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Lady Noble

Attempting Wheel of Time series...

90 posts in this topic

On 19/09/2017 at 5:09 AM, Lady Noble said:

If you've read it before any advice to give a newbie? I'm a few chapters in and not hooked.

Give it a bit longer to grab you. It's a seriously flawed series, but enjoyable. IMAO the Sanderson books finish it off pretty well, and come as something of a relief following the last couple of Jordan volumes (which are still fun if you like spending time with the characters, but do pretty much nothing to advance the plot).

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13 hours ago, ljkeane said:

The 'action' was really bad in the last book. Notably because Sanderson's significantly worse at writing battle scenes than Jordan was.

I think that's what irritated me most about A Memory of Light, it wasn't good but on top of that it wasn't good in a way that made it very clear it was a Sanderson book rather than a Jordan book. You can't really blame Sanderson for that I suppose but after being reasonably positive after reading The Gathering Storm it was a disappointment.

A Memory of Light plodded along so slowly.  It was amazingly boring.  Given that it was the culmination of a 13 book series I was surprised at how very boring it was.

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I dropped out of the race after the coup at the White Tower. When those old and experienced women started to behave like caricatures of adolescent girls things became unreadable.

And isn't there a tendency as early as the second or third book of structuring the book the same way over and over again? The gang sits at place A for a long time and then they split up eventually for no good reason and have some long-winded adventures of their own until they are back together again (or sort of) for the grand finale which doesn't resolve anything.

That was difficult to suffer already but if the plot crawls down even further I really don't understand how anyone got through that whole thing.

Beginning with the fifth, sixth and seventh book (sort of a vague place to mark as a beginning, I apologize) that structure ends. Characters begin more long lasting independent arcs instead of constantly reunifying at the end of each book.

Granted, the quality of these arcs leave something to be desired. Many of them should have been abridged. Elayne and Perrin, I'm looking at you!

As to the White Tower, Jordan's goal was to depict institutional incompetence and corruption among the forces of Light as a problem on par with the Shadow itself. 

 

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I'm not sure I would recommend WoT at this point.  It does get better from book 1, but it also gets much worse later on.  It's a 14 book series with 4 very good books (3-5 and 12), 4 good books (1, 2, 6 and 11), 4 mediocre books (7, 9, 13 and 14) and 2 bad books (8 and 10). 

I echo the idea that if you just read online summaries of books 8 and 10, you will be happier with the series.  I did that for most of book 10, and was glad I did.

EDIT:  Also, looking at my ranking of the books, once you finish book 6, you are less than halfway through the series, and yet most of the books left suck.  That's why I don't recommend WoT. 

Edited by Maithanet

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On 18.9.2017 at 7:09 PM, Lady Noble said:

Anyone else want to attempt to read this series with me?

If you've read it before any advice to give a newbie? I'm a few chapters in and not hooked. I joined a WOT site, but it's obviously not as active as this one!

Give it time. I didn't like the first book that much myself, because of all the LotR similarities. I continud on the advice of a friends.and really started to enjoy it. I agree with the others that it is old-fashioned and has a lot of flaws, but I reallly liked the series overall.

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I find it quite hard to be entirely objective about the Wheel of Time books really. I can see why some people don't like them but having started reading them in the early to mid 90s and spent so much time reading them throughout school I'm quite emotionally invested in them. It's probably why I don't particularly like the last three too much, 12, and too an extent, 13 were reasonable books but they just felt a bit off.

Shit, I might have to do a bit of a reread. I'm not sure my paperback copies of the first few books are up to it.

Edited by ljkeane

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I got about 100 pages in and left it on my shelf.  I know it's not much, but it was such a derivative start, with so many bad books in the middle (from those that read the entire series) that it just didn't seem worth it to me.  I just go to Sanderson when I want that old-school classic fantasy feel in a small digestible chunk.

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1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

I find it quite hard to be entirely objective about the Wheel of Time books really. I can see why some people don't like them but having started reading them in the early to mid 90s and spent so much time reading them throughout school I'm quite emotionally invested in them. It's probably why I don't particularly like the last three too much, 12, and too an extent, 13 were reasonable books but they just felt a bit off.

To be honest, I'm still trying to wrap my head around your earlier comment about Jordan's "action" scenes being better than Sanderson's (I'm too lazy to find the proper post to quote :P ).

As I said, I haven't read much of Jordan and it was a while back (I'd say a decade or so) so this could be my bias and/or my memory playing tricks on me but his fight scenes aren't sticking out in my memory.

Based on what I've read from Sanderson (Mistborn and Stormlight Archives), he writes pretty entertaining and interesting fight scenes. Though I would agree he does individual (or small group) fights a lot better than he does large scale battles so if latter was the focus of WoT books he did I can see your point.

