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The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

Review by Caleyna

The Wheel of Time currently has 9 published books in the series, with a 10th on the way. No one knows how many books there will be in the series, not even the author himself. He's been saying "three more books" since book 5 I think.

Right now the series consists of:
The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Shadow Rising
The Fires of Heaven
Lord of Chaos
A Crown of Swords
The Path of Daggers
Winter's Heart
and the soon to be published Crossroads of Twilight

WoT is possibly one of the most well known fantasy series out there today with the exception of Lord of the Rings. There are countless Internet sites devoted to the series, along with fan clubs, RPGs, and groupies of all sorts.

Many people love it. Many people don't care for it. And then there are the people like me: we loved it once, but we are now indifferent.

WoT is pretty standard fantasy fare: young boy has quest to save the world, but evil powers are attempting to stop him. It may be standard, but it is pretty well done for the first 6 or so books. It can't be denied that Jordan is a great world builder. He uses all sorts of myths, legends and history from our own world to create a diverse world full of unique cultures. Reading the history of his world is interesting, though it would be nice if he gave it a name. It is known as Randland in most WoT circles, since the main character is Rand al'Thor.

I find the characters to be the biggest problem in WoT. Firstly, there are just too many of them. The first book starts with about seven important characters, but now there are probably at least 50 characters that are semi-important in the story. It's hard to keep track of them all with a standard 2 year wait from one book to the next. This wouldn't be such a big problem if the characters would just act normal. Instead, the characters have all become caricatures of what Jordan thinks men and women act like. The women sniff when they are unhappy and call all the men "woolheads". The men all think they are bad with women and have some weird issues with treating women like frail and fragile creatures, along with giving women their way. It is kind of funny in the first couple of books, but by book 5 it just gets annoying. I can't even begin to imagine the type of relationship Jordan must have with his wife, since he says he bases his female characters off of her. She must be one strong woman.

The sheer length of the series is also becoming a problem. The first book had a very good plot that actually went somewhere. Since then, it seems like RJ has realized he has a good thing going and doesn't want it to stop. He spends pages describing the clothes the girls are wearing, and spends one sentence telling us about a war. The end of Winter's Heart seems to have left off before the beginning of Path of Daggers. The plot is simply stuck in a rut and not going anywhere. It makes me and many other readers feel like RJ has just become money-hungry and won't go anywhere with the plot as long as it is making money. I hope that is an erroneous assumption. It seems like if he would finish up WoT with a really good ending, people would flock to by his next series.

If RJ would have finished up the series within six or so books I would have been able to give it a high rating of a 4 or 5. At this time it seems he is just writing along without a clue of what should happen or how the characters are. My tolerance for this series decreased with every book written. Currently I'd rate the series a 2.5 or 3, but if something doesn't happen in the next book that score could go down even further.


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