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Does WOT Drop off After Shadow Rising


Zappa3837
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Many online reviews say that WOT starts to wane after Shadow Rising. This disturbs me because I am currently finishing up Shadow Rising, and want to have something to look forward to in the rest of the series. Obviously most of you, if not all, think these reviews are BS because if you didn't, it would be extremely unlikely that Dragonmount would ever exist. So, I'm not asking whether you agree or disagree with these reviews, it's quite obvious (at least to me), that you would very much disagree. What I'm looking for is some reassurance. Tell me why these reviews are BS, and why I should go on to book five, and on from there, when I finish Shadow Rising. Think of me as you little brother (with respect to you all, in terms of WOT knowledge, I might as well be), who is apprehensive about his first day of school in a new grade. Just tell me it's going to be alright.

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Long time lurker, first time poster.

 

You will be more than fine. TSR is considered one of the better novels, but it is only a part of an all together great series.

 

Watch out for spoilers on this site, would be a shame if you find out about some events before you read them for yourself.

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Well, for sure the next two books are well reviewed and well received by the fandom. If you like Shadow Rising you'll enjoy them. The rest of the books are good as well. There's no reason that you won't at least enjoy them for the most part if you've enjoyed the rest of the series.

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I've just started book 8 of my re-read, and I have not noticed any drop off yet. When I first read the series, I got to book 6 and then had to wait for the next to come out. So I forgot a lot between the next books and it felt slower because it took several years in addition to that. The plot probably slowed down a bit too. I think much of the criticism (but not all) is because people had to wait for books at a certain point and forgot stuff.

 

On my current re-read it certainly did _not_ drop off after book 4. It has been thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining up to where I am. I feared that book 7 might be slow since I had forgotten a lot of it the last time, but I was wrong. Book 7 is so full of awesome that I now think it might be my new favorite.

 

I don't think you have much to fear when you don't have to wait for books and you seem to be enjoying yourself so much this far.

 

 

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I think that as the books are now, with everything through Book 13 out, and with Book 14 (and the end of the series) coming soon enough that if you're at Book 4, you probably won't have to wait at all to read it, you'll be fine. Book 4 was probably the best book in the early series, so yeah, things do come down a small amount from there, but not a ton, and not more than you've already seen. I thought that Book 3 dragged a little, the first half of Book 5 dragged a little, much of Book 8 dragged a little, and most of Book 10 dragged a lot, but the rest of the series has been great, and if you don't have to wait 2-3 years between books, you don't mind so much when one book is a little slow. I wouldn't have minded at the time I first read them that Books 8-10 seemed collectively to be the slowest part of the series if that hadn't meant a lag of nine years of real time.

 

And they're worth getting through. Books 12 and 13 have been among my favorites in the series, and I have high hopes for the last book.

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To be honest, i was a little disappointed with Crossroads of Twilight when it came out. But that was due mostly to the fact that we waited so long for that one to come out. If you're reading straight through you'll probably be fine. Maybe a couple of the plot lines will be a little slower than others, but the main reason that bugged me the first time through is I was worried the series would never get finished. Were i in your shoes and reading them for the first time right before the whole thing is complete, i'm sure all the books would be thoroughly enjoyable. keep reading!

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The drop off is very exaggerated. Mainly, when RJ started writing, he had three books already finished before the first was published, so the first six books came out with roughly one every year. By this time he had a huge following, and the slowdown was that he no longer had a backlog, and it took two years for every following book. There is a lull in the sense that some character arcs took several books, but if you read fairly quickly, you won't notice much of a lull other than some story lines are ignored in favor of others. Don't let the bad pub on the drop off bother you if this is your first time through, you won't have to wait like some of us have been 10-20 years for the series to end.

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The series does essentially drop off of a cliff after book six, but it climbs out of it in book ten, so it's really only a three book lag in quality. That being said, the drop off isn't all that bad when you read the books straight through. The problem was when the books were being written and you were like "WTF? I waited a year and a half for this?" And then that kept happening. The plot lines in them are still long and meandering, but they end up going somewhere when you have all the books in hand and you're not left for a couple of years wondering how it is that someone can write a thousand pages without saying anything. By the time you get to books 11 and 12, the series is as good as its ever been.

