Some quick fun facts about the Wheel of Time challenge:

  • I read the 13 books, totally 10,919 pages, in 11 months
  • I finished two books in both February and August
  • The Wheel of Time was featured in 14 Teaser Tuesday posts
  • During that same time, I read 16 other books

So basically I’ve done nothing but read for the last year, even with everything going on in my life! I would be interested to compare the 29 books I read to years past, but the only record I have is this blog started February of my last year in college, so I don’t know how much I would have read without the stress of graduating (for the record, I read and reviewed 34 books last year). While I know I wouldn’t push myself to read the series in a year again, it was a fun experiment to see if it could be done.

Way back in February 2010, I wrote my first reading challenge update. I had just finished the third book,  The Dragon Reborn, and the series was starting to get exciting. Up until this point, the other people from Edmond’s Field had been rather minor characters; after The Dragon Reborn, Mat and Egwene develop important story lines of their own and become two of my favorite characters. And then in May I wrote my second update. At this point in the series (I had just started book seven) the story lines were getting complicated, new characters were introduced constantly, and main characters were ignored for hundreds of pages at a time. I decided at this time that the only way to remember all the plotting and scheming was to read every book back to back, despite how much of a chore the series had become. And until the last two books, when Brandon Sanderson took over, I believe that Jordan became too concerned with each character’s story and largely ignored the overall series. And then in July, when I was still struggling with the series, I wrote about how much I hated the main character. Rand goes through several major changes, from a young farmer to the only hope for the world’s survival. But he remains selfish, stubborn, and sexist to the end.

Despite my complaining about rambling story lines and dislike of Rand, I loved this series. The dialogue, especially with Mat, is snappy and snarky. Egwene becomes an extremely strong female character and a leader of her people. There is love, loss, and challenging battles. The series actually reminds me a great deal of Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring series; a young boy and his friends, who have never been out of the town before, are forced into a grand adventure to save the world. Rand is tempted by his power and madness to become evil and forget the reason for the quest, similar for Frodo being tempted by the power of the ring. After I realized the similarities in the basic story, it was a fun game to see how many I could spot in each book.

Although I finished the series a week ago and have had plenty of time to reason things out, I’m not sure how the last battle will go. Obviously it’s implied that they will win, but how? Rand cracks under pressure but they win anyway? Egwene and Rand are able to bring all people who can channel together? Min finds a secret in the prophecies that gives Rand the tools to win? Mat, Perrin, and Rand work some unknown magic when they are finally together again? How will the visions Aviendha saw play into the battle? How many of the Forsaken are alive? So many questions!

In short, I’m glad I read the series. Maybe not in the short time frame I forced on myself, but in other circumstances I may have given up around book seven. The last book in the series, A Memory of Light, is due out sometime next year and I cannot wait.