The cover screamed epic


So why read 4 million words about arcane metaphysical theology, battle after battle, the mundane, angst-ridden thoughts of hundreds of people you don’t now know, and sex scenes that involve sentences like “He cupped the back of her head and barely had the presence of mind not to finger her ear”? The vast majority of Wheel of Time fans will wax nostalgic for the first three novels of Jordan’s trilogy, each of which is a comparatively compact, self-contained marvel of storytelling. The fourth book is the first to carry an ongoing arc into the next volume. After that the characters begin to spread out and, in some cases, stop accomplishing all that much; the pacing grinds to a halt entirely by the time we reach the infamous seven-through-ten stretch. But that still leaves the eleventh book, Knife of Dreams, the last Jordan wrote before his death. And it’s this final volume, according to one devoted reader—who has lived with the Wheel of Time since childhood and the series’s first book, and who has bought each successive sequel on the day that it came out—that is Jordan’s unlikely masterpiece, and justification enough for what’s come before it.

more from Zach Baron at The Believer here.