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A Confession...


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One of the things that put me off starting WOT earlier was its daunting size. I am a non-stop reader but it is at least 75% non-fiction. Most of the 'contemporary' fiction I read comes in the form of vintage SF or detective stories. I get my 'fantasy' fix almost entirely from religious mythologies, medieval romances, and other 'source' texts. WOT looked like a mountain of reading.


The approaching end of the series prompted me to finally give it a try. I had vague memories of EOTW from 1990. I am now in the middle of TGH.


The series has now officially ended. No prequels, sequels, or 'outriggers'. Just the 15 books. I'm guessing that more than a few fans who saw the 14 novels & prequel story as being excessive are now hungering for more. Personally, I think 'Team Jordan' made the 100% perfect decision, in the very best taste. The 15 WOT books will stand alone as a singular achievement in fiction.


Now, here's my confession:


I feel absolutely no pressure to finish the series. I'm not very curious about what happens in AMOL. I'm not dying to finally find out who the heck Asmodean is and why everyone is so obsessed with his death.


I'm not a Brandon Sanderson fan but he said something recently that captured my feelings perfectly. Something along the lines of, "there are two kinds of WOT fans; one kind of fan reads the books for the story and what they want is to know how it ends; the other kind of fan falls in love with the 'voice' of Robert Jordan's writing and just wants to keep hearing that voice."


Place me firmly in the second group. I'm enjoying WOT too much to want it to end. I'm luxuriating in it. Back in the 90's I would crack the latest WOT book, read a random paragraph, snarl "Bad writing!" and shove it back. I'm not sure what I was responding to. Reading them now I am overwhelmed by how carefully written they are. A little windy for my taste, but really first rate prose and truly great storytelling. I'm at the point of comparing Jordan to Tolstoy in terms of complexity and 'world building'.


I am enjoying the writing, story & characters so much that I don't want the experience to end. I'm actually looking forward to the notoriously "slow" volumes that "go nowhere". Sounds like bliss to me. Just surrounding myself with Jordan's warm and vibrant prose, 'hanging out' with his great characters, sight-seeing his wonderfully created world, stopping time in Randland for hours at a time.


Right now AMOL is the center of WOT fandom. For many, it is the end of a long journey. They've graduated from college, gotten married, had kids, whatever. I can understand, after investing so much into WOT, how important the final book is.


For me, that reading-journey is just beginning. I'm in no rush to reach the end. Indeed, the best part of finishing AMOL will be to pick up EOTW and start all over again.


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Book are like art. One man's favorite author is the next's object of grammatical ridicule. I love the books and I only had trouble reading the first one. It seemed to slow the first book did, but now I don't care if AMoL is written in graphitti, I will read it and won't care one bit.

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I am re-reading in prep for aMoL, and I gotta say... Things are flying by this time. Having that "period at the end of the sentence" makes the "slow" books much more tolerable. I blazed through Winter's Heart and Crossroads of Twilight. I couldn't even pinpoint the spots that felt so agonizing the last time through. There was plenty going on. I think that, on my first read, I was hoping for so much more to happen, to get some answers and some plots to get tied up in prep for the last battle. Now that the last battle is here, and some of those plots have been wrapped up in Knife of Dreams and beyond, the middle books aren't so bad, and there are plenty of scenes that come to life. I think it was the "I want to know what is going to happen to X character", and then having only more build up for a few books that made it drag so much. Reading them through and knowing, for instance, what is going to happen with Egwene or Perrin, made their plot lines so much more interesting and engaging.

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