Reading Wheel of Time for the first time

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Doggles, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Doggles

    Doggles Hocknose

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    I have been reading fantasy books for about 15 years now and one series that I've never read but always meant to was the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan. I've always avoided spoilers of this series as I've known I would read it one day. With the news that the final book is due to be released next year I though it would be the perfect time to start.

    What would you guys say I have in store for me? How does it shape compared to Erikson, GRRM, Bakker et al.

    I've read a lot of so called "Gritty" fantasy over the last few years and I have a feeling this isn't so much, which actually might be a nice change of tone.

    I have one concern that it may be more geared towards younger readers, in the same vain as Eddings, is this the case also?
     
  2. Davis Ashura

    Davis Ashura Would be writer? Sure.

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    It's more mature than Eddings and certainly richer in world development. It's not gritty in the sense that the violence and crushing gruesomeness is handled off stage for the most part and the people curse liberally but with made up curses.
    It is most certainly epic with a sweep of history that is hard to match.
     
  3. supremedarkness

    supremedarkness Registered User

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    Worth the read. Very enjoyable and a classic that must be read. The only negative is that Jordan progresses the plot a tad bit slow.
     
  4. PeteMC

    PeteMC @PeteMC666

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    It isn't gritty in the modern sense of swearing, shagging and stabbing and has a bit of a PG-13 feel to it, but it isn't YA either - some of the themes are adult and there are moments that are fairly philosophical. The entire story arc is basically a classic messiah tale, reasonably Christian-influenced but not quite as obvious about it as Tolkien.

    It lags a bit towards the mid-later books (9 and 10 especially) but it picks up again with the last Jordan book.

    Sanderson has done a mighty fine job of picking up where Jordan left off, in my opinion, and for all that I don't personally care for his other stuff I think he'll bring this home in style. I'd say it's definitely worth plugging through the dull ones to get to the end.
     
  5. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    I read the series in full about 15 years ago and then Path of Daggers and Winter's Heart when they were both initially released. I think I re-read The Eye of the World and maybe The Great Hunt when Winter's Heart published in 2000....

    ...anyway, reading the series for the first time, especially The Shadow Rising, Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos were some of the most exciting and enjoyable reading experiences for me up to that time so I think (and hope) you are in for a treat Doggles.

    I've embarked on a re-read over the past couple of years with the most recent one being A Crown of Swords which fared much better on a re-read than I remembered from my initial read and was very pleasantly surprised.
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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  7. Dyloot

    Dyloot Registered User

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    Prepare yourself for a ton of bloat. I say this having loved this series, but it's true.

    Jordan filled his books with repetitive thoughts and actions from many of his characters. He filled his books with gushing descriptions of his characters' beauty and their wardrobes. He added new characters and story-lines unnecessary to the overall plot. He even wrote a book that pretty much details the events prior to the book before it--all but leaving out the main character.

    By the time you catch up you'll have read about 10,000 pages.

    There's plenty to love about it. The characters remain some of the most memorable in my mind. The world is rich and interesting--I fondly recall many landmarks still. I will eagerly buy the finale, but I doubt very much I'd ever consider rereading any of the books that came before.
     
  8. Simon F

    Simon F Registered User

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    one of the best - i am jealous that you are embarking on your first read...
     
  9. MattNY

    MattNY Registered User

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    I am on my first read of the series as well. I am currently about half way through the third book.

    I felt Eye of the World was a solid opener to the series. It definitely felt heavily inspired by Middle Earth, which I expected due to Jordan's involvement with the series. Even knowing that though, I was still surprised how heavily it borrowed from it. Still, I enjoyed his writing, it was entertaining and certainly had enough going on to keep my interest in continuing the series.

    The Great Hunt really established the series on its own merits for me. Brilliant writing, direction and story as I really felt the world developed a richer history. It is one of my favorite reads in the fantasy genre thus far.

    Like I said, I am about half way through The Dragon Reborn. It is a tiny step back from the 2nd so far, IMO, but it is still quite good. The series is very rich. My only problem, thus far, is that the character development has stagnated to this point. I can't say that any of the main characters has evolved in any manner thus far after the major developments that many went through in the 2nd. We shall see what happens in the rest though.

    I think you are in for a very good read. I was in the exact same boat as you and am quite glad I have finally started the series. I likely won't be done for a few years though as I am taking breaks between reads, so you likely will finish before me if you stick with it.
     
  10. cohelian

    cohelian Registered User

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    A few years ago there was a pretty big disagreement here about the quality of the WOT series. It came very close to the same acrimonious pros and cons of Goodkinds Sword of Truth series, which I found a ridiculous comparison.
    A lot of people here will tell you they dislike this series, but a LOT more will tell you they loved it and I am ONE of them ! ! !
    I have read all those other series you mentioned and liked them all. I'll even admit to loving Erikson, but never Martin and I do not like Bakker at all even though I did read his first 4 books. Can I get a rebate there?

    The WOT is the greatest fantasy series you will ever read if you are a not a pretentious literary snob. The books are long and yes Jordan has/had a tendency to run on with his setting descriptions, but when he gets back to the story it is well worth the wait.
    I have never read any books that have had so many characters I have cared so much about nor so many villains I have hated. No other books have ever engaged both my mind and my heart as this series has.
    I eagerly await the final book this next spring. Brandon Sanderson has done a marvelous job of carrying on with Robert's work.

