Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by DeathChamberzMusic, Mar 19, 2014.
What did you think of the series
Did you like the new author.
It's a tiring string of fantasy tropes and cliches, one after another, after another; held together by the most baffling plot construction; populated by weak, one dimensional cut outs. Every book is a lesson in unresolved conflict and disappointment.
If Joseph Campbell's monomyth is the objectively "good" story, then the Wheel of Time series is objectively awful. Events happen at random, characters wander in and out of scenes and situations. The only unifying story arc is intangible to any of the events of the story, and there is no sense of completion or progression in relation to it.
And the author died before finishing it. Robert Jordan can't even get 'having cancer' right.
Wow I have to disagree this is the 1st time I have heard a negative view of the book. I didn't love the ending of it with the new author but the first 5 books or so and some of the laters ones were great
Dragon Reborn is a great book in the series
From what I remember, I really enjoyed it, but I read it ages ago (as in 10+ years ago)- I can't remember if I finished it though.
I enjoyed them in my 20's. Tried rereading them last year, now in my 40's. Couldn't stand them. Glacial pace. Nonsensical stereotypes. And nothing ever seems to happen, get done, or get resolved.
I recently finished reading Eye of the World. Not bad, but man was it long. It really could have been chopped down a couple hundred pages.
I enjoyed the first two books. They weren't hugely innovative, but I found them entertaining enough that I'll read more at some point. From what I hear, around book five things slow down a little to much. Things are meant to pick up again when Brandon Sanderson takes over, but I'm not sure I'll make it that far.
I really enjoyed that series and have read the prequel. I think Sanderson does a great job of holding true to Jordan's style.
Bump because I'm late to the party. I started the series about a month ago and I'm about 2/3 through the second book. I thought the first book was awesome but the second is taking me longer. It's pretty boring at times and, as others have said, nothing seems to get done. I was hoping to blast through them and finish all 15 in under a year but now I'm unsure unless it starts to pick up. I may have to read other books in between and that's if I do finish.
Wow, that was a necro and a half.
But since this corpse has been reanimated now I might as well weigh in. I have the first book in the series sitting on my shelf and I read the prologue on the bus, but I haven't gotten around to reading the rest. Not that the prologue put me off, it's more that I don't really want to read only a fraction of the story, but also don't want to set off on the daunting task of struggling through all 15. With fifteen books, and each one being rather large as far as the average book goes, it's not something I would embark on lightly. Fifteen lengthy installments in any story and you're going to start encountering pacing problems no matter what you do.
This wouldn't be such a problem if each one was an amazing work of art that stands on its own, but I"ve heard troubling reports of meandering plots, glacial pacing after the first few books, entire books where nothing happens and could almost be skipped, poorly written romance, excessively detailed descriptions that only serve to bloat, and all manner of issues that turn an enjoyable experience into a desperate endurance march.
I've heard good things about the first 5-6 books, but I've encountered few people who will claim that level of quality was maintained, so I'd rather dedicate my time to other stories that don't overstay their welcome to the point that you need an entire shelf dedicated to them.
The issue is goals. In the first book of the Belgauraid, Garrion knows what he has to do: find the orb.
Within the first third of The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo knows what he has to do: destroy the ring.
From the opening crawl of A New Hope the audience know what needs to be done: destroy the Death Star.
The Wheel of Time series has precisely none of that. I got out at book 12 and no one had any idea how they were going to get the maguffin to defeat...whoever. By the end of book 9 you don't even know who the bad guy is anymore. Some of the books have a coherent arc of events, some of them don't even have that. The book creates a plot and leaves it on a cliff hanger. I think it's between book 7 and 8 that the character we're following ends up walking into the woods to meet an enemy, and that sub plot isn't addressed in the next book at all!
If you just rip whatever book your reading in half, and throw the second half in the garbage you'll get a feel for the whole series. And then you can move on to a good series that much quicker! See, I did you a favor.
Yeah, the issue of certain plot points being more or less ignored is something else I've heard. To be honest, I'm not really sure how any story involving the same characters could possibly have a coherent, well paced plot when stretched out over fifteen books. I have trouble believing that a word count that large could possibly be necessary to tell anything resembling a single story.
It just leaves me thinking of all the other stories I could be reading in that time; stories that manage to present themselves without using enough paper to build a house out of.
Tried to get into it but just couldn't for whatever reason. My fantasy tastes vary from book to book but the series just didn't grab me and I gave up halfway into Book 2.
Thanks for the heads up, guys! I am definitely starting to struggle more and more in the last quarter of The Great Hunt (book 2) The motivation to keep reading that existed in The Eye of the World and carried over to The Great Hunt is nearly gone.
I started reading the Wheel Of Time books in high school in the late 90's and re-read the entire series when ever a new book came out every few years. Sometimes it felt as though I was reading just because I was so committed to the story, most of the time I really enjoyed it.
Overall its a massive achievement and worth reading by anyone who is interested in fantasy. The hints about where the world of the novel came from are interesting and I wish the origins of the world had been explored fuller - but I guess the beauty is that you see the hints and make up your own mind.
Anyone that has just started, don't let these negative reviewers tarnish your opinion, TWOT the archetype of modern epic fantasy and sets a standard that other epic series have to live up to. Some of it feels old and clichéd, that is because its influenced heavily by Tolkien, and other series are influenced heavily by TWOT. Ultimately it is still the benchmark.
