In 1984 Robert Jordan started writing The Wheel Of Time, a high-fantasy series intended to span six books.
In September 2007, when Jordan died, 12 books had been published with more still planned.
The series was concluded by Brandon Sanderson with another three books, coming in at around 11,000 pages and 4.5 million words in total.
It’s quite long.
Most people I know who finished the series did the bulk of the reading while they were younger and/or had large chunks of time on their hands. Most people I know who started the series gave up somewhere between book five and book eleven. It’s around there that the pace drops noticeably and the character count rises, culminating in two whole books essentially dedicated to a single (significant!) event and people’s experiences of it. I’m not sure I’d have persisted if I hadn’t had a lot of time on my hands at that point, and George repeatedly assuring me that it would be worth it.
Make it through, and you find the final three books crank the pace up to eleven, and there’s a nice bunch of long-awaited reveals and closure.
Yes it’s trope-y, yes there’s an immense amount of braid-tugging, skirt-smoothing, sniffing and more, and yes you’ll probably want to throttle some of the characters in sheer frustration.
It was an epic journey, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
If you dropped out part-way, I’d encourage you to return and to try to push through – it definitely felt like hard work about two-thirds of the way in but got easier after that.
Would I recommend starting it? I’m glad I did, but be aware of what you’re letting yourself in for!
Wheel of Time logo courtesy of Joel C. Salomon, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, © Tor Books and used with their permission