Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Finishing the Wheel of Time

Haven't been here in awhile, but I've been sick. Then I got hurt. Which made getting better even harder. I've realized that I haven't been reading much lately. You would think that would be something you could do when you didn't have much energy for anything else. Well, holding up a book and turning the pages does take energy. Sometimes it took more than I had. But I haven't been reading a lot lately for another reason that I think I finally figured out.

I finished Lord of Chaos in the Wheel of Time series and moved on to Crown of Swords but about half way through I just kind of stalled out. I'm only about 3 chapters past that point since then so I'm not making much progress. It's not that I don't like the story or the writing. I think it's something else. Ever since the announcement that Brandon Sanderson is going to finish writing The Wheel of Time series I haven't read much.

I'll probably get lynched for saying this, but as excited as I was to hear that the Wheel of Time series was going to be finished by an author that I know personally (and love his work) I'm afraid he's not going to do the series justice. Their styles are vastly different. Brandon Sanderson gives you just enough details for you to get a sense of the scene and has you fill in all the rest on your own. Robert Jordan hits you over the head with every detail imaginable. Jordan's world exists in it's entirety whether you read it or not. Sanderson's worlds exist only after you've read them because you supply a lot of the details.

When I read Sanderson's work, and he's focused on one character, I'm not thinking about what another character is doing somewhere else. They don't really exist until they "enter stage right" if you know what I mean. Once they "exit stage left" I don't think about them. With the crew in his Mistborn series, once Breeze or Clubs or any one of them left I wasn't left thinking about "what are they doing right now". The only exception to that is Marsh. Now with him I want to know what he's been up to (especially in book 2).

When I read Jordan I'm constantly thinking about what all the characters are up to at any given time. If the point of view character is Elayne then I might be thinking about Perrin. Or it could be Rand and I'm thinking about Egwene. Just because they are not the point of view character, of whose story I'm reading right now, doesn't mean (or feel) like their story isn't continuing on in the background. They feel alive. I compare reading Jordan's books to making a phone call to old friends. You can't be with them all of the time so you call them every now and then. It takes a little bit to get you caught up in their lives again but then they tell you everything they've been doing for awhile. Eventually you've got to hang up (and call someone else) but you don't think their life just stops when you put the phone down. You know it goes on and you want to know what happens.

Can Sanderson provide that kind of feeling when he finishes the last book in The Wheel of Time series? I don't know. He might surprise me and I certainly hope he does. If he doesn't I won't think of it as a failure. After all, he is a brilliant writer with his own unique style. But the more of Jordan I read the more I realize the story isn't going to finish the way I want it to (and I'm not talking plot points here). It's going to be different. It's going to feel different. But will it be the same story? We'll have to wait and see.

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