Robert Jordan - General comments
The wheel of time turns... and so do so many thousands of pages. Robert Jordan's work is not half bad, in fact the breakneck pace of the first four books is enough to keep me coming back for more. However, I was not impressed with many of the other seven. The exceptions to this are "Winter's Heart" and "Knife of Dreams". It seems like Mr. Jordan has wandered off the path of epic fantasy and into the dark realms of romantic pulp. Do I care what some random Seanchan lady is thinking? No. Furthermore, please stop saturating me with charaters! Mr. Jordan, it is high time someone told you to stop telling us how characters tug their braids and more about how the plot will move from the mire in which it is stuck! I see why Mr. Jordan writes about "weaving the power", he apparantly can weave three trillion plotlines together. However, I do want to know about the characters. Mr. Jordan's skill at fleshing out a character is undeniable. From Rand's loss of innocence, to Mat's developing leadership skills, each and every character has a personality and a motivation that you can understand. I've grown to love this horribly flawed series, and even though I complain about "Crossroads of Twilight", I still love the series. You can bet I'll be first in town to buy the penultimate book.
Submitted by Ian Herbig
I have heard many times in the past many fantasy novels compared to Tolkien. Of course this is to be expected as Tolkien is pretty much the creator of the fantasy genre. But I think it angers me the most when people compare Robert Jordan's work in "The Wheel of Time" series to Tolkien.
The book is a magnificent piece of work and only until I picked it up did I understand why my father and my brother were always talking about it. I picked it up about 2 years ago in the seventh grade and I haven't put it down since. I am currently waiting for the 11th book to come out (in the mean time I'm reading the Dark Tower series by Stephen King) and going crazier by the day that it isn't out.
Although I have to say that the women in his book are incredibly dense and prideful and so stupid sometimes that I just feel the need to reach into the book and hit them, I am saved from my aggravation by the few moments of glory and sheer greatness in characters like Rand and Mat. The world that Jordan has created is one in which anyone can fall into and from the moment I finished the 2 and a half page (I think) prologue in the "Eye of the World" I was hooked and didn't put it down until I was done with all ten books. He has created many a civilization and people that are so complex that I cannot fully picture it. I can see the deep relationships embedded between cultures and Jordan has not spared us the reality of a hatred between peoples.
The first book in the series starts off in the Two Rivers, and it may, at first, seem reminescent to the Shire of Tolkien's work if you read the whole series and learn about the Two Rivers' history you will understand that it is entirely different. The people of the Shire are a peace loving people who avoid any contact with the outside world (mainly) and who pretty much keep to themselves. The Shire has always been a place like that yet the history of the Two Rivers was not always similar. In fact it was entirely different. The Two Rivers, or Emond's Field, was once a great society, one of the largest civilizations in the Age of Legends, called Manetheren. This society took part willingly in the War of the Shadow that tore apart the land and led to Lews Therin's attack on the Bore to re-seal the great evil called the Dark One. Manetheren was destroyed in the Trolloc Wars (a smaller war in the larger war called the War of the Shadow) and the people in whose veins runs the blood of Manetheren, a society whose people fought against the Shadow until the very end, built the village in the Two Rivers after the Breaking of the World. Later in the series Trollocs (reminiscent of Orcs except in the sense of how they came to be...Trollocs were a marvel of genetic engineering of humans and animals. Does that sound anything like Orcs?) attack the Two Rivers and, led by Perrin (also called Goldeneyes because of his gold eyes which are tied to his being a Wolfbrother, a person who can talk to wolves), they fight and defeat the incoming throngs of Trollocs. Does that sound like the Shire? The Dark One, who is the main antogonist against the entire world dubbed Randland by fans of the series, may sound like Sauron but if you focus more on the history of the Dark One then the name itself and what it is, an evil (but most great fantasy novels have some type of main evil and people fighting against that evil) that threatens the world, you will discover that Jordan has created much more to the story then just a simple man desiring power. The Dark One was basically the antithesis to the Creator and was sealed in a prison at the moment of Creation. During the Age of Legends the main force with which Aes Sedai (advisors of the world and a society created to serve people) did what they did, called the One Power, was split into two parts, Saidin and Saidar. Each one was only able to be channeled by the male, Saidin, and the female, Saidar, Aes Sedai. Two people (later called Ishamael and Lanfear) found a place where they thought lay a power that could be channeled by both men and women, but was actually the prison the Dark One. They bore a hole into the prison and let out the Dark One starting was was called the War of the Shadow. Does that sound anything like Sauron?
Hopefully through this review you can see the depth which Robert Jordan has created to the world of the "Wheel of Time". I have only begun to scratch the surface of the deep detail put into the history of the world up to the point where the story begins in the "Eye of the World" and in truth there is much more complexity added later on. Relationships and love circles are formed. Hatred and rivalrys are built. Loss and sadness. Death and fighting. Wars, madmen, armies. Everything that could be wanted from a series of this genre is put in. As long as you can get around the incredible hatred that will most likely develop in you for most of the women in the series, which I'm sure Jordan had a reason for making women so in his world other then the thought which will first come to your head, "he really thinks women are like this?" But I don't know. Hopefully I have helped you make a decision and showed you at least a sample of the greatness Jordan has created in this epic tale.
Submitted by Jake Fether
Robert Jordan has great wealth of knowledge, experience, and understanding of the universe, ranging from trivial facts to abstract ideas. What makes him an exceptional fantasy writer is his ability to bring all this together to form a complex new world. Most writers have certain aspects missing from their creations, but Jordan is a true Renaissance man.
I am aware that some people frown upon the way Jordan has drawn out the Wheel of Time series. For me, the reason for reading fantasy is to escape from the routine of daily life and become a part of an exciting new world. Upon finishing a book/series, I'm always saddened by the fact that I will no longer have new adventures in that world, and must find a new one to start over in. The length and depth of Jordan's series is a blessing, because you can spend what almost seems eternity in his increasingly complex and believable world without really worrying about the end. Enjoy the journey, don't scream for the ending. Isn't that what reading is all about?