There are number of existing fan theories from the end of A Memory of Light that Brandon and Matt covered during their conversation. First is “the pipe”. Rand lights a pipe in the Epilogue, and Brandon confirms it is one of the last mysteries of the series. We will forever be able to debate and theorize about it because Robert Jordan left no answers. Brandon believes that Rand was close to the pattern, and therefore able to affect objects In the real world. Harriet believes it’s Jordan’s way of showing us that the 4th age will be as different from the 3rd as the 3rd was from the 2nd. Matt Hatch said his favorite theory is his friend Mary’s - it’s a ter’angreal. The next mystery is the identity of Nakomi, the aiel woman who visits first Aviendha and then Rand at the end of the books. Robert Jordan included a woman at the bore after Rand had walked out of Shayol Ghul, but left no details and no one from Team Jordan knew who she was. Brandon added the scene with Aviendha to foreshadow this mystery woman. He said it’s canon that Aviendha is asleep, but the details of Nakomi’s identity is Brandon’s theory more than anything. All the details about Nakomi are revealed in Origins of the Wheel of Time by Michael Livingston. Brandon and Matt also discussed the body swap theory from the end of the books. There was a thread on reddit in 2019 where someone correctly outlined how the body swap worked, with the two men being linked by balefire streams crossing. Brandon confirmed this theory, and confirmed the answer comes from Robert Jordan via Harriet. Brandon sees this as a chance for Rand to lay down the weight and go live a life. Then we come to the big “final” secret. At the very end of A Memory of Light, the forsaken, Lanfear, is alive. She faked her death! Matt and Brandon give some background on this from way back when Matt was a beta reader. Matt found the foreshadowing too obvious in A Memory of Light, but time has proven Brandon correct that sometimes foreshadowing needs to be a little bit more heavy handed - not many people picked up on the subtle game Lanfear played with Perrin during the final book. Brandon frames the thought process this way - Lanfear was in a no-win situation where no solution would work. She needed a credible witness to confirm her death so the good guys wouldn’t come after her, and she needed the good guys to win so the dark one wouldn’t punish her in the end. She helps Perrin and manipulates Perrin into thinking he cannot be affected by compulsion. And in the end, she lives with everyone believing she is dead. Brandon confirms that this is canon, Lanfear is alive at the end of a Memory of Light. The discussion of the Lanfear Lives secret begins here: https://youtu.be/nTifdnXH4lg?t=1217 The rest of the interview involve a few other points about the ending of the books, including Egwene’s story line, and who decided her fate (Team Jordan), whether Rand would raise his children (yes!), and that we will see the Bridal Wreath scene (eventually, someday). The final section of the interview are some fun and interesting Q&A from fans. Brandon reveals some fun tidbits: like Harriet wrote most of the chapter titles for Robert Jordan and for Brandon; Brandon would remove some the spanking scenes in hindsight; and he’d have his team help with the timelines now knowing there are three books. Brandon would add more Padan Fain, but keep the ending with Mat. Brandon had many calls from fans for a Narg cameo, but in the end, he didn’t include a talking trolloc. The release of A Memory of Light was the end of the book series, and yet in the 10 years since then we’ve continued to have some new material, in the companion book, in Origins of the Wheel of Time, and from interviews with Brandon, Harriet and Team Jordan. And now, it seems, we know everything that we ever will know. The rest is speculation and theorizing. There are no endings to the Wheel of Time, but it was an ending. When did you read A Memory of Light for the first time? Was it January 2013, or more recently? Let us know in the comments below! Back in 2012, Jason Denzel, founder of Dragonmount, wrote a letter to Robert Jordan in response to reading A Memory of Light. Read it here.