TWOT does stretch your suspension of disbelief a little at times, the way I like to look at it is that the people who inhabit the world are all humans in appearance but that whatever cataclysm happened to transform earth into randland not only gave some people amazing super powers and created a whole bunch of weird and wonderful creatures, but also removed the ability of anyone to make obvious connections or talk to each other about issues which are important.
It's been a while but I remember book 3 being quite good. But then if you are struggling with book 2 then the series might not be for you as it is one of the better ones.
I've only made it through the first one, which is kind of a shame because I really enjoyed it. The first book establishes these very interesting concepts, and gives you a taste of a much bigger, fascinating world.
Personally I really enjoyed experiencing and learning about the world Robert Jordan had built through the eyes of the MC, who really knows just as much about it as the reader does.
By the end of the book, however, I was starting to drag. The narrative just becomes far to confused. I also remember a mind-numbing sequence of chapters where Jordan painstakingly describes the journey of the MC and a supporting character across what is essentially a featureless road from farm to farm. Everything about that section, from the way the journey is written, to the MC's interactions with these farmers and their families, is just weird. I couldn't even put my finger on it while reading, but it was just really off.
I would recommend anyone interested in fantasy to at least try and read the first one, though. If only because of the interesting ideas that Jordan put forward in his world-building. Ive also heard it said by others that the series as a whole has one of the most complex and well thought out magic systems in any fantasy series. I never got far enough to see for myself, but that claim exists.
I got through the first 6 or so, after that it just became a chore. I remember at one point, there was a description on the intricate art of sewing......I think it was at this point I kind of stopped reading.
It really did feel like Jordan was just dragging on for the sake of writing more books, which you should never do to a reader that has invested a lot of time into your work. In the end, I felt cheated and gave up!
I'm amazed how many people bashed this series. I picked up the first book a few years ago and went through all of them in about a month. Ever since that time I re-read (or actually listen to the audio version) about every year.
There are issues with the novels but I still love them.
I'm with doggiedude, I loved this series. Now I'm not gonna pretend that its some flawless work of art or anything, the series is riddled with flaws such as meandering plots in some of the later books, and arcs that take way too long to complete, some arcs that don't seem to ever complete. All these things can be honestly said about the series.
But the real charm of the series as I see it was the way in which you get to live with these characters for so long and go through so much with them that you can't help but become invested in their eventual outcome. Wheel of time is not just a story that you read, by being so long it becomes a world that you live in. A world that you can keep coming back to even after you've been there through 10 books already. Its the kind of experience where you develop your favourite characters and get excited when a chapter about them comes up. And unlike a song of ice and fire they don't die as soon as you become attached to them.
Its by no means a perfect series but I think its a really fun one to lose yourself in. Despite some of the books where things just stall, to me that just gave me more time to enjoy my favourite characters. Except for the one that Mat is not in. That one can suck a dick.
I got tired of the silly character hooks (that woman who kept yanking on her braid was a particular nuisance) and the endless diving back into needless conflict, so I gave up after five or six books.
The first one, the only one that was a complete story.
Didn't get that far.
Sorry, but the wheel of time just kept on spinning and I got dizzy.
As soon as I read silly character hooks I immediately thought, "Nynaeve yanking on her braid." It was so silly.
And you're right the first book is the only one to have a complete story. I think the reason this series suffered from so many flaws like it did was because it was trying to be all things to all people. It started out as a story about three boys in the shire the two rivers, and some publisher whispered into Mr. Jordan's ear "we need some strong female leads as well for the female demographic, and can you stretch this arc out into three books instead of one," etc. Then before you know it something that was originally slated to be six books winds up being 14 books that are nowhere near as good as they could have been.
Still love them though. Mostly because I fell in love with them at a time when I was a lot younger and not as picky. I don't think I'd tolerate the flaws if I picked them up for the first time now.
Yeah, I hear ya. Unfortunately, I was over 40 when they came out, so I was already quite picky. I did like the first one, though, except the abrupt ending was a bit jarring. It was almost like the publisher got to Jordan (to whisper in his ear) just as he was writing the third act.
I enjoyed the series well enough. By book nine or so I thought Jordan was kind of losing his way. I listened to those later volumes as audio books on long trips and they were still entertaining that way. I think Sanderson did a nice job actually wrapping things up.
Is it just me, or is knowing ahead of time that you'll need to read 15 books before anything gets resolved a bit off-putting? Length of series wasn't the only reason I stopped reading GoT, but it was certainly a factor. Looking ahead after reading the first couple of books (which were excellent) and realising there were still ...oh, six at best ...to go? If there had just been one more, I'd probably have kept going. However, knowing it was endless (still is!) made me walk away.
A trilogy format is easily grasped, and is almost a classic format. So are numerous sequels to books that use the same characters and the same world, but come up with different problems in each book and resolve each one at the end of each book. But having a single problem that takes 15 books to resolve? I'm afraid I will never start reading The Wheel of Time series. I suppose when people started reading the first one, they didn't realise it was going to drag on for so long.
It makes me cringe when so many fantasy writers on this forum blithely announce that they plan to write a 7 or 8 (or 12) volume 'series.' By series, I assume they are dealing with a story arc that spans them all. That is so hard to pull off, and it makes me think that perhaps the worldbuilding is what they really enjoy, rather than crafting a good story. Don't get me wrong here. I'm a huge fan of long stories and big books. However, when I get the feeling the author has lost control and is sailing wherever the wind takes him or her, I abandon ship.
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