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Thread: Wheel of Time books - worth reading?

  1. #1
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    Wheel of Time books - worth reading?

    At a bookstore I saw the 10th book in the Wheel of Time series and I recall that when the series first started people said it was very good. I never got around to reading them but I went to Amazon and the average user rating for the 10th book was one-and-a-half stars, that's pretty bad. So is it worth reading the series at all? Should I start reading them but stop at a certain point because it goes downhill?

  2. #2
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    The series, as a whole, is good.

    However, the big complaint about the last book is essentially that the whole book is essentially a massive build-up. There is no "money scene" like each of the other books have. Book ten stops _just_ short of what looks like will be several large-scale acts in book 11.

    Basically, nothing of any real note happens in book ten. I suspect it was all setup for what'll "have to" happen in the last two books.

  3. #3
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    I thought the series started off very mixed. I didn't like the writing style, I didn't particularly care for the monsters (the names were a bit too cute), but I liked the story and what I could see of the back story. I think his writing got better very quickly, but I dropped out about book 5 or 6--it was taking too long to go anywhere, some of the characters were getting on my nerves, and I didn't have any great interest in watching the main character go insane.

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    I gave up after the first three volumes. I hated the main characters. Bland al Thor was too dull and insipid to sustain a multi-volume epic, and Nynaeve annoyed the hell out of me.

    Jordan is too attached to his babies. I would have much preferred it if he had performed a cull on them now and again. (Have any of the main characters died yet?)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eroica
    I gave up after the first three volumes. I hated the main characters. Bland al Thor was too dull and insipid to sustain a multi-volume epic, and Nynaeve annoyed the hell out of me.

    Jordan is too attached to his babies. I would have much preferred it if he had performed a cull on them now and again. (Have any of the main characters died yet?)
    Gave up midway through vol. 3, it had taken me about 9 months to get that far into it. If I have nothing else to do, I can read a 600 page book in a day, so it's not that I am a slow reader.
    And my opinion of the characters matches yours exactly.

  6. #6
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    same as above: i gave up too. managed to make it to part 6 and then i just stopped. totally bored.

    i'd give the series a miss.

    my personal favorite series is still the Magician series by Raymond E. Feist. the first series (Magician, Darkness at Sethanon and Silverthorn) are among my favorite books ever. i still reread them on a regular basis...

  7. #7
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    I like to reread the first WOT book occasionally. I like the sense of adventure. My all-time favorite fantasy series is the Theives' World books. I also enjoy the Paks books of Elizabeth Moon. And anything by deCamp.

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    Looks like I won't bother reading them, thanks everyone.

  9. #9
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    I really liked the series up to around book 5 or so. It then became overly apparent Jordon had sold out to the publisher to create as many books in the series as possible, regardless of the quality. A damn shame, as I would have loved to have it conclude at book 6.

    A better series out now is A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Excellent series so far (3 books out, 4th due out "shortly"). Only thing is, his 4th book is WAY overdue, leading to speculation that either he's running out of steam, or he's had to rewrite several times after selling out to the publishers ala Jordon.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally
    I really liked the series up to around book 5 or so. It then became overly apparent Jordon had sold out to the publisher to create as many books in the series as possible, regardless of the quality. A damn shame, as I would have loved to have it conclude at book 6.
    I have no idea if this is the case or not, but will there be ultimately twelve books in the series (like there are twelve hours on a clock?).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally
    I really liked the series up to around book 5 or so. It then became overly apparent Jordon had sold out to the publisher to create as many books in the series as possible, regardless of the quality. A damn shame, as I would have loved to have it conclude at book 6.

