Wednesday, 23 June 2004

The never-ending Wheel of Time

Liz Tai commented on my essential reads list in Daphen's blog, and noticed that I did not mention Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time there. Well, here's why:

Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time has got to be the most long winded fantasy series in the history of time, even worse than the first three-hundred pages of Fellowship of the Ring (BEFORE the hobbits get to Rivendell).

Not only has Jordan clocked in at ELEVEN books already, HALF of those books hardly advanced the plot, and the characters just went around hitting people, scolding peasents, while the hero fooled around with his three (YES, THREE) girlfriends.

To make things worse, instead of concentrating on FINISHING the darn series, Jordan decided to take a break and write a PREQUEL (A New Spring). Now, if that isn't blatant exploitation of his fans, I don't know what is.

Nevertheless (sucker that I am), I have read every single book in the Wheel of Time (Though I flat out refuse to even TOUCH the prequel). To those who ask my opinion about the books, here is what I have to say:

Pros:
First of all, the concept and the world that Jordan has created is just briliant. The detail is rich, and the scale of his world is vast; plus it helps that the story has a great deal of potential in it. Starting with The Eye of the World, Jordan weaves a pretty good yarn, and continues to do so through the second (The Great Hunt), third (The Dragon Reborn) and fourth (The Shadow Rising) books. Through these books, and the fifth, (The Fires of Heaven)one is always hungering for more, and can hardly bear to put the books down for even a single minute.

The sixth book onwards, however, brings me to the...

Cons:
To me, the 6th (The Lord of Chaos), 7th (Crown of Swords) and 8th (Path of Daggers)book of the Wheel of Time can be considered a total waste of time.

The story barely progresses, the characters whine constantly and get stuck in unlikely situations, and Rand (the hero) does nothing but frolick with his girlfriends and kill the occasional Forsaken (the evil minions of the Dark Lord - think Nazgul with better dress sense). In fact, nothing significant really happens until the ninth book (Heart of Winter).

Jordan also has an irritating habit of adding more and more characters into the mix to the point where I got so confused that I considered drawing a flow-chart to indicate which character appeared when.

In defence of the series (and there is precious little to defend it with), book eleven - Crossroads of Twilight WAS an improvement over the previous books, especially after events in Winter's Heart sort of FORCED the story along. This actually boded well for the series, and had my hopes up again. Until Jordan came out with a PREQUEL of all things. Now, I've lost all hope again. Sigh...

Conclusion:
All in all, the Wheel of Time can be considered a pretty good but incredibly frustrating fantasy series, one I would not recommend reading BEFORE Jordan has actually FINISHED the darn series. But in case you're a sucker for long-winded and elaborate fantasies with no end in sight, here is the complete list of books

The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan:

1) The Eye of the World
2) The Great Hunt
3) The Dragon Reborn
4) The Shadow Rising
5) The Fires of Heaven
6) The Lord of Chaos
7) The Crown of Swords
8) The Path of Daggers
9) Winter's Heart
10) Crossroads of Twilight
11) New Spring (prequel!)

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I love the Wheel of Time... In fact some of my passwords are made from eh, WoT references. I used to be so obssessed with it until I came across Book 7, 8 and 10. But as I was re-reading Book 1 and 2 today, I was just struck by how wonderfully creative the books are. There were a lot of subtle nuances that I missed, and I am continually astounded by the depth of the book, over and over again. And I always hear stories about people who have started reading it since teens, and now they are grown-ups and have kids. It's really wonderful how a series can influence major years of someone's life. While all of us WoT fans keep praying and praying that the future books will be better, nevertheless, no matter how terrible it gets, we will still read it. No matter what. So, hmm.. what am I trying to say? Ah, that it should make the essential read list. =)

eyeris said...

Oooo... a WoT fan. welcome welcome. :)

Its true that Wheel of Time is a great series, and that Jordan is a pretty good writer. But what I hate is how he milks the series for all its worth, and with each book, the ending is never in sight. Mat's story just BEGINS in Crossroads of Twilight, for god's sake!

But anyway, much as I hate to admit it, I'd still read the next books anyway. (Though I REFUSE to touch the prequel)

As for it being on my essential list, I'd say only the first four books deserve a place. :)