    The best fantasy series I have ever read. I have re-read most of the books at least once.
     
  11. AmethystOrator

    AmethystOrator Registered User

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    It's great that you enjoy them so much, but you should be able to do so, and then discuss them, without such assumptions and name-calling.

    I've never wanted to be thought of as "pretentious" or a "snob", and that's one of the reasons that I've refrained from joining organizations such as Mensa.

    But at the same time, I can't help but see some failings with this series, chief among them imho, a lack of complexity in the prose, dialogue and characterization. If you don't see such things, or care about such failings, then good for you. But do you really expect those who might to lie about their honest impressions in order to spare your feelings? How far do you expect others to not give their genuine thoughts on these books in order to validate your personal perspective?
     
  12. B1acksun

    B1acksun Registered User

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    I am so jealous. I wish I could experience the journey for the first time again. Brings back memories of skipping classes and spending days in a quiet corner of the public library reading them. Good old days!

    Best wishes.
     
  13. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Folks at SFFWorld are entirely free to like or dislike whatever they may choose without having to be labeled in pejorative terms. Please reign in such rhetoric.

    Essentially, a response 'in kind.' T'would be best to ignore the overly generalized swipe, than to respond 'in kind.'

    [mod]Consider this issue deceased. Also, consider this the warning against flaming, or even retaliatory flaming. Move along/forward.[/mod]
     
  14. PeteMC

    PeteMC @PeteMC666

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    Moving forward indeed....

    Do you hate the villains though? I love WOT and like you greatly engage with the characters (Matt is the man!), but I engage with most of the Forsaken every bit as much as the heroes. Ishamael and Moridin are just badass, as are Rahvin and Sammael in their ways, and I've had a crush on Grendel for years! :D

    Fain, to be fair, is utterly loathable but that's what he's there for and is, therefore, still engaging in his repulsive way to my mind.

    There's some old saw about how the measure of a man is counted by the strength of his enemies, or something like that, and would the messiah figure of Rand be anything like as impressive if he was facing characterless, faceless "evil dudes"? Great enemies help make a great story, and you can't hate them for that.
     
  15. cohelian

    cohelian Registered User

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    Wow.
    You are so smart that you decline from lowering yourself to join mensa.
    You are my new hero.
     
  16. Doggles

    Doggles Hocknose

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    Thanks for all the comments guys,

    You can't go on any fantasy forum without people talking about WoT, and I had noticed that it is generally seen in a very positive way.
    Some comments I hear (even on this post) is that people have tended to have read it when they were younger and have such fond memories of it. I think that's why I never got round to reading it before because I thought somehow I had missed the boat and wouldn't enjoy it now (I'm in my 30's now) :-(

    So am 5 chapters in, enjoying it so far. the prologue was very intriguing. Is there a reference for time in years, like for example how many years before the current events did the prelude occur.

    Stand out characters so far have got to be Mat and the Gleeman Thom??

    Anyway so far so good and a nice change of tone from Erikson (read forge of darkness before this and it is very heavy on the philosphy!!)
     
  17. Freakytapir

    Freakytapir New Member

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    The prologue is set about 3000 years before the events in the series.
     
  18. chokipokilo

    chokipokilo Unreasonable reasoner

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    I've been torn over whether or not to read WoT for years...along with the Malazan series. These stories are just ridiculously long, and from what I hear of Malazan, the ending wasn't quite up to snuff. I'll probably wait till after the last WoT book comes out and see how it's reviewed to see if I really want to commit to a series of this size, with a well known, several book slump in the middle.
     
  19. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    WoT and Malazan are both very good books in their own way. I believe both series could be condensed enough to completely remove at least 2-3books. WoT provides a lot of filler around books 6-10, while SE simply bloats up almost every book. Too much philosophy talk that I tend to skim anyways. (I find myself skimming to dialogue in almost every series so a lot of it is just me)

    Both have their moments of being an amazing series though. I don't yet know how WoT is going to end, but Sanderson has done better than expected. He revived the series, and then some. I am 1/2 way through the last SE book, The Crippled God. The last few books have been awesome! So I don't expect the final book to be anything but. And as to your quote about it being "not quite up to snuff". I have not heard that at all. I have actually heard mostly the opposite that many have liked it, and it was a "fitting ending". Or the ending most people wanted. An ending for the readers. ..well see though!

    I don't know which one I would rank higher. I would recommend reading both. They are both HUGE undertakings though. It took me awhile myself to get the courage to start Malazan simply because I was afraid of starting a 14+ book series. I am very glad I did though.
     
  20. UB313

    UB313 Registered User

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    Maybe the forerunner to the extended, elaborate world-building series of which there are a number today. And fairly original world as well. (Don't be put off by the Tolkienesque first book.) Quite a lot of interesting anthropological details - check out how he thinks through how the White Tower, Aiel and Seanchan societies would be organised.

    Decent plotting, epic in scale; a little slow for me, but no slower than Martin or Erikson until you hit book 7 or 8ish.

    If you're sensitive to characterisation that is either bland or annoying and repetitive, prepare yourself.