The Wheel of Time Showrunner, Rafe Judkins, joined Dragonmount producer Kathy and community show host Thom for a live interview. If you missed the interview check it out over on YouTube. Here's some of the major points from the conversation: Season 3 writers room is finished! Season 2 is coming 2023, but don't expect it in early 2023. They still have quite a bit they are working on wrapping up. Rafe will be also showrunning God of War, and about show running multiple projects he said - There's fun new technology for season 2 & 3. Season 2 will also have some longer episodes. Changing the story more to get through the story more effectively. Wheel of Time has about 200 pages episode, versus Game of Thrones had about 50 pages an episode. There's more remixing to deliver the story overall. When asked about the diversity of the writers room - Rafe said he also focuses on diversity of thought. For example, Celine Song has a family belief of reincarnation and would share with the writers of season one how that belief filters into their daily life. This allows the writers to incorporate those thoughts into the characters. There's no organized religion in the books, but strong cultural practices, so they tried to add to the world building in the show with little "ritual stories." For example Stepin, burning incense for the forsaken. Rafe also said that the Wheel of Time fandom is statistically the best fandom. They do statistics on big fandoms, and ours is the best in terms of being kind and positive, the most welcoming. I think a lot of us have felt this, so to hear it backed by numbers feels great! For more fun details, including what other media Rafe is watching and his favorite Wheel of Time curse word, check out the full interview!
Katy is a news contributor for Dragonmount. You can follow her as she shares her thoughts on The Wheel of Time TV Show on Instagram and Twitter @KatySedai The Dusty Wheel YouTube channel has posted a clip from an interview with Rosamund Pike about narrating The Eye of the World. Both The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt have been released by Macmillan Audio with narration by Pike. The video is a clip from an interview that was included in full with the audiobook version of Origins of the Wheel of Time by Michael Livingston. During the interview Pike explains she has to use the full range of her voice for all of Robert Jordan's characters, and uses cues from the books to add unique touches to all our favorite characters. She says narrating The Eye of the World is "like acting out the entire first season singlehandedly." Watch the interview below and check out Origins of the Wheel of Time audiobook to hear the full interview.
Katy is a news contributor for Dragonmount. You can follow her as she shares her thoughts on The Wheel of Time TV Show on Instagram and Twitter @KatySedai Welcome to the 2022 Dragonmount Holiday Gift Guide! We’ve rounded up all the best Wheel of Time themed gifts from artists and small businesses. We've also opened up the brand new Dragonmount Merchandise Shop with lots of cool new gear. Books & Official Merchandise First up is licensed merch and books. Origins of the Wheel of Time ($ 14.99) delves deep into the lore that inspired Robert Jordan. A must-have for anyone who loves to re-read the series. For those book collectors located in the UK , Orbit is publishing this gorgeous version of The Eye of the World (£85). There are two versions of the Aes Sedai Great Serpent rings. The first Aes Sedai ring by Badali Jewelry is the original ring approved by Robert Jordan ($85). (Available from the new Dragonmount Merchandise Store!) The second is the gold Aes Sedai ring by Jalic blades inspired from the TV series on Prime Video ($60). Plated gold with semi-precious stones for each ajah. For sword collectors, there’s Rand al’Thor’s Heron Mark sword from The Wheel of Time on Prime Video (Jalic Blades - $360, preorder, expected to ship in Jan 2023). The last piece of official merchandise is this incredible, limited-series serpent watch from Tockr ($449). Engraved with The Wheel of Time logo on the back. (Currently out of stock, but perhaps returning soon?) Dragonmount Merchandise & JordanCon Next up are a few items from the all-new Dragonmount Merchandise Shop! You can start with a gift card, but there's a great selection of headwear like this dad hat ($19). There's clothing like this cute muscle tank ($24). Also, lots of drink vessels to choose from. Our favorite is this epic beer stein ($29). Another fantastic gift is a three-day membership to JordanCon ($55). JordanCon is a small fantasy literature convention started in honor of The Wheel of Time author, Robert Jordan. JordanCon 