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18 minutes ago, baxus said:

Based on what I've read from Sanderson (Mistborn and Stormlight Archives), he writes pretty entertaining and interesting fight scenes. Though I would agree he does individual (or small group) fights a lot better than he does large scale battles so if latter was the focus of WoT books he did I can see your point.

Yeah, not fight scenes, battles. Sanderson writes cartoony fight sequences in an amusing fashion. Jordan was a decorated soldier who'd actually experienced combat and I think it shows with one his real strengths being depicting how confused and chaotic the battlefield often can be.

ETA: In fairness to Sanderson I remember him acknowledging it was a problem at the time. I believe he sought out advice from Bernard Cornwell to try and improve as much as he could.

Edited by ljkeane

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I'm in the middle of the WoT series, I've read the first 4 or 5 books. I'm currently taking a break, as although I was enjoying them I felt burnt out on them. The world building is fantastic and they can be quite enjoyable, in spite of some of the characters. Some of the villains seem a lot more reasonable, rational and a lot less annoying than the heroes. Nynaeve and Egwene are insufferable! Nynaeve and her god damn braid!

Rand feels a bit too Mary Sue for a lot of it too. Obviously there are mitigating factors to that, but it still doesn't feel like he's earned a lot of where his journey takes him.

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22 hours ago, Werthead said:

I don't really agree with this at all. There's some minor stuff left on the table, but some of that was by Jordan (who admitted in his notes that he'd set some stuff up with no idea on where it was going, and he did quietly just abandon some foreshadowed stuff long before Sanderson showed up). Overall, the ending was both thematically appropriate and delivered the expected levels of action, and most of the characters reached an ending that was quite appropriate.

I'm torn on telling people that:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

WoT may actually work far better if you consider Egwene to be the main character, not Rand. Her character arc is reasonably well-paced, whilst Jordan keeps running out of stuff for Rand to do and putting him on ice for half a book or sending him off on ill-advised side-plots

 

It would be hard for me to agree with your hidden comments more. I was immediately reminded of:

Spoiler

The scene where Rand is just sitting around in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and then apropos of nothing mountains of trollocs appear, he wastes them all with the one power, and then everyone goes back to doing exactly what they were like nothing happened. It's so transparently an after the fact dropped in battle scene that you have to believe that an editor told him, "Uh, we haven't seen Rand for a while and people are complaining that there aren't many battles anymore." There were a few things like this that really dragged down the overall quality of the series for me.

 

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1 hour ago, Ninefingers said:

It would be hard for me to agree with your hidden comments more. I was immediately reminded of:

  Hide contents

The scene where Rand is just sitting around in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and then apropos of nothing mountains of trollocs appear, he wastes them all with the one power, and then everyone goes back to doing exactly what they were like nothing happened. It's so transparently an after the fact dropped in battle scene that you have to believe that an editor told him, "Uh, we haven't seen Rand for a while and people are complaining that there aren't many battles anymore." There were a few things like this that really dragged down the overall quality of the series for me.

 

Not only that but that ties into one of the biggest problems I had with the final book.
 

Spoiler

 

That battle in Knife of Dreams demonstrated that Trollocs and Fades are no longer relevant.  The books explicitly says there are 100,000 trollocs, which even by WoT standards (let alone real world standards of circa 1500 or so) is a huge army.  AND they have the element of surprise, attacking a few farmhouses.  Rand, Logain and a few Aes Sedai dispatch them all in a matter of minutes with virtually no losses.  Once that's done,Trollocs are irretrievably nerfed, they'll never be a threat again.

And yet in Memory of Light we are subjected to chapter after chapter of Trolloc battles.  It is boring, repetitive and everyone knows they'll never accomplish anything.  It's just bad storytelling. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

Not only that but that ties into one of the biggest problems I had with the final book.
 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

That battle in Knife of Dreams demonstrated that Trollocs and Fades are no longer relevant.  The books explicitly says there are 100,000 trollocs, which even by WoT standards (let alone real world standards of circa 1500 or so) is a huge army.  AND they have the element of surprise, attacking a few farmhouses.  Rand, Logain and a few Aes Sedai dispatch them all in a matter of minutes with virtually no losses.  Once that's done,Trollocs are irretrievably nerfed, they'll never be a threat again.

And yet in Memory of Light we are subjected to chapter after chapter of Trolloc battles.  It is boring, repetitive and everyone knows they'll never accomplish anything.  It's just bad storytelling. 

 

 

Spoiler

This problem is kind of mitigated by the fact that Demandred and his circle were the true threats rather than the hordes of Trollocs themselves.