    A better series out now is A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Excellent series so far (3 books out, 4th due out "shortly"). Only thing is, his 4th book is WAY overdue, leading to speculation that either he's running out of steam, or he's had to rewrite several times after selling out to the publishers ala Jordon.
    I hope he doesn't pull a Jordan. I was really impressed with the first four books in the WoT series, but then RJ seemed to hit a wall and the series degraded rapidly after that. One of the things I thought Jordan did wrong was to have too many main and secondary characters. I got to the point where I couldn't be bothered to care what happened to many of them. Also after a point the vaguely Bondage/FemDom stuff got really tired. GRRM seems a more resiliant writer and he has admitted that he basically had to trash the first draft of his latest novel cause the five year gap in narrative he initially envisioned just wouldn't work. The samples he's posted at his website have been pretty good and I think "A Feast For Crows" will turn out to be worth the wait. It's interesting that both these series have the same basic concept. Which is how not even the final battle between good and evil will be exempt from human political machinations. I just feel that GRRM's version is more robust and true to how real people would act.

  12. #12
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    hmm... i already gave up halfway through book one of the GRRM series.

    i've been waiting for a long time for a good new writer with the qualities of a Feist, an early Eddings (his latest work is not very good and rather childish), or a Gemmel... David Gemmel's latest series is interesting and promising and Feist seems to be back on the right track with his Silverhawk series.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrolan
    hmm... i already gave up halfway through book one of the GRRM series.

    i've been waiting for a long time for a good new writer with the qualities of a Feist, an early Eddings (his latest work is not very good and rather childish), or a Gemmel... David Gemmel's latest series is interesting and promising and Feist seems to be back on the right track with his Silverhawk series.
    What made you stop reading it Morrolan??? I can't imagine anyone who likes the fantasy genre' not liking this series!!! Were you perhaps distracted by something (or someone???).

  14. #14
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    I just started reading GRRM, finishing book 1 tonight. I like WOT too but I really wish he would end it already.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally
    What made you stop reading it Morrolan??? I can't imagine anyone who likes the fantasy genre' not liking this series!!! Were you perhaps distracted by something (or someone???).
    to be honest, i can't exactly remember. i bought the first book immediately when it came out a few years ago (hungry for something new), and i put it aside around halfway through. i had the same with the Goodkind books, although i managed that series to the beginning of book 3. aside from the fact that it was an obvious WOT clone in some points, the graphic descriptions of the torture of the main character (in book 2, i think) put me off. a bit too sadistic for my taste.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrolan
    my personal favorite series is still the Magician series by Raymond E. Feist. the first series (Magician, Darkness at Sethanon and Silverthorn) are among my favorite books ever. i still reread them on a regular basis...
    I think early Feist suffered from one-dimensional characters. He definitely improved, and really hit his stride with the Serpentwar series (though the final ending was really too abrupt).

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiaroscuro25
    <snip> the Serpentwar series (though the final ending was really too abrupt).
    agree with that. it was almost as if he got fed up with the whole thing. the last book (Shards of a Broken Crown, IIRC) was chaotic and the end was completely rushed. too bad.

  18. #18
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    R.E. Feist writes a good series; but, after a while, it seems to me that he gets repetitive.

    Jordan's last book is boring. The precursor, A NEW SPRING was not to bad.

    GRR Martin's series is very good! Can not wait for the fourth book.

    If you want to read some very heavy duty fantasy read Steven Erikson. His A TALE OF THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN is truely in a league of its own: very dark, mature, and vaste in scope. Every novel is a 1000 pager. I have read the novels a couple of times and am waiting for the next with bated breath.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowcelt
    If you want to read some very heavy duty fantasy read Steven Erikson. His A TALE OF THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN is truely in a league of its own: very dark, mature, and vaste in scope. Every novel is a 1000 pager. I have read the novels a couple of times and am waiting for the next with bated breath.
    thanks for the tip! i'll give that one a try...

  20. #20
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    A friend of mine referrs to it as The Wheel of Books. Every time a new one comes out, he re-reads the whole thing. Where he gets the time for that, I don't know. I haven't read it myself.

    Fred
    "For shame, gentlemen, pack your evidence a little better against another time."
    -- John Dryden, "The Vindication of The Duke of Guise" 1684

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhere Man
    A friend of mine referrs to it as The Wheel of Books. Every time a new one comes out, he re-reads the whole thing. Where he gets the time for that, I don't know. I haven't read it myself.
    Interesting term, but I think it might apply even better to Eddings' Belgariad/Mallorean/Prequels series. By the time you reach the end of Polgara the Sorceress, you're right back where Pawn of Prophecy starts, so it's tempting to pick it up again . . . and then you end up in an infinite loop!