2023 is taking place April 21-23 in Atlanta, Georgia. Finally, for those who've finished reading The Wheel of Time we recommend checking Dragonmount founder Jason Denzel's Mystic Trilogy book series (ebook format: $9.99, $11.99, and $14.99). Also available in print and audiobook. Check Jason's personal website for more details. Unofficial Merch Inspired by The Wheel of Time For anyone who has the full hardcover The Wheel of Time collection, these book jackets from Juniper books make an incredible statement on your bookshelf ($225). If you've always wanted your own twisted ring ter'angreal, you'll want this Möbius strip ($35). From the description: Mobius Strip is a surface with only one side (when embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space) and only one boundary curve. This fox head pendant looks a lot like one we imagine a trickster gambler wears ($161). We think Mat Cauthon approves. If wolves are more your spirit animal, this wolf brother candle is inspired by our favorite Blacksmith ($23). Artistic types will enjoy this new Unofficial Wheel of Time Coloring Book ($14.99). The Wheel of Time has inspired many wonderful artists. Serena's print entitled "Cleansing" shows an iconic scene from the middle of the books ($11.95) The Oath rod shirt is great for fans of the Moiraine and Suian relationship ($28). Fans of the new The Wheel of Time TV show will appreciate this cute Green Ajah mug ($14.50), and this greeting card with Daniel Henny's Lan ($6). Lan fans can also request personalized book pendants with their favorite characters or text from the books. These handmade bone dice are just the Pips for your favorite gambler ($20). Wheel of Time fans love to cosplay, and you can't play Moiraine without the kesiera, the pendant with a blue stone that Moiraine wears in her hair ($19.99). Anyone looking for a simple Warder cosplay can pop on this I'm her Warder t-shirt and be in character ($23.20) If you need to fill your home with Wheel of Time art, you can drink your tea (or ale) out of this Aes Sedai Tankard ($43). The last recommendation we have is Corey Lansdell gorgeous art inspired by the TV show. We especially love Rosamund Pike as Moiraine ($46.94) What Wheel of Time gifts are on your wishlist? Let us know in the comments below!
Rajiv Moté is Dragonmount’s book blogger with a lens on the craft of fiction writing. When he’s not directing software engineers, he writes fiction of his own, which can be found catalogued at his website. Around the time The Shadow Rising was published, a friend turned me on to Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time by raving about the Easter eggs. It was epic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings, he said, but throughout, there were veiled references to mythology, legends, and history from all around the world. This was during a time when the internet was still text terminals and UNIX command lines, and he wanted his friends to read along and help catch all the references. Soon enough, I was on dial-up Compuserve and Usenet with all the other amateur scholars, not only trying to decode the real-world tales in Jordan’s Pattern, but trying to predict the shapes the Pattern would take with the next book. And the next. Now, The Wheel of Time is complete, an accessible internet has crowd-sourced an enormous volume of amateur scholarship, and professional scholar Michael Livingston has written an official version of our Easter egg hunt in Origins of the Wheel of Time. For the nerdiest segment of fandom (myself included), it’s a delight. Livingston parses out the multitude of references with evidence from Robert Jordan’s own notes and known influences. But even for fans and admirers of Jordan’s world building craft, Livingston sheds light on the themes and writing process that garnered so much love and acclaim. He also shows why the Easter egg hunt is central to understanding what Jordan was trying to achieve, and perhaps even why Rand could light his pipe in the end. Origins contains a concise biography of Robert Jordan, a contextualization with J.R.R. Tolkien’s methods behind The Lord of the Rings, and a look at Jordan’s practices as a writer. It concludes with a large section, similar to the glossaries at the end of The Wheel’s books, that go through names and terms from the story. Here, Livingston provides insights into what those names reference, and even reveals some lingering mysteries. Origins is probably not for the casual reader. But if you’ve ever engaged with The Wheel of Time on a deeper level, hunted for literary Easter eggs, studied how writers build an imaginary world, or pondered how epic fantasy--like the Wheel--spins a myriad variations