I have challenged myself to read Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time fantasy series in one year, from December of 2010 to December of 2011. Rather than flood the main page of this blog with the reviews, I am going to use this page to keep track of my progress. Wish me luck!

Wheel of Time Reading Challenge Progress:

  1. The Eye of the World Finished 1/9/2010 This is the first book in what many consider to be the best epic fantasy series. The book follows three young boys from a rural farming town who all, for reasons unknown to them, seem to be central players in the weaving of the world’s future. Forced to leave town after  Trollocs (evil half animal creatures that serve The Dark One) attack and sack the city, they head off into the unknown world to learn of their destiny and save their families and hometown. Because it is the first book of many it raised more questions than were answered, but the magic system and culture that have been established promise to be one of the most detailed and expansive I’ve ever read. I’m really looking forward to reading these books.
  2. The Great Hunt Finished 2/5/2011 I enjoyed this book much more than The Eye of the World, but I’m still convinced that Rand is a whiny and self-absorbed child. Mat is also extremely childish and needs to grow up, and Egwene  drives me absolutely crazy because she is so obsessed with Rand yet has no respect for him or the decisions he makes. Dislike for the main characters aside, the story got extremely interesting at the end of the book. Rand is beginning to accept the possibility of his being the Dragon Reborn while Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne learn how to channel the One Power. Governments are beginning to topple, those who work for the Dark Lord are making themselves more known, and strange people from across the ocean have started attacking coastal towns demanding the respect owed to an ancient pact no one remembers making.
  3. The Dragon Reborn Finished 2/26/2011 This is the first book I’ve truly loved in the series. The first two books set up a pretty good understanding of how the world is organized and how the magic system works, but they worked in a storyline around the basics of the world; The Dragon Reborn had a great storyline that included some information on characters and social dynamics. I’m still not a big fan of Rand (in fact, he is by far my least favorite character), but Egwene is becoming more strong and awesome and Mat is finally starting to not be a complete brat. The best part of this book was how much action there was! So many things happened, and it was hard to put the book down. I’m excited to start the next book to see what happens.
  4. The Shadow Rising Finished 3/28/2011 What a great book! Rand wasn’t a terribly important character for most of it, and the parts he was in I didn’t mind. I still don’t like him, and he continues to just blindly run from one problem to the next, often “fixing” things without knowing what he is doing. In talking about the book, I realized how I truly feel about Rand–he is so incompetent most of the time, it’s impossible to see how he will save the world. The other characters really seem to be coming into their own, especially Perrin who left to go save their hometown. I love that the characters are starting to grow and accept that their old lives are over, and that they can finally move on to their great destiny’s. At this point I’m really excited about reading The Wheel of Time books, hopefully that enthusiasm carries over for the rest of the series!
  5. The Fires of Heaven Finished 4/24/2011 Things are getting extremely exciting. Rand is finally acting on his own, and his plans are grandly dangerous. He is taking over countries, imposing harsh laws, and leading an army of Aiel against anyone who gets in the way of the peace he is trying to create. The many stories are starting to come together, as several characters are now together again. Perrin is still back home in the Two Rivers (and wasn’t in this book, sad!), but Mat is becoming more and more awesome. I have, however, decided that most all the female characters are extremely prejudiced toward men, and their constant complaints about how stupid men are (while they themselves are doing the very same actions they deride the men for!) is making me really dislike them. Hopefully they will get better–and Perrin will come back into the story–in the next book. I’m slightly behind the schedule I set for myself, but not worried about it yet.
  6. Lords of Chaos Finished 5/26/2011 Things are really starting to get good (which makes me sad, because I know some less than great books in the series are coming up!). Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve are fully coming into their own as Aes Sedai, despite a few hiccups along the way. Rand is essentially leading three nations, fighting with the voices in his head, and changing all cultural norms by protecting other men who can channel. Mat is trying to pretend that nothing has changed yet, despite the fact that he now fluently speaks the Old Tongue and is an accomplished battle general. Perrin (finally back in a book!) tries to protect a wife who won’t admit she needs protecting, and is unwillingly following Rand into danger. The Forsaken are taking more control in the world, the Black Ajah (evil Aes Sedai) have split the White Tower. The middle of the book dragged a little (it felt 200 to 300 pages too long) as there was a lot of talking and little action, but the end of the book (a huge battle between Aes Sedai, Aiel, and soldiers) more than made up for it.
  7. A Crown of Swords Finished 6/17/2011 There was a lot of politics, manipulating, and arguing in this book. Basically, it was 800 pages of “how do we respond to that huge battle that just happened?” and not a lot else. Elayne and Nynaeve were the most interesting parts, on their search for something to fix the eternal summer the Dark Load has created. Mat took on a more important role in this book, and even found a cute little boy to care for! Mat always seems to attract trouble, so I’m excited to see what happens next. Rand is going more crazy, the Aes Sedai are truly being torn apart deciding how to treat the Dragon Reborn, and Lan (although badly damaged) is back in the story. This book read more like a really long introduction to the 8th book, as little was accomplished but many new characters were introduced and new issues popped up.
