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Friday, March 30, 2007

The Wheel of Time Book Series Review


The Wheel of Time Book Series Review

The Wheel of Time series

By Robert Jordan

I had someone ask me recently why the all-movies-no-books-reviews at the Biased Book Review lately. The answer is, obviously, Robert Jordan. I mean, duh.

Ok, maybe you couldn’t have known that. Maybe the only people who could actually know this would be the people who are around me during the day, to see me with my face plastered to the pages of one of his six-pound fiction novels. This is the happiest state I have existed in, speaking of books and movies, since I read the entire Dark Tower series without stopping. I smelled bad, true, and my eyes were bloodshot and kind of tipping out of their sockets, and yes, my hair was a greasy bird’s nest, but I was happy, I tell you. Happy. And this is me, again, since I discovered the world of The Dragon Reborn.

It’s true, although shocking I know, that I have lived all the long, lonely years of my life without ever, that’s right, not NEVER, reading a Robert Jordan book. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude and possibly even money and/ or a child of my blood, to a co-worker of mine, Jeremy, who introduced me to the series.

So the last few months have been spent reading, and then re-reading, the Wheel of Time Series, may it not be completed for at least five more books, provided Mr. Jordan lives that long, the Light send it so.

Sorry, I tend to do that since I finished reading through the first time- catch myself speaking in Jordanese. This includes, but is not limited to, phrases such as:

“Blood and ashes!”(A very naughty swear in Jordanese)

“The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills!” (The equivalent to “Que Sera, Sera”, and if you don’t know what that means, listen to the song lyrics, baby.)

“You woolheaded shepherd!” (A term of disgust with someone who has done something you don’t like, but mixed strongly with affection for the person)

“The dice are tumbling, now!” (Meaning something exciting is going to happen- I can feel it.)

For the seven or eight of you who have not heard of Robert Jordan either, well, you can be forgiven, If that is, you are not a fan of fantasy fiction. If you are a fan, then there is really no excuse…why didn’t you tell me about this, damn you?!? Just kidding. If I had been told, I would have read these books a long time ago and wouldn’t be so happily reading them now. I read fantasy about as often as I read mysteries, which is to say, not too often. It’s hard to find good fantasy books. I can leap right into believing- in magic swords and dragons and curses and prophecies told…but it has to be well-written, at least! I loved the LOTR series of course, but they are kind of in a class above and beyond the rest, incomparable. I liked Eragon and its companions, but I could have put that one down and picked it up a week later and it would have been ok. I wasn’t dying to read it. I wasn’t repeating phrases and thinking about the characters as I fell asleep. I liked Piers Anthony immensely when I was younger… not so much now that I am older and I can’t stop from seeing his dirty-old-man fantasies creeping into nearly every book he writes. (Uh-huh it does. Check the characters… All of the – BUXOM- women are bursting out of their sexy clothing and all of the – STUDLY even if short- men can’t look at a woman without thinking of banging her. The question in Anthony’s books is not why the men are attracted to the goddess-like women, it is why the goddess-like… and did I mention usually virginal?... women are attracted to the pig-like men. Speaking as a goddess-like virgin, myself, of course!). I have enjoyed a Terry Brooks book now and again, and I have hated them now and again, too. When I was in a fit of withdrawal, waiting for my delayed shipment of the next Jordan tomes to get to me, Jeremy tried to help me by suggesting I try some of Terry’s Landover books. Eh… they were ok, but didn’t even take the edge off the sharp pangs of longing I experienced whenever I thought of the three thick, delicious WoT books somewhere in the postal system, beyond my anxious fingers….

As you can see, I am in love.

I will not spoil, in case there are some of you who want to partake in this religious experience known as “Reading the WoT series”. I will say that each book (with the exception of the prequel “New Spring”, a tiny little book thrown out there obviously to tease the readers into a frenzy by whetting their appetites, not satisfying it) is a door-stopping wedge of a book. Eight hundred pages is not unusual, and a delighted little shiver of joy overtakes me as I type that.

The books center around a small bunch of characters, young people torn from their gentle lives as shepherds and healers and inn-keepers’ daughters in a forgotten little place known as the Two Rivers. They are yanked into a brutal world where yes, prophecies are coming true, and dangers abound, and mythical creatures exist. Jordan gently leads the characters through adventures, and quietly, so the reader barely notices, changes the characters themselves, hardening and wisening them, until re-reading the books will have you laughing at their sweet naivety in the first books.