on eternal themes, Origins may spark beautiful revelations. It’s also an illustration of how meeting your heroes can be a wonderful thing. Mortality and Change Through Jordan’s own writings and stories from “Team Jordan,” Livingston reveals a Robert Jordan who was vigorously physical, endlessly curious, and a lover of stories real and imagined. He was also a man profoundly affected by his military service in the Vietnam War, a subsequent accident in civilian life that didn’t kill him only by luck, and finally a disease that ultimately ended his life. Awareness of mortality weighed on Jordan’s entire adult life. As he wrote: And more succinctly, “Life changes. Deal.” Though Jordan was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, his attitude was far less nostalgic. The inevitability of global change was a theme in his first fantasy novel, Warrior of the Altaii, and ran strong in The Wheel of Time, where the world fundamentally changed in the process of being saved. Returning from home, you have changed, and so has the place you left. You can’t go home again. And maybe that’s for the best. As a veteran and a scholar of military history, Robert Jordan based many of his fictional battles on historical ones. In the glossary-style final section, Michael Livingston also gives references to the military references Jordan uses to inform the tactics and movements he describes so well. Books, Lists, and Ramblings As an amateur fiction writer myself, I was especially interested in Robert Jordan’s writing process. Through Jordan’s notes and interviews, Michael Livingston gives us a look at the writing process that created The Wheel of Time. Jordan was a voracious reader, and Livingston makes several references to Jordan’s collection of more than a thousand books. Jordan was inspired to write by an irony that many writers will recognize: he wanted more from what he read. This is a sentiment echoed by the great Alan Moore, who actively encourages aspiring writers to consume the dreck along with the greats. Robert Jordan set out to build his world by compiling lists from what he read and elsewhere. Of character and place names, certainly, but also “of vegetation, of jobs, of songs, of idioms and sayings.” He would annotate these lists with the aspects of their meaning that captured him, and connect them--physically, with lines--to combine them into new ideas or acknowledge possible connections. A list of names became a cast of characters with interesting attributes, and the interactions in various combinations suggested plots. And once he had an idea for a character or scene, he would just start writing, interrogating the ideas on paper as he went. As an occasional fiction writer, I recognize this sort of brainstorming as a wonderfully creative, generative technique, where a strict plan-then-execute approach usually fails to produce results as deep and rich. But it is his starting point, the lists of proper nouns culled from stories and the world around him, that reveals that Jordan was stitching together ideas from disparate sources into something ambitiously coherent. He was weaving a sort of conspiracy theory, implying that all the stories we know are rooted in this story, the one Robert Jordan was telling, with echoes that go backward and forward in cyclic time. Syncretism, the Grand Conspiracy Theory While I’d gleefully engaged in the great Easter egg hunt for veiled allusions to other stories across many fan properties, I only found a name for the practice in the last few years, reading Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum: syncretism. Both Tolkien and Jordan were syncretics in the same way as the three conspiracy theorists in Foucault’s Pendulum: they connected real details to imagine a common source underlying them. Tolkien explored this through linguistic vectors. Jordan’s vectors were stories. “The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.” All the stories were true, and shall be again. Michael Livingston names three primary influences on Robert Jordan: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, his canon for the legends of King Arthur; and Robert Graves’ The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth. This last book, recommended to him by his wife and editor Harriet, was itself syncretic, claiming that the legends and myths we know were patriarchal stories pasted over the real stories of a primordial matriarchy that featured a tripartite goddess: the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. This goddess could be glimpsed in the background of every story that tried to draw focus to a newer, male god or hero. But the palimpsest was never fully cleared. Hints of the