I’m refraining from writing reviews for each book in this series. They all sort of blend together and it doesn’t seem fair to try to separate them. A series like this stands or falls as a whole.
Still, I’m now five books in to the Wheel of Time and I have some impressions.
This is definitely not high literature but it’s fun and entertaining and it has wizards* battling things out. I can overlook a lot of things (like Jordan’s disturbing characterizations of women…) for wizards battling things out.
But I’m starting to become concerned at the sheer number of villains in this story. There’s the Dark Lord, of course. And then there are his Forsaken. And then there are however many Black Ajah sisters. And then there’s the Children of the Light. And then there’s the Seanchan. And let’s not forget Padan Fain. And I have no idea if the Aes Sedai currently occupying the Tower are villains or not yet; but it certainly seems like it.
At any rate, I can’t keep them straight. Forsaken keep plotting and dying and plotting some more and I can’t remember which ones are dead and which ones are still kicking. Combined with the fact that they all have funny names, and they all just sort of blur together. Same with the Black Ajah. Same with the Tar Valon usurpers. And on and on.
My best guess is that Jordan was trying to make the story more epic by having lots of plots (as in the crafty kind) going simultaneously all weaving together. But, in my head at least, it’s just a big mess.
Which doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying the ride, of course. There are wizards battling things out. I’m for it.
*I’m using "wizards" as a gender neutral term here. I would’ve used the term "caster", but "wizard" seemed to flow a little bit. Most of the casters in this series are females, of course.