My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Wheel of Time is one of the more popular fantasy series. It is well written, full of action and intrigue, and a necessary read for the fantasy afficionado.
The main criticism I have is the overt similarities to the Lord of the Rings. I know Tolkien changed the way fantasy is written. His world building is incomparable. You could argue that no good fantasy author can succeed without using his model to some degree. However, authors really need to make a serious effort to go their own path.
Robert Jordan even admitted the village depicted in the beginning of the book was modeled after Tolkien’s Shire. I didn’t know this until after finishing the book but did pick up on the similarities myself. Unfortunately that’s not where it ends. The character Lan is very similar to that of Tolkien’s Aragorn. Perrin is similar in name and character to Peregrin Took. The blight is similar to Mordor. Even the “Eye of the World” is almost a complete ripoff of the “Eye of Sauron.” There are too many similarities to mention.
The other criticism is the book is too wordy and much too long. These days authors are trained to stick to the plot, be as brief as possible, and limit descriptions. Jordan ignores all these rules. You could easily take a hundred pages or more out of this book and not lose an ounce of effectiveness.
So why did I depart so much from my first paragraph? Look, it’s an entertaining book. The more I read the more I grew attached to the characters and the story. The ending was confusing but the journey was interesting. I’m not sure if I’ll read more of the books in the series but overall I enjoyed this one.