Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the names Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.
Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He served two tours in Vietnam (from 1968 to 1970) with the United States Army as a helicopter gunner. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. After returning from Vietnam he attended The Citadel where he received an undergraduate degree in physics. After graduating he was employed by the United States Navy as a nuclear engineer. He began writing in 1977. He was a history buff and enjoyed hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting.
He described himself as a "High Church" Episcopalian and received communion more than once a week. He lived with his wife Harriet McDougal, who works as a book editor (currently with Tor Books; she was also Jordan's editor) in a house built in 1797.
Responding to queries on the similarity of some of the concepts in his Wheel of Time books with Freemasonry concepts, Jordan admitted that he was a Freemason. However, "like his father and grandfather," he preferred not to advertise, possibly because of the negative propaganda against Freemasonry. In his own words, "no man in this country should feel in danger because of his beliefs."
On March 23, 2006, Jordan disclosed in a statement that he had been diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, and that with treatment, his median life expectancy was four years, though he said he intended to beat the statistics. He later posted on his Dragonmount blog to encourage his fans not to worry about him and that he intended to have a long and fully creative life.
He began chemotherapy treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in early April 2006. Jordan was enrolled in a study using the drug Revlimid just approved for multiple myeloma but not yet tested on primary amyloidosis.
Jordan died at approximately 2:45 p.m. EDT on September 16, 2007, and a funeral service was held for him on Wednesday, September 19, 2007. Jordan was cremated and his ashes buried in the churchyard of St. James Church in Goose Creek, outside Charleston.
This series is the reason that I haven't added anything to Goodreads in a while. I've been reading the 13 books of The Wheel of Time. And I'll say right off that it is fantastic. Rather than reviewing each book individually, I decided to just review the entire series together, since it is an integral story and it just wouldn't do to read any of the books on their own.
I often find myself trying to explain to my friends why I don't like the Harry Potter series, or other similar young adult fantasy/scifi books. I struggled to explain the lackluster writing, inconsistent and implausible characters, and unsatisfying/frustrating plot elements. From now on, whenever I'm in a similar discussion, I'll simply point them to this series and say, "Read this, and you'll understand."
There is still one more book to be written (#14, A Memory of Light), that should be released early next year. The last three books (#12, #13, and #14) are written by Brandon Sanderson, since the passing of Robert Jordan in 2007. As I got closer to these final books, I was worried that the series might suffer, being completed by a different author. It might be simply the fact that major threads of the story are nearing their conclusion, but I've actually enjoyed the Sanderson authored books even more than the Jordan books.
This is the first fantasy series I have read that can be put on the same shelf with my Tolkien collection. I have often heard Jordan compared with Tolkien, and after reading his series, I agree that he deserves the comparison.
The story of The Wheel of Time can be described as epic, intricate, detailed, elaborate, engaging, and satisfying. I originally listened to the audiobooks during my commute (with wonderful voice acting by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading). Since finishing the audio of book #13, and while waiting for #14, I've started re-reading the physical books. I've noticed plot elements that are teased in book #1, that only finally come full circle in #13. It's amazing that Jordan was able to plan his story with such detail, that far in advance.
With such a long series, I worried that the books would fall to the same failures of most modern TV dramas. That is, the writer introduces mysteries that he can't write a satisfying conclusion to, so he simply adds more mysteries. The story quickly becomes a quagmire of confusing and inconsistent plot arcs. I never felt like this happens in Wheel of Time. The story always seems to be moving forward with a confidant air of direction and purpose. I only hope that the final book to come can resolve the story with the same satisfaction.
I'll close by saying simply, The Wheel of Time is a pure joy to read.
**Update**[Feb 4th, 2013] - I recently finished the 14th and final installment in this saga. The last book is a hefty 393,000+ words, and yet I felt as though Brandon Sanderson really struggled to include everything that needed to be covered. I actually could have gone for splitting this book into two parts (even after the original finale, #12 was split into three parts to give us #13 and #14). It left me not quite satisfied about how some of the smaller plot lines were closed. In order to resolve these, a lot of the related action had to happen off screen.
That being said, I really like the way the story ended. I felt that the finale was just as epic as any 14-book series deserves. While I would love to have kept reading past that final sentence, I felt satisfied with were the story left the narrative and the characters.
Now that the story is complete, I re-double my recommendation for this series.
Tolkien WHO? Robert Jordan is the king of fantasy. This series is the best set of fantasy novels ever written, in my humble opinion. I am going to keep this short, because I could write a three hundred page review of this, and STILL not be able to sum up how monumental this series of novels is. (And mind you, I am NOT a real fan of epic fantasy novels.) This set of books positively amazed me.
