I started the Wheel Of Time saga 20 years ago when I discovered The Eye Of The World, and have been reading the series on and off ever since. I got A Memory Of Light on release day in January, but have only just got around to reading it, and therefore completing the series.
The complete series spans 15 books, 14 in the main series and a prequel, and all 14 books of the main series are weighty volumes, typically between 800 and 1000 pages, so definitely not a light read. Robert Jordan died in 2007 following the release of the 11th book, but left extensive notes for concluding his epic, and the mantle was passed to Brandon Sanderson to write the final 3 books. (I would highly recommend Sanderson's own books, especially the Mistborn trilogy and Elantris).
Jordan created a fantasy world (similar in vein to Tolkien or Clemens) that cycles through repeated ages - any time epoch has both occurred already in the past, and will repeat again in the future. Fundamentally the Wheel Of Time is a story of the battle between good and evil; previously, "good" won, but failed to successfully banish the evil from the world completely, and it is now beginning to re-surface in the guise of the Dark One and his lieutenants. As the wheel of time turns towards the final battle again, the challenge is to win without making the same mistakes as the last time.
Jordan's style of writing is very detailed, often overly detailed, where sometimes pages could have been effectively condensed into a couple of sentences without losing anything from the story. I developed a very love/hate relationship with this, as at times of plot progression and action Jordan painted a very detailed picture that was a pleasure to read; however, it becomes frustrating to real page after page of nothing happening during the slower periods. This was seen with whole books too - the first couple of books read at a good pace as characters were introduced and the premise of the story was explained, but the middle books (5-10) largely felt like filler, where nothing of real interest happened until the final 100 pages, and the plot stagnated until the end of individual books. Although I liked Jordan's story and writing, I felt that Sanderson re-energized the series (books 12-14), and compared to the previous 11 books, he managed to fit a lot into the final 3 books, and successfully closed the majority of plot holes.
There are many, many characters in this series, and I guess everyone will find a few that they enjoy, and one or two that really are memorable. Or maybe that's just me, as they have been constant companions for 20 years. Jordan's characters are very gender biased though - there are some strong female characters, but they become typically stereotyped and not explored enough. It took Sanderson to strengthen them and address the divide, but he was limited by page-counts for publishers and the damage already done. Maybe that is one of the problems with a series that took 23 years - social opinions changed faster than the characters could be adapted.
My biggest criticism of the WoT series is the scope of it - it is too vast. It feels at times like Jordan started with grand idea's, introduced dozens of main characters, wrote countless tangent plot lines, and then ran out of steam and struggled to rein it all in again. The overall story could have been just as compelling if whole side plots were omitted and less characters were introduced. Although Sanderson claims he worked closely from Jordan's notes to finish the series, I wonder if Jordan himself could have completed it so successfully. Usually when I have been asked about the series, I have told people to read the first 5 books, then skip to book 11, and read the summaries for the middle books from Wikipedia.
If you have already started the series, then it is well worth completing it, as the final books really are as good as the first ones. If you are contemplating starting it, personally I would advise against it (or at least skip the middle books). If you are looking to get stuck into a long saga, go for A Song Of Fire And Ice (George RR Martin), or The Sword Of Truth (Terry Goodkind). Or even The Stormlight Archive (Brandon Sanderson), though that is in early days (only 2 books published so far).
Started reading the series in Feb and now six months later am on book 11. RJ has a fantastic imagination and as is the case with most all writers borrows from other fantasy stories. I hate the series but I do feel driven to finish which must mean the story is somewhat compelling.
RJ uses Tolkien's technique of highly descriptive scenes to create a realistic world and uses down to earth and likable protagonists to draw you into the story. He also writes from the point of view of dozens of characters.
My main complaint is the vast complexity of the story. With hundreds of significant characters along with dozens of story lines it makes LOTR seem like a pre-schooler's bedtime fairy tale. Huge gapes are created between the story lines so that it is almost impossible to remember the details and follow the story with depth. It is hard to get excited about the death of an evil character when their end gets played out within 50 pages but it was 1000 pages back that the character was last followed. Although there are hundreds of characters from many different nations they are a surprising large numbers that think and behave similarly. Most have a military / authoritarian type mentality which make sense due to the author's background.
My biggest complaint is the anti-climatic nature of the resolution of the action. RJ does not follow Tolkien's pattern of a slow climax and then gradual resolution. Endings are sudden, dramatic and usually contain a odd twist as if the writer just got to his 800 page max and need to finish the book. Thus, it is entertaining to read but does not satisfy.