Among other prophecies is the Biggie- the Dragon Reborn, a man who will be born to fight the Dark One in the final battle. When monsters straight out of scary night tales invade the sleepy village of Emond’s Field, it is only with the help of Moraine, a mysterious wielder of the One Power, and her fierce warder (aka ass-kicking bodyguard), Lan, that the town survives. It becomes obvious that the monsters are searching for one of three boys, in the belief that one of them is very special indeed. The boys, Rand, Mat and Perrin, are central characters in the series, as they set off with Moraine to protect their village, and their lives, and all the lives around them, are inexorably changed.

I have read some complaints- that Jordan is taking too long writing the series- get it over with already, and all I can say to that is what what what? What insane person wants a series like this to end? I understand wanting it all written… as I have read, Jordan suffers from some serious blood disease and the thought of him being weaved out on the Wheel with all that glorious stuff still in his head and not on paper is scary… maybe that seems pretty cold hearted, but, if you ask me, it is the mark of a true fan, as well. In case you are confused when you finish the books, there is a vast world of knowledge out there about the series, on sites such as these : http://www.wotmania.com/faq.asp.

It’s a magnificent world Jordan has created, one I leave with regret, and hope that I will be coming back very soon… that Twelfth book can’t be far off, and supposedly it is the last one… though I have to say, I don’t see how he can tie all of the threads he has dangling up in just one book, a thousand pages or not. So here is the invitation- and the challenge- Anyone who wants to get lost- like you do when you watch Lost… and caught up in a world cool beyond anything since Tolkien, climb aboard the Wheel. (Hint- The Eye of the World is the first book in the series.)

I give it a hot pink on the Reading Rainbow of What’s Right to Read.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Jay said...

Souns like true love.

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Lancelot said...

I read these books in high school and forgot about them!They were AWESOME. And now I am going to get the ones I haven't read yet. Thanks for the reminder!

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have you tried the ones written by david eddings? they're good...

8:18 PM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Ok anonymous,
I am ordering "The Belgariad, Vol. 1 (Books 1-3): Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit"
from amazon. I will let you know what I think... I'm excited at the idea of a new series to read... the thought of books waiting for me is like knowing you have chocolate cake waiting for you to eat before bed :)

10:47 PM  
Blogger sagefire said...

I, like you, was introduced late in life to the WoT series; and am fighting to take my life back from its hold :) I have a suggestion, that you may not have tried. Like everyone else, I read the books two or three times each, but lately I've been listening to them. I downloaded all of Robert Jordan's work to my iPod, and listen almost non stop. It is amazing how many of the minute details you pick up, as you hear someone else read the books. I also suggest reading George R.R. Martin's series "A Song of Fire and Ice," if you haven't.

Ciao

10:39 AM  
Blogger UberChuck said...

Hey Kat,
I started reading the wot series when the 4th book was out.
I turned my kids on to the series, and they have become addicted like me.
In some ways, his world is better than ours. I am waiting desperately for the next and last book.
Uberchuck

9:09 AM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

... it's funny, how I keep running into Wot fans. It's like an instant bond, once you find out that someone else knows exactly what you are talking about when you say, "I wonder what Min's viewing about Aviendha's babies means?"
I am currently reading Part Two of the Belgarion, and enjoying it a lot... it's not a WoT book, but very entertaining, and there are quite a few of them in the series. I start on Martin's singing and freezin' and burnin' series next. At this rate, by the time I am done with recommended books, it might actually be time for the glorious 12th book to be out! Thanks peoples!

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just stumbled onto your site and I must say I've found it quite interesting. As an avid fantasy reader myself I'm wondering what your reviews of my favorite writer would be? R.A. Salvatore with multiple series' to his repertoire is unbelievably detailed and able to mix the correct amount of humor with the fables and intrigue. Give him a read. I'll be back to see what you thought.

2:16 AM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Anonymous #2- I am ordering RA Salvatore, but the problem is- I don't know where to start. ARG- all these similar sounding names... is "The Forgotten Realms" in all of them? If you don't come back to comment again, I guess I will just slog my way through the dates, looking for the first one.
But thanks for the suggestion!!!

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeh david eddings series "the belgariad" and "the malloreon" are pretty awesome. im currently up to the 10th book of the wheel of time. they are seriously addictive!!!
afterwards i think i might read that dark tower series u spoke of

7:00 AM  

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