Dec 15 2009 1:03pm

The Dragon Reborn ebook now available for sale

Today we begin a new feature on Tor.com. To announce the publication of the each upcoming Wheel of Time ebook, we’ve invited luminaries from the Wheel of Time community to write posts introducing their favorite books in the series, which we’ll publish to coordinate with the ebook launch. 

Announcing the latest ebook in the collection—Dragon Reborn, which is available for purchase starting today—is Jennifer Liang. 

When Tor.com asked me if I’d like to talk about my favorite Wheel of Time book, I had a bit of a dilemma. See, I actually like all of them about equally. Yes, even Crossroads of Twilight. Suck on it. That bit where Seaine reveals that Ajah shawls can be of any design, so long as they have the fringe and the Flame? Revelatory. And I’m not making this up. I think I’m mentally ill.  If it had been an option, I would have picked The Eye of the World. Not just because it’s first, but because it’s the one I most often get to see through someone else’s eyes. 

See, I teach middle school, which is the age was at when I started reading the series. Many of my students love fantasy and science fiction. But they are scared to tackle WoT. It is, after all, a super long series, and there are much shorter, easier reads out there. (They all seem to adore Mistborn, for example.) But it’s a very different experience guiding someone through his or first read of the series and seeing that excitement as they get caught up in the same awesome things that you did. There’s nothing cooler than some kid walking up to your desk and whispering slyly, “I figured it out. Rand is the Dragon Reborn!” at you.

Anyways, rambling asides aside, I have a hard time deciding which book is my favorite. So I decided to write about The Dragon Reborn. I have fond memories of reading this book in junior high. I did a last minute book report on it, right before class, because I forgot it was due and had to come up with something fast.

There’s some really awesome, iconic moments in this book. Egwene’s Accepted test. Rand taking Callandor. Perrin meeting Faile. But for me, this book stands out because this is The Book Where Egwene Sucks.  Now, for many of you, Egwene always sucks. For reasons I’ve never fully understood, there’s many, many Egwene haters out there. (It’s a bad thing to be ambitious? Really?) But I’ve always had an affinity for her. I grok her. We’re very similar in many ways, we both are short brunettes who were teenage Amyrlins. We both want to be the best at everything we do. But I find Egwene to be super annoying in this book.

See, this is the first book where the balance of power has shifted between Egwene and Nynaeve. The first book, Egwene was Nynaeve’s apprentice. The second, Egwene was a novice and Nynaeve was an Accepted. But now? Both Accepted, both equals. And Egwene spends the whole book asserting that equality. It’s chock full of Nynaeve saying “Right” and Egwene saying “Left.” And poor Elayne gets stuck in between them. It’s aggravating to read someone who normally has better judgment saying and doing dumb things, just to prove you aren’t the boss of her. Luckily, she snaps out of it for the next book and goes to back being awesome. But it was rough there for awhile.

I also like this book because of the lack of Rand. Not because he annoyed me (yet), but I liked that the attention was on the other characters for a bit. Since I’m a fan of the expanded universe Jordan created for us, our first real glimpse of what’s out there and who’s in it is very appealing to me. You really start to get a sense of the real scope of the story, just by taking the focus off the main character dude for a bit.  I think this is also when I started to find the B plots more compelling than the A plot.

So what stands out to you when you read this book?

Jennifer Liang is Director of Wheel of Time programing for Dragon*Con, Special Projects Manager for Dragonmount.com, and the Chair of JordanCon, the only Wheel of Time fan convention.

Jason Denzel
1. JasonDenzel
You're on Tor dot! Woo hoo! And you're such a Rand hater. Admit it.

One of the things I enjoy about this book is how we meet Aviendha, yet she's only a minor character right now. Very sneaky, RJ.
2. Semirhage666
Well, I personally love Egwene. I think if I had to pick a favorite, it would be her. I've never understood why so many peoples' favorite is Mat. I couldn't stand him til he left Ebou Dar.

I'll have to reread this soonishly to see if Egwene annoys me now that you pointed it out.
3. yoniy0
Well, I'll tell you why I disliked Egwene for the better part of the series (I should mention here that she's my favorite in tGS, thereby redeeming herself for the previous books, as well). She thinks she knows EVERYTHING and is qualified to have an opinion on EVERYTHING. Sure, a few characters get cocky. With Rand, come on, he has reasons for that (he is after all the most important dude around. Plus he has a kind heart, which Egwene doesn't have, I think. She's a good person, just not kindhearted). Moiraine is the first to admit her own shortcomings. Elayne is the Daughter Heir, so I forgive her. Only Egwene thinks she's the Creator's gift to mankind when she has no reason to do so...

Well, enough with that. tDR is cool, though at first read I had a tough time with Rand not being around (yes, I'm a Rand fan, and yes, I know how very unoriginal that is). We get to see Perrin finally defining himself as a grownup (which Rand did in tGH and Mat only in FoH), we get to see Moiraine as a person rather than a pseudo-goddess.