real story still showed through. Jordan not only culled many names for his lists from The White Goddess, he was inspired by the premise that there was a single myth that underpinned all others. Fan excitement in hunting for Easter eggs is the tracing of a diaspora of tales, of recognizing the secret origin of something familiar. Of course, Michael Livingston warns us not to take it too far. Jordan allowed himself to be inspired by these tales, but did not feel himself bound to them. Sometimes similarity is coincidence. Or as the narrator of Foucault’s Pendulum puts it (echoing my thoughts when I try to speculate on the Marvel Cinematic Universe): Mysteries Revealed While Origins of the Wheel of Time is a book that mainly tackles issues that inform Robert Jordan’s story rather than the issues in the story, Michael Livingston gives us a few interesting revelations from the notes. If you speculate about the Prime Video adaptation of The Wheel of Time, this detail may interest you when you consider how showrunner Rafe Judson reimagined the Eye of the World. We know of the Ring of Tamyrlin from the prologue of The Eye of the World, but that artifact, and the term “Tamyrlin” remained things we could only speculate about. Jordan’s notes reveal that it was not only a sign of office, but Tamyrlin was a person. One of the big mysteries is the character Nakomi. Most of us who’ve speculated on her hit close to the truth, but Brandon Sanderson provides some interesting details about her background. I think there’s an opportunity for Rafe Judkins to weave her into the Prime Video adaptation as a recurring cameo. Finally, there is the mystery of Rand’s pipe. The notes contain no answers, and Brandon Sanderson cites this as one of the things he will never reveal. Perhaps it’s for the best. Some things ought to remain in the realm of mystery. For my part, I think the answer reaches back to Hindu mythology, one of the mythologies Jordan incorporates into his syncretism. Consider this, from Livingston’s entry for the Amayar. “Maya” is the divine illusion that is the world we perceive. It veils the ultimate truth of what is, and enlightenment is the process of piercing that veil. In Hinduism, we are not separate from the divine, but continuous with it. It is Maya that prevents us from realizing this. In Jordan’s epic, the Amayar people awaited the end of illusions, just as the Aiel expected to “wake from the dream.” When Rand fought the Dark One, he stopped weaving the One Power and True Power, and started weaving the threads of the Pattern itself, his visions of reality competing with the Dark One’s. He and the Dark One vied to remake the universe. When Rand returned, perhaps it wasn’t that he could no longer touch saidin, but he now saw through its illusion. For all that everyone reminded Rand that he wasn’t the Creator, in the end, he re-wove the universe, human free will intact, and excluded the Dark One outside the Pattern. As it was once, at the moment of Creation, so it was again. Rand, who was once a character in the story, transcended to become the Creator, the storyteller. This is the ultimate enlightenment in a world created from a gleeman’s patchwork cloak of stories: awareness of being in a story. In his new body, Rand’s first desire is to follow his curiosity and see the rest of the world. Unshackled from being ta’veren, he can enjoy the free will he won for the rest of the world. The creation, the story, had a life of its own, and the free will of its characters must be respected. But much like Nakomi, Rand could give the story a nudge. He is now the author of his own story. It fits, doesn’t it?
Today is the release date for Origins of The Wheel of Time: The Legends and Mythologies that Inspired Robert Jordan by Michael Livingston. The book explores Robert Jordan's inspiration for the epic The Wheel of Time series. Here's the book description: Fans are also anticipating the reveal of Nakomi's backstory, one of the remaining mysteries from The Wheel of Time. The book also includes a new world map with changes to the Seanchan continent from Robert Jordan's edits that were never before incorporated. Origins of The Wheel of Time is available for order in ebook format from the Dragonmount store. You can also order print and ebook copies from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your local independent bookseller. The audiobook is available from Macmillan Audio. There's also special UK editions from Broken Binding and Inkstone Books. If you missed our interview with Michael Livingston check it out: Who's looking forward to reading this book? Please let us know what you think in the comments below (but please avoid spoilers for now).