Before there was A Song of Ice and Fire, there was The Wheel of Time....
When this series began, I was in eighth grade. By the time it finished, I was four years out of college. Twenty-three years and fourteen books.
To be perfectly honest, I stopped reading the damn thing in high school. By the time book four came out, I realized that I couldn't remember who was where doing what without going back and reading the previous books. That meant over two thousand pages of re-reading before tackling the next nearly thousand pages. None of the characters or events had engaged enough of my interest by that point to warrant my continuing, so I stopped.
But now I'm older, and more able to handle dense, convoluted prose. (Thank you, nineteenth-century novels!) And since I'm avoiding getting sucked into the current massive multi-decade fantasy epic that seems like it'll never end, I thought I'd read the previous one.
What did I think of it?
Jordan is a solid writer, even if his prose could use a severe pruning. He creates vivid scenes and fairly well individuated characters. I don't think his magic system is unique since it uses fairly traditional characteristics, i.e., four elements plus a spirit element and binaristic* genders, but he's consistent and creative with its use. And I have to say, even though it might take him thousands and thousands of pages, I never really get the feeling Jordan doesn't know where he's going. He just tends to end up dwelling on minutiae for so long you start to wonder if we'll ever get there.
I don't remember how much I noticed the gender politics the first time I tried reading these books, but I do remember that I didn't like the way the men talked about the women. Reading them now, I was floored. It seems like at least once a chapter, someone says something like, "Women were so alien it seemed almost impossible they had been made by the Creator." Women are forever getting spanked or stripped naked (or both!) as punishments, and one man is told that he's got to take charge with his wife so she won't think he sees her as weak. It's just relentless, and it interfered with my ability to get absorbed in the books. I kept getting the feeling Jordan wasn't expecting women to read them.
There are also some awkward cultural appropriations. The ancient symbol of the magic users is quite obviously a yin yang symbol. The people called the Aiel are apparently a mishmash of "the Zulu, Bedouin, Apache and Japanese cultures, among others." Oh, and Irish culture, because Jordan thought it would be fun to have desert dwellers with the Irish clan structure. It makes me faintly uncomfortable to have all of these disparate cultures thrown into a blender set on puree.
*Binaristic: a mode of thought predicated on stable oppositions.
The wheel of time series had great potential and likely would have been a good 5 to 7 volume series, but unfortunately it was dragged out to be a 12,000 page soap opera. I became more and more bored with each volume. The story could have been told well in 5,000 pages but huge sections and entire volumes failed to move the story along. It started to seem like Mr. Jordan was simply filling pages with nothing ever edited out. I debated in the beginning if I should commit to reading such a long series and it appears I made the wrong decision. I could have read over two dozen good books in that many pages.
Books 1-3 were pretty good, books 4-11 were utter shite. Sanderson saved this series in books 11-14, Jordan is a hack and a highly derivative (bordering on plagiarism) author. Best thing that happened to this series was him dying, that allowed Sanderson to turn this crap series into a sparkling gem. Best bet if you're just starting out with this series is to avoid all the stories involving Aes Sedai, you can literally skip all of them and still know whats going on. Also Jordan seems to have some sort of spanking fetish that at times borders on the ridiculous.
The, without a doubt, best long going fantasy series ever. Follow Rand, Mat and Perrin as they're led by Moiraine through a world of wonders as the Dragon reborn arrives to the world, reincarnated, after being dead for 3000 years. Many, many other characters will be introduced, loved, hated, understood, wondered about and everything you can think of. People call Tolkien the best fantasy author of all times, either they haven't read The Wheel of Time, or, they don't have the cognitive capability to understad true wonder! Tell me one thing this series doesn't have, and I will show you where you missed it!
I've been reading this series for about 20 years! I actually started to cry when I heard that the author had died! I love the characters and detail in the series, and I think Brandon Sanderson has done a great job continuing in Robert Jordan's style. The last book is suppose to be released In January of 2013 - I can't believe it will actually be complete!
I am struggling with a review... I have read book 1, and it was simply boring. Linear plot, felt like a shallow fanfiction of the Lord of the Rings. Now I am reading book 2. Nothing really happens. Still, this is one of the highest rated series and I keep wondering why. I will continue reading, maybe it will get better at some point...
Let me start by stating that I love fantasy fiction. I've waded my way through a truckload of fantasy series in my time - some spellbinding, some crazily plot-driven and gripping, some determinedly mediocre, and some barely worth the paper their words are printed on. I have rarely left a book or series of any sort unfinished, if only to know how the story turned out, regardless of how crappy the writing was. So for me to not finish this series that's beloved of so many people is quite significant. Yet, nothing has made me as enraged as having invested the time I have in this series.
