My Quest to Finish the Wheel of Time (for the 23428364th time)

Once again I’m attempting to finish reading The Wheel of Time book series by Robert Jordan. Almost every autumn, for the last few years, I convince myself that I’ll complete the 14-volume saga and then never do. There are over 4.4 million words in the epic and if I don’t do something to keep me motivated and disciplined enough, I’ll never finish it. I figure this time, I’ll use this blog to keep me honest.

If you’re at all interested, Barnes and Noble has completed an entire descriptive statistical analysis of the series, including number of words, density of chapters, frequency of viewpoints by race and culture, as well as lots of other interesting stats that probably only the devoted would find intriguing.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the fan-created site Dragonmount, describes the story arc of the books:

…the Dark One, the embodiment of pure evil, is breaking free from his prison. The overall plot is about a man who learns that he is the reincarnation of the world’s messiah and is once again destined to save the world from the Dark One — but possibly destroy it in the process. This saga is not only his story, but the story of an entire world’s struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope.

There’s so much to like in the series, and some things to hate. And while I’ll save my reviews for each book as I read them, the primary reason I’ve quit reading them is that Robert Jordan, while a phenomenal author, writes so many dang words. He describes everything. For the most part, I don’t mind. But, after the fourth or fifth book, it begins to get repetitive and frustrating.

Those readers who have attempted to finish, or have in fact finished the series, will know exactly what I’m talking about. Every piece of clothing, every farmhouse, castle, fortress, sword. Everything. Everything gets described, in tedious detail. Over and over again. It is tiresome and exhausting and ultimately detrimental to the wonderful countless stories contained throughout the narrative.

And that’s why I keep coming back. The story. It’s just so wonderful. The cultures Jordan brings to life. The magic system. Even his prosaic tropes (while repetitive) are compelling.

At the end of the day, I really do want to complete reading the series. And right now, I’m committing to you, dear reader, that I’ll do it!! Stay tuned for my reviews as I complete each book.

And please do get in touch if you’ve read the stories and want to offer some words of encouragement. I know I’ll need them :)

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