Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan

The cover of Eye of the World, the first Wheel of Time novel

A lot of people like Wheel of Time.  I am not one of them.  

The series is 14 books long, but I could only get through 5 of them before realizing that I didn't care about the characters, the philosophy, or the action.  It was started by Robert Jordan and finished posthumously by Brandon Sanderson.  It is an epic fantasy novel where a bunch of kids and experienced advisors try to save the world and are repeatedly thwarted by their own stupidity.

My biggest grief with the book is that it's slow.  The books are all very long, and little happens in each one.  If the author cut out about 3/4 of each book, I probably would have enjoyed them despite these criticisms.  To be clear, I don't have a problem with long books.  My problem is that these feel like short books with a lot of filler.

Much of the filler is repetition of the same general ideas, often with the same words, over and over.  For instance, there are three boys and three girls that are all dealing with their hormones in various magically stupid ways.  Rand will think that he feels so clueless about women and that Perrin is good with women.  Then, the point of view switches to Perrin who thinks that he feels so clueless about women and that Rand is good with women.  Then the point of view switches back to Rand who repeats his thoughts.  Then the point of view switches back to Perrin who repeats his thoughts.  And that continues chapter after chapter, book after book among pretty much all of the characters.

Now, you might think that repetition can be an interesting literary technique because it can show how the characters deal with similar issues differently as they develop.  That would be a great idea if the characters showed any substantial sign of development.  When each of the characters is introduced in the first book, they quickly fit into an archetype, and then many books later, they fit into pretty much the same archetype in the same way.  The only difference I could discern with the characters as the books progressed was an increase in angst.

One major character flaw that is shared by all of the characters and that they don't seem to grow out of is not talking to each other about anything.  They repeatedly see why this is a bad idea and then they keep making the same mistakes for really bad reasons.  The literary device of protagonists unwisely keeping secrets from each other can be used to great effect if it's used sparingly and if it's important to the character.  But in Wheel of Time, it never feels important to the characters because everyone is doing it all the time and because there is no character development.

Mostly, the books just felt boring.