Robert Jordan (1990-2005), Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (2009-2013) – The Wheel of Time

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.

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Brandon Sanderson, Elantris (2006)

I’ve recently listened to Elantris, Brandon Sanderson‘s ticket to fame and money, and one of the biggest stand-alones in XXI century genre literature.

Oh boy wasn’t it boring…

This was my first novel by Sanderson. I’ve read a couple of short stories, some reviews, and talked about him with a few friends whose opinions varied from “rather good” to “meh”. It created in my mind a picture of someone who is a solid, if not particularly gifted, craftsman (with unbelievable output, his doorstoppers hit bookshops with astonishing regularity).

Oh, there were final Wheel of Time books that he wrote, no matter how much I try to forget the whole WoT disaster, I have to mention them. Sanderson’s bits were better written and structured than Jordan’s, but no less tedious.

After Elantris… well, actually it confirmed my view of Sanderson as an uninspired craftsman, but I perhaps overestimated my own endurance. There are many flawed books that have something in them that keeps me interested. Some brilliant ideas, amateurishly executed, great protagonist, rising above mediocre prose… Sanderson does not make big mistakes, but neither does he take any risks. And produces fantasy without qualities.

Too harsh. But let me defend that opinion before I admit there were some good parts.

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Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn Trilogy (2006–2008)

sanderson-mistborntrilogyuk4The 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.

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Robert Jordan (1990-2005), Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (2009-2013) – The Wheel of Time

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:

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