I have loved fantasy novels since I first read the Hobbit when I was around 10 years old, and the Lord of the Rings series some time later. I came accross Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series a few years ago after a recommendation from a colleague. At the time there were at 11 books in the series, all written by Robert Jordan. The series centres around a world, not too dissimilar from our own in the middle ages, but with the presence of a force (the One Power) accessable to some, mainly women, in the stories, and a pronounced delineation between good and evil - pretty standard fantasy/sci-fi stuff.
The difference with The Wheel of Time is the sheer extent of the World Jordan has created. Each book generally focusses on a time period and a few of the various characters that you follow through all of the books - I won't spoil it by detailing the plot or the characters, suffice to say that the intracacies to the story mean that you will often want a quick reference guide, or read back a few chapters to check something; and the depth of the characters is intense. All of this is good, and sucks you into the story, or stories, within the series.
The stories can, at times get pretty dark, balanced with lots of humour and feel good moments - but the balance between the two is delicate.
Jordan unfortunately dies after writing the 11th novel in the series, Knife Dreams, but his draft script for the finale of the series, is being co-written by Brandon Sanderson, and on the evidence of the first co-written story, The Gathering Storm, the styles, depth and flow of the series has not slipped at all.
If, like me, you long for a series of stories large enough to keep you reading for months on end, and hate finishing a book, then this series may be for you. Think Lord of the Rings, but bigger!
The Wheel Of Time is an epic fantasy series written by Robert jordan. Currently it consists of the first 11 books. There was due to be one final book to finish off the series. I started reading these books a few years back and it wasn't until I was half way through the series I discovered Jordan had died before completeing the final book!
Fear not though as his son along with Brandon Sanderson have pieced together his notes to finish the final book. Although they have decided there was so much material that it would take three volumes to complete. So now I am waiting for them three to be released.
The story with starts 'The eye of the world'. This book came out way back in 1990 and took the fantasy world by storm. Nearly 20 years in the writing, the following books were all masive sellers and fans were quick to snap them up as soon as they were made available.
The series follows Rand Al'Thor as he goes from zero to hero. He discovers he is not the quiet young man he thought he was. He has a very dark history that catches up with him and he sets out on a quest to find out who he is and eventually save the world!
The books are really a typical story. Unasmuing guy finds he has powers he was not aware off, goes on a quest, saves the world. All very Tolkien you might think. But Robert Jordan is a brilliant story teller, he has a great way of putting the reader inside the story and as you travel along with the heros you feel all the emotions they do and live the story.
There are some wonderful characters that come and go in these books. I think my favorite is Matt Cauthon, he is always getting himself into trouble and mischief and is very loveable. There are many other great characters and the story can often be jumping between what several of the main characters are doing. This can make it hard to follow sometimes but it does mean that it keeps it interesting.
I like the versions of the books I have, which are the black ones. They are all a very simple design black with a symbol on the cover. Each book has a different colour writing so they are easy to identify. They look good on the shelf as each ones has the title and book number, so it's easy to keep them in order.
This is one of my favorite series' of books I have ever read. I love that there are so many of them so you spend months and months following the story, well if your a slow reader like me! Was very impressed with the style of writing and enjoy everything about the books.
I think the earlier books are probably the best as the story does tend to repeat itself sometimes in the later books. But even so there is always plenty going on and plenty to keep the reader hooked!
I can't wait to get into the final three books and finish the story! If you love fantasy, you must read these books!
The late Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time series is the author's most seminal work and continues through I think it is twelve novels in all; the last to be released sometime soon. Personally I have only reached book 9 and part of the reason I have not continued past this is because, at times, the later books feel like so much hard work.
The series begins with a cataclysmic series of events that pre-empts the breaking of the world. A group of dark demonic War-lords are locked away behind a succession of seals but at a severe cost; a mighty warrior known as The Dragon is driven insane, leading him to kill all his family and then himself, and the ancient magic that flows through all life is forever tainted so that no male may wield it's power safely without similar results. Three and a half thousand years pass and then The Dragon is finally reborn. A time has come when the seals have begun to weaken and once more, Dark forces roam the earth lead by their evil leader, Shai'tan, who has yet to break free. Can this new Dragon reborn risk madness and channel his power to the betterment of mankind? It is an important question but one that has a very lengthy answer...
