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Should I read this series? (No spoilers please)

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I love all of Sanderson's books, and I've had this series recommended to me. What I want to know is if this series is worth it, are Jordan's books good? I love fantasy and well explained magic systems, does this have that kind of thing? 

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I was always scared to read WoT when I was younger. When I was kid, the books seemed so unapproachably long, and when I was older and getting into fantasy again, online griping about the books getting really slow towards the end scared me away. Finally, I picked up The Eye of the World in January of 2014. I finished A Memory of Light 40 days later and have reread the whole series twice since then. So I really love it.

 

But should you read it? I can't tell you for absolutely certain. There may be things about it that turn you off, and although the series is without a doubt the #1 influence for Sanderson's career, that doesn't mean that it will resonate with you as it did with him. The magic is reasonably well-explained. It isn't like any of the Cosmere magic systems, but once you're a few books in, you begin to get the sense of how the magic users are doing what they do. It's certainly much better defined than what you get in The Lord of the Rings or the Belgariad, for example.

 

Without giving anything away, the story is basically the cliche of the prophesied hero coming from lowly origins and rising to save the world from the ultimate evil, but it's done very well. To me, it's kind of like if a band tried to release music that is exactly like the Beatles' stuff today, you would think it sounded derivative and cliched, but you can still can still listen to and enjoy the Beatles' original classics.

 

As for the parts where the story supposedly starts to drag, I honestly never noticed. I have several friends who read the whole series and agree with me. I think that people thought it was dragging because they'd been following the series for 15-20 years and had all this time to speculate about what was coming and daydream about what plots would be resolved and such. Then, after waiting for a couple of years, the next volume comes out, and it doesn't address any of the burning questions you've been thinking about all that time.

 

It didn't bother me because I had all the books and could just move on to the next volume, knowing that everything would be resolved just as soon as I reached the end of the series. I do remember, though, that something major happens at the end of the 9th book, and I expected all of the other characters  to go crazy over it in book 10. Instead, because the characters are spread all over the continent by that point in the story, no one else really knew what even happened. I can see how that would annoy me, if I had been waiting for 3 years to see my favorite characters react to this game-changing thing. But, of course, I instead just finished book 10 and started book 11.

 

Anyway, I say you should give it a try. If you don't like TEotW, don't give up right away. I think it really starts to get good at the end of the 3rd book (and the 4th book is awesome). A lot of people have the opposite opinion and love the first book (or even the first 3) but think it goes downhill after that. I don't think those people are the type who like mega-epics, though. They're just mad that the story wasn't something simpler that could be resolved in 3 books.

Edited by DSC01
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I first read the wheel of time when I was 13 and it was only my second series that I read from the fantasy genre.  It took me a couple books to figure out how the magic system worked but I think that might have been partically because of the newness of fantasy to me at the time.  The magic system is fairly well explained I think.  I'm sure it will be worth reading.

 

 

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As for the parts where the story supposedly starts to drag, I honestly never noticed. I have several friends who read the whole series and agree with me. I think that people thought it was dragging because they'd been following the series for 15-20 years and had all this time to speculate about what was coming and daydream about what plots would be resolved and such. Then, after waiting for a couple of years, the next volume comes out, and it doesn't address any of the burning questions you've been thinking about all that time.

 

It didn't bother me because I had all the books and could just move on to the next volume, knowing that everything would be resolved just as soon as I reached the end of the series. I do remember, though, that something major happens at the end of the 9th book, and I expected all of the other characters  to go crazy over it in book 10. Instead, because the characters are spread all over the continent by that point in the story, no one else really knew what even happened. I can see how that would annoy me, if I had been waiting for 3 years to see my favorite characters react to this game-changing thing. But, of course, I instead just finished book 10 and started book 11.

......

I didn't notice any drag either.  I was lucky enough to be able to read the first 13 books through before I had to wait for the the last one.  I agree with DSC01!

