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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Does WOT Drop off After Shadow Rising

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WoT fans never had to wait quite as long for any book as ASoIaF fans had to wait for AFFC and ADWD (either one) yet considering that book 10 is the slowest and least satisfying book by far in the series (with few appearances from certain characters) and there was a 5 year gap between 9 and 11, it's somewhat similar. When Dance came out this past July, I finally remembered why I love that series so much, and I had the same feeling when 'Knife of Dreams' came out in 2005. There were less cliffhangers in KoD though, thank the light (Martin was cruel this time around). You won't have to suffer through an entire book (or 11 years real time) without 3 of the main POV characters appearing either.

 

Beginning book 5 now should be just about right for you. Even if you're a very fast reader you'll likely have only 7-8 months to wait for AMoL, and if you can tackle a book every 2 weeks then it'll be less than half a year. Experience the waiting at least a little bit like everyone else so far! :biggrin:

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If you can honestly get to the end of TSR and NOT want to continue and find out what happens next, then I would say quit. If by the end of the fourth book in any series you aren't connected enough to the characters to want to find out what happens regardless of book quality, I would strongly suggest quitting the series.

 

As it is TSR is considered the best book in the series by a handful of people. So is every other book in the series, except PERHAPS CoT. You can find literally hundreds of fans who think TEotW was the best, or TGH, or TDR, or TFoH, or LoC, or ACoS, or TPoD, or WH, or KoD, or TGS, or ToM. I, frankly, love all of them, and my favorite is simply whichever one I'm currently reading.

 

Does the pace slow down after TSR? No. Not by a long shot. TFoH has more battles packed into it then TEoW-TSR together, and LoC has one of THE BIGGEST BATTLES and best paced third act of any of the books.

 

After that every little thing that happens to these characters will keep you reading, the story explodes in view points and locations, but you begin to realize (if you haven't already) that this is the story, not about a group from Emond's Field, but of a world spiraling towards apocalypse. The Prophecies don't lie when they say "In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people, and he shall break the world again by his coming, tearing apart all ties that bind. Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation," if anything they understate his coming. You see in BIG Panoramic scope the entire world and everyone in it react to his arrival, and boy are they pissed.

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I finished my first read this week. I understand how frustrating it must have been to the long haul fans who had to wait for each next book in the series during the "middle" (basically up to KoD?) part, but as someone who can read all of them at once, it's much better to consider this entire span as "one book". If you ignore where one book starts and another begins it changes from several unresolved plots to one flowing, fluid, dynamic narrative going from Rand (and the central characters) finally realizing the scope of their challenge at the end of TSR to, well, where they are at the end (trying not to ruin anything!)

 

As far as my favorite books: TSR for the beginning, LoC for the middle, and ToM for the end (this may just be because Mat is my favorite character).

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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.

 

Shadow rising is my favorite book in the series, so I'm going to say that it does drop a bit. Three excellent plotlines get finished really well,a and there is one very good outlying plot thrown in as well. For me, the best culmination of multiple plotlines in the entire series. Though there are some fantastic finishes to singular plot lines in other books that are even better (or just as good).

 

But I'd say it begins to slack off largely after book 6. And 8-10 is the biggest lull, but there are still some very good/epic moments. For me, it was just a function of the characters getting so spread out and so many plot lines going on simultaneously, that it was very hard to advance the plot much.

 

For me:

Excellent: Shadow Rising, The Great Hunt, Eye of the World, Lord of Chaos, The Gathering Storm

Very Good: Fires of Heaven, Towers of Midnight, The Dragon Reborn

Good: A Crown of Swords, Knife of Dreams, Winter's Heart

Meh: Path of Daggers

Ugh: Crossroads of Twilight

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I just started my 1st re-read of Path of Daggers (Literally half hour ago), but Crown of Swords wasn't as boring as I remember it being last time. That said I never really seemed to struggle with 7-10 last time, so hope it's as good this time :)

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I found it to be a lot easier to listen some of the later book than to read. Things that bothered me were the slow pace + RJ's typical over descriptions of pointless stuff, internal monologues that last paragraphs that seemed to go on about minor stuff, thinking about how someone else thought about something, etc. I found myself skipping paragraphs. But listening is much easier just have to make sure i don't get to relaxed and fall asleep.

