This year I’m giving each nominated work for the Hugo and Nebula novel awards their very own entry after I read them.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson was an epic journey to read. I actually finished it a while ago, but I’m not sure what to write about it. I’m not sure how to approach the series as a whole, especially since it’s been months since I read the first one at this point.
I remember being a bit put off by the characters at first. I read a comment on io9 once about a trio of books that I personally enjoyed, the Crystal Singer books by Anne McCaffrey. The comment complained that those books were “female adolescent wish fulfillment.” I’m not entirely sure why that is such a bad thing, when so many books with male protagonists are simply “male adolescent wish fulfillment,” but the commenter seemed to be scornful of those books. And in the beginning of The Wheel of Time, so much time was spent on those teenage boys as the center of the world. The girls were there to be foils, to aid and to guide, but they could never be the Dragon.
And yet, the girls came along. They gained agency and became involved in their own interesting and necessary stories. Rand became more and more of an asshole, and it seemed to me that the women around him were all that stopped him from prematurely falling prey to the rage that threatened to consume him. Even if his emergence from that shadow was entirely on his own (possibly aided by his father, up for debate).
I enjoyed reading the books. I am glad that I didn’t read them when I was younger, because I really hate waiting for books. When I have to wait a year for the next book only to find that the loose end upon which I have been hanging is not only not resolved, but is hardly mentioned, I get a little batty. Much better to wait for a series and catch up. And I think that there would have been books that I would have been very eager to read, had I started back when Scott Foster told me to in 2000.
The ending made sense to me, even if I didn’t like the particular ends of some characters. There weren’t completely unreasonable kills or saves. The loose ends that would have had me counting the days until the release of the next book were tied up sufficiently without implying an end to the lives of the characters that survived.
It seemed as if I had read some parts of them before, and I’m not sure if that’s because I had or because they were similar to other things that I’ve read. I’m pretty sure I once had a sampler book of one of these books, but I also remember never wanting to read it. There may have been some desperate time that I opened it, but maybe not.