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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2008
Robert Jordan has created an incredibly disverse, and well though out world. There are several plots going on the intertwine with each other, and the characters are very complex themselves. There's a reason this guy has eleven books in this saga. Awesome read.
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69 of 100 people found the following review helpful
Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" is a love-'em-or-hate-'em series -- either you will adore it for its thick machinations and intense detail, or hate it for the glacial pace and often-annoying characters.

By the time the sixth novel arrived, it was becoming clear that if Jordan even possessed the ability to finish the series, he wasn't going to anytime soon. The seventh, eighth and ninth books are compiled in this boxed set, but it seems like very little actually happens in these doorstoppers.

"Crown of Swords," which suffers from this glacial pace, includes Elayne, Aviendha, and Mat searching for a magical bowl that will reverse a deadly heat wave, but Mat's flirtatious nature attracts a ravenous Queen who won't take "no" for an answer. Unfortunately, Rand (who spends most of the book thinking) now believes that he's going bonkers.

Things only go further downhill in "Path of Daggers," both for the characters and the readers. Rand believes that his magic will kill everyone he holds dear, and must also deal with the Seanchan as they attack the Dragon Reborn (that's Rand), Ebou Dar and everybody Rand commands. Meanwhile, his friends are still en route to wherever they are going, and the Bowl of Winds has cooled the heat wave.

The same holding pattern is in place in "Winter's Heart," where Rand is still upset and has nearby been killed. His friends are distracted by a series of kidnappings, crownings and civil wars within the Aes Sedai, and so Rand must tip the balance against the Dark One by himself, even if it takes twenty more books to do so.

Long books or series can sometimes be a blessing; the best and most beloved of the fantasy genre are usually big awkward tomes, or at least several books long.

Unfortunately, when a series loses momentum, and the same cast is used in every book... the series is going to inevitably deteriorate. As a result, Jordan's series is overflowing with potentially glorious plotlines, but most of them are stretched thin until you just want the things to end.

One of the biggest problems with Jordan's series is that his women -- almost without exception -- act like the most demented man-haters in the world. This wasn't as annoying when the series showed some forward momentum, but when it's in a holding pattern, this becomes teeth-grindingly unbearable. It makes one wonder about Jordan's own relationships.

So do descriptions of braid-pulling, cleavage, smoothing clothing, and the details of farms, vases and statues that we will never, ever see again. Jordan does not seem to realize that except for the monumentally talented -- Tolkien, McKillip, Lewis -- less is more. His focus on minutiae feels like he is trying to fill out the required number of pages.

Virtually nothing is accomplished in these three novels, except for finding that bloody bowl and fighting a few battles; there are meetings that decide nothing, journeys that don't end, and political conflicts that get progressively messier without reaching a finale. And Rand, who spends relatively few pages being active, has reached the level of a polygamous demi-god, yet he doesn't come across as being a future savior, but an uncertain kid.

The seventh, eighth and ninth volumes of the "Wheel of Time" series seem impressive, until it becomes clear that virtually nothing is going on. In truth, Jordan is spinning his "wheel."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2015
This particular arc of the series, along with book 10, gets an undeservedly bad rap, in my opinion. At the time of this review I'm part-way through book 10, and generally speaking, minor ups and downs asdie, I've been as happy with one book as the next. There is no general dive in quality, as many like to claim -- in terms of pure writing, these later books are probably superior to the earliest volumes.

The WOT as a series does have its quirks and weaknesses, but to my eye, those weaknesses are fairly consistent throughout the series as a whole, not unique to 7-9. People complain of the slow pace of later books, but the pace of WOT was always slow from the beginning -- I'm actually thankful Jordan didn't start rushing through things just to move the story along. I mean, frankly, the central, main plot is pretty stupid and stereotypical. It's the tremendous level of immersion and detail that make WOT special. It makes the cities, cultures, magic system, and characters all feel believable and real. And the later books deliver on that as well, if not better, than the earliest volumes.

I do think it helps a lot to be able to binge-read the series now that it is complete. It was probably exasperating to wait 1-2 years between volumes. But that ain't a problem now! So settle in, and enjoy all the volumes of the Wheel of Time together. It's a great time and mostly just gets better and better as it goes. This is an epic and truly enjoyable fantasy story, with many very unique attributes, lovingly crafted by a very interesting man.

As for the content of books 7-9 specifically, some of my favorite things (minor spoilers ahead):

- Aviendha POV chapters! She's far from one of my favorite characters in and of herself, but we'd never had her POV before -- it is surprisingly well-done and kind of hilarious when Jordan gives it to us.
- On that note, the humor in general in 7-9 is great. Jordan's attempts at comic relief in the earliest volumes were middling at best, irritating at worst -- but by book 7 he's gotten the hang of it much more so. At this point he knows his characters well enough that he can really have some fun playing them off each other in interesting and clever ways.
- Ebou Dar. Plot-wise, Ebou Dar is a strangely lengthy and arguably unnecessary sideline, but I do like the content, and find it one of the most interesting cities we visit in the entire series.
- Black Tower and A'sha'man subplots -- I love almost everything having to do with this part of the story so far. I wish we got more of it than we do, but everything Jordan gives us here is pretty good. I can't wait to see how the whole Logain/Taim thing plays out.
- A pretty major event makes for the conclusion of Winter's Heart, and it's one of the better WOT climaxes (not the best though -- that has to be Lord of Chaos). The logistics of it don't bear up to close scrunity -- they almost never do, in WOT -- but it's reasonably exciting.
- Egwene's story gets interesting. Egwene is my least favorite major character bar none, but at least her leg of of the tale is reasonably engaging during this stretch of books.
- Lots of Mat. By book 7, Mat has become (in a bit of a reversal from early volumes) many readers' favorite character, and understandably so. Some of his best and longest-running sections are in books 7 and 9 (though he is, I believe, wholly absent from 8).
- Perrin and Masema -- it's admittedly a slow-moving subplot, but I like everything happening with it in books 7-9. I can't wait to see how it plays out in coming volumes.