It is not the first time that a man has been born with the ability to channel the ancient powers, but in the past these men have been controlled and neutrallised by their female counter-parts known as Aes Sedai. Moiraine, and her Warder Lan, are convinced that in the sleepy village of Edmond's Field they have found The True Dragon in Rand Al'Thor but there are others in her sect who are less certain as well as Dark Sisters who are working for the enemy. Rand is forced to flee and follow his true path, leaving behind all he has known before. With each book that follows, Rand Al'Thor gathers his strength and fullfills prophecy in order to better prepare himself for the final battle where he must face down The Dark One himself and win or all of humanity will be lost...
The Wheel Of Time refers to the notion that life is a cycle that is ever repeating and is a familiar concept to fans of sci-fi and fantasy. In Battlestar Galactica, to give a most recent example, the enemy Cylons often quote " All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again..." The idea behind this series is that Rand must repeat the events put in motion by the original Dragon but without this time losing his mind. Along the way, many of his friends find their own Destinies interceeding and this leads the way for an epic series that seemingly at times was fated to go on forever. Of course, with Jordan's death, the end is now in sight whether it is how he planned it or not but I find it quite hard personally to sum up the enthusiasm to complete the journey I began back in the early eighties when the first book was published.
The strongest aspect for me of this series are the characters. As you follow their progress and chart their Fate, you cannot help but feel a part of their lives. Without exception, all of the main characters are highly believeable, less than perfect and just as prone to make errors of judgement as anyone else. The weakest aspect of the series for me is that, at least with the later novels, the books become quite weighty volumes which would be fine if they were chock full of action and adventure but very often much of the books feel like filler with everything slowly, and I do mean slowly, building to a cresendo right at the book's climax. I know this is how many books work but, here, verey often very little of relevance seems to happen between. This would be fine if the novels were shorter but they are not. Each successive novel gets larger and larger and the plot more and more complicated. Though long series' often work, I am a big fan of Terry Goodkind's Sword Of Truth series and George.R.R.Martin's Game Of Thrones, they need to stay fresh or else there is the danger that readers will become bored. In my opinion you would ned to be pretty stalwart and obsessive to keep going for all of these twelve volumes.
But in fact it is more than twelve for there is a companion book and a prequel also available....
Reading this series is a bit of a mission in itself. One day I will complete the series and find out what happens in the final days but, for now, I feel the need to continue too daunting and have for the last three or four years. There is no doubt that Jordan was a great writing talent and will be solely missed but, with The Wheel Of Time novels, there was always a notion that Jordan might have over-reached himself. And that is a shame becay=use it would've been nicer if he had left behind a stronger legacy....
The Wheel of Time series has got to be a fantasy of the fantasy genre, if you know what I mean. Robert Jordan has an imagination like I have never seen before and can turn anything, (like dreams) into an entire new world that seems to draw you in. The only problem with the series is that it is very long and the reader forgets more than he remembers. Unlike Terry Goodkind, with the Sword of Truth series, he writes the story where you can't remember all too much in what happened. I personally love the story, but many people are lost by book 5 and never finish. The only readers I suggest into reading this series, are those who love long stories and does not forget things easily. And it also helps if you are good at coming up with your own theories. The Wheel of Time has the biggest question asked, more than any other book in the world, that question is, "Who killed Asmodean?"
Science Fiction/Fantasy is one genre I will never tire of, theres nothing quite like this for pure escapism. I suppose it all started at the age of fifteen when I first read The Hobbit, although I would class this more as pure fantasy than anything else. Over the years Ive read widely and sometimes indiscriminately, I could go from the classics of such authors as Arther.C.Clarke and Ray Bradbury, to relatively unknown authors. By the time I had read The Lord of the Rings for the first time, I was hooked for life on Sci/fi/Fantasy.
Does this have any point? I hear you ask, well, yes, it does. It shows that I know what Im talking about.
So when I got my hands on the penultimate book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, I thought Id look back at the past and what made me decide to keep on reading. Its a fair point Im trying to make, as many others like me have wondered whether to bother completing the series.
Robert Jordan started to write the series in about 1990, Im unsure of the exact date as it was a long time ago and the Internet is vague about its dates. The series began with The Eye of the World and continues to this day although the latest book is the eleventh in the series and with one more to go, I expect many faithful followers are thinking about time! (no pun intended). Every book is a long one, roughly about 800 pages and with the next one nowhere in sight readers have naturally forgotten a lot of the story. I pride myself on my memory but WOT (wheel of time), even defeated me in the end.
The first few books were exceptionally good and had a relatively short span between them, but as Jordan proceeded to introduce new characters and places it became more of a struggle to keep on reading. The initial three main characters started to take on stronger roles and occasionally they eclipsed the main character, Rand al Thor. Add a lot of politics and numerous enemies, love interest of a complicated kind, and suddenly you need to think back to what happened in the previous book.