Unfortunately, the duels against Demandred felt FAR more Sandersonish than Jordanesque.

 

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7 hours ago, Cithrin's Ale said:

Beginning with the fifth, sixth and seventh book (sort of a vague place to mark as a beginning, I apologize) that structure ends. Characters begin more long lasting independent arcs instead of constantly reunifying at the end of each book.

Granted, the quality of these arcs leave something to be desired. Many of them should have been abridged. Elayne and Perrin, I'm looking at you!

Oh, I buy that. But the ship has sailed now. I'm not going to revisit that thing.

7 hours ago, Cithrin's Ale said:

As to the White Tower, Jordan's goal was to depict institutional incompetence and corruption among the forces of Light as a problem on par with the Shadow itself. 

Sure, and as a concept that works. What I've issues with is that the deposed head witch and her advisor revert to emotional state of adolescent (or pre-teen) girls. That was the last drop. I dimly remember them walking around, hooking up with the former buddy of Elayne's mother.

I mean, Jordan doesn't exactly give us properly developed female characters - pretty much all women need a strong man in their life they can submit to just as they submit to their magical powers - but destroying adult and sober characters in such a childish way doesn't make a lot of sense.

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16 hours ago, Cithrin's Ale said:
  Reveal hidden contents

This problem is kind of mitigated by the fact that Demandred and his circle were the true threats rather than the hordes of Trollocs themselves.

Unfortunately, the duels against Demandred felt FAR more Sandersonish than Jordanesque.

 

Spoiler

Oh I understand that, but there's still a TON of the book dedicated to trolloc battles. 

 

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18 hours ago, Maithanet said:

Not only that but that ties into one of the biggest problems I had with the final book.
 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

That battle in Knife of Dreams demonstrated that Trollocs and Fades are no longer relevant.  The books explicitly says there are 100,000 trollocs, which even by WoT standards (let alone real world standards of circa 1500 or so) is a huge army.  AND they have the element of surprise, attacking a few farmhouses.  Rand, Logain and a few Aes Sedai dispatch them all in a matter of minutes with virtually no losses.  Once that's done,Trollocs are irretrievably nerfed, they'll never be a threat again.

And yet in Memory of Light we are subjected to chapter after chapter of Trolloc battles.  It is boring, repetitive and everyone knows they'll never accomplish anything.  It's just bad storytelling. 

 

 

The Trollocs were problematic much earlier than that, as early as book 4, at least. 

Spoiler

When a few hundred farmers with bows and farming tools can hold against 10,000 Trollocs, you know that they're not that big of a threat. They're kinda like Bakker's Sranc, but only in that they only count in large numbers. But at least an individual Sranc is weaker than a man, while each Trolloc is the size of Gregor Clegane, or even bigger. And that's where the problem is. Trollocs may be dumb, but they were bred for killing, so I would think no army of average soldiers could stand against an army of Trollocs of equal or greater numbers, but somehow, they do.

Jordan started something interesting with the Trollocs - they have a clan-based society; in armies they are organized in units called fists, and they often require the binding of a Fade to keep them in line. All this was cool, and it presented ways in which the overwhelmed good guys could deal with the Trollocs in a realistic manner, but Jordan mostly dropped this, and just went with mow them down by the thousands with the OP. 

 

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49 minutes ago, Corvinus said:

The Trollocs were problematic much earlier than that, as early as book 4, at least. 

  Hide contents

When a few hundred farmers with bows and farming tools can hold against 10,000 Trollocs, you know that they're not that big of a threat. They're kinda like Bakker's Sranc, but only in that they only count in large numbers. But at least an individual Sranc is weaker than a man, while each Trolloc is the size of Gregor Clegane, or even bigger. And that's where the problem is. Trollocs may be dumb, but they were bred for killing, so I would think no army of average soldiers could stand against an army of Trollocs of equal or greater numbers, but somehow, they do.

Jordan started something interesting with the Trollocs - they have a clan-based society; in armies they are organized in units called fists, and they often require the binding of a Fade to keep them in line. All this was cool, and it presented ways in which the overwhelmed good guys could deal with the Trollocs in a realistic manner, but Jordan mostly dropped this, and just went with mow them down by the thousands with the OP. 

 

Yeah, that's a good example too

Spoiler

I don't think that was quite as egregious because at least in that case the Trollocs were attacking a fortified and prepared enemy, the defenders were very hard pressed for many days, and there were significant Two Rivers casualties. Plus there were two Aes Sedai there as well who were essential in the defense. 

But overall, if the Trollocs were actually 7-9 feet tall as depicted, their superior strength and reach would give them an overwhelming advantage in a melee fight. 

 

Edited by Maithanet

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