David
David asked:

Is this series as bad as it seems?

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Barbara Yes and no. You can't take it seriously like LotR or GoT. My top piece of advice, go in with LOW expectations, then you'll enjoy it! If you aren't enjoying it by Book 3 I say set it aside in favour of Erikson or Sanderson.

Here are things that will irritate you:

> lack of originality - especially in Book 1, it's easy to see how he took Frodo's journey and adapted to his world and his characters

> world-building was more important to Jordan than the narrative, which is always a red flag when reading fantasy.

> flat characters - who only develop some depth around book 4/5, and then only the male characters. When the develop as well, they develop implausibly, you've got three village boys who suddenly become king of the world, and army generals. You have two village girls who become top members of their magical order without any training because, well, they're just awesome that way. And a princess who doesn't give a rat's fart for her crown or country, but claims to.

> awful female characters - Jordan either hated women, adored them and never got any, or simply had zero understanding for women. All his female characters are the same as one another - arrogant, useless, petty and even physically abusive towards men, though he portrays this as completely acceptable and humorous.

> ENDLESS comparisons between men and women - you really need to prepare yourself for this one, there are going to be about 3 on every page of every book and there will be times when you just want to scream, "get over it!" It's jarring because all the characters think in these terms and so it's extremely clear that Jordan is speaking through his characters and portraying his own personality instead of letting his characters be unique individuals.

> Extensive description given to clothing and fondling clothing, to the point where a good 50-100 pages could have been cut out without losing anything really.

> Slow pace and extremely predictable plot. In fact, see it this way: In most fantasy there's the big, bad, dark lord. In Jordan, the big bad dark lord has 13 or so big, bad helpers. Each book is about destroying the next one of these, so basically it's a repeat plot in every book with a different play-out.

> No real sense of danger - no one ever dies except the baddies, so you don't ever really worry about your characters... the books really lack suspense for this reason.

> An obvious disdain for anything non-hetero - Jordan's entire magic system is built on the physical differences between men and women, which of course means the absolute non-existence of gay characters.

> A million and one extra pointless, useless characters. When reading, don't try to keep track of these people, think of it like hyper-realism in art. You really don't need to see the veins on every leaf on every tree that makes up the background of the painting. Jordan became obsessed with making his world seem real and forgot that too much detail actually detracts from works of art.

BUUUUUT,

> Jordan stages scenes really well, I find it easy to imagine the settings and action.
> Jordan is great with battle tactics, I really enjoy that stuff.
> Jordan is also really good at writing fight scenes, which is an art.
> The endings are always quite exciting and can be unpredictable (when they don't involve killing the big bad helpers)
> And he's also pretty good at portraying world politics

So, I'm still reading... At this point, I'm invested in seeing it through. Jordan is also so big in fantasy that if you want to be able to have a conversation with people about fantasy, you should know some things about WoT and Jordan.
Rachel Redhead it neither seems nor is bad, it's a wonderful rich story that builds up layer upon layer of deep history, wonderful characters and complex motivations. If you need a trite analogy think Lord of the Rings meets Game of Thrones.
Ana ★ Tesserell It is the best series. 1/3 of the first volume is a tribute to LoTR like someone has stated already, but the rest is very original and a worthy adventure. Great characters and great worldbuilding! 10/10
To give you an idea, the first edition of A Song of Ice and Fire (!!!) wasn't selling until Robert Jordan gave a short comment on the covers, which finally made people interested. GRRM took many ideas from WoT.
David I asked this question 6 years ago and have not finished the series. Yes, it's bad. Let's not lie to ourselves.....
Martin Mayo No. It does have its fair share of flaws. Despite having interesting and engaging female characters that do go through arcs over the course of the series, Jordan absolutely writes them through a male gaze. As a result, they can feel very flat in comparison. He can also be overly wordy at times, bogging down the books, and it takes about three books for the series to significantly stand out.

All in all, I'd probably say the series (personally) has:
6 excellent, thoroughly enjoyable books (the last few especially stand out)
5 good books, solid reads (the first three would be here)
3 books that are subpar, and test your series endurance (at worst with these ones, skim some chapters or read chapter summaries on the wiki)
Zsolt Körtvelyesi As Jon said, there is a LOT of filler. What is annoying me to hell is when each book starts with a recap of what happened in the previous ones. It feels to me as much waste of space... Otherwise, it is quite interesting with some surprising twists. So, no it's not as bad as it seems :)
Jon Bonnell David, its tedious at times. There is ALOT of filler between plot driven moments. Basically, beginning of each book in the series is great and the ending is great... in between, especially after book four, there is A LOT of filler instead of just getting on with it.
Maria Rose I knew going in that these books are quite longwinded reads so I try not to be disappointed by how slow it takes me to read them. (I am blaming it more on the fact that the copies I got are not large print which is not helpful to my aging eyes). I made a goal to read them after hearing all the people who were thrilled about the Amazon TV series. I know book-to-screen adaptations are not exact, but it is for me more enjoyable to know the book version while watching the screen presentation. Hopefully, by the end of 2022, I will have read the entire series.
Justin David, it can get really thick at times...the plot can slow to literal MOLASSES. I personally don't think it's bad once you get to book 6/7 - ish (I'm only at book 7 right now) it kind of starts to pick the pace up. Just go in with low expectations (as others have said) and you should be able to enjoy it.

I did stop reading it for like two months >:( before I finally picked up with it again but it seems good from my point in the series.

Oh and sorry for the 6 year late response. I just joined Goodreads. :D
♥ Rebecca ♥ I actually see a lot more parallels with Harry Potter. But Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are the first fantasy series to usually come to mind. So maybe say its like HP for adults set in a fantasy world and with an extremely unique magical system.
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