Despite books 4 through 6 being over 2,000 pages all together, there’s not much to review.
Jordan’s penchant for being overly descriptive begins to approach the ridiculous in these books. One character will deliver a line of dialogue and then there are 2-3 paragraphs of explanation and back story before the next character responds. The pacing in these books is horrible.
Plot points are few and far between. Book six, “Lord of Chaos,” is nearly 700 pages of the characters positioning themselves which ends with a climax that doesn’t just seem rushed, it is. The last two chapters of the book deal with the Battle of Dumai’s Wells and they are fast and jump viewpoints much too quickly. It is one time that Jordan stops the descriptions and just tells us what’s happening. The pacing doesn’t match the rest of the series and it’s obvious that Jordan needed to finish the book quickly.
Jordan also uses the same phrases repeatedly:
“Good, stout Two Rivers wool”
“Adjusted her skirts”
“Adjusted his coat”
“A face that looked like it has been used to hammer nails/break stone/on an anvil”
Too many characters adjust their clothing when they’re upset. Almost all “commoners” knuckle foreheads or mustaches. The abundance of it all drags the story down.
Another thing that has begun to bother me is that these characters are not growing. It has been nearly two years (in-world) since the first book and many of the characters act in childish ways. There is too much petty fighting and arguing and at times, the characters act in unexpected ways so far out of character that I wonder what Jordan is thinking.
Jordan has been lauded for writing strong female characters in this series but I just don’t see it. What I see are women who down talk to the male characters and browbeat them into getting their way. They are also petty and cat fight with each other much to often (I’m looking at you, Nynaeve and Elayne). I’ll have much more to say about how Jordan destroys the credibility of the character of Elayne when I review the next book.
The majority of the Aes Sedai characters all have the same personality - I’m Aes Sedai, you are not, therefore I am right, you are wrong. I am better than you. There’s no variation.
I think were Jordan to combine books 4 and 5 into one and books 6 and 7 into one, he would have been better off. The middle books of this series are a bore to read, but you have to get through them until the end where it does get a bit better. Many people have given up on The Wheel of Time after book 5 or 6 and I understand why. I quit on Terry Goodkind‘s “The Sword of Truth” series for many of the same reasons (as did others).
One thing I can take away from The Wheel of Time is what not to do.