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Wheel of the Infinite
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Wheel of the Infinite

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,237 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Every year, the Wheel of the Infinite must be painstakingly remade to ensure peace and harmony. And every hundred years, the Wheel and the world become one. But now a black storm ravages the beautiful mandala, and a woman with a shadowy past -- an exile, murderer, and traitor -- has been summoned back to put the world right. For if Maskelle and the swordsman Rian cannot st ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by Eos (first published 2000)
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Seelenstaub I haven't finished it yet, but judging by her other books, there will be swearing, but nothing stronger than the occasional 'damn'. Sexual themes will…moreI haven't finished it yet, but judging by her other books, there will be swearing, but nothing stronger than the occasional 'damn'. Sexual themes will also appear, but nothing overly graphic.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Paladin of Souls, The Blue Sword

A woeful number of fantasy readers are unfamiliar with Martha Wells. My proof, you ask? The very fact that rights have reverted back to Wells and she has decided to re-release her books in e-book form. Wide-ranging in world-building and focus, she hasn’t been content to settle down in one fantasy universe and write an endless series (cough, cough, Robert Jordan). I happen to love her fine balance between plotting and world-building, and the way she winds them together with reasonably sophisticat

I must thank my dear sis, Caro, for this peculiar read! This book surprised me with unusual, original magic system, not ordinary characters in the lead and I admit, I was lured by the title only at first. Wheel of ….. no matter what 😆 Joking! I was really lured with the great review of Caro 💜

The oriental spices, oh my, I loved the idea to use sand mandalas and the religion which resembles Buddhism to fuel the plot. I think the charm lies in the authenticity, I haven’t read or heard abou
Caro M.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Orient
Recommended to Caro by: Carol, Mimi
This is the case, when you start reading a book and then you stop, because you feel it's a bit too slow for your appetites at the moment, and you grab a different book and forget about this one for a while. The on your second try you discover that action and fun were actually right around the corner - you just had to read two more pages or so... Dammit!

The Wheel of Infinite is a tricky book that takes you by surprise. It's seemingly simple and "down to earth" fantasy, with no big promises. But y
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever have a moment or several when you're looking for something new to read and all you see are the same old stories and arcs being retold in marginally barely noticeable slightly different ways? That all you're seeing is just the same stuff over and over again? I've been feeling that way for some time now, and I admit I'm more than fed up with fantasy's preference for young protagonists and their foolhardy ways--not referring to just YA, I mean the majority of genre fiction. Every time I visit ...more
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I think Martha Wells is the only one who can make me root for a m/f couple. I don't know how she does it. Maybe it's because the relationships she crafts feel real and not romanticized, like you see in most books and movies. She also writes bad-ass women who are not looking for a man, and can very well do without.

I've become a big fan of Martha Wells, in case you can't tell.

The plot of this book did not go the way I thought it would based on the summary, and while I was a little bit disappointe
Melissa McShane
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
7/16/15: Still my favorite, for all the reasons listed below. Like many books that are my favorites, I have trouble breaking down what's great about it. The world is fantastic, very non-European fantasy and full of great depth and internal consistency. I love Maskelle and Rian for being imperfect people who are drawn together for physical reasons and stay together because they complement each other so well. (view spoiler) ...more
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I’ve recently read (and loved) Martha Wells’ most recent books, The Cloud Roads (one of my top 10 of 2011) and The Serpent Sea. Ever since then I’ve been meaning to read some of her backlist titles. I decided to go with Wheel of the Infinite because it was recently re-released with a new cover. And I am so glad I did because OH MY WORD, this book was a thing of beauty.

Every year, the Voices of the Ancestors gather to renew the Wheel of the Infinite, a sand mandala that represents the world and s
Text Addict
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars, really. First off, I love Wells' writing. She knows how to use words to elevate setting and character to something three-dimensional, and (my favorite technique) to occasionally drop in something humorous that's also illuminating. For example, on p. 12: "There were gasps and outcries, proving that some of the raiders at least were among the devout. One quick thinker turned and dived out the nearest window."

An amazing bit of work. With that one pair of sentences, Wells had me wonderin
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed Wells books since I discovered The Death of the Necromancer. She writes without the faux medieval/formal dialogue that cripples so much fantasy, with the humorous banter of good relationships.

This stand alone story involves a priestess in disgraced, banished from the capital for seven years. On her journey home; where she faces an alien magic out to destroy her world, she rescues a young swordsman who is running from his onerous Lord and they become lovers and compatriots.

The magic
Laura (Kyahgirl)
There are a few things I really liked about this book; the female lead character was not young and hot but older and seasoned by life. The male lead was younger than her but smart enough to recognize a truly awesome woman to work with and pursue romantically. The good and bad characters were realistic even though this book is a fantasy. The mystery was really good. Practically perfect.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A bit rougher around the edges than some of Martha Wells's other work (particularly Death of the Necromancer), but with the same excellent world-building, complex plotting, and likable characters. Bonus points for have the main protagonist be a 45-year-old pseudo-Buddhist nun.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only one word : excellent !
E.D. Walker
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Martha Wells is swiftly becoming one of my new favorite people. Martha Wells reminds me very much of Lois McMaster Bujold (one of my other favorite writer-people). Wells does the same sort of incredible world-building as Bujold: logical, intricate, fascinating, original. But still easy to understand. And really cool. Wells also has that dry banter down pat that I love so well. To wit:

"The Infinite touches everyone," she said...

