Bookshelf spotlight: Wheel of Time

I think I started Wheel of Time (WOT) after I had read The Empire Trilogy, but I may have started it in between The Riftwar Saga and The Empire trilogy. What can I say, 1993/4 was a great period for reading good Fantasy and cementing my love of the genre.

It was a high-school friend who recommended this series to me. She warned me that it was going to be a six book series – yep, that was obviously before it was extended to an eight ten twelve fourteen book series – but that it was good so far. She was right. And it was great to discuss he series as I was reading it with someone else. Well, at least for as many books as were published before we finished school.

As anyone who started reading WOT in the nineties, as the gap between each book got longer and longer, I ended up rereading those first books multiple times and I eventually had to replace the first six volumes.

Books 1-6 of WOT

Which means I only have three volumes of the original covers, and it was sad to not have them matching.

Books 7-9 of WOT

But since they changed the cover at book 10, they weren’t going to match anyway. So what’s a third cover set 😆

Books 10 and 11 of WOT

When book ten came out, I almost read it. I think around that time was when the Tor summary came out – or at least one of them – so I wouldn’t have had to start from the beginning again. But I decided I was going to wait and finish reading the series when it was finished. Unfortunately Robert Jordan died before he could complete it. Brandon Sanderson was contracted to write the final volume (at that time it was still to be twelve books). Which became three.

Books 12-14 of WOT

I have recently completed my reread of the first nine volumes and am ready to finally start the final stretch. To be honest, I’m a little hesitant. I’m looking forward to reading books ten and eleven, but it’s the Sanderson books that give me pause. I haven’t read a lot about Sanderson completing the series, because I don’t want to risk reading spoilers, but what I have read, makes me nervous.

Apparently Jordan initially wanted to destroy all of his notes and not have any other author complete his work. His wife, who had worked in publishing, convinced him to leave them and have someone finish it. He left behind a lot of notes, but there is a question about how much of these were actually read and/or used to work out how the story should go. I’ve also seen people say that personalities/characters were completely changed. Some seem to like how Sanderson ended the series, some seem to hate it (using the word “ruined”). Sanderson has a cult following who can wax poetic about his writing, recommending his (own) books for any question anyone asks, and it seems many read WOT because they were Sanderson fans and “wanted to read all of his work”. So I’ve seen a lot of “the last three books are the best” and “the series was all a bit meh except for the last three which were exceptional”. Obviously this will skew the curve on whether or not the overwhelming opinion is positive or negative. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen non-cult members say they like the ending, but I have seen enough of the opposite to give me a sinking feeling. I really hope I’m pleasantly surprised. I’m hoping to still love the series when I finish it 30 years after I started it. It will be disappointing if that doesn’t end up being the case. If I end up falling into the camp that doesn’t like how Sanderson ended the series, I think I would prefer to have no ending.

What about you, would you prefer a series to remain incomplete or have a disappointing ending? And if you have finished WOT, did you like how it ended? No spoilers or anything spoiler adjacent please.

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