The Wheel of Time series
The Eye of the World is the first book in the epic Wheel of Time series. The prologue tells the tale of Lews Therin Telamon's (the Dragon) last moments - his insanity and suicide after realizing he has murdered everyone he holds dear (which earns him the title of Kinslayer in legends told of him). It is an interesting tale and holds many clues to later events in the series.
When I first read the first book (in 1993, 3 years after it was first published), I found the first 20 pages or so to be slow going. Yes, it was an interesting world, and the prologue was great, but...the book starts with Rand and his father Tam walking to the village, meeting some of the village denizens, Rand meeting his friends, meeting a woman and man who we later learn are the Aes Sedai Moraine Damodred and her Warder, al'Lan Mandragoran, walking back home with Tam.....nice, but pretty slow storytelling. I -almost- put the book down. Then out of nowhere, in the middle of a peaceful scene at home that evening, Rand and Tam are attacked by Trollocs! (Trollocs are fearsome half-human/half-animal monsters). From that moment to the end of the book it is one adventure after another with hardly a moment's pause for breath.
Each book in the series follows various characters and groups as they each follow their paths. We know the series will end with Rand meeting the Shadow at the Last Battle. The question is....will he win? And even if he does win, will the world survive?
This is a very intricate series. Every character is well-drawn and thought out from the smallest wagon driver met on the road to the major characters. Each and every person is believable and three dimensional. The world itself is incredibly detailed. If I were placed inside "Randland" (what fans call the lands where the action takes place) I would know it as well as my own hometown. From art to architecture to history to science, it is a living, breathing, changing, completely believable world. No other writer I have encountered has ever come close to providing such an intricate and complex world (well, Terry Pratchett comes close, but RJ still wins). This world is apprently tied to ours in some way, as an alternate reality of sorts. Is it our past? Our future? Fans are still debating this.
This series contains action, mystery, romance, magic (but believable magic, not fairy dust), religion, murder, politics, new languages (such as the Old Tongue), history, morality, culture...everything you can think of, all encased in a larger tale of the struggle between Good and Evil, The Creator and The Dark One.
It is definitely fantasy, but I challenge any fan of science fiction who has ever thought fantasy to be a weak and silly genre to pick up these books and give them a try. The characters and plotlines are completely believable. Even the magic has a rational (if spiritual) basis. If you like solving puzzles, exploring mysteries, and learning to love the characters along the way, you will adore these books.
I Control Your Mind!
I'm only about a quarter way through the series, but I second that, BrassOrchid!
Meeting Mr. Jones
man, awesome series, friend introduced me to it and i read them all about five years. too bad Robert Jordan died before finishing it
As promised, here is the information I found on the Dragonmount site:
About this Book
As we all know, Robert Jordan passed away in September, 2007. A Memory of Light, the twelth and final novel in The Wheel of Time series, was incomplete at the time of his passing. He left behind a staggering amount of notes on the world, as well as some written chapters for the final book. In addition, for the parts of the story he did not have documented in written form, he passed on in the good, old fashioned way: he told people the story.
In his last days he told the story to his friends and family, who recorded it onto tape. In the months that followed his death, Harriet, Robert Jordan's beloved wife and editor, put together a comprehensive outline of this final book.
Brandon Sanderson, an up-and-coming fantasy writer (and long-time fan of Robert Jordans's) was chosen by Harriet to bring the outline to life in the form of a published novel. Harriet will edit this book, just as she did the rest of the series. When will it be published?
The manuscript for A Memory of Light is expected to be completed by December, 2008. From there it will undergo further editing and preparation. It is currently expected to be published in the Fall of 2009. If this timeframe changes, we will report it here on the website.
Dragonmount has a lot of awesome content for fans of RJ and WOT. For several years Robert Jordan himself had a blog, which you can also read on that site. You can find the site here: http://www.dragonmount.com/