In 2002 I got a new friend when he moved to my small town, from small village, to attend high school. He recommended a book series to me, The Wheel of Time. Not all the books in the series had been released yet. At the time we didn’t know how many books there would be in total, but the first eight had already been published. I started reading, and I thought the first books were really good. Completely “epic,” as we liked to say back in the early 2000s.
The books primarily follow three young men from the same small village. They get entangled in a grand battle to save the world. The books have very complex and realistic characters, a deep and sophisticated mythology, a very large world with many nations and cultures, and a magic system that is interesting but doesn’t take up too much space. Fate is a central concept in the books, almost a character in itself through what is called “the pattern”. There’s a recurring theme about how to live with one’s destiny, or try to influence it.
The series now consists of 14 books, and the ones in the middle are known to be a bit long-winded, with a lot of traveling around where not much happens other than politics between the fictional nations. That’s one of the reasons I fell off in 2003, on book number seven.
Last summer, I decided to start the series again, 20 years after I read the last book. I started book number 8 in July. I considered for a long time trying to find a summary of the story so far. I was a bit afraid of spoilers, so I gave up that idea and just jumped in. It was quite heavy at the start, so I had to use some discipline to get through books 8 and 9. I admit, I read them quite slowly. The last five books I would say are very good. Especially those written by Brandon Sanderson. He took over for Robert Jordan after Jordan’s death. I don’t know how much was in the notes Jordan left behind, and how much comes from Sanderson.
In summary, the series is definitely worth reading. There are two books in the middle that are somewhat mediocre, but the rest of the books are very good. The characters and the world are very well developed. The ending is “epic,” and I recommend all fans of fantasy books to read the series. Would I recommend reading half now, and the next half in 2043? Maybe not, but at the same time, it’s quite a big project to get through 14 books, so a little break is something one can take.