Jordan doesnt recap, as some authors do, maybe he hopes that his fans will buy each new book, but at prices going into the region of £20 per hardback it takes an exceptionally dedicated fan to do this. I was tempted to buy the first few books but Jordan had already indicated that it would be a long series and I do like a variety of books on my shelf.
Maybe Im doing him disfavour but I was starting to get irritated by comparisons with Lord of the Rings. It seems like every new fantasy author who writes more than one book is soon considered the new Tolkein, whether or not the books are any good. Rather than rant over this I decided to use bullet points to make my point.
1). Each book in the WOT (shortened for easy reading), doesnt come to any conclusion. Other authors can round off a book and yet leave it open for the next in the series. Tolkien did it masterfully, so did C.S. Lewis and another author Im getting to later.
2). The character developments in WOT seemed to be added later almost to split the story in many places. Loyalty suddenly takes a dive in later books, not something that endears us to the characters.
3). The first books were told simply and the action flowed like silk. Later on we find jumbled up plots, leaping from one set of characters to another, this doesnt make for easy reading.
4). With each new book it seems like Jordan is trying to be too ambitious. We are introduced to the Aes Sedai early in the series, they were then a force for good but Jordan had to make dark sisters out of them. I found this horribly confusing and wondered which side was good or evil.
5). I loved the maps, no fantasyland seems right without knowing where the characters are. But Jordan seems to use this as right to place events all over the map and I frequently had to refer to them to find out where the action was happening.
I could go on in this way but I dont want to put you off too much. Despite its many failing its still a very enjoyable read although far too long for my liking.
A few years after Id discovered Robert Jordan and the WOT, I found another new author, Terry Goodkind. Like Jordan he was also an American writer of a similar age but Wizards First Rule published in 1994 was his first book. Up until then hed been an artist, a conservationist and a carpenter. It was the love of wooded areas where he started building his own house in 1990 that gave him the inspiration, which was to become another epic series. The sword of Truth established him on a similar footing to Jordan and as his own books progressed there was an uncanny similarity with some of the characters.
This placed me in a quandary, which series should I be following? Was one or both of the authors writing near identical books? I decided to carry on reading both series, although Goodkind was publishing one book each year and to date is on his tenth, now I began to get confused. Goodkinds first book was similar in some ways to Jordans but despite its simplicity it was a powerful read. As I waited and waited for a new Jordan book I found myself turning to Goodkind more often.
Im going to give out some plot spoilers now, but I reckon that if youre reading this you are already a fan of Jordans books. So why the comparison?
Jordans series is based on a boy who is destined to fulfil a prophecy thousands of years old. Three thousand years ago war blasted the land and nearly fell into the hands of the dark lord, who was imprisoned by a man who controlled a power called 'Saidan. This power eventually corrupted every man who wielded it and sent them mad. The female side of this power called Saidar was controlled by women who had been initiated into the secrets of the tower, an elite set of women whose purpose was to make sure that never again would the world be reduced to nothing by a man wielding power. The prophecy said that one day the dragon would be reborn, his purpose unclear but linked with the dark lord.
Goodkinds series is based on yet another boy whose destiny is to become a powerful wizard, the last in a line of wizards who had both additive (female) and subtractive (male) magic, something that would stop the world in which he lived becoming destroyed. Richard (the hero) must give up his life to stop magic becoming corrupted by yet another band of sisters, the dark and the light.
Its not my intention to review another authors work, but the comparison bears looking at.
Goodkind writes with initial naivety, but progresses through his books to add depth and meaning. His characters are well meaning but they suffer dreadfully because of their honest intentions. Each book can be read a stand-alone read it has a point to make, an adventure, a complete meaning that allows for closure. Subsequent books are easier to read because somewhere the author manages to reveal a little of the whole story. Jordan leaves us hanging; Good kind ties up the loose ends and yet allows for another chapter in his grand epic.
I vowed that I would never bother to wait for another book in the WOT, but I carried on reading because I wanted to see how Jordan could complete the series. Much of it may be lost on me, as I have never felt like buying the books. Dont wait around for me to read the latest book, Knife of Dreams, at over 800 pages I need a few days with nothing else to do but read.
If youve managed to get this far, then thank you for your time. Its rare that I write a review without loving the book (or in this case the series.)
I wanted to show you that an epic neednt be boring or that you wait for over a decade to find completion. There are incredible writers who can keep their audience with every book they write, sadly Jordan has made his books too long, too convoluted, we want an ending and I, for one, hope I dont have to wait another two years to find out whether it was all worthwhile.
