I love a good series as much as the next person, but I’ve put off starting Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time for two reasons. One, because it’s 14 books long and two, because he died and someone else finished it, and I’ve never read Brandon Sanderson’s work.
That said, for 10 cents I picked up a copy of book one from the library, and it ended up being the choice for my book club. So, here we are.
The story begins with a young man and his father journeying from their outlying farm into town before Bel Tine after a long winter. Everything goes downhill from there. Rand, the young man, and two of his friends end up fleeing for their lives with an Aes Sedai sorceress and a Warder, leaving their homes in ruins after a vicious attack.
Unsure of what is going on, the boys agree to go with Moiraine Sedai and Lan to find answers. But to find answers, they have to survive, and the Dark One is bent on owning or destroying the three boys in order to thwart an old prophecy.
From the beginning, I found myself noticing a lot of similarities to The Lord of the Rings, right down to character composition and scenes. I found it a little distracting at times, but the story, once it got moving, carried me right along.
One thing I liked was the humanity in the characters. Too often in fantasy stories it seems like the magician in the group is either super unqualified and is facing trial by fire, or else is the embodiment of perfection (and the warrior tends to be similar). Moiraine and Lan both felt more real, showing normal human weaknesses, if you will.
This was one of those stories, though, that builds a lot off of it’s own history, which can make it feel like you missed something as you’re trying to get your bearings in the story. It sort of makes one with that Jordan had taken the time to write a bunch of historical texts for his world they way Tolkien did. That said, I think Jordan weaves it into the main story well, and I believe it will become more clear in later books, judging by the style of the first book.
I’m not thinking I’m going to dive into all 14 books at the moment (I don’t even have book two, right now, and I’m on a strict no buying books regiment). But it’s definitely a series I’m interested in continuing. Jordan secured that by nailing the neat and tidy foreshadowing ending. Everything is all wrapped up. But you know so much more is still going on under the surface.