“The Wheel of Time” Series by Robert Jordan (Tor, 1990)

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I tried. I gave it over two years of my life and I still couldn’t keep going till the end. Of course, the real end will probably be book fifteen or twenty or, heaven forbid, twenty-five and up. I’m talking about Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Currently there are eleven books in the series, the latest, Knife of Dreams, came out last October. The first book, Eye of the World, started out really well and I felt like I’d discovered a great new epic fantasy series similar to that of Lord of the Rings. The first book proved this and I thought it was great; I was also very excited at the notion of there being so many books in the series, with the story still incomplete. The second book, The Great Hunt, while not as mind-mashingly great as the first book, was still a great read, as was the third, The Dragon Reborn, where we find out that the main character is the guy prophesied to save the world, essentially. Eight books from there and the big showdown still hasn’t come, while Jordan has continued to drag out into the hundreds and thousands of pages scenes, descriptions, and characters bickering at each other about the same thing while repetitively employing their annoying habits, to the point where I feel like I’m reading a children’s nursery rhyme.

Then there’s the whole deal with the main character, Rand, having his undeniable love for three of the women characters, which he is okay with, and which they are okay with, apparently, and are quite willing to share him amongst themselves. I may have kept sloughing through the series better if there’d been a lot less purple prose and books four to ten had been condensed into say books four to six, which would’ve made more sense and made the stories move along better. Around book five I began spotting the routine the books go through: a few hundred pages of sitting around talking, explaining and regurgitating what’s happened in the past books, bitching at each other; then about four hundred pages of people painstakingly crawling from a starting point to a destination (and bear in mind that these people can “travel” through vortexes real fast), and then the last hundred pages is a big action scene. At book seven, Crown of Thorns, halfway through, I decided I’d wasted enough time on Mr. Jordan and his wordiness, so I employed a slow speed-reading method which got me through them a lot faster. In about three days I reached the end of book nine and decided I’d had it and it just wasn’t worth any more of my time. At this point I’d been able to summarize each book into three or four sentences, and I’d decided that if I can do that, maybe it’s just not worth it and I should put my reading time to something more important that I’d enjoy reading more.

So here I am Mr. Jordan, signing off on your series that held so much promise and crashed and burned like a planet falling into a dead star. Oh, and you know what, I’m not the only one who thinks this way. There are other people I know who’ve given up earlier than me, and others who’ve not even bothered to start because they know it’s going to end bad.

On the plus side, I get to sell all my Robert Jordan books and make money off him!


Originally written on February 27th, 2006 ©Alex C. Telander.