There is no doubt that Jordan can spin a tale, his writing is head and shoulders above others in the genre, but its time for him to move on and prove that his readers were right to continue reading his works. He could have wrapped the story up long ago and converted readers to his own special brand of writing.
He has been quoted as saying Ill keep on writing until they nail down my coffin, and I say, please dont make that premature, there are more than one way to nail an authors coffin.
Ive restrained myself until now, I have to say it, there will NEVER be another Tolkien.
Recommended with reservations.
Thanks, as always for reading.
Jordan is now writing book ten - you probably want to know if it's worth starting with number one. The answer is 'probably'. I would sum up the plot for you but fanatasy fiction is by and large predictable - reluctant young hero is dragged into world events of magic and mayhem, discovering that he is the 'one' mentioned in an ancient prophesy and will save everyone. Throw in a sage, silent warrior, a couple of friends along for the ride (who also have their part to play), add a dash of evil wizardry and some evil henchmen and you've about got it. The trick is doing this well, which Jordan certainly does, and part of the pleasure in reading this genre is to see what spin the author places on the tested and required elements - so I won't spoil it by revealing particulars. Instead I'll give a brief overview of the series as a whole, in terms of 'readability'. The first three books are as fine a set of fantasy novels in the usual vein as you could hope to find. The pace is zippy and breathless and will keep you turning the pages until dawn. Aroud book four you'll start to wonder at the depth of Jordan's world - he spent four years planning before he put pen to paper - and this will continue through books five and six, although you'll notice that the pace slows. As the characters are split up and the story becomes more fragmented it is naturally more difficult for Jordan to keep the pace as lively as it was in the beginning. Book seven was the last one I really enjoyed, unfortunately. Books eight and nine slowed to a snail's pace and I can only think of two things that actually happened in book nine, whereas I could rattle on for half an hour about book one. It's a huge testament to the validity and strength of the world and the characters Jordan created that I can actually recommend the series despite the failings of the last books. I really do need to know what happ
ens, and even though I last read it a year ago the impressions I have of it are still incredibly strong. So you may as well try it because it starts so well - my only hope is that he wraps it all up in book ten, because that's a nice round number.
ahhh, books, my true love. Well, apart from the other half and my playstation, Books. What other device can conjure lands of purest fantasy and allow us full use of our imagination? RPG's and DnD may be the engines of it but creating entire worlds and people and languages are the realm of the writer and his imagination alone. Doing an English Degree <still in the loooong process of> has shown me many things and among them are the literary devices and thousands upon thousands of worlds that the human mind can conjure up, magic, philosophy and the capacity for legend. Legend indeed is what Jordan can be called. As a man he gained a Physics degree and had a plethera of other jobs before finally falling into the trap of writing and the joys of being your own boss. I dont know how he got started on this from Conan but the truth is, I don't really care. Transition was smooth and in time he began creating this world. Now, I was maybe fifteen when I first heard of the Wheel of Time and I admit when I first tried reading it I wasn't convinced at ALL about it. Dry dusty... my slippers looked more inviting to read... or watch... so I left it, but maybe six months later came crawling back, having utterly exhausted every other peperback, hardback science fiction or fantasy novel I could find. Jordan was all I had left so again, out from the Local Library came Eye of the World. I got home and looked at it, put it down, sighed... watched telly for a little while before it lured me back. I started reading again. . . Sadly, Jordan does have a habit of making them very hard to get into, if you are not in the frame of mind and as with all other books my teenage mind was dead set against it! new, different... all teenagers rebelled, i did it through books... I had such a terrible childhood ^__~ but eventually I got sucked into the trials and tribulations of Perrin, Mat and Rand. Classic legend and myth were to be cut from the cloth of thei