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As to whether it drops off or not, you'll have to decide for yourself. There are people who absolutely love every single book in this series (and you'll find a lot of there here, obviously), people who find them boring and everywhere in between. Personally, I think the plot of the books is incredible but the writing is far too slow; it slows down considerably as the books progress. If the pace has been bothering you already you'll probably feel like me: the story is amazing but the telling is somewhat poor. If you're fine with the pace though there's still a lot of epicness yet to come.

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Reading the books straight through is absolutely going to help.

 

I can honestly say that i liked each book in the series but having to wait two years to read the next in line, and having two years to build up what you think it should be, has led to a little dissapointment.

 

Of the first 10 books 1 and 4 were my favorites but each book has something epic happening in it. 6,7, and 8 were probably my least favorite but i certainly had no problem reading them, they were good, just not as good.

 

The last few books have been epic. RJs last couple were very good and BS has done an outstanding job on the ones he has finished. I was a bit skeptical of how he would do. Had no idea who he was when it was announced Brandon would write the final book (which became 3) so i got and read Mistborn. Loved it but it was so unlike WOT i was still worried, Brandon has no problem killing main characters so that worried me a little. To my great happiness Brandon has done a wonderful job and has become one of my, and many others, favorite authors.

 

My opinion, the first 4 books and the last 4 books are the best in my opinion but the others are well worth the read.

 

So keep reading, you have a wonderful ride ahead of you.

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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.

 

This is an excellent point. One other thing that RJ started to do after book 4, probably as a way of dealing with so many story arcs, was to focus more on a couple of characters, and cut back on the others, in some cases leaving them out of a book completely. Couple this with the slower release schedule of the later books, and you get a situation where, after waiting 2+ years dying to find out what happens to your favorite character, you finally learn.........that you have to wait 2+ more years to find out. Sometimes I think that disappointment overshadowed anything else that DID happen in the book for a number of fans.

 

Being able to just read through the series without any wait should make it a lot better for you, though. While it's not an absolute, it seems to me that the people who started the series after most of the books were already out do not seem to feel the "drop off" as much as us old-timers who have been reading it since the early '90s.

 

Hope that helps! :bandredhand:

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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.

 

Agree 100%. Reading it straight through is not bad at all, especially when you've read it already and know where everything is going. Most reviews are generally based on the first released, when we were all going "WTF?" I was one of those people. It doesn't bother me as much anymore.

 

That said, only Books 8-10 "drop off" in my opinion. It's like Jordan couldn't figure out how to split the story up into nice novelized chunks for those, so he just kind of split them haphazardly until Book 11. I personally think Book 10 is bad no matter how you slice it. I've struggled to get through it without getting completely bored every time I've read it.

Edited by Crowl Rife

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Here are my rankings once again...

 

Shadow Rising

Fires of Heaven

The Great Hunt

The Dragon Reborn

Lord of Chaos

Knife Of Dreams

Eye of the World

A Crown of Swords

Path of Daggers

Winters Heart

The Towers of Midnight

The Gathering Storm

Crossroads of Twilight

Edited by Suttree

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The series had distinct phases.

 

The first three books are a farmboy on quest story.

 

The next three-four are a large scale epic, with the fates of nations and armies in the balance (Through Path).

 

The next few are mainly political.

 

Crossroads is the timeline/story arc reconciliation book. Werthead and I discussed whether these are necessary in a long series once. It's an interesting topic. Regardless, Crossroads aligns everything for the end of series push, but is of itself a weak novel. Works as an episode in the series only.

 

Starting with KoD, we are beginning the resolution arc of the series.

 

So, after the first three, you see a scale change. This is what many reviewers pan- if it ain't Luke Skywalker, they ain't interested. Some people like their 100000th Shannara story, and prefer Frodo-Sam to the battle for Minas Tirith. These people frequently seem to become critics (snobs). This is the introduction part of a standard story.

 

You have those who like the next arc the best- I admit, I'm one. Give me 10, 872 Orks. Give me Conan taking on an army singlehandedly while praying to Crom only for vengeance. This is the rising tension arc, into the peak.

 

 

You have the next arc, which is well-constructed and a small, vocal minority like. This is the falling arc, the grim time.