  8. The Path of Daggers Finished 7/9/2011 People are still trying to decide how they will respond to the events of book #6. I was wrong in saying book #7 was like a long introduction to book #8, it’s more like books #7 and #8 are introductions to book #9 when people will finally start dealing with what’s going on! The Prologue introduced several leaders from the Borderlands and some political scheme they are up to….but it was never resolved or even explained. Many storylines were introduced and not finished, actually. Rand is still crazy, the Aes Sedai are still trying to decide what to do about the White Tower being split (although Egwene made huge progress for the rebel Aes Sedai, if only she can gather the power to follow through on her plan), they are still being invaded by the strange people across the sea, and Elayne and Nynaeve still can’t get respect from their fellow sisters. Hopefully all this damn storylines will be resolved soon–Rand has to decide what to do with the Aes Sedai, the Aes Sedai need to figure out what’s going with the two camps, the Aiel can’t fight forever, and everyone needs to get their acts together before the last battle. Hopefully the next book isn’t as frustratingly vague!
  9. Winter’s Heart Finished 8/4/2011 I’ve been quietly dreading this book. From talks with friends who have read this series, something would happen at the end of Winter’s Heart that would take all of the next book to resolve, and consequently make Crossroads of Twilight the worst book of the series. The entire time I was reading I was anxious to figure out what this huge event/person was, and honestly it made reading the book rather stressful–every time something slightly important happened I was asking myself if it could be THE event. Things are starting to come together, though. The White Tower (the physical one, not the rebel camp) is starting to act on their knowledge of Darkfriends in their midst, and the rebel Aes Sedai are making a move on the White Tower. Rand is finally thinking about maybe not being a complete jerk all the time, although his stance on women still drives me crazy (he’s too weak to refuse to send the women he loves away, and his weakness is going to kill them because he is weak and pathetic ((honestly, it reads that stupid and repetitive in the book)) despite their constant argument that they know the dangers and choose to be with him), but I’ve come to accept that I’ll hate Rand no matter what choices he makes. For all that this book was leading up to a huge series-changing event, the end was extremely anti-climatic! Hopefully Crossroads of Twilight isn’t as bad as everyone says.
  10. Crossroads of Twilight Finished 8/23/2011 This was the book I was supposed to hate. I can’t find a truly positive review online (at best, people say it was nice to get caught up on some characters Jordan neglected in the last few books), and most people’s reaction is a very loud “OMG HATED THIS BOOK!” Many people even said this book made them stop reading the series…yet I loved it! Maybe I’m just not that into fight scenes and action/adventure (a total lie, I love that stuff!), but I was incredibly excited to finally get an overview of where the story was going. There are so many characters in this series, and only so many pages in each book, that my favorites have largely been absent the last few books. Maybe that’s the key–I like all the characters everyone else hated? Anyway, like the reviews said, there was no action in this book but a lot of catching up. All the story development takes place at roughly the same time, as we jump back and forth between several main characters for a few days. Rand is struggling with the many nations he has conquered, several students at the Black Tower are trying to attack him, and he still can’t forgive himself for bonding with Min, Elayne and Aviendha. Perrin’s wife was kidnapped by rogue Aiel and he’s struggling to steal her back. Several other women from his camp were also kidnapped, including a local queen and a queen in hiding! Mat is having the worst time out of all the guys, because he has finally met the woman he’s destined to marry–and she’s the leader of the invading armies. So naturally, he kidnaps her and a few other women and joins the circus. Egwene has truly taken control of the rebel Aes Sedai, but events are moving faster than she can manage and some tough choices had to be made. She’s gained a reputation as an extremely mean and demanding leader, yet cannot share any of the reasons behind her decisions. Elayne is struggling to gain her throne, and the city is being attacked by her rivals. And best of all, I’m finally starting to learn about the Black Ajah and the Forsaken! I’m surprisingly optimistic going into the last three (published) books of the series.
  11. Knife of Dreams Finished 9/24/2011 It seems like everyone loved this book…or at least loved it compared to the last book. Once again I feel like a freak, because Knife of Dreams drove me crazy! It went back to the style that bugged me so much in the early books–it felt like an intro to whatever is going to happen next, without actually moving the plot forward. Rand is still going crazy and trying to take over nations. The Seachan are still invading. Matt is still hiding the women he kidnapped. Elayne is still trying to become queen of Andor. The Aes Sedai are still split between the tower and the rebels and unable to compromise. Until the very end, Perrin’s wife was still a captive of the rogue Aiel. And that’s all that happened during this book…I guess my problem with most series’ that go longer than three books is that the intro gets to be really long, the middle part when character development happens takes forever, and the conclusion seems like it will never ever get here. But I’m still holding out faith that Brandon Sanderson can save the last three books–if I can bring myself to continue reading!
  12. The Gathering Storm Finished 10/14/2011
  13. Towers of Midnight Currently Reading
  14. A Memory of Light (Due out in fall 2011)

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