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Despite the somewhat slower pace there are epic scenes in most of the books. CoT was the only one I struggled with a bit and it wasn't as bad as some make out. Agreed that KoD was a big step forward. Very disappointed we didn't get to see RJ continue in that direction with the final books. I have been trying to reread TGS and ToM and large stretches just don't go that well. I'll be clipping along enjoying myself and then hit a snag and get jarred right out of the story. Plot gratification is great, the quality of writing not so much at times.

Edited by Suttree
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All (ok, maybe not all, but all I've read) longer book series have a "middle part" where things have to be arranged for the final show down. This is a bit slower part, and may seem a bit painful even, but it's necessary to get all things ready.

 

 

And if you can read all books one after another, without having to wait a few years for them to come out, you don't really even notice it.

Edited by Ananta
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I'd agree with most of the sentiment here, the drop off really occurs after 6 and on through 10. The issue isn't so much the quality of the story but the length of some of the story arcs. RJ is seriously expanding the viewpoints given to characters and so you end up with much more of an ensemble cast through these 'middle' books rather than the few characters you know and grow to love in the first couple of books. That being said, you'll be fine and will enjoy reading the series, even if at some points it gets a little slow in the plot progression development. Cheers!

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I think that the main cause of it is that the first six books are self-contained novels in and of themselves within the context of the larger series. Books seven to nine have a lot more drawn-out plotlines which span multiple books and aren't so much novels in their own right, but are simply parts of the series. That means that when they were taken in isolation, you didn't get a full story and the lack of it was noticable. When you just read through the whole series, however, you do get the full story and it just takes a bit longer for the plotlines to wrap up, which isn't nearly as bad.

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Despite the somewhat slower pace there are epic scenes in most of the books. CoT was the only one I struggled with a bit and it wasn't as bad as some make out. Agreed that KoD was a big step forward. Very disappointed we didn't get to see RJ continue in that direction with the final books. I have been trying to reread TGS and ToM and large stretches just don't go that well. I'll be clipping along enjoying myself and then hit a snag and get jarred right out of the story. Plot gratification is great, the quality of writing not so much at times.

 

Completely agree with all of this.

 

But even if you do find some of the books hard going/slow, it's really worth slogging through them anyway to get to KoD where so many plot lines find their conclusion. As for The Gathering Storm and The Towers of Midnight, you probably won't notice a lot of things that annoy some veteran fans on your first read through, so you'll probably enjoy them as much as the early books.

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Despite the somewhat slower pace there are epic scenes in most of the books. CoT was the only one I struggled with a bit and it wasn't as bad as some make out. Agreed that KoD was a big step forward. Very disappointed we didn't get to see RJ continue in that direction with the final books. I have been trying to reread TGS and ToM and large stretches just don't go that well. I'll be clipping along enjoying myself and then hit a snag and get jarred right out of the story. Plot gratification is great, the quality of writing not so much at times.

 

Completely agree with all of this.

 

But even if you do find some of the books hard going/slow, it's really worth slogging through them anyway to get to KoD where so many plot lines find their conclusion. As for The Gathering Storm and The Towers of Midnight, you probably won't notice a lot of things that annoy some veteran fans on your first read through, so you'll probably enjoy them as much as the early books.

 

I started reading around the time TGS came out, and I didn't really notice any differences in that compared to the other books. That, combined with the fact that I had read the first 10 books in Finnish, and read TGS (and later TOM) in English, really made sure I noticed no big differences in them.

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I should also add that when I really took to heart something that BS said — basically, "Stop obsessing about Rand, because it's not really his story, but the story of the whole world and the whole changing of an Age" — I wasn't bothered at all by Books 8-10 on my last re-read. We'll see where I come out on them this time, but I suspect it'll be the same.

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I agree with an earlier poster, by being able to read them basically non-stop sequentially, as opposed to reading one and waiting a year or two, I'm not experiencing the drop off in the story. In fact, WH, used to be one of my least favorites, but on this re-reading, Mat's Arc in Ebou Dar and Rand's in Far Madding are not slow or boring at all. In the past i would not re-read consecutively and just pick up a new book as it came out, and then realized i forgot a ton and was basically too lazy to do a complete re-read. I also picked up all the audios and have listened to them non-stop also. What a grand epic Mr. Rigney created.

