I've got Book One, should I take the plunge?

Tower75

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Hi, all.

I've always bumped into Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books while out and about, and for the longest time they were a constant shelf of black spines which greeted me whenever I entered into the Fantasy/SciFi section of a book shop.

I knew that the Wheel of Time was a "big deal", but I really had no interest in finding out about it. That was until one day I was in a charity shop and I found the first WoT books on a shelf looking a bit sorry for itself, it had somehow been bent into an almost perfect 'S' shape.

I thought, all dramatic like, "I shall rescue you, book!" So I bought it, even though the book had no blurb on the back to tell me anything about the story, other than it had something to do with a wheel.

So, my question, dear readers of everything is: should I plunge into the story knowing full well that I may hate it, or, maybe even more terrifyingly; if I like it I have to read all 10, 11 (?) of them?

Baring in mind that I really haven't read much "hardcore fantasy" in my time I have no idea what to expect.

So, ultimately: Are these books good? :)
 

Brian G Turner

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Well, even if you don't like it, the series is one of the all time modern classics - easily outselling most other epic fantasy authors, bar Tolkien.

So even if you don't like the first book, at least you'll have the experience of reading it, and some basic idea of what it's about. :)
 

Self

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I think it starts out great - it seems his editor goes AWOL from Book 5 in my opinion. I would love someone to rewrite his story in about 5-8 books. Most of what I would cut would be the whining, posturing and braid pulling of the female characters which is my cure for insomnia.
 

barrett1987

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book 1 was written as a standalone and has a VERY different feel to later books. be warned. book 1 is cliché the rest are not
 

chongjasmine

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Read book 1 to 3 of the series, and if you like it, continue on.
If not, you can stop at book 3.
 

Jonathan C

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if I like it I have to read all 10, 11 (?) of them?
14.

book 1 was written as a standalone and has a VERY different feel to later books. be warned. book 1 is cliché the rest are not
It was not written as a standalone.

It was written as the first of a six-part series that was billed as a trilogy to disguise the twist that it wasn't a trilogy. Then it grew when it turned out that Robert Jordan doesn't plan well.
 

barrett1987

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14.



It was not written as a standalone.

It was written as the first of a six-part series that was billed as a trilogy to disguise the twist that it wasn't a trilogy. Then it grew when it turned out that Robert Jordan doesn't plan well.
We'll have to agree to disagree. I think the first book was written as a stand alone in case the others were not picked up. There is alot of things in it that don't make sense with the rest of the series not to mention the 'feel' of the book is different.
 

chrispenycate

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When I bought the first volume from the English bookshop in Geneva the assistant (a student moonlighting evenings and saturdays for pocket money and staff discounts) told me ther were to be seven volumes, following the seven spokes on the wheel. I stopped at about volume ten, as the story had practically stopped advancing and was consolidating. I suppose that, now it's finished, I should read the final volumes; if I can remember what went on in the earlier ones. Probably in Kindle.
 

chongjasmine

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We'll have to agree to disagree. I think the first book was written as a stand alone in case the others were not picked up. There is alot of things in it that don't make sense with the rest of the series not to mention the 'feel' of the book is different.
I don't think it is written as a standalone but rather as a trilogy.

And then, book 4 onwards were added to the series as a kind of expansion.


.
 
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Tower75

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Anyway. Cheers for the info, guys. I'll plod on and see if I like it. Up to Chapter 3 so far.


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Ursa major

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I've removed a totally unnecessary spoiler, but not before the one person who specifically wouldn't have wanted to see it had read it. This unwanted knowledge transfer cannot be undone.


In a thread about whether a person should read the first book in a series, it is spectacularly bad mannered -- at the very least -- to post what happens in book three.


Please, people, think before you post and try not to spoil things for others.
 

Jonathan C

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Robert Jordan pitched it as either a standalone or a trilogy (as in, he hadn't made up his mind) to his publisher Tom Doherty, but by the time he finished drafting the first book Jordan realized that one book wasn't enough for the story he wanted to tell. Doherty- who knew by that stage that Jordan tended to let his writing get ahead of him- doubted that even 3 books would be enough for this story either, so he got Jordan to sign a six-book deal, with the idea being that if Jordan finished the WoT in less, he could use his remaining book deals to write whatever he wanted.

The only reason the first book resembles a standalone in any way is likely because they were testing the market and seeing if it would sell; though even then, there are plenty of loose plot threads at the end of that first book. With the way the bulk of the narrative follows one character, then towards the end it starts branching off; to the way the main villains are handled; to how much of the setting is referenced but unseen....no, I don't think you can view this as a standalone. It has a different feel from the others, but taken on its own the story is clearly incomplete.

