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I was handed a book yesterday by Robert Jordan...


Apr 12 2010, 12:38pm

Post #1 of 16 (313 views)
I was handed a book yesterday by Robert Jordan... Can't Post

My friend thought that because I was a Tolkien fan that I might enjoy this author. I've never heard of Robert Jordan before, but I like the size of the book...a mere 800 pages! Cool

The book is called, The Eye of the World - Book One of The Wheel of Time.

So, has anyone read these books. And as a Tollkien fan will I enjoy it?




Apr 12 2010, 1:43pm

Post #2 of 16 (168 views)
heh [In reply to] Can't Post

"My friend thought that because I was a Tolkien fan that I might enjoy this author. I've never heard of Robert Jordan before, but I like the size of the book...a mere 800 pages! "

Note there are currently 11 more books, none shorter than that. With the final two still on the way, despite Robert Jordan passing away the other year. (After becoming ill, he put his notes for the end of the series together so someone else would be able to finish it -- Brandon Sanderson is working on it now.)

"So, has anyone read these books."

They've been bestsellers for decades now (TEOTW came out ~20 years ago), so a few people have, yes. ;)

"And as a Tollkien fan will I enjoy it?"

The only answer here is "maybe". Give it a try. The early parts are very LOTR-y (on purpose, said Jordan, to make it seem familiar to the reader before going in new directions), but it's not a "ripoff" of LOTR or anything.


As far as the whole series goes -- I liked the first few books a lot. The series bogged down a bit later on; I got the impression Jordan was thinking to himself "Hey, the longer I drag this series out, the more money I make!". (OK, maybe that's unfair of me.) The most recent books have gotten better though -- the last one Jordan wrote before his death (#11), and the most recent one that Sanderson wrote (#12) were both very enjoyable.

I'm not sure if I will ever go back and read the entire series again; my wife has read all of them multiple times though. But I've read the first couple including TEOTW more than once, and I'm certainly looking forward to the final two.

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams

(This post was edited by acheron on Apr 12 2010, 1:46pm)

Sr. Staff

Apr 12 2010, 2:47pm

Post #3 of 16 (222 views)
I have some thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Apologies to those who love these books but my honest opinion is: Several books in the series are worthless except as paperweights.

Jordan does a massive, detailed exercise in world building but after an okay or even better-than-okay start with the first four books (if you can get around the extreme Tolkien flavor of the first one), he really loses his way. His characters and their motivations and characterizations become parodies of themselves and instead of growing complex or interesting they grow childish or cartoonish. (In fact some of the best cartoons would be insulted by the comparisons.)

I think he puts readers in a bad spot of caring because of his initial work and then stringing readers along for many thousands of pages without the same quality. Readers are already invested and so continue to love the series but a little objectivity strips the series embarrassingly bare.

I don't think Jordan tried stretch his story, I believe he feel completely into his tale, lost his own objectivity and no editor would tell such a best selling author that he had lost his way. He needed a strong hand and never got it. There might be a comparison to a movie that started well but then went on for a meandering 20 hours. At some point, as a viewer, it would become obvious to me that the director had lost his way. This isn't "Anne of Green Gables," it is more like a 20-hour "Top Gun".

I believe there is a lot of good reading available, even a lot of fantasy, that I would much rather spend 8,000 pages on. If you needed suggestions, I bet many here would and could provide.

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Arwen's daughter

Apr 12 2010, 3:12pm

Post #4 of 16 (252 views)
Meh [In reply to] Can't Post

I know a number of people who are very, very big fans of this series, but I just couldn't do it anymore.

Books 1-3 were extremely enjoyable.
Book 4 was still good.
Books 5-7 could have been condensed into a single book, imho.

I gave up after book 7. It felt like a waste of my time (and that's something I've never felt about reading). I'll echo all that acheron and MrCere have said. It's a popular series, but not for me.

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Apr 12 2010, 4:57pm

Post #5 of 16 (149 views)
I was hanging in there [In reply to] Can't Post

Till I found out that the book to be completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death had become not one, not two - but three. And not books coming out in any kind of timely manner, but the final one not scheduled till some time late next year.

I read Eye of the World when it came out in 1990, and loved it - but I thought it was a standalone novel. It could work for that, really, if you don't mind loose ends flapping about - I've reread it, and it holds up under a critical eye. It's a good book - go for it. It bears no resemblance to Tolkien, but if you like fantasy in general you may like it. Decent characters, whose idiosyncrasies haven't turned into fingernails-on-a-chalkboard as yet, and a unique and (as far as it goes) well told story; I can't not recommend EotW.

My problem with the series is that as it went on the books became ... less. Somewhere in there the font size changed and the margins became bigger, so that suddenly while the page count was roughly comparable, the word count was not. And each book served to lengthen the list of questions needing to be answered and characters and storylines to be kept track of - there has to be a literal cast of thousands by now. But I stuck it out, because I liked some of the characters - though some much less as time went on - and I wanted to know what happened, and every now and then Jordan pulled something off that recaptured my attention. Now I'm just severely ticked off because, the writer's and widow's protests to the contrary, the fact that what Jordan planned as one more book will be three, plus the plans for what they're calling "Outrigger" books spackling in background on peripheral characters, plus a quote I saw somewhere: “There is a film adaptation tentatively scheduled for release in 2011" - - altogether it smells like trying to milk the franchise for every penny possible.

