Oh, Wheel of Time, I’m glad I’ve gotten back into you.
I first encountered the Wheel of Time series when I was reading through NPR’s top 100 sci-fi and fantasy list. I had heard of it before, but had never read anything until then. I read the first three books of the trilogy (my rule for the list) before moving on.
I had mixed feelings about the first books. There were certainly parts that I loved, but I got a little tired of reading about every detail of every town they visited. I like world-building, but only in service to the story. Not for the sake of itself.
As these books have gone on, though, I think that I like them more and more. I really like The Shadow Rising. For a thousand page book, the tension is almost constant and action present throughout. To say I’m impressed would be putting it mildly. As an author myself, I find keeping the tension high enough on a 400-page book to be a challenge. Keeping the pages turning for 1000 straight pages is a herculean task.
There’s a few aspects about this book I really loved that I want to point out. First, I’m blown away by the different societies in the series, and how each of them has a rich history. I’m a sucker for a world in which history plays such a pivotal role, but in which much of that history is unknown. It makes for great world-building and constant reveals.
The magic system continues to impress, especially with the interplay of history. I continue to love Rand’s dilemma of being so strong but not knowing how to use or in some cases even access his strength. It also makes for excellent action scenes.
And finally, I love the characters. There are clearly some I love more than others (I hate Mat), but all of them are relatable and all of them bring something new to the table.
I can’t help but compare this to GoT (the books). I know I bash on the series a lot, especially recently. There’s a lot about G0T that I love, but for me, at least, getting through the last few books has been a bit of a chore. Both worlds have incredibly deep characters and impressive world-building, but I’m looking forward with excitement to book 5 of Wheel of Time, where I’m a little nervous about book 6 of GoT.
We shall see. I’ll definitely keep reading both series, but I’ll say this again:
I’m very impressed with Robert Jordan.