This is the story about a land thwart with many evils and in this world the embodiment of evil, known as the Dark One, is breaking free from his prison. There is only one person who can stop him and that is the world’s messiah reborn into the body of a young boy. It is about the boy’s journey into manhood and the trials that being the savior brings, as well as how their world is drastically changing under the strain of good versus evil.
Robert Jordan was born in 1948 in Charleston in South Carolina. He was a highly intelligent man who graduated The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina with a degree in physics and received many decorations in his time in the military.
Robert Jordan began writing in 1977 and in his career created many established works, as well as ‘The Wheel of Time’ series which was published in 1990. This series is one of the world’s bestselling fantasy series, with over 14 million copies sold in the US alone.
Sadly, Robert Jordan died on September 16, 2007, due to a rare blood disease. This meant that he could not finish all fourteen books as he intended, though did write an impressive eleven books in the series. Knowing that the story must end, he left behind many notes and audio recordings which allowed his family, with the assistance of fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, to finish the series. Brandon Sanderson is accredited with writing books twelve until fourteen.
From the moment I opened the cover page and began reading the first words, I knew that I had stumbled upon something special. The way in which Robert Jordan wrote was, and is to this day (in my opinion), unparalleled by any author I have read. You can see, hear, smell and taste everything in this world that he has created. He transports you into the lives of the characters, in a way that I have never experienced. It is as if you are a stranger walking in on these living and breathing people’s lives. It is written in third person, which is complicated to master, but the way in which he has produced it, makes you feel as if it is in first person. To me, he has eliminated the omnipotent narrator limitation in such a beautiful way, that when you read it you forget from what stance you are actually reading. I have made it my mission to emulate, in my own funky way, this skill.
Another element that I find fantastic, is his use and depiction of time. ‘The Wheel of Time’ is based both in the worlds past, present and future. You would expect this to be confusing, however he is very clear in his presentation of scenes that portray these elements and you do not encounter the when, where or how. Robert Jordan’s characters have extremely distinct character voices. So much so, that I know from whose perspective he is entering into immediately and without introduction. Each have a distinct character trait that is not overdone, as some characters in other books can turn out to be when you are reading it. Immediately, I determined which characters I hated because of who they are as human beings (Egwene), and others whom I loved (Nynaeve). I found that he cleverly showed their age through his writing, from dialogue and his description of action. Egwene for instance possesses an annoying immaturity, whereas Moiraine’s character was more mature. I also thought that Robert Jordan did a wonderful job of ensuring that female characters voices sounded female. I have ascertained in reading other books, that it is difficult for writers depicting characters whose sex is opposite to their own.
Lastly, I loved the fact that each area we are taken to in this world is distinct from one another. There are differences through accents shown in dialogue or the description in the way that people dressed. I found this quite exciting to see and I thought it was very cleverly done.
I couldn’t pronounce the characters names, so I just made up what I thought the word sounded like. This I know is my own fault because there is a glossary in the back that tells you how to pronounce everything. I am trying to think of another element that I didn’t like…. Alas, I can’t come up with anything else.
Please let me know in the comments below what you think of this series and Jordan’s writing. I ask that you do not reveal too much about the book for those who have not read it!