r adventures, or rather, misadventures. So, I guess this is mroe writing to praise the work Jordan has managed to create. He made an entire language, thoudsands of races and legends of Manetheran and the Eagles, the Aes Sedai and their magic. The language the Aiel use to speak of their classes, like the Far Dareis Mai, the Maidens of the Spear... I am at a point where I can understand what he writes, the inflexions and how its all pieced together. Seamless world! And now, he has managed to infiltrate other markets. The Wheel of Time made a pc debut, as a game where you control the characters and make war. I am not too sure about how the sales for it went but I do know I would like to see how the transition from book to rpg/wargame went. Dungeons and Dragons and Wizards of the Coast have a DnD 3e rules coming out of Jordan's series. a table top adventure game, based entirely about the wheel of time. What joy for people who have nothing better to do than me, and play silly games. ^__^ Check out Jordans books and I secretly await number ten with very poorly hidden un-patience! Jordan made a world with fully functional characters, a threatening evil taht wears a hundred faces, an empire faded into myth, an empire built from the ruins of the legends of old, heroes and dragons... and a sad lonely tale of one mans rise to ultimate power... and his terrible fears that grasp about him. Humanity and love portrayed in it, it's a masterpiece... Buy it, read it and love it, my advice. The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills... Lov' Me xxx
I've loved fantasy novels since I read The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King, in the early eighties. From that one book I have now collected nearly two hundred fantasy novels of which I rate Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series one of the best, easily bettering Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The Wheel of Time consists of nine novels at present (the rumour is that it will finish at thirteen). To write an opinion on each title would entail going over the same ground in each op so I've decided to do this one op on all of the current books and will update when the tenth book is released. Book 1 - The Eye of the World - 1990 Book 2 - The Great Hunt - 1990 Book 3 - The Dragon Reborn - 1991 Book 4 - The Shadow Rising - 1992 Book 5 - The Fires of Heaven - 1993 Book 6 - Lord of Chaos - 1994 Book 7 - A Crown of Swords - 1996 Book 8 - The Path of Daggers - 1998 Book 9 - Winter's Heart - 2000 The books are originally published in the US by Tor books and by Orbit in the UK. The series starts in a little place called the Two Rivers where we are introduced to five of the central characters - Rand, Matrim, Perrin, Nynaeve and Egwene. Other central characters (including Elayne, Min, Aviendha) are intoduced later, usually upon introduction to the other five. Rand, Matrim and Perrin are what is known as ta'veren (focal points of history) by the Aes Sedai (female users of the One Power - magic). The One power has a female side (saidar) and a male side (saidin), but the male side has been corrupted by evil's taint and prolonged use drives men insane. Nynaeve and Egwene are found by the Aes Sedai to be strong in the One Power and are taken to be trained in the home of the Aes Sedai - Tar Valon. Any men found using the One Power are 'stilled' (cut off from the source of the power) by the Red Ajah (a sect of Aes Sedai dedicated to finding and capturing men who can us
e the One power (channel). The problem is that prophecy says that a man who can channel will be needed to face the Dark One at the final battle. He will be the Dragon Reborn (the first Dragon was called Lews Therin and he literally broke the world when he fought the Dark One first time around) From this humble beginning is woven an incredibly detailed narrative. From book one to book five it rushes along, enthralling the reader. It has to be said that books six, seven and eight do slow down a lot but the pace returns with book nine. It is difficult enough to give an opinion on one book, without spoiling it and to give an opinion on an entire series is even more difficult. Robert Jordan describes the world on which the Wheel of Time is focussed, in very rich detail. Different cultures, politics and races are explored, making the world seem very real. His description of the characters is also just as good. You get so involved with the books that you genuinely care about the characters and can visualize the scenes in which they find themselves. As with most fantasy novels the story is about the battle between good and evil, in this case the good being called the Dragon and the bad the Dark One. The difference is that the battle has already been fought before and for good to triumph, the world was broken and peoples scattered. It's always at the back of your mind that this could happen again, and that although good might triumph the cost will be phenomenal. I cannot fully describe the depth and scope of this series. It could quite literally run and run, going as high as twenty books, because of the multiple plot lines that run through the series. If you've read anything by Feist, Eddings, Brooks, Gemmell or Goodkind and haven't read any of the Wheel of Time books then read them. While Jordan writes in a different style to any of the other fantasy authors, it is seldom boring and ultimately more fulfilling. If you'v
e never read a fantasy book and want to know where to start, then there isn't a better place really.