Books 1-3 introduced readers to fresh and creative world-building elements, and while I wouldn't say that the writing was tight, the prose was serviceable enough to support and explore these ideas. There was enough in these books that made me continue reading (helped by the fact that the first two books had already been published when I first started on the series).
Now, I know it's not the author's fault that ill health overtook him and slowed down the production of these books to a crawl, but the quality truly took a nosedive during this time. The stories were mired in endless descriptions that didn't do much to develop the characters, the world, or the story, and the characters themselves spent countless pages indulging in one-dimensional self-imposed emotional isolation. People have criticised the poorly drawn female characters, but I didn't find the male characters any better. One has to wonder what his editor was doing. Or not doing, in this case.
The most damning indictment for me was that the intertwining stories had become so forgettable that I pretty much had to re-read all the previous books every time a new one came out, just recall the developments, only to find that it wasn't really necessary because the stories hadn't actually moved anywhere. It was like watching an insensible and interminable soap opera. Overall, the pacing was poor, and the entire series felt like a self-indulgent exercise for the author to explore the world of his own creation as opposed writing with any sort of reader other than himself in mind. It could have been finished in 7 books with no loss.
God knows why I even bothered persevering and giving this series chance after chance. I gave up after Book 10, by which point I had wasted more than a decade of my life on this mess. I wish I could see why this series has a 4.6 rating; I keep hoping to find a reason or way to finish the series, but nothing in fellow readers' reviews has sparked any hope.
If the Shannara series is a third-rate LOTR, then WoT is a third-rate Shannara.
The first 2, maybe 3 books where enjoyable but Jordan's limitations as a writer rapidly become clear. He obviously stalls the plot, struggles writing dialogue and characterizing females. Often, we are told the results of a conversation rather than given the conversation itself. Women are all portrayed in a same-y fashion, and Jordan's over-reliance on the description of environmental minutiae drags the stories down. If a paragraph began describing either a rope-worked silver tray or the design of a woman's skirt, I found myself skimming it for any real content and skipping it completely if there was none.
That being said, I finished the entire series (through #14) on the hope that it would redeem itself. The final book is a massive disappointment. The cavalier way in which some of the best plot threads are resolved (Fain in particular), and the bizarre showdown that the series culminates in leaves me regretting the time invested into this series.
If you're interested, read the first book, and maybe the second. After that, do yourself a favor and stay away.
By far my favourite fantasy novel series. All the characters are beautifully described and the whole universe just came to life. What I particularly liked is the strength of the female characters. At first glance you might think that the book is about Rand, maybe even Perrin and Mat too, but that's not completely true. It's about Moiraine, Nynaeve, Elayne, Egwene and many more too. Some characters are not even always likeable which is fantastic. Usually especially women in literature are portrayed as nice if they are protagonists, but trust me there were moments I hated Nynaeve and even Egwene for how they developed as people but they remained protagonists. So if you are a fantasy fan but also want strong, believable, human characters this is the series for you. I doubt I will ever find anything of similar quality.
I started reading the Wheel of Time series in 2001 when I had just turned 14. Being a rather tall and skinny boy who fancied himself as having a big destiny I found my hero in Rand al'Thor. Over the next 12 years I read, and re-read, the available books every year or so.
Without a doubt this series gave me the most vivid image of any book I have read as Jordan lovingly creates his characters and their entire world. I believed that this world of magic, intrigue and mystery really did exist and I loved following Rand, Perrin and Mat as they grew into men.
For the rest of my life I will remember the joy I had when each remaining book was released and once again diving into the WOT universe. Without spoiling the books there really are some amazing chapters that will stay with you forever.
With this glowing praise you would have expected 5 stars for the series. The reason why I do not think it is worthy of that is because some of the exposition is, quite simply, unnecessary. Chapters devoted to the countryside and clothes worn by the characters become tiring and the same phrases used over and over becomes grating. Coupled with some of the infuriating dialogue and relationships shared by the characters it does knock some of the enjoyment.
That being said overall I loved this series. I think it is the reason I have such a fascination with wolves. I would recommend this for anyone interested in fantasy novels - particularly young adults.
Loved the first 7 books although as a woman, I had to smile at the frequent mentions of ample bosoms :)
However, the world is quite rich and the characters are entertaining. Books 8-11 were a little less interesting as things progressed very, very slowly but I've been following this series for more than 20 years and stubbornly continued to buy the books as I wanted to see how it ends.
Sadly, somebody nailed Robert Jordan's coffin shut much too soon but I have read and enjoyed the subsequent books in the series written by Brian Sanderson based on Robert Jordan's instructions. I haven't read the very last one in this epic series yet but I'm certain, I won't be disappointed when it hits the stores in January 2013.
This series is still one of the best fantasy series out there and it's a good introduction to the genre in general - especially if you begin reading it as a teenager or a young adult.
Many people love these books. Some can't get on with them. I sit somewhere in between.
I read books 1-10, so obviously they kept me hooked for a fair old while. Some people will say the first one was the best but I personally thought some of the later ones were better crafted. The story overall has some interesting twists and concepts going for it. That said I did feel that some of the themes were getting repeated a bit too often and, in a sense, I found some of the characters a little two dimensional for my liking on reflection. A friend of mine felt that the portrayal of sexual relations between some of the characters was a little immature - I am not entirely in agreement but I see what he means.
Overall, it was a series of books that held my interest well for a time but which, ultimately, I was not motivated to finish. Maybe it could better have been condensed down to about 6 volumes - then I think I would have persisted through to the end and enjoyed the whole series
I have read books 1 - 13 and enjoyed them each to varying degrees. But I have enjoyed them all. My favourite is the first The Eye of the World, which introduces the main set of characters who inhabit the series, and establishes the world they live in. It is in this book where you see how their unworldly innocence and childhood loyalties and ties change when thrust out into the world. These characters are the shy and serious Rand, the mischevious Mat, Perrin the gentle thinker and Egwene the fiery young woman determined to see the world. These four are taken from their village by the grand lady Moiraine and her bodyguard, Lan, when monsters attack their village looking for the three boys. Moiraine is really an Aes Sedai - she belongs to an order of woman who wield not just external flows of 'power' but also political power; because of their plans within plans, they are not generally well liked but are deeply respected. The four find they are more than just village youths themselves - the boys are each ta'veren; they change events around them and by the same token, are pulled along by fate to accomplish what must be done regardless of their own feelings. They each grow into heroic characters fortold by prophecy to take on evil. This is a time of great danger for their world - the Dark One is escaping his prision and his evil disciples (the aptly named Forsaken)have escaped their prisons and are determined to force the world to kneel at the feet of the Dark One. Alliances are made and broken as the world hurtles towards Tarmon Gai'don - their apocalypse and a show down between Rand the Dark One.
The "Wheel Of Time" series starts very well, and has enough unique worldbuilding, interesting plot, and strong characters to make it a great read. The first few books are well told, although at the end of the second book, I was afraid that there was going to be too much common structure to the ends of all the books in the series. That turned out not to be the case.
The series started wandering in book 4 or so, and eventually fell into some sort of plot swamp from which it didn't emerge until about Book 10 when I guess the author realised he'd better start navigating towards a conclusion before all his readers died of old age. Sadly, it was Jordan himself who died after book 11. And then we waited ...
Eventually, working from Jordan's notes, Brandon Sanderson (of Mistborn fame, and more) wrote books 12-14 to finish the series. I found these last books to be a more enjoyable read than the earlier books, perhaps because I did have the sense that we were heading towards a conclusion of some sort. Reading these books, I was glad that I had persisted and overall it was a wonderful series.
I had been wondering how it could be that both the war and the more personal combat could matter, and to my pleasure this was handled very well. I thought the story strands were tied together better than I could have hoped given the complex weave.
Now I'm sorry that I have finished, but I must say I won't be thinking of starting again on the re-read until one day I retire from full-time work!
I started reading the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan as a Junior in High School. At the time the series was completed up to book 9. Now,12 years and 1 ghost writer later i was finally able to finish what I started all those years ago. The early books in the series (1-4) really resonated with me as a teenager, and I remember being less interested in the books that came later. Now, as an adult, I trudged through the first four, at times feeling as if my eyeballs would roll right out of my head. That being said, the later books in the series, including the final three ghost written by Brandon Sandersen, made it worth the tedium of the early novels. I would recommend this series to other fantasy nerds like myself, though probably not to the casual reader. (SPOILER ALERT) Also a little tidbit I noticed but was never revealed by Jordan or Sandersen. Anyone else notice that Olver was Gaidal Cain spun back out by the Wheel?
I just finished the 13th book in this series and there is one final book to be released in January 2013 called "A Memory of Light". This series is the classic fantasy tale of the struggle between light and dark, good and evil, death and life.
Originally, I was reading a Brandon Sanderson trilogy called "The Mistborn Trilogy" which I enjoyed. In researching what else he had written I found that he had finished the last books in the "Wheel of Time" series due to the death of it's author Robert Jordan in 2007. That was the beginning of my journey through these books.
I have bought each volume in hardback in the hopes my grandchildren, or even children might enjoy having and reading them as I have. To impart the joy of reading is one of the best gifts I can offer.
La Rueda Del Tiempo en mi opinión es una maravillosa saga de fantasía llena de personajes entrañables, carismatico e inolvidables, una trama apasionante que se va volviendo más interesante a medida que van avanzando los libros y un mundo excepcionalmente construido lleno de riqueza cultural, historia y de lore en cada país y cada cultura dentro de la historia, una saga que no esta exenta de errores pero que son opacados con creces por sus aciertos y por la maravillosa historia que engloba toda la saga, a mi parecer La Rueda Del Tiempo es una de las mejores sagas de fantasía de la historia que cualquier amante del género de fantasía debería leer.
In the first few books, I liked the characters, plot development and imagination of the author. I speedily read through the first seven books or so, but soon became disappointed that nothing seemed to be "happening," or at least that there was no end in sight. I read another several books, and got to the point where I would guffaw in frustration every time YET ANOTHER cast of characters were introduced (I had begun to draw charts just to keep track of who was who at this point). I skimmed a few more books, skipping the parts that dealt with the burgeoning collection of new characters, concentrating on what was happening to the central cast, before just burning out on the whole thing. Rand was becoming such a jerk that I didn't much care what happened to him anyway. "Let this whole imaginary world go to hell, for all I care," is where I ended up, no longer interested in this unending fantasy soap opera. Perhaps Sanderson (I love the Mistborn trilogy, and must check out some of his more recent stuff), a much better writer than Jordan, did the series justice in the last few books. I simply don't care enough to find out.
Hated it. I didn’t manage to get all the way through the first book. I managed to slog my way through the tediousness of the first half, and just didn’t care enough about the story to keep going. And that was my second attempt. The second attempt was the audiobook. There were no characters in it at all. I mean, there were some character names, and they had one or two quirks each, but that doesn’t make a character compelling. After half a novel, none of the characters had any personality at all. Maybe that blacksmith guy a little bit, but even he was 3 adjectives and no actual character. M Every time I’ve heard anyone rave about the series they all say how much and how great the character development is. Well, if it takes 13 books of boredom and no personality to get 1 book’s worth of character development count me out. Even Brandon Sanderson writing the last 3, I think, in the series wasn’t enough to get me to slog through 10 volumes of dross to reach one by a good writer. That’s how ridiculously dull the first half of the first book was.
'The wheel weaves as the wheel wills' After Tokein very few have successfully managed to carve out original universes of their own. Jordan's 'Wheel of time' series is huge, in every manner. From the concept to the volume to the character plots. He's managed to create a frame where every law of the universe has been crafted by him. The wheel of time, the different ages, the prophesies, physics itself. The contempt he makes you feel for the Red and Black Ajah, to the uneasiness at the creation of the Ashahman, Jordan can manipulate your emotions through his writing just as he intends (not that I'm complaining). If you're looking to read something original, worth your time (because this will take up a lot, close to 10,000 pages of it) and completely engrossing, you should start here.
I cannot quite decide if i liked the series or not. The whole story is interesting, however the characters can be extremely stupid at times and a whole lot of disaster that happens to them could be averted if they had half a brain.
Also, the whole part of "i didnt ask for this, i don't want to use this ability" or similar, from various characters gets old fast and the author keeps drowning on and on about it...
I am not sure I can recommend the read. I did enjoy the reading at times and the wanting to know more part is there, but the stupidity of the characters and their whining about their powers made me put the book down often.
Amazing! Tolkien was first but not best. His LotR doesn't even come close to WoT. After HBO is done with Game of Thrones I hope they make this into a series. Im surprised that none of HBO´s competitors have picked this up yet to be honest. Though perhaps we would need HBO to make WoT justice, for example T.Goodkinds Sword of Truth sucked so badly I don't even know where to begin compared to the books.
Overall a fantastic series, Mat Cauthon in particular was a favourite character (though I will say he was poorly written by Brandon Sanderson). Some books were a little long winded and only contained a few relevant events to move the series along (the 6th or 7th comes to mind) but apart from that my all time favourite series. Have read multiple times!!
I loved the series. it spanned many many years and even survived the sad untimely death of its author. The books are huge and the characters and cultures very detailed. Don't read it unless you like full immersion in very different human cultures