Monday, September 21, 2009

The Great Hunt

This is the second book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. The twelfth book in the series is coming out in a month or two, so I am refreshing my mem with my fourth or fifth re-read of this series. Now, I have read quite a bit of fantasy in my time, and I must say that this is my favorite overall fantasy series.

I can only think of three fantasy series off the top of my head that have been excellent over the course of more than five books (Death Gate Cycle, Harry Potter, and this), and The Wheel of Time is definitely my favorite. The character development, long-term story arc intricacy, world-building, action scenes, all are excellent.

One of Jordan's most impressive skills is his ability to hint at the future, sometimes seven or eight books in advance. There is a lot of prophecy in this series, and some prophecies that cropped up in this book still haven't been completely fulfilled as of book 11. Sometimes I wonder, though, how much of it was actually planned, and how much of it was Jordan just spouting off stuff in these early books, and then sort of molding future books to fit these foreshadowings. Either way, he does it so well that I am impressed.

Indeed, the lack of foreshadowing is one thing that really annoyed me about the Harry Potter books. True, Rowling had stuff about Voldemort and Harry sharing blood, etc., that lasted the course of the series. An example of poor foreshadowing (although "foreshadow" is not really the word I want here. Perhaps "world-building" is better? Or maybe just "foresight on Rowling's part") is that the last book, The Deathly Hallows, focuses on some spectacularly powerful objects that are never once alluded to throughout the rest of the series, even though Harry owns one of them.

Back to the subject at hand. Since there are nine more books for me to consume, some of my readers may become bored with the incessant fantasy. To reward them for their diligent reading, however, I will start a new feature wherein I discuss a non-fantasy book that I have consumed in the last year or two. So, look forward to that, dedicated readers!

1 comment:

Mom said...

When I worked at my library last week, the fifth graders in town were coming in looking for fantasy books. I always like telling customers how much my sons enjoy fantasy.