A while ago I constantly heard how great this series of books was, I'd seen it for sale in the bookshops quite a few times but never actually thought about buying them, based upon all the recommendations however I decided to order the first book. It arrived and I glanced at it but didn't feel like reading the start of such as long series at the time, a bit later I decided to start again and really got drawn into the story and the world. --Storyline-- The storyline is too complicated to mention here alone and it is hard to really mention a storyline that doesn't ruin the series for someone who hasn't read the first book (and can resist the temptation to read opinions on future books). As such I will simply give details on the story of the first book as an introduction: The story centres around 3 boys, all of whom are to play great importance in the future of the world and one of which is fated to become the dragon reborn, the worlds only hope of survival in a battle the world both fears and believes will never happen. The story shows how though many things such as the beastial Trollocs are talked about, no-one really believes that they exist and how no-one is really prepared for what is about to happen to the world. Each of the boys seems normal and lives a normal live and it is interesting to see how they adapt to completely changing situations and surroundings (in later books they just don't seem anything like they do early on). I really don't want to say much about the story as it is hard not to give things away that would ruin it but if interesting I would recommend you read the first book in the series (The Eye Of The World), even if you don't decide to continue to read any more of the books it really is worth a read and if you enjoy fantasy this is definetely worth considering. --Depth of world-- There are so many sub-plots and so many characters described throughout the books that they really
do get the feeling that this is an epic series and the world appears very, very realistic. Everything is so well described from the cities to characters to the weather to just about everything else, while it doesn't go into detail about every little thing it doesn't seem to miss a lot of things and the depth of the world is something you can really get drawn into. --Characters-- This is not really a problem as I believe many of the characters are described very well, but on the other hand many of the others can often be very annoying and just don't seem true to life. There are some characters that I will see mentioned at the beginning of a chapter and think "great" and want to find out what is happening to them, a few others I often groan and hope that it is only a quick mention. The characters themselves are well described and you can really get a feeling as to what each of them is like, the trouble is that often they will be constantly repeating how they are feeling to you throughout each book, different feelings would be fine but more often than not it will simply be the same feeling (love/hurt/anger/etc. in/of a specific situation) repeating over and over again and after hearing how much someone regrets something or how much they miss something or how much they love someone for the hundreth time you just sometimes wish they would shut up. --Problems with the book-- While I really enjoy reading these books there is no denying there are some problems and even fans of the series usually believe at least one of the following problems. -Absense of characters I know it isn't possible to mention every single character in ever single book but when Jordan can write over a hundred pages on a journey in which nothing really happens you'd think he would be able to devote at least a chapter on one of the key characters in the book, as it is sometimes you can go over 1000 pages with one of the central cha
racters not being mentioned any more than in passing, it can be frustrating, especially if it happens to be one of the characters you enjoy reading about. -It's very, very long Not necessarily a bad thing, with many books I often wish the story could continue, but in this case the story seems to be dragging on much more than is necessary, I enjoy reading it but it starts to become so complex that I often find myself getting confused over who a character is, especially if they haven't appeared in a recent book. If you want to read all the books currently published there are around 7,300 pages you have to read to get to the end, that's an awful lot and longer than any other series I know that has a constant storyline. -There are long gaps between each book This hasn't affected me that much as I only got into the series just before the last book was published and am only just starting that now but with an average rate of 1 book per 2 years and more than likely still quite a few books left to be published it looks as though it could be quite a while before anyone reaches the end of the story (I always find myself just hoping that the author doesn't die in the meantime, I know it's probably not a nice thing to think (well, nicer than hoping they would die I guess) but it always worries me when I read a series this long). -The characters are often similar sounding This isn't always a problem but when 3 characters are taking part in a book, all with 2 or 3 letters different in a name that sounds very similar (yet no-one seems to have the same name strangely) it can get confusing, especially if it was a while between reading. -The books have no reminders at the beggining on the plot Given that for many people it could have been 1-2 years since they last read any of the books and given that re-reading the entire series is something that will take the average reader months a small reminder (simil
ar to those found in the Otherland books) as to the current plot and what has happened in each book would be nice, nothing major but maybe around 50 pages in each book just to make yourself familiar with the plot. I took a break of 1 month once between reading the books while I read something else and upon starting to read the books again got confused and constantly had to look up who people were. -The glossary is often useless It contains characters that everyone knows who they are and that no-one would need to look up and facts which are obvious but has no mention of many of the minor characters that I would have liked to be reminded of. I realise to mention every character would take a lot of space but if the book is going to contain a glossary it should at least make it useful. -Perhaps too complicated in ways I'm not certain about this as I really like the depth of the world but the books problem is that it has created so many mini-plots and characters that it struggles to fit them all within a single book, as such you can miss out something that in any other book would be vital to the story for at least a full book and when you are reminded of it again you often wonder how it could have been ignored. ---Conclusion--- If you are at all interested in this type of book give the first in the series a read, if you enjoy it consider continuing to read but be aware of exactly what you are letting yourself in for. I am a fairly slow reader and have been reading these books for ages, I find it easy to lose track of many of the characters and sometimes the books seem to progress very slowly. Even so and even if you are only interested in reading 1 or 2 of these books it is hard to deny the appeal of (at the least the first 5) of these books and if you like fantasy this is a book you should at least try, whether you'll enjoy it or not is another question. -Note: Price below is per (paperback) book but will vary
a little (due to size of books and age of some which still have some old editions for sale cheaper, or second-hand).