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The only books I had to wait for were the Brandon Sanderson ones. The thing to be aware of is that they can be slow. If you pick up the first book and get a few chapters in, push through it. I found the first couple chapters incredibly boring. Nothing at all was happening. But then once it finally started, the rest of the book was great.  Re: dragging of the series. Either book 7 or book 8, I skipped the middle two thirds almost completely. I basically read the first few sentences every few chapters, and if anything jumped out as confusing, I flicked through the previous chapter to work it out. Once the starts of the chapters started getting interesting again, I read the subsequent chapters, and the climax was great. But I don't feel like I missed anything important, even with skipping stacks of the book. But apart from that book, I enjoyed the series, and don't regret having read the books. 

 

So basically, give the first book a shot, see how you go. They're not for everyone, but unless you try, you're not going to know.

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I found A New Spring at my neighbors house when they were moving a little over 3 years ago. Came out after a lot of the books were released, but takes place about 20 years before Eye of the World. It was a very easy read and got me acclimated to Jordans style somewhat. Some chapters can be slow. But they usually always have a satisfying end to those threads when it comes to a head. It was basically my second fantasy series. Hadnt read anything really since the last Harry Potter. Needless to say, I am now mired up to my neck in it. I dont really need to say read it. You will. And you will keep going for the Trollocs. Poor 'little'guys.

Edited by The Ninja Yodeler
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I think I only had trouble with finishing the series because I started when there were about 1/3 of the way done.  Some of the middle books go slower, which is ok so long as you aren't re-reading them every time a new book comes out.  Yeah...  I was young.  Anyway, I've been meaning to re-read them all so I can finish the series.  I haven't gotten to Brandon's section yet, and it just feels wrong to not have read the thing he is arguably most famous for.  

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I started this series somewhere around 1993. I had a roommate that had the first 2 or 3 books before the prelude book was added. I instantly fell in love with the series. coming from that far back and patiently waiting for the next book was painful, and 2007 was an absolute heartbreaking moment when mister Jordan finally succumbed to his illness and the series was not finished. When his wife announced that she had chosen an author to finish the series I was both nervous and excited. how could anyone step in and fill those shoes and do the story justice. I ran out immediately and purchased one of his books. who is this Brandon Sanderson anyway?  WOW  instant fan.

    Anyway you ask should you read the series and I for one would have to answer with a return question. Why wouldn't you read this series.

In the Immortal words of my personal favorite character Mat;  " Dovie'andi  se  tovya  sagain"  (its time to roll the dice).        enjoy... 

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re: the slowness, i have noticed it, and i keep noticing it every time i read the series (which has been four times now).

except that it's not real.

the reason the books feel slow is that the half-dozen main characters that are introduced in books 1-3 graduallly split, and by the middle books they are all in different pplaces doing different stuff separately. for example, i used to rememer the perrin arc in the south dragging for six books and countless chapters. but when i went and looked at the actual amount of chapters? well, for start, perrin only got there in book 8, not in book 6 as i used to remember. and then, there are 5-6 perrin chapter per book, at most. All the painful trudging through the political situation of ghealdan? two chapters. the awful trip in so habor? one chapter (still one of my most disliked chapters in the whole story, but fairly short anyway). the trials and efforts of faile when she was separated from her husband? two chapters, spread in two books.

the same goes for every single other "dragging" storyline. I remember someone complaining that some characters got stuck with a circus for "half a book", but it was only a couple fo chapters.

 

I think it must have to do with jordan's style, it makes you feel it is longer. you read of a character in a bad situation, and you get the impression that he's been like that for a long, long time, then you realize it was only a handful of pages. it's somewhat opposite to brandon in that sense actually; when rereading the stormlight archive, i am always surprised at how many chapters it has.

