The Wheel of Time 1-5
The Eye of the World
The Great Hunt
The Dragon Reborn
The Shadow Rising
The Fires of Heaven
By: Robert Jordan
My Rating: Four out of five stars.
Best for: 12 and up
A journey of 12,000 pages starts at page 1
If you’ve been with me for a while, you’ll know I’ve been putting off reading The Wheel of Time. It’s so long! Reading it straight through (there’s just no other way to do it, right?!) would mean something like 9 months of reading nothing but Wheel of Time–and even that would require 45 pages a day, every day. I don’t mind the task, but that just doesn’t fit into One Man Book Club’s reading plans. I’m certain One Man Book Club’s fans would get sick of me exclusively talking about Wheel of Time for an entire year! So, I’m approaching this differently than other reading projects.
How? Well…I’ve become a book polygamist, for one. I’m now reading two books at once–Wheel of Time on audio and something else as an eBook. It’s making both books move slower than they would otherwise, but it also enables me to move through Wheel of Time AND keep a regular stream of other interesting books to talk about! For two, I’m not reviewing The Wheel of Time as I go. I think a separate review for each book would be kind of boring. Instead, I’m going review them in chunks. I’ve finished book 5 and I’m 1/3 through, so it’s time to share my thoughts.
And…here they are:
Ah, Wheel of Time! I’ve had my eye on the series since the mid 90’s. It has legions of faithful fans. Amazon has even made it into a TV series. But I’ve never read it, and it’s been a black mark on my book-nerd pedigree going on 3 decades. It’s just time to read the stupid thing. If I’m being perfectly honest, I might not even have started now if it weren’t for the three Sanderson books at the end. But that’s my carrot, and so I’ve started and I’m pushing through.
Luckily, I perfectly enjoyed the first 5 books. I’ll say I was well into book 2 before I really got into it, though. With a 12,000 page story arc, things move very slowly, and by the time I finished book 1, The Eye of the World, I was feeling a bit worried. I’d just read an entire novel, and aside from establishing the general conflict, I didn’t have a firm grasp on some pretty elemental aspects of the story. Who was I supposed to be cheering for? Who, exactly, is the bad guy? What is the end goal everyone should be working towards? Book 2 cleared up most of the confusion, and now that I’ve finished book 5 and I’m well into book 6 I can say I’m fully invested now in the story and the characters. It’s a struggle to get going, but once you’re there you’ll be caught.
This is a story of truly epic proportions. The world is huge. The lore is huge. The conflict is huge. The timeline. The stakes. The character growth. The battles. The relationships. It’s all huge. If you love huge, epic-sized fantasy stories with all the requisite magical powers, evil creatures, chosen-one prophesies, oversized battles, and spending time in the common rooms of every inn in every town, you’re going to really enjoy The Wheel of Time. Not a fan? Then stay away. This series is most definitely NOT for you.
I can confirm the biggest gripe you’ll hear: The biggest downfall of the series is the extreme detail we get of clothes, rooms, inns, food–anything and everything gets painted with words for our brain picture. It was pretty grating for the first 3 or 4 books. By book 5 I stopped noticing it–not because it’s no longer there but because I’ve learned what’s important and what isn’t. I suspect you’ll discover a happy place here as well.
There are no content concerns at all. No language, sex, or graphic violence issues that parents need to be concerned with.
Turns out reviewing this giants series is pretty straight forward. Fans of epic fantasy will enjoy The Wheel of Time. Everyone else will quickly begin to drowned in the details and dragged out pacing. Me? I’m committed to chase the carrot to the bitter end.
Best for 12 and up.