Katy is a news contributor for Dragonmount. You can follow her as she shares her thoughts on The Wheel of Time TV Show on Instagram and Twitter @KatySedai Orbit Books, the UK publisher for The Wheel of Time will be publishing a limited number of leather-bound editions for The Eye of the World. Only 1,000 copies will be sold worldwide. The hardback book comes with gold foiled illustrations by Stephen Player on the slip-case and book cover. It also features green and yellow head and tail bands, dark green sprayed edges, and a gold ribbon. The 1,000 copies are hand numbered. It's definitely a special book to add to your collection! The book also features gorgeous new front endpaper illustration from Martyn Pick depicting the iconic flight from the Two Rivers scene. According to Orbit's announcement, the UK retail price will be £100, or £85 if you preorder. The publication date is December 8th, 2022. These limited editions will not be available in the United States or Canada. The edition is an Orbit website exclusive and is ONLY available via the Orbit store.
Everyone here at Dragonmount is excited for tomorrow's release of Michael Livingston's Origins of The Wheel of Time. Thom interviewed Michael Livingston back in April 2022 while at JordanCon and we are finally able to share it! The Origins of The Wheel of Time comes out November 8th, 2022 and explores Robert Jordan's inspirations while writing The Wheel of Time. Livingston wrote an article for Dragonmount about holding the first copies of his book. The Origins of The Wheel of Time features a new map drawn specifically for Livingston's books, using Robert Jordan's notes and Livingston's updates. Along with the physical versions of the book, there will be an audiobook version published by Macmillan Audio. The audiobook versions will include some very special pieces that were recently revealed. There will be a foreword written and read by Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan’s widow and editor, a letter read by Michael Livingston, and an interview with Rosamund Pike about her inspiration for Moiraine on the Prime Video TV series. In addition, Kate Reading and Michael Kramer will be reading parts of the audiobook as well. Origins of The Wheel of Time is available for pre-order in ebook format from the Dragonmount store. You can also pre-order print and ebook copies from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your local independent bookseller. Make sure to share your thoughts over on the YouTube video or in the comments below.
Aleksandra (Ola) Hill is a Polish-Canadian SFFH writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of khōréō, an Ignyte and Shirley Jackson award-winning magazine of speculative fiction by immigrant and diaspora writers. She won the grand prize in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing at The New School. You can find her on Twitter at @_aleksandrahill. # TL;DR: The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu is the first book of the War Arts Saga trilogy. Set in a secondary world inspired by wuxia, it's an exhilarating, action-packed start to a very promising series. It’s perfect for fans of subverted tropes and wuxia/martial arts, and readers who enjoyed The Stormlight Archive, She Who Became the Sun, and The Unbroken. # The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu follows the story of a Chosen One: Jian, who has been foretold to defeat The Eternal Khan, a warlord from the adjoining Katuia nation, and lead the Zhuun nation to victory by a five-hundred-year-old prophecy. But when Taishi, an old, ornery, one-armed war arts master, goes to check on Jian's training, what she finds is a spoiled, petulant boy taught so many different styles that he has learned nothing at all. Worse, news of the Eternal Khan of Katuia's death arrives soon after she does. The prophecy is broken, and Taishi must help Jian flee for his life from the political machinations of the dukes of Zhuun. The premise of the series is an excellent subversion of the Chosen One trope as well as an absolute love letter to wuxia, a martial arts genre typically set in ancient China. The magic that features in this story is martial-arts-based; specifically, individuals have an inner energy (jing) that they can learn to master with training (as an aside, I think that the jing here is the same as the one of traditional Chinese medicine, making up the Three Treasures along with qi and shen. Based on my limited knowledge, I think qi is used more frequently; I’d love to hear why the author went with jing here instead). Many schools of martial arts exist, each with different jing-based abilities. For example, Taishi's school is Windwhisper, which lets her manipulate air currents to attack, defend, and—most excellently—fly using her jing. There are some other fantasy elements in the story, such as reincarnation, but it's all generally more subtle than, for example, channeling in The Wheel of Time; I would say it's much more similar to books like She Who Became the Sun, which has