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The pace of the books slow down significantly starting around book 6 (Lord of Chaos). This is not due to shoddy writing, poor plot design, or anything similar. It is simply due to the fact that the characters RJ developed have all started to separate and go their own paths at this point in the story. So...each character needs their own story arc and chapters. In the first 5 books there was a lot of overlap - for example, even though Mat and Rand had their own POV chapters, both chapters advanced the same story arc in the Waste. Starting around book 6, the major characters are so spread out at this point that each character requires their own set of chapters that do not really advance anyone elses story at the same time. It is also in book 6 when the women go from sort of major characters to full out major characters in the book and they begin to share/take over screen time from the primary heroes of the book.

 

So....it's not that the series goes downhill at all...it just becomes cumbersome in the sense that there are now so many stories going on that it becomes difficult to speed read. What I mean is that you will read several chapters and get really interested in whats going on and want to read more...except suddenly you're thrust into a chapter starting with Nynaeve and her story instead of Rand. Now you need to get on board with reading about Nynaeve for a few chapters...then when you're just on board with her fully it's time to switch to someone else. And maybe 20 chapters later you'll get back to Rand. It gets frustrating if you're reading through the books quickly. The other thing is that while there might be 1000 pages in a book...it seems like not a great deal has happened with some of your favorite characters. Because technically...not a lot did happen. A little bit happened with each story arc which all adds up to a lot, but it doesn't quite feel like it always.

Edited by Mark D
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Thanks a lot for your input guys and gals, and sorry it took me so long to write back (I have been entirely consumed with getting my law school application materials in for the last 5 days or so). Since I started this discussion, I have begun "Fires of Heaven" and so far, it has done everything but drop off. Several of you mention that your favorite WOT books come really late in the series (along with some other people I have talked to in person), and that's all the motivation I need to keep going on. If the 12th or 13th book is the best, then I almost have to. Thanks again!

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The pace of the books slow down significantly starting around book 6 (Lord of Chaos). This is not due to shoddy writing, poor plot design, or anything similar. It is simply due to the fact that the characters RJ developed have all started to separate and go their own paths at this point in the story. So...each character needs their own story arc and chapters. In the first 5 books there was a lot of overlap - for example, even though Mat and Rand had their own POV chapters, both chapters advanced the same story arc in the Waste. Starting around book 6, the major characters are so spread out at this point that each character requires their own set of chapters that do not really advance anyone elses story at the same time. It is also in book 6 when the women go from sort of major characters to full out major characters in the book and they begin to share/take over screen time from the primary heroes of the book.

 

So....it's not that the series goes downhill at all...it just becomes cumbersome in the sense that there are now so many stories going on that it becomes difficult to speed read. What I mean is that you will read several chapters and get really interested in whats going on and want to read more...except suddenly you're thrust into a chapter starting with Nynaeve and her story instead of Rand. Now you need to get on board with reading about Nynaeve for a few chapters...then when you're just on board with her fully it's time to switch to someone else. And maybe 20 chapters later you'll get back to Rand. It gets frustrating if you're reading through the books quickly. The other thing is that while there might be 1000 pages in a book...it seems like not a great deal has happened with some of your favorite characters. Because technically...not a lot did happen. A little bit happened with each story arc which all adds up to a lot, but it doesn't quite feel like it always.

Thanks a lot Mark, that helps to put things in perspective. When there are a lot of character arcs, it does take a long time to develop each, and sometimes that means slower reading. Also, some characters are just more interesting than others, but the less interesting ones may still have a significant part to play in the bigger picture, and thus it behooves the author to spend some time developing them, which again can mean some slower reading.

 

Your comment really helps me to relate this situation (people saying that WOT drops off at a certain point) to a similar type of situation in ASOIAF, a series I am more familiar with. A lot of people really didn't like "A Feast For Crows" as much as they did some of the other books. I think the main reason was that the majority of the book was spent from the viewpoint of characters that were either new, or had hitherto played only a marginal role in the bigger picture. In contrast, there were very few chapters from the points of view of the main characters up to that point. People get frustrated and impatient when this kind of thing happens, but in my experience, it's always worth the wait.

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The real trouble with the books was that they slowed down after TSR for several books. That could be a real problem when you had to wait a year/two between books, but without the tedious wait between them it isn't bad at all.

Yeah, for this I am glad to be late to the party, both for WOT and ASOIAF. I would have pulled my hair out if I had to wait a year, or several years, for a book that nothing really that exciting happened in (like "Feast for Crows").

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