Jessica Day George

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Robert Jordan

Geez, I haven't blogged in forever. I was doing rants about what's good and bad in YA lately, but then I got caught up in reading the latest of the Wheel of Time books. So let's rant about that. You know, it's a popular thing to rag on Jordan: "Oh, I've never read them, they look terrible!" "I'm waiting to see if he actually FINISHES the series." In the last year or so, I went back to the beginning and read them up to book ten. And I remembered what made me start reading them in the first place. These are not Lord of the Rings knock-offs. This is a very elaborate, fully realized world of its own. The plot is original and very engaging. They aren't trying to destroy or find a magic amulet. Rand al'Thor (the main character, of sorts) isn't the prophesied king-to-be. He's the freakin' messiah of that era. And imagine, if you will, finding out at age eighteen that you were the messiah, and that you weren't going to survive the experience, and neither would thousands of other people. Indeed. The problem with these books is that there's a cast of well over a hundred characters, and its hard to keep track of them. Jordan does a good job of inventing different countries and traditions, but his names for people are terrible. There's no rhyme or reason for them, they are no indication of rank or nationality. Two people from the same village could be named Suroth and Kari. Ugh. Also, some of his women tend to be a bit girly and witchy. Which is realistic, I suppose, but still. . . .

All in all, though, I really do recommend these books, if you haven't tried them. It's taking him a long time to get to his big finish, but in the meantime there's some great stuff.

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