The wheel of time
I started reading this story series when I left home, sometime in January. It is an epic fantasy, think Lord of the Rings, only longer. Much longer. The original author, Robert Jordan wrote 10 books and was very ill so he left lots of notes (or so wikipedia says) for a new guy to finish the last three. The last of these is slated for 2012. So, just to recap, 13 books, 12 published; a total of 11308 pages.
I cannot help but make the comparison to LOTR. The aspects of LOTR that as a book are so mesmerizing are the richness of the world, characters themselves and a short concise clear plot.
The wheel of time has a very rich world. While Robert Jordan does not paint as pretty a picture as JRR Tolkien the result is still most excellent. To expect more in this case is to be greedy. There is magic and wolves and trollocs (think orcs) and a bad guy (the devil himself) and different races. The world is defined and shaped by the one power (most force-like).
The characters are thought out very very well indeed. Given the length of the saga they have enormous time to grow. The difference in their mannerisms as they age and become wiser is significant. Their stories are also well told and while I’m sure that if you set out to find flaws in the timeline you would succeed but you would have to look rather hard.
As with most fantasy books, there would be characters you’d like and characters that you’d dislike. Given the quantum of words this like/dislike, even for the same character tends to shift.
The plot while having a general overall direction tends to become unfocussed in some places. You might read whole books and wonder what happened and why. A bunch of books in the middle were utter garb, no fun to read at all.
Finally, I like it when a book (or in this case a series of books) leaves a mark. There are sequences and passages written out beautifully. On many an occasion I found myself rooting for a character, willing him/her to do something I wanted not what the author thought was cromulent.
At the end of the day, you need to have significant time to invest (12 books is a lot) in this set of books. I’d make sure there are no other pressing needs to be fulfilled before going ahead and making so much time. On the whole, I’m glad I did, I still end up going back and re-reading the battles/scenes that I enjoyed. Oh, and I wait with baited breath for 2012, and hope that the end of the world is after I’ve finished reading the last book.
PS: Just re-read the post – my writing is garbage now.
PPS: This place has rotten weather.
PPPS: if you would like to read something more interesting check out halley belly’s latest post.
PPPPS: high-five if you got the star-wars reference.