Friday, August 21, 2009

The Wheel of Time Hiatus

It's been a few days since I finished The shadow Rising, the massive fourth volume of The Wheel of Time, and those days off have confirmed my need for an extended break from the series. This volume was both the best and worst in the series thus far - best because it contained scenes of emotional power the series had not attempted before and worst because Robert Jordan's style and pacing have become infuriating. If it were only the plot growing in size, I would not mind, but here Jordan begins pouring so much irrelevant detail onto each page that the plot actually seems to be shrinking. He has become obsessed with the clothing of his world. While a few brief descriptions of garments might resonate in the reader's mind and add a nice touch of local color to the various locations in the novel, I instead found myself skimming or promptly forgetting what I was told. Like in The Dragon Reborn, there are three primary plots in the novel, but one of these, the continued quest to unveil the Black Ajah, is really just a placeholder, with nothing of significance happening until the final hundred pages. On the plus side, Perrin and Rand show admirable growth in the novel, with Rand gaining some valuable political footholds. In most fantasies I have read, the boy-turned-hero matures as an individual but eschews political growth, so this is an interesting twist.

Not Worthwhile

I'm still curious about where the saga is leading, but I'm happy to get away and read some nonfiction and some non-fantasy fiction.

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