limited magic but still feels very much like a fantasy novel. I absolutely loved reading this book, especially with Taishi as the point of view character. She's no-nonsense; she's highly skilled and knows it and yet, people continue to underestimate her both because of her age and because of her physical disability—one of her arms does not work. She's the kind of character I would be thrilled to see more of in fantasy. In fact, I loved her so much that I was deeply disappointed to learn that there would be other POV characters in the book! I didn't much care to enter Jian's head at first, since Chu manages to make him so deeply irritating from the start; the book also follows the stories of Salimande, an elite Katuia warrior and one of the Wills of the Khan, and Qisami, a ruthless, sardonic, and deeply chaotic bounty hunter I kept picturing as Awkwafina for some reason. While I was initially disappointed to be breaking away from Taishi, the multiple perspectives in the book let us get a much deeper, fuller picture of the world, especially the conflict between Zhuun and Katuia and all of the political forces at work. Katuia itself is a fascinating culture; they are a nomadic people within the Grass Sea, a dangerous land of monstrously large grass and ever-shifting landscape. The culture appears to be steampunk-esque, with moving cities that rely heavily on machinery and, I think, steam. Without giving anything away, I really can't wait to see how the world and all the people within it grow and change over the next two books; one of the final scenes of the novel has me more excited for a sequel than I’ve been since I can remember. Furthermore, the reader sees a promising start to Jian’s evolution as a character, from annoying child-warrior who needs to learn something of the real world to… well, not a hero, not yet, but someone with the potential to be. I appreciate Chu’s restraint in not making Jian the golden boy right away and—to my great surprise, given my initial distaste for him—I’m excited to see how the character I genuinely found deeply annoying grows. The one thing I'll note: while the book was full of both tension and action, I did feel it sagged a bit in the middle. This might partially be my fault—I got absolutely knocked out by COVID when I was about two-thirds the way through and didn't pick this book back up for two weeks—but there is also some amount of setup and moving about in the middle of the book that slows the pace down. If you feel yourself getting a bit bogged in the details, I highly urge you to keep going—the parts that felt a bit unnecessary for me when I was reading them are, I think, going to be major parts in the next books, and I'm really excited to see where they go. I've been really hesitant about committing to series for the last little while, especially when it comes to long books (The Art of Prophecy clocks in at 528 pages in the hardcover edition, which is on the shorter side of "tome length", but still a big time investment!), but I find myself so excited to keep going with this trilogy. And, I was thrilled to learn while preparing this review, the series has been optioned for television, with The Wheel of Time's very own Uta Briesewitz set to direct. No word yet on the series premiere, but the next two books in the series are coming out in 2023 and 2024 so you don't have to worry about unpredictable years of waiting between the books after you start the series. In all, I give my highest recommendation for this book, especially for anyone who is looking for an awesome, action-packed martial arts fantasy with multiple strong female leads. It's perfect for fans of She Who Became the Sun and The Unbroken, as well as those who enjoyed The Stormlight Archive with its sprawling world and battle scenes. And if you don’t know if any of those things are up your alley, trust me and give this book a chance. I’d love to hear what you think.
Join Dragonmount for our episode by episode "ReWOTch" of season one of The Wheel of Time on Prime Video. Every Monday at 9pm eastern we will be streaming to YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter. Join Rebecca, Thom, and Ebony as we experience the first season again. If you missed last weeks episode, you can find it here. Just press play on your prime video episode at the same time you hit play on our stream. There's a countdown on Dragonmount's stream that will help you align the two videos. Showrunner Rafe Judkins said he’d answer one question that came up during the live stream, so make sure to tune in and help us determine which question to ask! After episode one, we asked Twitter to help us choose the question. Our fans on twitter picked - What is something you think no one has noticed or commented on from this episode? Rafe replied with a little help from book consultant Sarah Nakamura. Warning, there are some spoilers for future plot points. Our next rewatch is episode two on Monday October 23 at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific. Come watch Shadows Waiting with us!