Fortune rides like the sun on high
with the fox that makes the ravens fly.
Luck his soul, the lightning his eye,
He snatches the moons from out of the sky.
from Crossroads of Twilight.
A writer who has tried his hand at historical fiction, westerns, and even dance criticism under various pen names, James Oliver Rigney, found his niche and a loyal world-wide following in the Fantasy genre as Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series. The much-anticipated last book of the 14-part series, A Memory of Light, has been released today, January 8th, six years after Robert Jordan’s death in 2007 and will be the finale of over two decades of The Wheel of Time series, the first book of which (Eye of the World) was published in 1990 by Tor.
Beginning as an archetypal hero’s journey when young Rand is yanked out of his comfortable farmer village life by mysterious and powerful forces of prophecy, it soon grows and splits into a true high fantasy epic following over a dozen characters across 14 books. With each hardcover averaging around 800 pages, it’s a series for people who enjoy multi-book epics and fans of Tolkien, Game of Thrones, and Shannara.
While books 1-11 were written by Robert Jordan himself, the last three posthumous volumes, The Gathering Storm (2009), Towers of Midnight (2010), and A Memory of Light (2013) are based are based on on Robert Jordan’s extensive notes and written by Brandon Sanderson, (Warbreaker, Mistborn, etc).
From what I hear, the first two books of this three-piece conclusion to the Wheel of Time series do justice to Jordan’s vision, and it looks like fans agree – both books topped the New York Times hardcover bestsellers list as number one when they came out. A Memory of Light has also been read and edited by Jordan’s widow, as have all of Robert Jordan’s books. Having enjoyed the first ten books before letting the series slip off my radar, I’m feeling both nostalgic and intrigued. Maybe it’s time to revisit Robert Jordan’s world and see the series to its conclusion.
The last couple of books are a lot more exciting than the ones where it’s a sea of buildup. Also, Sanderson doesn’t try to write exactly like Jordan, and that’s not a bad thing. (I’m rereading them now, and this is probably inevitable with any fantasy epic, but I keep skimming or entirely skipping chunk.)
The buildup and complete lack of anything happening ever was one of the reasons I ended up abandoning the series some 10 books in. I keep hearing a kind of “Oh, so that’s what the story was supposed to be!” reaction from my friends who’ve stuck with the series, so now I’m facing the awkward dilemma. I want to finish the Wheel of Time, but it’s been long enough that I only vaguely remember the first ten books. Do I reread them? or do I dive into 11 and cross my fingers? Eeep.
Skim skim skim!
Yeah, I actually stopped reading at book 10 for the exact same reason, but then my uncle was like ARE YOU MAD, LOOK AT ALL THE COOL STUFF MAT DOES and so I went back through the whole thing, skipped the boring bits and characters, and found that it gets way better once stuff picks up again.
Also, there is what may be the best joke about elaborate bookstories in like…book 12, I think.
I’m actually torn between two options. On the one hand, I can listen to the audiobooks while commuting to and from work. The downside is that I’ll have to head each and every single sentence read to me. On the other hand, I can get the actual book and read. But that means I’ll have to crack open those huge books again.
Oh the trials and tribulations of being a reader.
Another reason I’m reluctant to start is that I remember a gross betrayal by Jordan in some book or other. There was this ex-shadow dude with the harp who got caught by the good guys and spent a couple books strumming his lyre and telling them secrets. Then, one day, the bad guys catch up with him and he gets eaten by a big black blob of darkness while sitting by a fountain (or so I remember it from years and years ago). And he is never mentioned again. By anyone. None of the good guys even stop to wonder, “Oh hey, where did our pet traitor go?”
That was the beginning of the end for me.
Hahahaha, that’s like Book 3! I remember what you’re talking about, it’s not exactly how it happens but it’s basically like ‘so many things are happening I’m not gonna bother explaining this or caring about this toolbox at all’ and then PLOT HOLE.
Still though, just read them 😛 Honestly I wouldn’t catch half of it if I audiobooked it, so if you’re as bad at focusing on sound as I am, that could work!
*backstories not bookstories. Nice slip, fingers.
I gave up on this series after “Path of Daggers” — I’d have to go back and start from the beginning and am not sure whether I’ve got 10000+ pages of patience in me.
I’ve also stopped reading GRR Martin’s Ice & Fire series (which I’ve liked better overall) until I know the end is in sight. Though there again, I’ll probably have to go back and start over.
That’s where I am with Martin’s series. When you’re reading a series, it’s easier to just blaze through it. When you have a year or (heaven forbid) several between the next book and the next, then you have all that time to reflect on all the reasons why the book isn’t as awesome as it feels mid-chapter.
I’ve heard a lot of great things about Sanderson, though, so I’m put on hold a couple of his original novels. If I like, the Wheel of Time will probably go back on my to-(re)read list…
My personal favorite parts are all those describing what they are eating for the twentieth time or what the second handmaiden to the right was wearing. Ahh, those were the days…
I just started on this series and I love it so far though I find it very similar to Lord of the Rings. I can’t wait to start Book 2.