"Tell it to keep its hands to itself," Rian suggested...

Wheel of the
Darkness looms and terrible forces threaten to rise from the storm. The sorceress Maskelle has been summoned back from exile to aid in the annual process of remaking the Wheel of the Infinite in order to maintain peace and harmony. Maskelle travels unobtrusively with a group of play actors, but as the Voice of the Adversary she is not unknown. In fact, in spite of her dark past, she is revered as much as she is feared and her word as much as her power commands respect. Yet Wells makes it clear t ...more
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My entire review is really just KEYSMASH KEYSMASH ARGLEBARGLE LOVE WOULD READ TEN MILLION MORE WORDS. Because, like, older physically confident kind of murderous kickass women REPRESENT. Worldbuilding x 1000. Love interest thumbs up. Magical system I could get lost in. AC-TORS. Demons.

May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Loved the characters, but what made this amazing for me was the world. Anything other than mediaeval-European wins extra points right away - this made me giddy with reading-joy.
I'm sad! I thought I would love this. It probably didn't help that I read it in fits and starts, but I got bogged down by the details. And I guess maybe Wells's writing just doesn't click with me.
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of competent women who enjoy life and lovers of fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Antonio Williams
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy readers tired of the same old stuff
Incredible world building from Martha Wells. I really appreciated her use of an Asian-style setting over the usual European. While not all her characters are not as well written as her setting, they still are interesting. Maskelle (the heroine) is a really strong character though. She's a middle-aged woman full of courage and yet insecurities. She has passion and yet can be straight-forward when needed. If a movie was ever made of this book (total dream I know...but hey) Angela Bassett should be ...more
May 03, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Shelves: fantasy
An exiled nun (of a religion very like Buddhism) travels with her mysterious sword-wielding bodyguard to discover how and why the Wheel of the Infinite (a model of the world done in sand that recreates the world every year) is being destroyed. Along the way she must battle a demon-puppet, court intrigues, the Celestial Throne itself, and her past mistakes. Wells sidesteps clichéd plots and melodramatic moments neatly.
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars Very good book! Wonderful characters and world-building and so imaginative. The descriptions put me right there and I kept thinking how much I would love to see this made into a movie. I will definitely be reading more by Martha Wells.

P.S. It's not part of a trilogy--a refreshing change!
3.5 stars!

I suppose the only real "problem" I had with Wheel of the Infinite were the ages of Maskelle and Rian. I couldn't really relate since I'm not even half Maskelle's age. I also thought it different that Maskelle was fifteen years older than Rian. That's not something you see everyday.
Maureen E
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really wish I had the time to write this one up fully, but it’s awesome! The worldbuilding is incredible (oh, wait, I just said that…). It’s also a mystery with a great main character. In short, it’s one of those books that made me wish I could write this well. Bonus: beautiful cover. Dobble bonus: multicultural sff, where everyone is treated respectfully and comes across as real people!
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This may actually be my favorite Wells, likely because the dynamic between Maskelle and her bodyguard/lover was so wonderfully irreverent. Lots of strange in here, lots of potential horror, lots of snap and pop dialogue. Loved every bit of it.
Mar 23, 2018 added it
Shelves: eos, grown-up
I think this was the first Martha Wells book I've read that I didn't utterly fall in love with. A significant element of that may be, let's be real, the fact that I've been over-reading lately and probably missed stuff. Like emotions or plot points. But it seemed much simpler than I tend to expect from Wells, in terms of number of characters and richness of world and like, bad guys. But at the same time I remember getting confused by character names. So no star rating, cause I'm not sure if I ju ...more
Jasmine Giacomo
Nov 27, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Short review.
This is one of my favorites.

Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really liked this book. As with any good fantasy, it left me with questions.

What I mean by that is, by the end of the story, I was still interested in the characters and their world. Oftentimes I am turned off by otherwise-good fantasy because the author lacks restraint and gives in to the urge to answer every question that a reader might have, leading to an extinguishing of curiosity and a reader who becomes fatigued by the weight of irrelevant fictional facts. Martha Wells rarely makes this
Nicole Luiken
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy, ebook
Still catching up on Martha Wells' backlist. This one has a very cool magic system with a refreshingly older heroine. I loved the way the stakes went up at around the two-thirds mark, pushing past where I thought the story would go onto an entirely new battleground, and the revelation at the end.
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-rev, reviewed
3.5 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

Maskelle was once the Voice of the Adversary - the only Ancestor that never took human form. Now, she's returning from exile at the command of the Celestial One to help remake the Wheel of the Infinite - and deal with a problem that risks the existence of the entire world.

I give Martha Wells credit for developing a very different world here. This is not your standard medieval fantasy, nor quite your less-standard Eastern one. It's a mix of existing elements, but i
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Endicott Mythic F...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Wheel of the Infinite - Discussion 3 17 Mar 15, 2010 08:43AM  
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Martha Wells has written many fantasy novels, including the Hugo-nominated The Books of the Raksura series (beginning with The Cloud Roads), the Ile-Rien series (including The Death of the Necromancer) as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, media tie-ins (for Star Wars and Stargate: Atlantis), and non-fiction. Her most recent fantasy novels are The Edge of Worlds in 2016 and The Harbors of ...more
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