How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#1
I love fantasy and everything about it, but despite that I haven't read much of the classics. I've never read Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, Wheel of Time, or even Harry Potter cause I thought fantasy was only for babies(I was a dumb child). 

I've been thinking of reading them and want to start with Wheel of Time, but I just want to know if its any good so I don't start off the binge reading with a subpar experience. 

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#2
Wheel of Time is not a good starting fantasy book. On quality, it's one of the most recognized and loved pieces of literature today. Many people consider it the modern day Lord of the Rings. However, it is extremely expansive. It might be quick to burn out from reading if you are starting out. 

I'd recommend a fantasy book that is a trilogy or something. 

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#3
I'm currently listening to WoT's first book on audible off and on. So far my impressions are... mixed.
Jordan has a lot of good points, but he also tends to be long winded and a bit tedious at times. If you like really 'close to the characters' highly detailed stories you should have no problem with it. If not... yeah. I definitely would not recomment it early on or above LOTR.
There are older classics out there, such as those written by Robert E Howard, Lord Dunsaney, Fritz Leiber, etc.
You might also consider trying Memory Sorrow and Thorn.
I've heard great things about it.

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#4
Don't start with The Lord of the Rings either. Some people legitimately love it by my goodness, I find it so boring and would not read it if not for the fact that it's Lord of the hecking Rings. This makes it not so useful to study as writers admittedly just because there's about nothing that you can emulate. I've been in the process of reading it now for about a year just because I keep reading more exciting stuff. 

I can't speak to ASoIaF because I'm still waiting for that series to be finished before I start reading.... I've been waiting literally since I was old enough to read adult books, I swear.

You already named Harry Potter that could be a more fun introduction to fantasy. Percy Jackson is a classic that a lot of kids start out reading. Ranger's Apprentice is another good one that gets a lot of people into fantasy. The Eragon series also does this, but it's markedly lower quality, like I wouldn't recommend slogging through it as an adult due to quality just like I wouldn't recommend reading Twilight (paranormal romance, but hey there's fantasy elements there too lmao).

My favorite fantasy story that introduced me to the genre as a kid was The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. 

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#5
I wouldn't start with the The Wheel of Time either. It's a long series. It's 14 volumes long with each book being a thick brick. That is a series for those who love that kind of epic fantasy.

The Wheel of Time is a lot closer to Lord of the Rings than is Harry Potter. It's inspired by it, however breaks away from it. Both are dense. But WoT isn't LotR dense. However at least Lord of the Rings is only a trilogy.

Harry Potter would be the easiest to digest. However, there isn't a lot too it. There is a reason why it had mass appeal. Very simple to understand. You can read one book in one or two days. Maybe you won't get bored with it. I have no issues with reading middle-grade or YA novels, but that just one series I didn't finish.

I can't tell you about a Song and Ice and Fire. Not my kind of series. Not finished yet and who knows when GRR Martin will.

If suppose the best test it to read Lord of the Rings, better yet, have you read The Hobbit? Go read The Hobbit first. If you can managed that, the you can decide if you want to read more of Tolkien's writing or go skip to Tolkien inspired writing that is The Wheel of Time.

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#6
Yeah, Hobbit and Harry Potter might be better intros than the heavier stuff. Mistborn might be good too as a starting point.

I would definitely not suggest starting with Wheel of Time unless you're prepared for the longness of it. It's ... very long. It continues going on. For a long time. Even Lord of the Rings is compact compared to Wheel of Time, and as much as I love Lord of the Rings, it is far from light reading.

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#8
For classics, I’d say stick to the adaptations. Many well-known titles recommended so far have a film or TV adaptation that’s pretty good. If you like the adaptation a lot, that might be enough motivation to read the whole series, too. 

My other recommendations would be Ursula K. Leguin, Octavia Butler, and Samuel Delany. If you’re looking to study a job well done, I’d say NK Jemisin is a great place to go. The Broken Earth series is the first to win a Hugo award for best novel for every book in the series. Amazing stuff. 

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#10
I read the whole wheel of time books. I have to say that for the vast majority of the series, they should have condensed three or four books into one. 90% of the plot past the first three books is "boys don't talk to girls, girls don't talk to boys, book happens." Most of the books feel completely pointless since they can and should be resolved with a conversation that takes 200 pages to get to, and then everything else turns out to be filler. 

Its a beloved series by a ton of people, but it annoyed me to no end reading through it. There are plenty of good fantasy to read other than the big names. If you want to slog into them, go for it. They are classic for a reason and are worth reading, but they are likely not going to be the "best" fantasy you read. 

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#11
I am a big fan of The Wheel of Time. Is it extraordinary and worth reading? Yes, if you love fantasy and are willing to put the time in. It is a long burn with some slow parts, but it builds up a wonderful ending worth every effort. There is wisdom in working your way there by reading other smaller works. In that regard I suggest the Powder Mage series, Kings of the Wyld, and Shadow Of What Was Lost as addition stories worth reading.

Or dive right in and enjoy a long well crafted story.

