Spinning My Wheel
July 26, 2010 4 Comments
So I’ve plunged back into something I thought I’d given up for good, something that I gave up on ten years ago and thought I’d put behind me forever. It probably won’t be good for me, and there’s undoubtedly better things I could do with my time, but this has been nagging at me, and recent events have pushed me over the edge.
I’m going to read The Wheel of Time again.
I started reading this series back in 1991. Loved the first three books, although I could tell in the third book where Robert Jordan veered away from wrapping things up and decided to keep the series going. But I was still on board with Books 4, 5 and 6, when it looked like we’d be done by Book 7 or 8. Then it was going to be ten books. Then twelve. Then came an entry where it took some 800 pages to cover about two days’ worth of time, and I began to wonder if this Wheel of Time thing would be literal. Soon after that, it was revealed that Jordan’s health was failing, and it didn’t look like he’d make it to the end. Growing frustrated with the series’ progress and not holding much hope for it reaching an end, I walked away, after nine books and as many years.
Jordan got two more books out before he died, but I had moved on. I figured we’d get some patched together final volume to at least put a capper on things, and I thought I’d browse through it one day just to see how things ended.
Then they had to go and get Brandon Sanderson to finish the series.
I’m an unapologetic Sanderson fanboy. I picked up his first book, Elantris, because it was one of the rarest things out there: a fantasy novel that didn’t advertise itself as Book One of a Nine Hundred-Part series. Sure, there was room for a sequel, but it told a complete story and left it at that. And it was a damn good complete story. So when Sanderson finally did roll out a trilogy, I was there, and stayed through all three volumes and his next stand-alone novel, Warbreaker.
And now Sanderson was finishing The Wheel of Time. And people thought the first book he put out was actually good. The plot moved. Substantially. The end was in sight.
So I was being pulled by my devotion to Sanderson. I was being pulled by the good word of mouth. And I was being pulled by my nagging inability to leave something alone.
Because The Wheel of Time was sitting there like a missing tooth and I couldn’t stop myself from sticking my tongue in it. Okay, that went seriously off the rails there, but you get the idea. I wanted to know how the whole thing ended, but it had been ten years since I’d read a book in the series. I would be hopelessly out of the loop trying to jump in now.
So I stared into the abyss, and the abyss stared back. And I started in on The Eye of the World yesterday.
I don’t think I’m going to try to burn through all the books in a row. I’ll probably read one, move on to something else, then back to the series, to keep myself from burning out. Besides, we’re talking over 10,000 pages. Pacing is of the essence. And maybe a break or two — and the promise of an actual ending — will help me plow through the books that turned me off the first time around.
And who knows, maybe George R.R. Martin will have the next book of A Song of Ice and Fire finished by the time I’m done.