Oh, and we get to see Egwene proving that she's a spoiled brat for everyone to see, and getting knocked down a bit (sorry, couldn't help myself).
Rob Munnelly
4. RobMRobM
I love a few things about this book. First, Mat blossoms into the coolest guy in town. Second, Egwene has her Acceptatron test, which has mindblowing elements (E.g. as Amyrlin, 13 x 13 conversions). Third, we finally get to see the Aiel in detail after the hints in earlier books. Fourth, the Perrin-Faile scenes are actually very cool and adorable ("You can call me Mandarb"; "See that horse over there - his name is Mandarb"; "OK, call me Faile"). Finally, from a writing/creativity standpoint, I loved that RJ called the book The Dragon Reborn and then limited said DR's participation on screen to three freaking chapters, thereby allowing the other ta'veren and other major and minor side characters room to develop. This is, to me, the funnest of the WoT books. Rob
Tony Zbaraschuk
5. tonyz
The part I most like about this book is that it's where the other characters blossom: we've had a lot of Rand and Egwene, but this is the one where Matt and Perrin and Nynaeve really get to shine.
Maria Simons
6. sulamein
One of my favorite bits is Mat embarrassing Gawyn and Galad with the quarterstaff. And Mat's "wager" against Gaebril. And Mat "I could break my bloody neck doing thi--" as he sets off the fireworks. Hmm, there seems to be a theme here. But there are other great parts as well: poor Noam, Perrin and company versus the Gray Men, sneaky Verin being sneaky with an owl in the room, Jarra . . . and I'm probably leaving out some good stuff, too. But I'm like you, Jenn; I can't really pick a favorite WoT book. I love them all.
S Diller
7. CuenDiller
There are a lot of moments that I liked in this book. For one, Mat stops being a drag. IMO, this is Mat at his best. I've always been a fan of the SG's(especially Egwene), and liked thier arc in this book, all the meeting Avi and getting captured. But I really liked that the book finished with everybody together in the Stone. I can't wait till we have another Edmonds Field reunion.
8. Trebor
Like Jason, "Aviendha" is who I fell for...The first taste of Aiel humor and our lack of understanding of Aiel ways...And for sulamein, yep Mat in trouble without trying to get there, but thats Mat
Amit Doshi
9. doshiamit
My favourite scene in the Dragon Reborn was Mat beating up on Gawyn and Galad. I really enjoyed the first Mat POVs we get in this book. He was a tool in the first 2 books while he was under the influence of the dagger, here he started being awesome. Discussed favourite scenes in a podcast episode too.
Indira Patra Juaini
10. indira
I love this book the most because it is the first book of the series I have read and I had no idea where to get the others. I found it on a book sale in 1998 I think.

I remember flipping through the glossary every few pages because I had a hard time familiarizing names and things.

I finally found the other 10 books early this year, finished them all in time for TGS.

Does this mean I hold the record for the longest wait between books?
Elvan Gunduz
11. navle
The Dragon Reborn is actually where it all begins. That's why I love it. People actually start to realize that this is more serious than they thought.

This is where I began to like Mat. I mean, he's the most fun character in the series. And I personally think Nynaeve got it coming. I probably would have acted the same, if some woman who is as stubborn as hell was trying to push me around. (I so hate Nynaeve). Egwene was quite annoying too though Nynaeve is annoying ALL the time so I guess that makes up for Egwene.

Great book. And the Aiels. Oh, I love them. And the way they took the stone. Amazing.
John Mann
12. jcmnyu
Obviously this is the book where we get to know the real Mat, not dagger influenced Mat. His promise to save Elayne and Egwene, his fight with Gawyn and Galad, his use of fireworks at the Stone. All MoA. Even Birgitte was impressed with Mat's story from this book when she hears about it later. High praise, that.

The scene I always remember though is the one where Perrin works at the forge with Ajala and remembers his old hopes and dreams and Faile's response afterwords, "You really are a blacksmith, Blacksmith," and the compliment Ajala gives him. It's also where Perrin acquires his hammer. Just a wonderfully written scene before the poop hits the air moving machine.
13. Evan Wiles
I have recently been rereading the series just for the fact that I do not want to go into reading the gathering storm without my A game.
I really liked the dragon reborn, the little we see of rand coming into his power, moiraine not being something more than a regular person, mat actually doing his duty (while running away from it still), and perrin meeting some of the defining characters in his plot for the whole series.
I am a Lan fan myself, there is just something I see in him as a character that makes me think him invincible and also a Rand fan just for the fact he is the most interesting and I could see him doing anything as he does take some odd turns during the series. I also like this book for the fact all the characters really start to show their true colors as to how they will act the rest of the series thus far (no I have not read the gathering storm yet im getting to it lol) and this is where I really start to hate all of the main women in the story. Every chapter on any of them is about how they have to be right on every subject, and even if they are wrong they have to seem to be right, end of story. Nynaeve and Egwenes' power struggle made me want to throw the book across the room every time I read a chapter about them. Especially when they couldnt even thank mat and juilin, show some humility for crying out loud.

But anyways, rant off, no matter how I love the eye of the world and (it is my favorite in the series), the dragon reborn is where you really start to get your feet wet with this series and I have major respect for it because of what it opens up to the reader.
Dick Papazian
14. Papas
This is actually the book were I went from liking the series to loving the series. And it had a lot to do with Mat. Loved his healing-scene, his fight with Gawyn and Galad (with his short conversation with Hammar)and his rescue of the girls in the Stone. I also liked the Rand parts, I missed a lot of his internal struggles and their importance on my first read through.
15. MarkoZ
I'm not even going to justify why I hate Egwene. There's enough out there in the interwebz already.

I could barely read some of the Egwene parts of this book. First time in my re-read where I could not be bothered reading a chapter in bed because I didn't want to read it. I actually considered skipping to the next chapter because it was painful to read.

The same thing is happening in LoC with Nynaeve in Salidar - though she becomes my favorite female character later. I knwo how awesome the end of LoC is though so reading will recommence tonight.

I actually have problems with most of Jordan's female characters - Faile is the most annoying, even more so than Egwene. Although Avienda and Min are very cool.

Anyway back to the point of this post - It is a gut response - my hatred for Egwene. She is the embodiment in readin of what you get when you meet a complete tool of a person that you never ever want to see again.
17. Savs90
I love the story especially how Perrin and Mat begin to take more leading roles in the story.

My only issue with the ebook is that the map on this ebook is a lot worse in terms of display than the earlier books in their ebook formats. I mainly read on the iPad and the graphic for the map is very bad compared to the previous versions.

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