The Wheel of Time…books 4-6

Good news everyone.  The Wheel of Time is actually worth reading.  In fact, if this series continues to improve the way it has, it could turn out to be among the best fantasy series I’ve listened to.  All the characters have finally become real people (with the possible exception of Rand al’Thor, who is still irrevocably driven by the plot, but I’ve finally come to accept the explanation for that).  Also, Robert Jordan has successfully ejected the travel plot from his books, and the series has immeasurably improved as a result.

Each of these books is very long by my standards.  Book six was 41 hours and 37 minutes.  By comparison, The Name of the Wind was merely 28 hours, and The Way of Kings was about 45.5 hours.  The fact that, thus far, there are twelve books in this series makes for a nice long listening experience.

I only have two complaints that still stand at this point.  The first is that the narrators aren’t very consistent with each other.  They’re the same narrators from The Way of Kings, and I love them, but they run into the same problem the narrators from The Kane Chronicles did: they present two different auditory interpretations for the same characters.  In The Way of Kings, the male and female voices rarely interacted with each other, so we didn’t run into that problem.  Here, these characters interact all the time, and sometimes it can get confusing.  It’s not a major problem, but I thought I’d mention it.

My second complaint is the biggest one:  I really wish the first few books hadn’t been so dull.  This series might have actually been worth recommending to non-fantasy nuts if it weren’t for that.  This is turning out to be a great series, and it’s a tragedy that the only people I could possibly recommend it to are already huge fantasy fans.  Anyone with a mere passing interest in the genre isn’t likely to get passed book one, to say nothing about book two and most of book three.

Obviously, I’m going to continue listening to the series.  However, I don’t think I’m going to post about it again until I’m all caught up.  I don’t like these little progress reports.  However, I might take a break at some point to listen to the most recent Mistborn novel by Brandon Sanderson.  If I do, I’ll certainly post about that.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

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