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#12
Jordan had a great style for the 90s... but as others have said, with modern distractions and just not seeming to have enough time, Jordan is long-winded, and much of what he says could be summed down by a substantial amount.

Having said that, it's obviously a great series, and well-loved. It has tired tropes like: The Dark one and the Chosen one, etc. But it is certainly done well.

If you like a book that gets really deep with lore and world-building, then WoT may be for you. If you like a faster pace, then you will tire of it.

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#13
Throwing in my two cents for fantasy start off recs. I'd suggest anything by Tamora Pierce or Mercedes Lackey.

 Both make very "beginner friendly" fantasy books in my opinion and I still reread their work to this day. Also any of Brandon Sanderson's standalone or trilogy stories. They're a bit more of an intermediate fantasy but also not an awful starting point.

For LOR I'd say read the Hobbit instead, read some more fantasy then come back to LOR. LOR is honestly an awful beginning into fantasy because the books are intense. I still haven't read them, I just can't get into them. 

I love fantasy but I've never read LOR, WOT, ASoIaF. They're far too tedious for me to read and so I never suggest them to new people into fantasy. Harry Potter isn't a bad starting point though, as it is marketed towards kids and YA its far easier to blitz through.

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#14
I'll throw in a recommendation or two. Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear both write some amazing work. Lynch is very well known for The Lies of Locke Lamora and the subsequent books in the series. In addition to novel-length work, Bear also writes short stories and novellas so the length is easily approachable.

I don't see much merit anymore in going back to LotR or Harry Potter or even ASoIaF. These works have been canonized and cannibalized by popular culture. They're good and all, but they've become some kind of blueprint that stifles creativity for some. I find more to admire and learn from in more recent work. That may just be me.

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#15
I'm going to pop in again, as I feel the need comment on people saying WoT and LOTR aren't worth reading. They are absolutely 100% worth reading and frankly you do your self a disservice not to. Is the language harder? Sure, but don't limit yourself over that. Beyond the fact they are classics and titans of literature, reading the origins of your genre(and the tropes) will only make you a better writer. They are beautiful expressions of fiction that have inspired generations.  

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#16
Wheel of Time (even though I only read the first four books) is no doubt one of the greatest fantasy series out there.

But, there is a big but. The books are super long and it is easy to get bored at the beginning and because you are away from classic fantasy. 

My personal opinion maybe you could consider something else for the start, like hobbits or the riftwar saga (but I am unsure if riftwar is considered as a classic)

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#17

Wyatt_Wriots Wrote: Jordan had a great style for the 90s... but as others have said, with modern distractions and just not seeming to have enough time, Jordan is long-winded, and much of what he says could be summed down by a substantial amount.

Having said that, it's obviously a great series, and well-loved. It has tired tropes like: The Dark one and the Chosen one, etc. But it is certainly done well.

If you like a book that gets really deep with lore and world-building, then WoT may be for you. If you like a faster pace, then you will tire of it.
Is this actually true, though? The whole "modern distractions means people want shorter books" thing? It seems to me that long-winded webnovels are actually very successful. Wheel of Time is still pretty popular; the other big series that pops immediately into my head, A Song of Ice and Fire, is actually longer than LoTR by...a lot. If anything it seems to me that people prefer *longer* series than they used to. 

Re: How recommended is Wheel of Time?

#18

CloverCloverClover Wrote:
Wyatt_Wriots Wrote: Jordan had a great style for the 90s... but as others have said, with modern distractions and just not seeming to have enough time, Jordan is long-winded, and much of what he says could be summed down by a substantial amount.

Having said that, it's obviously a great series, and well-loved. It has tired tropes like: The Dark one and the Chosen one, etc. But it is certainly done well.

If you like a book that gets really deep with lore and world-building, then WoT may be for you. If you like a faster pace, then you will tire of it.
Is this actually true, though? The whole "modern distractions means people want shorter books" thing? It seems to me that long-winded webnovels are actually very successful. Wheel of Time is still pretty popular; the other big series that pops immediately into my head, A Song of Ice and Fire, is actually longer than LoTR by...a lot. If anything it seems to me that people prefer *longer* series than they used to.


I don't think it's necessarily true that people want shorter books. Rather, they expect more payoffs than they did 20-30 years ago. 

You can compare a long series like Cradle (10 books) to even the first 1/4 of Wheel of Time, and Cradle will have many more payoff scenes where the MC does something cool. (Probably an average of one big payoff every 50k words) The same is true for longer webnovels like Mother of Learning, Worm, or Practical Guide to Evil.

Meanwhile, WoT will take its slow time with worldbuilding, and the main characters will blunder their way through the first few books with luck, stubbornness, or because fate is on their side. You won't see many big payoff scenes until you've sunk some time in.

litRPGs, fanfiction, isekai, or books with a [System] are basically the exact opposite of this. They start with something familiar that requires little explanation, and this lets them dive straight into payoffs.

Authors like Brandon Sanderson strike a good balance between payoffs and depth, so I'd recommend something like Mistborn to anyone who's new to reading Fantasy. If you enjoy that and want to sink your teeth into something bigger, then WoT might be worth it.