And, some of my least favorite things:

- Conclusion of Book 7 -- the Ebou Dar stuff and the return of the Seanchan is all fine by me, and the book as a whole is lovely, but the confrontation with Sammael is one of the clunkiest endings of any WOT book, (and there have been a few). I sort of accept that endings aren't usually Jordan's strong suit, but Book 7's was particularly, strangely lame. Maye Jordan was up against a tight deadline or something.
- Rand. It's not necessarily a failing of the story, exactly -- it makes sense, in and of itself, that Rand would become less and less likable as the taint of saidin increasingly affects him -- but, my Lord. He is just so careless, scattershot, and unlikable during some sections of 7-9 that it's hard to take at times. Not even in a sinister, fall-from grace way -- just in an insufferable idiot way. In fairness, you can really start to see some echoes or maybe pre-ripples of the sad, broken, very non-heroic Lews Therin sketch we got in the prologue for Eye of the World.
- Elayne's return to Caemlyn. I had no problem whatsoever with the much-maligned Book 8, but this subplot is admittedly too big a focus in Book 9. At least when you consider the far more interesting/significant things that could've been covered in its place. I'm pretty patient with Jordan's penchant for details and sidelines, but the minutia of Elaye's banking troubles and other bureaucratic details in Caemlyn ... let's just say it's not the WOT at its most page-turning.

All that said, 7-9 was a much better arc than I'd been led to believe. Even book 10 seems fine to me so far, though I'm only part-way through.

Great, great series -- don't miss it if you're a fantasy lover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2014
I started reading this series when it first came out in the 1990's. I followed every twist and turn in the plots of the books and loved everything about them.
When Robert Jordan died I figured no one would ever be able to finish the series, but I was wrong. Brandon Sanderson has done a totally awesome job with the latest in the series, His style and Jordans mesh seamlessly. Kudos to JR's wife for choosing Brandon to finish the series!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2010
I started reading this series when it first came out in the 1990's. I followed every twist and turn in the plots of the books and loved everything about them.
When Robert Jordan died I figured no one would ever be able to finish the series, but I was wrong. Brandon Sanderson has done a totally awesome job with the latest in the series, His style and Jordans mesh seamlessly. Kudos to JR's wife for choosing Brandon to finish the series!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2013
I've already read this series. I bought these for my mom who loves to read. She is loving the series so far so I'm sure I will buy the rest of the series. My mom lives in a different state so it's extremely convenient to buy these and have them shipped to her without having to go to the bookstore or the post office.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2014
Love this series. I am now on book 7 and there are 18 total. I think this 3-pack is a great way to go instead of buying all separate. Once you get started on this series, you can't put it down. Can wait until I'm on book 18!
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on January 7, 2013
In these three books, there is a sense of being overwhelmed, at the same time as being underwhelmed (if that's a word). Everything happens at once - which is why they cover a very short time period... And, yet, nothing seems to happen at all.

There are very few "action" moments in the plots. An important item is finally found and used; there are kidnappings but few battles fought; there are interminable journeys and meetings with aggravating participants; there's a lot of thinking/feeling, but little doing/reacting. Some people hate it, thinking the series stalls out and becomes boring. I disagree. Why can't literature be "hurry up and wait"? Such is life. Important things can happen when you pause. (Heck, "Waiting for Godot" was about just that - waiting.)

Instant gratification isn't always a good thing (or a bad). After all, wars aren't always fought on the battlefield. You don't go to a strange, dangerous place and immediately find what you're looking for, without any effort or frustration or distractions. Meetings are often with people who have their own agendas, and whose personalities may rub you the wrong way. People deviate from or delay their original plans in response to something that happens. Sometimes you have to take a mental or physical step back and assess the situation - think, emote, plan... do whatever it takes to handle it in the best way with whatever knowledge/resources you possess at that moment.
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on February 9, 2012
I am so happy this boxed set has arrived. I am currently on the 6th book of the series and I can't wait to start on this set. This is a great series by Robert Jordan and what is even better that it is a long series. A triologhy can leave you wanting more as a reader and espeacialy if the book is a great read. With this series you do not have lingering thoughts about having to find a new book series while your nearing the end of a third or sixth book (even worse is when you have read all of the authors work and your waitting for the new book to be finished then published). I also like Brandon Sanderson and was happy to know he finished Robert Jordans series. Jordan left a lot of work for this series and Sanderson said he could not finish the series with one book alone. I think he finished off the series with three books with his and Jordans combined work. I have read the Mistborn series and the Swordbreaker, a one-shot book that Sanderson published. They were captivating & creative. So I have confidence Sanderson did not let Jordan down. This is a great series and I highly recommend this series.
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on May 7, 2015
One of the all-time best series I've ever read. On par, if not better than, Game of Thrones. This series is a must-read. You can't put the book down once you start. My boyfriend and I have been reading them at the same time, and now we're in a battle to see who gets the next book first! Seriously, Robert Jordan has created a masterpiece that keeps you on your toes with well-developed, complex characters and tons of twists you never see coming. He is an amazing writer and I have to give him props on keeping such a complex story in sync with all the details. Each book just gets better and better, which doesn't seem possible after you've read the first because it was SO good, but, literally, the farther in you get, the crazier the story gets and the more amazing. Do not hesitate to buy this series, it will not disappoint.
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