I Finished “The Wheel of Time”! (kind of)

In April, I decided it was finally time to delve into the epic, 14-book fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. By August I had read through 4 books (per this post), and I was still enjoying it, though I was starting to find myself speed-reading certain parts.

I kept going, reading through books 5 and 6 in August and September. By the end of book 6, I continually found myself just wanting to know what happened next. There’s nothing wrong with the writing or even the pacing–it’s just that the books had built up my curiosity to the point that I couldn’t wait through another 6+ months of reading to know.

So I decided to read summaries of books 7-13 and just read the final book, which was written by Brandon Sanderson using the notes of the late Robert Jordan. With all due respect to both authors, I’m glad I did this. I love the epic tale they wove, and I was still able to get that epic experience.

And honestly, with the foundation formed through the first 6 books, the context provided in book 14 left me with very few gaps in knowledge. It felt like watching Star Wars episode IV without having already seen episodes I-III; for anything you can’t figure out, it’s actually nice to have a sense of wonder about what came before.

Also, it helps that book 14 is AMAZING. In my opinion, it is the best “final battle” in any work of fiction, largely for two reasons:

  1. It’s not just one battle. This is nearly a world-scale event, so the first half of the book is 4 separate, massive, prolonged battles happening in completely different areas.
  2. Around halfway through the book, I got to a chapter and thought my Kindle had malfunctioned…because the chapter was over 2 hours long! As it turns out, this was the battle to end all battles, and I love that it was a single chapter (jumping around from one character to the next every couple of pages). The uninterrupted length really added to the momentum and epic feel of it. I can only imagine what a cinematic version of this chapter would be–it would need to be an entire movie on its own, I think.

That’s it! I’m grateful to Jordan and Sanderson for writing The Wheel of Time, and I’m glad I found a good approach to it (for me). I’d love to hear your thoughts–and yes, it’s fine to bemoan what I missed by not reading books 7-13. 🙂

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