Today I want to talk about The Wheel of Time series. I think I'm going to title this like introduction and tips. Still, basically, I want to talk about the series as a whole and why you might or might not be interested in reading it, and I'll also include some tips for reading the series at the end of the article.
I am co-hosting a read-along of The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan / Brandon Sanderson and Roya from Unicorn Hunter Books. So the way that I'm going to set up this article is to talk about the series pretty broadly as a whole and things about it that I like. These things are like my buzz words. While I'm calling them pros, they might be cons for some people.
And then I'm going to follow that up with cons of the series, things that I think most people universally would consider being downsides of the series so that you know what to expect when you're going into it. And then, I'm going to end the article by giving some tips on reading this series. I think those tips will be primarily useful for first-time readers, but there might be some things in there that more experienced Wheel of Time readers might appreciate as well.
Wheel Of Time Tv Series is Coming
The Wheel of Time is an upcoming American epic fantasy television series set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video. The series is based on Robert Jordan's novel series of the same name and is produced by Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios, with Rafe Judkins serving as showrunner.
The first season is expected to premiere on Prime Video in November 2021. In May 2021, the series was renewed for a second season ahead of the series premiere.
The Wheel of Time follows Moiraine, a member of the Aes Sedai, a powerful all-female organization of magic users. She takes a group of five young people on a journey around the world, believing one of the five might be the reincarnation of the Dragon, a powerful individual prophesied to save the world or destroy it.
Introduction to The Wheel of Time
I'm fully aware that this series cannot be objective. It holds such a special place in my heart because I grew up reading it practically. I started reading it as a teenager, and the parts of the series that I have reread multiple times as new books were coming out, so what I think about the series, it's very nostalgic for me. It gives me warmth and fuzzies and is very comforting to read. Because of this, I know that I am not objective when it comes to this series, and I am fully aware that not everybody will love the series as much as I do. So I wanted to give people a better idea of the series and whether they want to embark on this journey.
I want to start by saying I know that these books are shelved as adult books. I honestly think that has more to do with the length of the series and the complexity of the series as far as the world and a plot. There is not any adult content in these books. I'd say they're probably a lot less violent than some of the YA books that I've read. There are no explicit sex scenes - there are not any sex scenes at all in this series. And I also think that when this was published has a lot to do with the fact that it's shelved as an adult series because I believe that YA wasn't an established age category at that time. And the main characters themselves are in their teens. They're like 16 to 18 years old. I feel like if this was published now, it could be a young adult series, but again, it is much more complex, I think than a lot of YA.
Pros and Cons of The Wheel of Time
Pros of Reading The Wheel of Time
So without further ado, here are some things that I think are pros of The Wheel of Time series. So if I were to describe the series to someone, like as a whole, I would start by saying it is an epic high fantasy series. I would also say it's a classic story of good versus evil. And it's a hero or chosen one story. And many books in this series have elements of a journey. I don't know about you guys. Those are pretty much all buzz words for me. Secondly, I'd probably say that Robert Jordan is pretty heavily influenced by Tolkien, which of course, is another classic good versus evil, hero sort of story. Robert Jordan's world-building also draws heavily from the Lord of the Rings series. Another significant influence on the world-building of this series, I would say, is the myths and legends and stories around King Arthur, which again is something that I love. Else that I love about the series is the expansive world. I have come across very few other series with quite as large of a world as this one.
I mean, it's pretty similar to the level of Game of Thrones and Westeros. Probably not on the same level as the Cosmere because that, I think, is like multiple planets? And honestly, there are places in this world that have been hinted at that are full of mystery that I don't know are ever explored or revealed within the series at all. And I kind of like that. I like that there is so much to this world that we might not necessarily see every corner of it before the series is over. And within this big world, there is a multitude of countries with their own governments, cultures, dialects, and religions. Hence, the world-building here is pretty complex and pretty sophisticated, and I love that.
Another thing that I love about this world is that there are a ton of characters. This might be something that is a bit of a turn-off for some people. One character ends up being like the hero figure of the series, so he is one main character within himself. But then there are including him there are three main characters that are like the main characters, and then you have like a circle of I don't know seven to ten pretty essential characters, and you get their point of view reasonably often. And then you have even more characters where you might get their point of view every once in a while, but you might not know how important that character is in that moment.
And what I mean by that is that many characters are introduced, like in the first few books that turn out to be pretty essential characters and keep showing up in later books. Still, you might not realize that when you first are introduced to them because they might play a minimal role initially. And if you've read some of the later books, their genuine identity has been revealed, so then when you go back and read the first few books, you're like, oh my god, this is mind-blowing, I guess. This leads me to my next point that this series is excellent for rereading not only because you have a better idea of who some of these characters are when they're first introduced.
There are world-building and different plot aspects that there are so many Easter eggs throughout the series. As often as I've reread it, I feel like I'm always learning something new or making new connections. I think that's one of the reasons why there is such a large fan base for this series because as the books were coming out, you know, they took a while to complete the series. There were many people discussing theories. There was a massive fandom for this series. It's just not very prevalent or talked about here on YouTube or even in the book community, but I think that's just because it's an older series, and people aren't talking about it. We're hoping to change that.
Cons of Reading The Wheel of Time
Okay, so now moving on to more of the negative side of the series, more of my cons. and I think the first one that it's pretty apparent to everyone is that the series is incredibly long not only is it 14 books plus a novella which I'm pretty sure the novella is like the size of an ordinary book, but each of these books are around a thousand pages depending on what Edition you're picking up. So not only is the series long, but each book within the series is quite long. The consensus online is that the first six or seven books are excellent and don't start to drag too much, but I think there is a gap between 7 to 10 to 11 that people think those books were pretty slow, I know. I thought book 9 was prolonged. I thought it was the longest book in the series, just like what I remembered from my reading experience, and it turns out it's probably one of the shortest books in the series. But after book 10 or 11, you know the last few that Brandon Sanderson wrote, which I guess I haven't mentioned, but Brandon Sanderson finished out the series because Robert Jordan sadly passed away before he could complete the series. But those last few that he wrote, people think we're a lot more fast-paced and action-packed. Then maybe the few that came before it, so that is one downside to such a long series. not every single book can be unique. I will also say that because there are so many books in the series.
