I believe that Jordan's Wheel of Time is the best adult fantasy epic ever written. It is smart, original, and enjoyable for adult fantasy lovers. I predict that authors will (subconsciously) steal from him as they have stolen from Tolkien over the years.
Nevertheless, I have a difficult time imagining how this epic can conclude in one last installment. It seems to me that it needs at least three more to wrap everything up.
Good luck to the guy who is piecing Jordan's notes together. PLEASE don't change narrators!
Look, I'm getting tired of all the Tolkien/LOTR comparisons here. Yes, of course it follows the same Lord of the Rings formula, so do a lot of modern fantasy epics. But while there are a lot of similarities, it is still a very enjoyable story. In fact in a few ways it even exceeds LOTR, such as in character development. Jordan is really a very good writer, and this (very long) story is sprinkled with humor, fear, romance, suspense, political backstabbing, etc. It's got enough elements to satisfy any fantasy fan.
But don't let the comparisons keep you from enjoying it.
It may take you a while to get used to the narrators' styles, but once they get going they do a great job, and the characterizations of different voices are handled well.
There are times when the story slows down, but never for very long. Fact is, a lot happens in this book. It's truly an enjoyable epic. I have read the first three books of the series, and am very happy with the whole series (so far).
I don't know if I will get around to listening to all the books of the series, but I am liking the ride very much.
Robert Jordan sure has a thing for words - the first sixteen hours are a gabfest that could have easily been condensed to a tenth of that running time without missing a beat to the story. And it does have parallels to Lord of the Rings, as it does have some Star Wars/Jedi-type stuff in there as well. But that's not the problem. The problem is in the narration. Michael Kramer's delivery is predictable and without any passion to the material. His character voices are fine, but each line of narrative is delivered in one of about three different intonations. Seriously. I can predict his delivery and hum it along perfectly without knowing the words. That's pathetic. Why have a human read it, why not a computer? There is an ever-so-brief relief from the female reader for a couple of chapters, but then it goes back to the same read-rinse-repeat delivery. It's very difficult to know when something important is occuring, because everything is read the same way - a negative for us who have more important things to concentrate on, like driving. The narration definitely does the material a disservice here.
OK, its not exactly the same story, but basically the same, and not nearly as good. I admit that most fantasy quest epics share a lot of similarities, but this seemed almost blatant:
the 2 other boys=Merri & Pippin
the Ogre + Green Man = Treebeard
The main narrator is OK, but kind of annoying in his mannerisms and voices for the multiple characters. Certainly didn't draw me in, but then again the material is pretty weak. And why bother with dual narration? I think the woman only narrated one chapter. I get that it was while the women are all off on their own mini-quest, but the man narrates their voices for 99% of the book anyway. Maybe in future books she gets her fair share, but I won't bother finding out.
I listen to a lot of audio books of a wide variety, always unabridged, and often quite long. Although relatively short this one seemed to drag on and on. I couldn't wait for it to end. The thought of trudging through another 11 or so volumes in this series is painful. Don't waste your time.
Overall, the book was very good. A bit of a cookie-cutter fantasy novel, but still enjoyable. Not very action packed, but well written, even with a slow pace- but thats to be expected when this is part of a large series.
If you like Terry Goodkind, you will like this author. I was told these two writers and their respective series were very similar. And they are. Some complain that they are too similar... Having only read the first book here, I see the strong similarities, but they are still unique.
As for the narration, it was very good... with one odd quirk. The male narrator (I dont know his name) did an excellent job with distinguishing different characters with unique voices. He narrated 50+ chapters of the book. What I dont get was 3-4 chapters were read by a woman. Granted, the majority of those chapters dialogue was predominantly women, but it felt out of place to have a woman take over for just a few chapters, when the male narrator was excellent.
This book by Robart Jordan is a great Fantasy book! And the two narrators are very good at playing the multiple parts in this book. Great Audo book, I highly recommend it!!!!
Always on the look out for a great story that sweeps me into another world, time, or person. I hate being bored by literature.
Having NOT been a fan of the long, epic story that often waxes and wanes over time, I have to admit that Jordan has written a compelling and masterfully woven story...one that I found gripping and thoughtfully expansive each and every hour I listened to it.
These complex yet understandable characters have been my companions for weeks as I listened to the story of their plight...fearing both what was going to happen next to them, as well as the end of the story which inexorably drew nearer and nearer.
I can't wait to listen to the remaining stories...I have been captured by the lives of these simple farmers and their motley crew of friends (both dark and light).
Well worth the time spent listening. Well worth the investment. Thank you Jordan for writing something worthwhile and interesting!
I left an earlier review about how I could not find my audiobook after i had downloaded it. i apologize for my rash words, as I have found them and I absolutely love this program. I believe the reader does a very good job bringing the story to life. This is my favorite series of books, and I know that I'll be buying the following books from Audible as well.