 

But anyway, if you like immersive worldbuilding and a huge scope, then this is the work for you. the magic system isn't as hard as the ones of sanderson, but it is detailed, well-explained, and mostly consistent. Wot was actually the story that made me realize I crave exactly those things; I remember flipping through scores of books when i was younger, but almost never reading the same twice. I realize now that I was looking for something, something i could not define and that I wasn't even aware i was looking for. with wot, and sanderson later, i found it. since then, i hardly read anything else.

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re: the slowness, i have noticed it, and i keep noticing it every time i read the series (which has been four times now).

except that it's not real.

Exactly. If one were to isolate the storylines that people complain about and bind up little novellas of them, everyone would be forced to admit that they're pretty slim volumes.

And interesting stuff does happen throughout. If you're reading through the lens of one anxious to have major plotlines resolved, sure, it seems like important events have been abandoned for tedious and irrelevant ones. But if you read with the awareness that everything is going to be wrapped up, and these side quests are important for each character's development, it's all great stuff.

Along those lines, the infamous over-description of clothing... Uh, one sentence about what someone is wearing is not overkill, folks. So what if we get that for almost every character? It's a fantasy world that little resembles our own. We need some description to understand what it's like.

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well, i never paid much attention to clothing because i don't know the specific lexicon in english, so i didn't understand much of it. actually, i know very little of clothing, so i would have paid little attentiion to it even if the books had been in my native italian. but also that has a tendency to feel like it's much more than it actually is. the descriptions weren't nowhere nearly as rambling as i remembered them from my previous reread. of course, by the time i'll start another reread, i will probably remember them as overly long and be again surprised at how much shorter than i actually remembered them they are.

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Well, most of the description concerns embroidery (which Google tells me is "ricamo" in Italian). Also, I think bodices (corpetto) are mentioned a great deal. Any of the other words I can think of probably have too many other ways of being used for me to accurately look up their translations. If I try, I'll probably end up telling you that most of the dresses in the book have wagon wheels on them or something ridiculous like that.

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When I was kid, the books seemed so unapproachably long, and when I was older and getting into fantasy again, online griping about the books getting really slow towards the end scared me away.

 

 It's certainly much better defined than what you get in The Lord of the Rings or the Belgariad, for example.

 

Without giving anything away, the story is basically the cliche of the prophesied hero coming from lowly origins and rising to save the world from the ultimate evil, but it's done very well. To me, it's kind of like if a band tried to release music that is exactly like the Beatles' stuff today, you would think it sounded derivative and cliched, but you can still can still listen to and enjoy the Beatles' original classics.

 

Unapproachably long is not a thing for me. My only issue with a good, long, book is the obsessive way I will read it, basically neglecting my life.

Online griping? To each his own. 

As long as it's noticeably better than LotR, I'm good. I really don't like the "because it is" feels that books like that give.

And clichés? Love 'em. Probably just my inner romantic at work.

 

I think I'll read this. I need another world to read. I've read GoT more times than I can count, I know the Cosmere almost inside out, and unfortunately, the days of Redwall and Eragon are past.

 

Thank you, all, for helping me with this. I think I can feel confident that I will be able to religiously pursue this series. It looks good.

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Well, most of the description concerns embroidery (which Google tells me is "ricamo" in Italian). Also, I think bodices (corpetto) are mentioned a great deal. Any of the other words I can think of probably have too many other ways of being used for me to accurately look up their translations. If I try, I'll probably end up telling you that most of the dresses in the book have wagon wheels on them or something ridiculous like that.

thanks for the effort, but that i know already. it's the finer details that are lost to me. i even googled images of the dresses, but i can't really fix them in my head.

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The only part of the books that dragged for me were when Nynaeve and Elayne were with Luca's traveling show. That was just way too long and with no real point. Every time the story went back to it I groaned and was so happy when they finally left. 

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I liked the first book, but the third is great and the fourth book is excellent in my opinion. Some of the middle books are sloooow, but I thought it picked up nicely at the end.

I think you should at least give it a shot.

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