 

Then there's the final arc, where we are now. Passions are high, chips are down, etc. This is where many people rate the overall success of a story- if the resolution fits their prior emotional investment, or exceeds it.

 

Make up your own mind. I find it increased my appreciation to a) View the series this way, and b) Do a series of re-reads by PoV/plot thread.

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I agree with BrainFireBob, the re-reads are much better.

I always skim a little when reading, the better the book the less I skim, and I found myself skimming much more with 7 and 8.

But, I usually re-read a good book too and when I re-read this series I find no difference, I enjoy them all

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I am on my 4th re-read, though could really call it my second re-read. My other re-reads were really skims, and straight to the chapters where Rand was all the time, hating the Mat/Perrin arcs. I now read everything fully, except for the parts where the grass is being described. I sometimes read about the grass though, especially on the re-read: You would NOT BELIEVE the amount of foreshadowing that happens.

 

Sometimes it's just a single sentence snuck in (the tower in Eye of the World). If this is your first read, definitely don't worry too much about skimming some of the "boring" parts: Some of them won't be that interesting until your re-read.

 

Two notes to you: Stop reading these forums, or else you'll spoil alot for yourself. And secondly, read at a pace. Doesn't have to be too fast, but if you go too slow, you will get to books/arcs where you realize you don't know who some of the characters are. Even if you struggle/skim, keep that pace!

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I thought that there was a drop off but I can't recall which book, I'm in the middle of my first reread and have reached book 6 LofC, and I haven't found any drop off point yet, lmao.

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I'm reading the Wheel of Time books for the first time, and I've recently finished Winter's Heart (Book 9). To be honest, I knew that books 7-10 weren't well thought of, but so far I've been pleasantly surprised. I may be in the minority, but I haven't noticed any jarring change of pace in these books, like I did when reading Feast for Crows. If anything, the "change in pace" occurs around Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos. By this time in the series, many characters in the books have become powerful, influential people and this changes the tone of the story. Rather than being concerned with the next onlaught of trollocs, Rand, Egwene and co are spending more time trying to get certain key people, nations, races to bend to their will. So really, the "change in pace" is really a change in focus for the story.

 

One way to really prevent any enjoyment at all of Wheel of Time is to assume that it is mainly about Rand, Mat and Perrin and everything else is just relatively unimportant and can be skimmed over. This is clearly not how RJ envisaged the books at all. Of central importance to the story are the many, many member of the Aes Sedai. To be slightly spoilerish (and also this is only my own opinion), at the start of the story this is failing institution not fit for purpose in aiding the Dragon Reborn in the final battle. A very large portion of the story is about the fragmentation and subsequent rebuild and renewal of this order. This part of the story is, I think, far more central than Mat or Perrin's adventures, but it's incredibly complex and involves dozens of characters. Unless your blessed with a great memory, the only way to keep it all straight is to make lists and notes and/or refer to site like the WOT Encyclopedia. I suspect that a lot discontent about the storyline in this period of the series is because many readers have lost the thread of these parts of the story.

 

Another thing to bear in mind, is the reputation of these books was established when the they were initially released. At this time, the interval between each novel being published was lengthening, and the books were getting shorter. They also worked less well as self-contained novels. We're in a much better position to read the books now, as when one is finished we can immediately start the next one! I think this makes a huge difference to the reader experience.

 

Having said all that though, some sections of books 8 and 9 do seem to be a bit long-winded. The start of Path of Daggers for instance takes 3 or 4 chapters to tell something that could have been done in one chapter. But this is the exception rather that the rule, in my opinion. I haven't read book 10 yet (Crossroad of Twilight) which seems almost universally acknowledged as the worst book in the series, but I have to say so far, so good. I'll even go as far to say that Winter's Heart, after a slow start is probably my fave book since The Shadow Rising! So there.

Edited by Fedwin Kinderode

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This ^^ :excl:

 

I'm almost halfway trhough tPoD (book 8) now and although little time has passed and no one has moved very far (except two gateways), very significant stuff has happened. Because I'm rereading it now I have almost everything clear in my memory and I can really appreciate what I'm reading. Yes, less time passes and less distance is traveled (no capitalization), but if the books had been released together, fewer people would have complained about this part of the series. For what its worth, I loved aCoS (book 7) this time around, while I can't remember it being that good the last time when it was the first book I had to wait for.

