I’m Giving Up on The Wheel of Time

/ Books /

I’m making it official: I’m giving up on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga.

I’m really pretty disappointed with this decision, because there are a lot of reasons why I like the series, including:

  1. Interesting plot. The fate of the world is on the shoulders of a bunch of kids from a small town. It’s a classic underdog scenario, but a well-loved classic. I also like the whole “wheel of time” concept too.
  2. Rich world. Jordan’s a pretty talented world-builder. There are a lot of rich cultures and interesting locales that add a lot of depth to the story.
  3. Brandon Sanderson. I recently read and enjoyed the Mistborn trilogy. I have full confidence that the finale of the series is capable hands, now that the reigns have been handed off with Jordan’s passing. I want to see how it ends and how Sanderson’s touch affects the story.

Unfortunately, there are several key factors that are making this completely impossible. To start with, I can’t get through the 5th book, Fires of Heaven. But it’s the same reasons that are preventing me from finishing that book that have made me decide to quit, including:

  1.  The series is too long. 14 books is a lot.
  2. Each book is too long. The paperbacks tend to be 800 pages or more.
  3. Not enough happens to keep my interest. I can’t read a novel like Brent Week’s The Way of Shadow which is full of so many twists and turns that it makes your head spin, and then read The Wheel of Time which pauses over every detail and moves at a sluggish pace.
  4. The writing is terrible. There, I said it. Robert Jordan has a great imagination, but his writing is not up to snuff with the fantasy authors that I really enjoy.
  5. There’s no trust. The characters constantly lie to and keep secrets from each other. Instead of working together, they are constantly at odds, even though they are all working towards the same goal. That’s just stupid and it’s not a good enough reason to draw out the plot.
  6. All the women are cruel. Seriously. There isn’t a single female character that is likable in the slightest bit. They are so mean and stubborn that I don’t even understand how the human race survives.
  7. All the men are morons. Apparently, men are completely incapable of understanding women at all. It’s almost offensive.
  8. There’s no romance. I never thought I would need this in a book, but, damn, you can’t have that much sexual tension and no action.
  9. There’s no action. The world is in an uproar and all we get is one, maybe two fights a book. And these are long books. I need more battles, more fights, more ambushes, more scuffles…just give me some action, man!
  10. I’m really sick of reading about dresses.

There are more reasons, minor ones that also contribute. For example, the reason I had to stop reading Fires of Heaven was a scene between Siuan Sanche and several Aes Sedai. Siuan, the former Seat, has been stilled and the Aes Sedai now see her as completely and utterly useless. How is that even remotely possible? How can an entire group of seemingly intelligent and powerful women think that, just because a woman can no longer access the Power, that she has no more use? Was her brain also melted? No. Then, why?

I don’t know, but it’s that kind of terrible writing that has made me decide to stop reading the series. Like I said, I really enjoyed the overall plot and world, so if you can get past the little things, then you’ll probably actually enjoy the series. I can’t so I guess I’m just going to have to read the plot summaries and call it good enough.

Comments

  1. Zayne says:

    Wheel of Time is a huge time investment and takes a lot of patience to slog through some bad – not great to get to the good. I started back in high school and got all the way up to book 9 and then complete gave up out of frustration. I finally picked it back up from the beginning on audiobook a couple years ago and really found my love of it again. It was interesting listening to the audiobooks because I got a much better sense of the characters than I remember having in my first read-through. I finished the last two book where Sanderson came on in about 2 and half weeks which for me is incredibly fast.

    For whatever twisted reason, the bickering and general stupidity of some of the Aes Sedai in these books has been a source of amusement for me. They usually get some kind of comeuppance on a regular basis from someone. More specifically, Siuan manipulates the bejesus out of those woman later on.

    If you’re really that bogged down by everything, http://www.encyclopaedia-wot.org/ is the site for you. Great chapter summaries. I would usually read them after finishing a block of chapters anyway just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

    If you are interested in seeing what I would consider some of Jordan’s best writing, I would stop and actually read the Battle of Dumai’s Well at the end of book 6 and the Battle at Shadar Logoth at the end of Book 9. Book 6 as a whole is my favorite of the series so far with the last book taking a very close second. Action on the level of other novels like the Mistborn series is just not the way Wheel of Time rolls. However, when you do get them, they’re usually pretty amazing. Towers of Midnight has a 3-4 chapter long action sequence that rivals most anything I’ve ever read before.

    If you do try and power through it, I’d try and pick the actually books back up at Knife of Dreams. It’s the last one by Jordan alone and the pace starts picking up. Plus, some of Mat and Tuon’s interactions are well worth it. Once you hit Sanderson’s involvement, I think you’d be much happier with the books in general. He gave it a much needed kick in the pants.

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