Some of them seem a little bit formulaic at times. There does seem to be a little bit of the theme of like characters getting separated and then towards the end of the book. Many of them end up in the same area so that some significant events can happen, and I know that that can get tiring after reading a story structure similar to that of multiple books.
Another potential con that I want to talk about is that it can sometimes be a little trophy. I think it's important to keep in mind that this was written a long time ago, but I know that when I was first reading the series, one thing that drove me insane was the miscommunication trope. There were so many times in this series that I was frustrated because I felt if everyone in this book would be open and honest with each other and explain things instead of keeping secrets, a lot of the issues and things they were going through would be resolved. So I could see that being frustrating for many people at the same time. Keeping these secrets for plausible reasons that fit their personality and what they're going through doesn't mean those decisions were brilliant, but I can understand why the characters did those things.
But I think some people might feel it's a little contrived speaking of characters not making the most intelligent decisions. Especially at the beginning of the series, characters don't always make the wisest choices. We've already started to discuss a little bit in our discussion boards in the Goodreads group is how the very beginning of this first book sets up the three main characters to be seen as boys instead of men when you look at the character arcs as a whole. I think it can be impressive, or at least it was to me. I like going back and seeing how childish these characters were at the beginning of the series because they change throughout the series. I mean, you got to start on one end of the spectrum to have a significant character of growth.
Also, in classic fantasy fashion, the series is full of names and made-up words that you cannot spell or pronounce. I do have a tip about that coming up in my tip section, but I could see that being frustrating for some people. However, at the same time, this was written back in the 90s, so it shouldn't be too surprising. Another potential con for this series is the romance. I would say that fantasy does not play a significant role in this series. There is romance different characters do couple up as you go through the series. I didn't notice this when I had read this series previously. However, I know that I have seen that some of the couplings happen sort of quickly on my most recent reread. There's not much build-up to them, and I think that might bother some people. It's hard for me to judge because, in my mind, all of these characters have been coupled forever. I don't see them any other way except being part of this couple, but I think if you like well-written romance or slow-burning romance, you're not going to find that here.
Tips for reading The Wheel of Time
Okay, I think those are all the cons to the series that I wanted to talk about. I'm sure there are other things people won't like about the series. Those are the things that I could see people having problems with and want to give a heads up so people know what to expect going into the series.
So now, let's talk about a few tips that I have for reading the series. Regarding the format, I would recommend getting your hands on a physical copy, not necessarily that you read strictly from a physical copy. Still, I think having one available for reference will be beneficial. The reason why I say this is one there are maps. Most of the maps are at the beginning of the book, but sometimes, there will be a city map in front of that chapter when you get into different cities and things like that. So I think being able to reference that easily can be helpful. I know you can get maps in ebooks, but I find it cumbersome to flip back and forth between the page reading in an ebook. And the map and then obviously audiobook you can't see the map at all.
Another reason I think having a physical copy on hand can be beneficial is because there's also a glossary in the back. So I mentioned earlier that this series is, you know, classic old fantasy in the sense that you have a lot of words and names that are impossible to pronounce or spell. I also mentioned earlier that there are many characters that you might only get quick introductions to in certain books. There is a glossary in the back of these books that should list every character mentioned in that book and other words about world-building, religion, and magic. There should be little descriptions for all of that in the glossary. I also believe that each glossary in the back of the book is spoiler-free for that book. So I mean, if you're reading book two, don't peek at the glossary for book five because there will be spoilers. for the reasons of being able to access the maps and the glossary at the back as quickly as you want, I recommend having a physical copy on hand
I have been listening to audiobooks, and I think audiobooks are a great way to go if you are a rereader. The narrator's for this series. I think they do many fantasy books because I've heard them before. I have loved their narration of the first four books. I believe they are great narrators. I don't want to scare people away from listening to audiobooks because they are good audiobooks. But I think first-time readers might have a hard time grasping everything going on just by listening to the book. So maybe do a combination of audiobook and physical slash ebook.
And next is a little bit of a PSA, but I want you guys to be aware that there are many spoilers on the Internet. So the series has been around for a very long time, or at least most of the series has been around for a very long time. It wasn't completed until 2014. most of the websites and information that's out on the Internet are pretty full of spoilers. There have been some reread recaps posted on tor.com, and most of them are full of spoilers I checked. So one website that I have found very helpful is library.tarvalon.net. I will put it on the screen because so many people in our Goodreads group are rereading the series or want a place to talk about the series. But you knew they read it a while ago. I have been using the chapter summaries available on the library.tarvalon.net website and putting them into a Google Doc for people to reference.
By doing that, I have learned that this website does contain spoiler-free chapter summaries. However, it is just the chapter summaries. The rest of their website is not spoiler-free, so my tip is to tread carefully on the Internet. I know that I had even spoiled something for myself when I was trying to refresh my memory. If you want chapter or book recaps, try out library.tarvalon.net. Be careful to stick strictly to the summary section; otherwise, you might see some spoilers.
Okay, guys, I think those are all of the many things I wanted to say to you about The Wheel of Time series. Hopefully, this will get you guys excited about reading the series, and you'll want to join in the read-along. If me talking about the series made you realize that you don't want to read the series, then good because the whole point is to help people figure out they like or don't want to read the sequel.
That's all I have for now. Thank you so much for reading.