By the time they finally finish the series - assuming, that is, that they don't at some point say "did we say three more books? Sorry, four! Really, no more than five or six!" - and assuming the schedule doesn't stretch out past the purported end of the world in 2012 - it will have been 21 years since I first picked up Eye of the World. It took me longer than many to get to the point of saying "ENOUGH!" - but I'm there. Someday I may buy the remaining books secondhand or remaindered, but new? Uh uh.


Trust Steven ...

Tol Eressea

Apr 12 2010, 6:35pm

Post #6 of 16 (387 views)
Pretty much my thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

I gave up after the fifth book. I heard that they start picking up after book seven, but I've never really bothered to try out the series again.

"It's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry...you will someday." -American Beauty

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Apr 12 2010, 8:13pm

Post #7 of 16 (170 views)
Hmm I'm even more intrigued now.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thankyou all for sharing, great objective reviews by everyone which is what I wanted. Cool

I'm almost at the end of ROTK, so I shall pick up this one by Jordan straight away and see if it 'works' for me. If not I shall be back for some more ideas of what I can read!!! I feel lost without a book in my hand! Laugh


Peredhil lover

Apr 13 2010, 5:51am

Post #8 of 16 (131 views)
Sounds familiar! [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel lost without a book in my hand

You're not the only one. For four days of holiday, I took three books with me to read during these endless highway drives and before going to sleep. It was just enough Wink

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.

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Sr. Staff

Apr 13 2010, 8:23pm

Post #9 of 16 (370 views)
This would be a good time to confess [In reply to] Can't Post

I did read the Brandon Sanderson book and I found it to be much better than the last five Jordan books that I partially slogged through parts of.

Sanderson was much more "on task" I felt.

I wish I had not ever started the series but Sanderson lives near me and I was semi-obligated to read him for some personal and work-related reasons and I was surprised how much I did enjoy the series again.

So, my real advice is "don't start". But, to those caught in the web, Sanderson's work was a big pleasant surprise.

And, having said all that, let me be clear and say I very much mourn the loss of the late Robert Jordan.

I have no choice but to believe in free will.

The cake is a lie
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Apr 13 2010, 9:40pm

Post #10 of 16 (250 views)
Eeek! [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
For four days of holiday, I took three books with me to read during these endless highway drives and before going to sleep. It was just enough Wink

I hope you weren't the one driving! ;-)

(I know you weren't. I couldn't imagine going on vacation without a stack of books either.)

"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
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Idril Celebrindal
Tol Eressea

Apr 14 2010, 1:25am

Post #11 of 16 (132 views)
That's pretty much my take, too [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought the first few Wheel of Time books were pretty good, but then the subplots completely took over and Jordan lost control of the story.*

When I realized that I'd just read an 800+ page book where nothing happened**, I threw the book at the wall and gave up on the series.

* This also happened to JK Rowling with the fourth Harry Potter book, but she managed to snap out of it in book 5. Jordan apparently never did.

** I've read a couple of other 800+ page books where nothing happened -- namely, Dhalgren and The Worm Ouroubouros -- but they were trippy and strange and interesting on that level. Jordan's books just plodded.

With caffeine, all things are possible.

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(This post was edited by Idril Celebrindal on Apr 14 2010, 1:28am)


Apr 14 2010, 1:34am

Post #12 of 16 (106 views)
I agree... [In reply to] Can't Post

Meh. Very overrated and derivative. There are too many great books out there to weigh yourself down with this anchor.

"I was crazy back when being crazy really meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy." -- Charles Manson


Apr 14 2010, 4:24am

Post #13 of 16 (116 views)
Ditto: beginning good, middle YAWN city, latest good again.// [In reply to] Can't Post


Kangi Ska

Apr 14 2010, 2:24pm

Post #14 of 16 (132 views)
There was a period in my life where poverty ruled my ability to purchase books. [In reply to] Can't Post

This coincided with the advent of the modern fantasy series/franchise. I had a friend who had collected all of the old-old stuff from the 1940s & 1950s. It took me a couple years to read through his collection. I read Lovecraft, Heinlein, Azamov, Herbert, Anderson, Blish, Simak Norton and the rest of the greats as I could lay my hands on them. Most of my book buying between my exit from the military at the end of the 1960s until the mid 1990s was done second hand and as the opportunity presented itself. After being burned by reading a book that stopped mid story and discovering that the publisher expected me to buy 14 more installments to get a conclusion, I balked. I made a rule that I would not start a series until I owned all of the books. I also found that most of the fantasy that I did read did not live up to Tolkien, who I continued to read as the books were released. I also kept re-reading the Hobbit and LotR and the Silamrillion (after it was released). I filled this in with research into the sources Tolkien used. Jordan came along and I picked up one of the books at a rummage sale and took a brief look at it. I wrote it off as derivative and read no more. Recently I went back to look at his work again and verified my own original opinion. If you want to read a lot of modern(post 1990) fantasy books and enjoy the heck out of the process I suggest Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling.

Kangi Ska

There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...

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Apr 14 2010, 4:15pm

Post #15 of 16 (93 views)
Terry Pratchett! Recommendation seconded, with great enthusiasm! // [In reply to] Can't Post



Apr 16 2010, 12:17am

Post #16 of 16 (131 views)
Did you expect any less? [In reply to] Can't Post

There is just waaaaaaaaaay too much material to wrap up in one book!


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