So, was WoT supposed to be a trilogy? - General Wheel of Time Discussion - Dragonmount.com

When RJ first pitched it to Tor, he thought it would probably only take 3 books, and was sure it wouldn't take many more. Tom Doherty thought the proposed book 1 (containing at least books 1&2, and I believe book 3 as well) was more than one book's worth, and so convinced RJ to sign a six book contract, on the understanding that if it was shorter than six books, he could write something else to fulfill the contract. Before RJ finished writing the first book, it was evident to him that it was too big for one book (it ended up three). The great successof the first book meant the series could continue, which it did, going from strength to strength, with book 8 onwards topping the bestseller lists. The big problem was that there was just more to write than RJ had anticipated. RJ has said that Osan'gar, Aran'gar and Cadsuane were all part of his plans when he started writing. That's all stuff that I've pieced together from various RJ interviews, and a few things from Tom Doherty, Harriet, and BS.
Talking With Tom: A Conversation Between Tom Doherty and Harriet McDougal | Tor.com

DOHERTY: I think he’d only actually written two Conans when he decided to write The Wheel of Time. We talked about it a lot in ’83. I remember talking about it quite a bit before we did the contract in ‘84. I thought The Fallon Blood was going to be a standalone and that there was only going to be the one book on the Southern sweep of history. It ended up being three. We began talking about an epic fantasy: one book, then maybe three books like The Lord of the Rings. I just didn’t believe it would get done in three books, because by then I knew how Jim liked to tell a story. So we did the contract in early ’84. He was doing Conan books well beyond when we began talking about that in ’83. When did the first Conan book ship? ’81?
Talking With Tom: A Conversation Between Tom Doherty and Brandon Sanderson | Tor.com

SANDERSON: So after Ender’s Game, the second Tor book that I can remember reading was The Eye of the World and the other Wheel of Time books. There were all these rumors out there about how many books it was planned to be and what it was originally pitched as. Tom, I think we need to hear it from your mouth: the first-hand witness of that pitch when James Rigney came in. Was it this office right here?
DOHERTY: Well, actually we’d already done three books with him. The Fallon Blood, The Fallon Pride, and The Fallon Legacy. He did them under a different pen name.
SANDERSON: Right. Reagan O’Neal.
DOHERTY: They had started out to be one book. He was going to do a big historical novel of the American Revolution, but it ended up being three fat books.
When he came in and said he wanted to do a big epic fantasy novel, we said, “Well, a big epic fantasy?” He said, “Well, maybe it’ll be a trilogy.” So I suggested a six book contract, and when he said no I said “Okay, you know if you finish it in three, we’ll just do a different trilogy.” He said, “Well, all right, if you insist.”
So that's it- straight for the publisher. I do have to retract my earlier statement that the trilogy was a disguise, but I think by the time Jordan wrote book 3 the fact that it wasn't going to be a trilogy meant that he could probably treat it all as such.

Nevertheless- definitely not a standalone.
 

xyz

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If I could go back in time and not read these books, I would. I have not, and will not, finish the series.

Only one thing would make the later books, after book 5, readable. With these books, find the 30 pages in each one that is about rand, matt, or perrin. Cut them out. Join all of these section into one book and don't bother with any of the rest.

Unless you are big into frowning, braid pulling, and skirt straightening.
 

Flyerman11

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Read the first 3 (6 if you want), then stop!
The first book is really good, it got me hooked!
So I tried, I really, really tried to read them all but...

**********Warning!!!!! Possible Spoiler!!!!!!**********



these books go on and on and on and nothing ever happens, you keep waiting for a climax of some sort.
Is saying nothing happens a spoiler? Maybe!



*********End of Spoiler**********

I gave up after book 10 and I believe, that was 4 or 5 books too late.

It has been said that this was supposed to be a 6 part series. Guess they just wanted to keep milking the series dry.
 

LukeW

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I finished reading book one last night. Went in cold other than knowing that there were a lot of books in the series and that it was considered a bit of a modern classic. I actually stopped reading this thread mid-way once I saw people criticizing the book... don't want my enjoyment tainted :D

I really enjoyed book one, which I'm glad in and of itself, because recently it's felt like I couldn't find a book I enjoyed (Eragon, I'm looking at you) and I was beginning to wonder if I had lost the love of reading.

I've got The Great Hunt sitting here and will get stuck into it tonight.
 

chongjasmine

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I finished reading book one last night. Went in cold other than knowing that there were a lot of books in the series and that it was considered a bit of a modern classic. I actually stopped reading this thread mid-way once I saw people criticizing the book... don't want my enjoyment tainted :D

I really enjoyed book one, which I'm glad in and of itself, because recently it's felt like I couldn't find a book I enjoyed (Eragon, I'm looking at you) and I was beginning to wonder if I had lost the love of reading.

I've got The Great Hunt sitting here and will get stuck into it tonight.
I am thinking of re-reading the series. As soon as I finish song of ice and fire, I will re-read this series.
 
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