  22. #22
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    I've read the Wheel of Time up to the end of book 3. It's not a horrible series, but not fantastic either.
    Doesn't hold a candle to Tolkien, but I can think of worse ways to kill time.

  23. #23
    I enjoy the Wheel of Time, more than Tolkien certainly. Sorry, Tolkien is deep on world building (the deepest) but rather shallow on characterization in my opinion, and it's the characters and the ways they grow and change that make me fall in love with stories. WOT (Wheel of Time) is interesting because it's set in our world, where everything we know about history is just one of 7 ages, and the events of previous ages are myths and legends in ours and vice-versa. The things that are happening in the story will become the myths that we know (Norse, Greek, Celtic, etc.) so knowledge of myths can help you figure out what is going to happen later in the books.

    Best Fantasy out there has to be Stephan Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant however. I've read most of the authors (Feist, Eddings, etc.) and Donaldson is far and away better. Give him a shot if you like fantasy. After 20 years of waiting, the first book of the Last Chronicles comes out next week, so it's a great time to start.

  24. #24
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    Welcome to the Babb Eradicator. Well you have me all pumped up! Donaldson is revisiting the series: excellent! I forgot how much I enjoyed that world. It has been a while since I read Thomas Covenant. I wonder how he is going to link the second trilogy to his new series? Seems to me that the end was rather final. Should be a hoot however he does it. Thanks for the heads up.

  25. #25
    Thanks for the welcome SnowCelt. Actually, Donaldson said that the main ideas for the second AND third chronicles of Thomas Convenant came to him at the same time. He didn't do the final story before because he felt he wasn't advanced enough as a writer to handle what he had in mind. He still doesn't feel like he can do it, but he realized he's not getting any younger and he would rather try and fail than not try at all. So, while the 2nd Chronicles does have an ending, everything he wrote at that time had this final story in mind. Anyways, the first book, Runes of the Earth, comes out tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited.

  26. #26
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    Welcome (as well) Eradicator!

    Oh man! I read the Chronicles of T.C. when I was in my early teens. I think they were the first "adult" level fantasy book I'd read, and I was blown away. I remember getting so mad at him for being such a [insert preferred term for male organ here] to all the folks dedicated to helping him.

    Been WAY too many years for me to rememer how the first series even ended though. My question, does the second series basically pick up where the first leaves off, or do they go off on a completely different tangent?

    Regardless, I may very well have to go back and reread the original series (while I patiently wait for Martin. . .)

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally
    Oh man! I read the Chronicles of T.C. when I was in my early teens. I think they were the first "adult" level fantasy book I'd read, and I was blown away. I remember getting so mad at him for being such a [insert preferred term for male organ here] to all the folks dedicated to helping him.

    Been WAY too many years for me to rememer how the first series even ended though. My question, does the second series basically pick up where the first leaves off, or do they go off on a completely different tangent?

    Regardless, I may very well have to go back and reread the original series
    I had the same reaction when I first read them, in my late twenties. He certainly wasn't easy to like.
    The new trilogy means that I am going to reread them soon. I think I have only read them twice, Lord of the Rings on the other hand I have read more than 30 times by now.

  28. #28
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    i remember having the same irritations about Mr Covenant. he sure had the ability to get you angry at his inability to decide... by the time the last book came out i was so relieved it was over that i'm not sure i'll buy the new series.

  29. #29
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    Thanks for the info, Eradicator. I had no idea Mr Donaldson was returning to The Land!

    It took me three goes to read Lord Foul's Bane, back when I was about 18, but once I'd managed it there was no stopping me. I finished The One Tree, then had to wait ages for White Gold Wielder to come out in hardback. I remember getting into Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun just to keep me going.

    So, what will the 41 year old version of me think of the latest books? I await, intrigued.

  30. #30
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    I just saw the first volume of the new Thomas Covenant trilogy today, didn't buy it though. I am waiting for the paperback.
    The title is The Runes of the Earth

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