The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
I first read the Wheel of Time somewhere around 2004, with only 10 of the eventual 14 books published. When Knife of Dreams was published in 2005, I read them all again. Likewise with in 2009 (the first written by Brandon Sanderson after Robert Jordan’s death), in 2010, and finally A Memory of Light in 2013. It’s been a few years, but the series as a whole is well worth every minute to invest in a reread–it’s among my favorite series I’ve ever written. This time around though (for the second time) I’ll be listening to the audiobooks.
So. Starting with . Taken in a vacuum, it’s solid enough high fantasy, with little enough to set it apart from oh so many others. Farm boys with an obvious mysterious destiny. An attack from obviously evil twisted humanity. Main characters making stupid choices (although to be fair, they’re barely even adults) for the sake of interesting things happening. They get whisked off from one adventure to another, eventually saving the world™.
On the other hand, just under the surface, there are hints of something wonderful. Jordan does a good job of making you feel the age of the world and how it’s been torn apart in the past and is nearing such a time again. There’s an interesting dynamic with the Aes Sedai–the powerful magic users of the world… but they are all women. A man that attempts to use magic is doomed to go mad and kill those he loves. Not something I’ve seen much other. Especially seeing how he just keeps expanding on these ideas throughout the series: it’s very well done.
I doubt I’ll review specifics about characters (there are piles of them even in this first book) or plot (a lot of that too). But I will say flat out: it’s 10,000 pages / 4.4 million words that I’ve read a half dozen times. Give it a try. It might take a year of your life to read them all, but it will be worth it.