Should I Read the Wheel of Time Series?

I have on my desk the newly issued The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, a tie-in release for the series on Amazon Prime that premiers on Friday. I’m thinking about reading it. I was never much of a fantasy reader until I watched the very first episode of Game of Thrones when it made its HBO debut. As soon as I saw the episode, I tore through the (then) first four of George R. R. Martin’s series. His books turned me onto fantasy. That said, when the series ended, I still hadn’t read A Dance of Dragons, and I suppose I never will at this point. With this new Eye of the World series coming out, I thought maybe I should get ahead of the curve and start reading the series now so that watching it won’t make me not want to read the books.

I’ve heard mixed things about these books. Some people swear by them. Other people say that they are pretty good, but become long winded later on. I can’t imagine the series ends that way, however, given that Brandon Sanderson finished the books after Robert Jordan’s death. I really enjoyed Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive–at least the first four books that have been released thus far.

One reason for reading the series is that it is complete. Martin’s isn’t complete yet. And Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles, which I absolutely loved, is not yet complete–and I’m somewhat skeptical that it ever will be. With Jordan’s series, I can start it knowing that if I like the first book, I don’t have to wait for the second, third, or the fourteenth for that matter.

The books are long, the entire series coming in at just under 12,000 pages or 4.4 million words. Using my BEq measurement (“book equivalent”–see what I have read since 1996 for more information), those fifteen books displaces 29 other average-length books that I might have read in their place. Is the series worth passing for now on 29 other books? I guess what I am asking is: is the story compelling? Am I going to want to keep turning pages well after bedtime, the way I felt when reading The Way of Kings or Rhythm of War?

I’d be interested in what folks who have read the series have to say about it. I’ve glanced at the comments and review in places like Amazon and Goodreads, but I read reviews much because too often I’ve found that what random reviewers say doesn’t mesh with my own experience. I’d rather get feedback from my readers who’ve read some or all of the series. Did you like it? Did you make it all the way through? Was it worthwhile? If you gave up, why? Let me know in the comments!

ETA: See my follow-up with what people suggested.

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7 comments

  1. Loved the 1st book which I found when it was 1st published. Really hated a couple in the middle which were really long and seemed super pointless.

  2. I’d vote yes, as someone that started reading them a 3rd time this summer. I do admit book 4 or 5 gets slow/long/repetitive but then you have so many good books after that it’s worth it.

  3. I read the first 2 or 3 when I was in my twenties, and before the series was finished. I enjoyed them at the time–but I’ve never felt an urge to pick the series back up.

    (Unlike The Kingkiller Chronicles, where every now and then I check to see if the third book has a release date… Though I suspect I’m doomed to be forever disappointed on that one)

    1. Suzie, every now and then, when I really want to frustrate myself, I go a Google search for “kingkiller book 3” or “doors of stone.” I always feel hopeful running the search. Afterward, I’m reminded of Charlie Brown and Lucy playing football.

  4. I read the first few… can’t remember exactly how far into the series I got way back when. I think the first few books were excellent but the series seemed to lose it’s way and get too sidetracked and I wondered (correctly as it turned out) if it would ever be finished. So I stopped reading.

    Then, this year I picked up the last book and completed that — It was a very satisfying conclusion.
    It made me want to read more Brandon Sanderson to see if it matches the style of his Wheel of Time book

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