Tor's Wheel of Time re-read and synopsis by Leigh Butler.
Sigh, what to say. I'm fully onboard with sci-fi author Adam Roberts' take on this series.
What I detest about the Wheel of Time series so far:
- I am not finding the characters to be interesting and compelling; rather I find them to be flawed creations that serve the plot. I detest when characters are stupid and dense merely to create plot tension, and that happens over and over. Mat could be interesting, Rand could be interesting, Perrin could be interesting... but they're mostly stupid. That's not fun to read, it's tiresome and condescending to readers. Feh.
- The BD/SM (bondage-discipline/sado-masochism) themes permeating the series -- what I'd call the dominance-submission theme, is repetitive and not insightfully handled. I expect works of literature to shed at least a small light on human nature, to create some catharsis, but that's asking too much from WoT, and I fear from the "epic fantasy" genre in general. The prurient naughtiness of the description of Egwene having her bare bottom spanked by the Wise Ones... words fail me, I want to say "wtf!?" The female characters are consumed with finding ways to dominate men (the one exception being Min, the tomboy.) Men, for the most part, are chumps about female wiles, except when Rand returns the favor, and the reader feels a cheap thrill of relief. Feh.
- The good/evil theme? I'm still waiting for some development there.
- Finally, the writing style itself, which Roberts dwells on at length, is puffed up with circumlocutions, descriptions that add little or no insight into character or events, and repetitive characterizations (I've heard so much about Nynaeve yanking her braid that I expect her hair to fall out from the abuse.) I enjoy descriptions that create a vivid sense of place, when the place is important to the story (usually a major theme in sci-fi and fantasy), and some of these are quite good in WoT, but the way the character descriptions are handled spoils the effect. Really, if the author wanted sprightly plot turns and to go light on characterization, he should have used pungent, focused sentences, and shorten these books by 50%! Epic = bloat? Feh.