The text below is partially a translation of one of the early, Polish posts, and uses two of my mini-reviews from Goodreads. I re-post it in a slightly expanded version to reiterate my dislike of the series that remains, for some reason, very popular 😉 People often wonder – is it worth one’s time? With 15 books and 12K pages (!), it’s not an easy decision, especially if one is a completionist. I’ve suffered through it all, and it took all of my willpower to get to the end. After that, I not only refused to acknowledge the greatness of Jordan, but also to read any more Sanderson. Well, the second rule I broke last year with Elantris, but it won’t happen again any time soon.
I’ve undertaken the task of reading – or, rather, listening to, and for hundreds of hours, The Wheel of Time, to familiarize myself with one of the most famous series in the world of epic fantasy. Also, with my new Audible account, I wanted to spend my credit-a-month on the longest books available 😉
According to Wikipedia, with 80 million volumes sold, it’s the second most popular fantasy series after Tolkien, and, at least in 2016, GRRM was still trailing behind with 70 million. Published 1990-2013, after Jordan’s death it was finished by the young and talented Brandon Sanderson. And it sounded interesting – long, complete series, no risk I’ll have to wait years to see the conclusion… with a series of heroes I was told I’ll be able to follow from farm-boys to rulers, and even accompanied by a nice soundtrack.
Magician is the first installment in Feist’s highly popular and lengthy Riftwar Cycle, a 30 (!) -book saga that has its own, hard-earned place in the annals of fantasy. Riftwar Cycle had been only recently – in 2013 – ended with, nomen omen, Magician’s End. A fantasy cycle written over a period of 31 years… well, we’ve already seen something similar, even more than once, and I guess we should just be very thankful Feist is still in a good health.
Magician’s End has met with less than a hearty reception, and in this aspect is no different from several other recent Feist’s works. Magician, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish. It is THE book in Riftwar Cycle: the book which had started Feist’s career, which had introduced readers to the worlds of Midkemia and Kelewan (apparently, there are even computer games set in Midkemia, which Feist then novelized and incorporated into his cycle), and last, but not least, the book which has become a fantasy classic and has inspired many other writers.
To be fair, Midkemia was not created by Feist alone – it was a product of many Thursday and Friday nights spent by Feist on RPG gaming with his university friends. Feist claims the inspiration for their imaginary world came mostly from D&D, but for me, a non-gamer, Midkemia smacks mostly of Tolkien’s Middle Earth (just as D&D does, actually). Here we have a world on a curiously medieval development level, hardly aware of its ancient history, but at the same time filled with magic, elves, dwarves and goblins, last dying dragons and feisty magicians (yes, I had to use this pun!).
The first book set in the Mistborn world, Mistborn: The Final Empire was the second published work by Brandon Sanderson. Yeah, Sanderson, the guy that now tells us from the covers of various fantasy novels whether it’s worth reading them. The same guy who finally managed to finish the never-ending Jordan’s series The Wheel of Time. A very popular and influential author who now has his own creative writing school.
It should tell you something about Sanderson’s style, that when appointed to conclude Jordan’s series in one book, he wrote THREE instead.
I’ve read his Mistborn trilogy soon after the last installment was published. Sanderson hasn’t become such a head honcho in fantasy then – he still had yet to write the Wheel of Time novels, and the days of topping the bestseller lists and making Laws In Fantasy were still ahead of him. In short – it was a long time ago.
So why do I bring him up? For all the aforementioned reasons: he has become one of the most popular and influential fantasy writers, he’s close to becoming an institution, and he writes more and more novels. And last but not least – after reading the Mistborn trilogy I haven’t touched a single book written by Brandon Sanderson. And I’m not planning to.
Updated and fully translated version available here.
Jak już pisałem, w swoich przygodach z nowszą i starszą klasyką fikcji gatunkowej trafiałem różnie, raz lepiej, innym razem – fatalnie. Koło Czasu (dalej – WoT, czyli „The Wheel of Time”)… było porażką.
Również graficzną, oryginalne okładki WoT (środkowy rząd) należą do najbrzydszych w historii gatunku, edycja brytyjska (góra), jak zazwyczaj, lepsza, ebooki (najniższe), znośne: