Every once in awhile I find I am compelled to deviate from my normal reading tastes and delve into a genre I rarely read. In this case the genre is fantasy and the books are the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series. A few years ago I was over at my buddy Dave’s house and he started telling me about a book he was reading. Now you must understand that this is a gentleman who rarely reads anything but road signs while driving and I don’t even know if actually reads those. So as Dave begins explaining the concept of the series and the basic plot, I had to admit that it sounded kinda cool and if these books grabbed Dave’s attention and actually held it, then hey, they must be good. He was right. While I am only on book five of the series and take some time off between each book (they are each quite long), I highly recommend what I have read so far. The books have a Tolkien feel to them but are unique at the same time. They are also wonderfully rich in detail both in landscape and history, so much so that companion books can be found at the library which can be read as a guidebook to the places, people and times of the series. I can go through paragraphs and paragraphs explaining the series, but the basic premise centers around a group of individuals born in and around the same time in a small village. In this magical world, totally unlike our own, time is wheel destined to repeat itself through the ages. In this age, the antagonist of the series “The Dark One” begins to slowly break out of his prison with the assistance of evil disciples whom he has gathered. To combat him, the Wheel of Time has bequeathed these certain village people with special powers to stop the Dark One from breaking out of his prison and destroying the world. One such person is Rand Al Thor, the book’s protagonist, who is been given a power so great that he can save the world or can go insane and break the world. There are thirteen books out right now, with a scheduled concluding book to the series due out sometime in 2011. Unfortunately, Robert Jordan passed away before he could complete the series, however he did leave behind detailed notes which explained his vision for concluding the series. After Jordan’s passing, his widow handpicked author Brandon Sanderson to write the three novels which would finish the series. Now, I cannot give an opinion as to the quality of his work on the Wheel of Time series but I am told by many library patrons who have read the Sanderson books that they are just as good as Jordan’s work. The only drawback I have with the series is the vast amount of characters involved within and their separate, but related quests. I sometimes found myself skimming some chapters involving some characters to get to the chapters that involved others. Other than that, this series is really, really good and I am right impressed with this amazing world and its story. Now, even if you have never read a fantasy novel and scoff at the idea, I think that many of you may actually enjoy The Wheel of Time and then praise me for my amazing blog entry and good looks (well, you’ll have to trust me on the good looks part since you can’t actually see me, my mom said I was the most handsome boy in school).
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