 

Your post is an excellent summary, I think the very common criticism of this part of the series might scare some people away.

 

 

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Thanks, Alric. :biggrin:

 

<spoiler>

This is my first post to Dragonmount. What prompted me to post was that I'm becoming increasingly of the opinion that the main conceit of the WoT has been woefully misunderstood, even by its fans. The main story (for me at least) is that we start the novel with a scattered, disparate people. Everyone distrusts Aes Sedai; the Aes Sedai hate men who can channel (with a legitimate reason), and different races have different ways of dealing with channelling women. Rand realises that being the Aes Sedai's puppet isn't going to cut it - they're too pompous, too Machievellian, too set-in-their-ways, too insular and pre-occupied in their internal politics. Unfortunately, rather than appealing to their better nature and encouraging them to improve as an organisation, he resorts to coercion. This is not unreasonable, as he has no idea how imminent Tarmon Gaiden will be, but he turns an essential ally against him and in so doing, alienates his closest friends. His "iron rod" approach also leads to him being surrounded by a bunch of nobles and Ashaman who he does not trust. This all comes to a head in the battle against the Seanchan in The Path of Daggers. Of course, he also has his internal daemons with Lews Therin, and the taint of Saidin. Up to where I'm reading, it seems to me the only person in the whole series who has the bigger picture is Cadsuane. Rand has to regain his humanity, and lead the final battle with an army built from mutual respect rather the coercion. All the stuff with Mat is great fun and compelling reading, but it's an aside from what the series is really about. The annoying thing for me is that most people seem to have this all upside down, and skim-read all the Aes Sedai bits and then complain "nothing happened!". Anyway, rant over.

</spoiler>

Edited by Fedwin Kinderode

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Well said Fedwin

The end of LoC book 6 has some serior repercussions for the Aes Sedai and the following books have much of that in chapeters that dont involve the 3 taviren. but are interesting & critical to the story. also in defence of CoT. I agree with BrainFireBob. The previous book WH end with a big event I think of it the climax of season 3 of a tv series CoT are the parts after that touch base with all the charecters setting up the next final season where all scores are settled, and it even end with a cliff hanger.

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I wasn't a fan of 8-10 the first time around, but that was probably due to having to wait for them for so long, and ending up with a lesser book. I found them ... tolerable on the lastest reread though. For the most part. (You can't spell Faile without Fail)

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Just finished "Lord of Chaos", and I have never been more into the series as I am right now. So far as I am concerned, it just keeps getting better :smile:

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the books dived after book 6. as far as i am concerned books 7,8,9 and 10 were complete utter shit and waste of time. book 11 and book 12 were brilliant. Book 13 resumed rollercoaster wot experience by taking a nose dive into the gutter yet again. So considering where we are in the train journey at the moment i am hoping for crest right now with AMOL

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the books dived after book 6. as far as i am concerned books 7,8,9 and 10 were complete utter shit and waste of time. book 11 and book 12 were brilliant. Book 13 resumed rollercoaster wot experience by taking a nose dive into the gutter yet again. So considering where we are in the train journey at the moment i am hoping for crest right now with AMOL

 

 

Gotta say even though I don't agree, your carefully considered opinions are a joy to read.

Edited by damandred

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the books dived after book 6. as far as i am concerned books 7,8,9 and 10 were complete utter shit and waste of time. book 11 and book 12 were brilliant. Book 13 resumed rollercoaster wot experience by taking a nose dive into the gutter yet again. So considering where we are in the train journey at the moment i am hoping for crest right now with AMOL

Sad Face

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Well I'm on my first re-read (listen to, actually). The series kept getting better and better through Fires of Heaven. That one is my favorite now. So many key and cool events happened in FoH. Lord of Chaos was also awesome. Now I am in Crown of Swords. After the coolness of Rand striding back into Cairhien with Min, Perrin, Rhuarc, Wise Ones, Maidens, and Asha'man, things slow considerably. I can only think of a few cool scenes that happen in the next 4 books. I did like TGS and TOM, though; I'll see how they stand on the re-read.

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