The world created by Robert Jordan exists on a scale that in my opinion is even bigger and more detailed than that of Tolkein. If you are looking for the current King of fantasy writing then you have almost certainaly found him. The Wheel of Time series currently stretches to 8 books with the 9th out in November I believe. I am not going to go into detail regarding either the world or the storyline for fear of spoiling things but I will say a bit. The world created is simply huge and incredibly detailed. From Jordan's writing you truly get the impression he has travelled everywhere that he sends his characters first hand. There are many characters created along the way, epics in themselves, but the central story focuses upon five young people from an area called Two Rivers on the edge of the Andoran kingdom; Rand, Egwene, Nynaeve, Perrin and Mat. The story follows them as they fulfil various parts of a long and often complicated prophecy and work towards the Battle of Taimon Gaidon in which either the Dragon Reborn or the Dark One will rule the Earth. Jordan's world is full of magic and intrigue and a multi layered storyline that will find you catching up with characters you met back in book2 again in book6 etc! The term epic really was meant for this series! At times the story can be a little hard to follow and I personally had a good deal of trouble trying to puzzle out who were the dark sisters of the Aes Sedai and who were not!! One of the best things about this series is its length and breadth; it is a deeply satifying read, one that you feel you can really get sucked into.
Jordan's fame in the fantasy world is undeniable. To see his popularity one has only to go and look at Amazon.com where his forth coming title, 'Winter's Heart' is to be released in November, four months away, and yet is ranked 33 overall. Not bad. He shot to fame with the release of his Wheel of Time series. Currently it stretches across 8 books, with the ninth mentionned above. The books are - The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, Tthe Shadow Rising, Tthe Fire of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, and The Path of Daggers, as well as a companion to the series, The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. The books describe the events on a world where certain people have the ability to 'channel', to manipulate a force named the One Power. This is divided into saidin (men), and saidar (women). Three thousand years before the books are set, the world was in a state of what would come to be called the Age of Legends. A world where men and women worked together using channeling to improve the sort of man. These channelers were part of the Aes Sedai, or servants of the people. The the Dark One arrived, and sundered the world. The Aes Sedai fought him in a long bitter war, during which thirteen of their best people joined the forces of the Dark One to become the Forsaken. Under the leadership of Lews Therin Telamon, known as the Dragon, the Aes Seadi struck at the Dark One trying to seal him in a prison. The partially succeded, but the result was a counterstrike in which the Dark One tainted saidin. This taint drove men who channel mad, and eventually their madness lead to the Breaking, when the world was rearranged be madness. After the world eventually rebuilt itself, but to nowhere near the level it had been at before. Much was lost. the Aes Sedai regrouped, but only the women. Henceforth men would be 'stilled' - stopped from channelling so as they could not hurt anyone. The pr
oblem was that the Dark One's prison would eventually degrade, and the Dragon was destined to be reborn, as a man, capable of channeling, and hence destined to go mad, to defeat the Dark One. Jump forward three thousand years to the Wheel of Time series. The Dragon has been Reborn, but who is he? How will he succeed in fighting the Dark One when the world is disunified, and fighting foes on all sides. Jordan's series follows quests, wars, politics, and the learning of the secrets of channeling in an epic which is almost unique in fantasy. The first half of the series is spectacular. Well worth the read just for an intriguing storyline that drags you along. Sadly the later books had grown thinner, and not quite as good as the others. I do not know if that is because many of his fans (including myself) whip ourselves into such a frenzy about the next book that we are bound to be dissapointed, or there has been a drop in quality, but nevertheless the story goes on. Jordan is unsure exactly how many books are left in the series, but he has promised that there has been a gathering in the last book for a push to the end of the series. The books are great. A heavy investment for some however. If possible beg, borrow, steal these books, because they are genuinely good. Jordan creates characters that you care about, and a timeline that intrigues and pulls the reader on. The division between what this world had and how it stands is clear, and the effect of the Breaking still striking three thousand years after it took place. This gives the book a lot of weight in the believeability sector, and added to a (usually) consistent system of magic and power, the books are very well balanced. The other positive thing is that you are far from alone when waiting for the next book. The Net is crawling with discussion areas about the series, and perhaps the oldest is rec.arts.sf-written.robert.jordan (I think), a usenet discussion gro
ups. There's also more on such things as Yahoo and other chat areas. So go forth, read, and enjoy!!!
Author: Robert Jordan / Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Series