Top positive review
Changed my life. Truly.
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2017
(WARNING THE FOLLOWING IS LONG)
Got a book to pass the time while I wait for power to return to Puerto Rico.
This is the first book I ever read for pleasure. (No, i don't mean this is literally the first time I've read for pleasure.) I've read the entire 14 book series and 1 encyclopedia. I've read this book three times, going on fourth. The first in the series. It's like The Hobbit but much more adult and dark. I think the writing is better too. (I'm not really a Tolkien fan too much. Good story. Bad writing. #shotsfired)
Funny story: I never intended to read this book. I wanted money from my great grandma Deeder (Great Deeder we called her). For a toy or something, I forget. But she didn't want to give it to me. So me binge a sly kid I thought, "ok, an educational gift the: a book." And I'd return it later for the cash and buy whatever I wanted.
So I went into Barnes and Noble and picked a book up totally at random, checking only that the price was about the amount of cash I had wanted. She paid for the book. I went home and it sat on a shelf for months.
Later on, I got really sick and stayed home from school. I decided to read it because I had nothing else to do and was on the toilet a lot. When I picked it up, the cover was literally was covered in thick dust. Disgusting. I cleaned it up and started reading.
...and reading. And four hours later I stopped. I remember it was four hours because I was shocked that it was 5PM and dinner and I was a little hungry. I couldn't put it down. I loved it.
And the lessons it taught me and it's new ways of thinking molded who I became as a person. "Death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than a mountain," became my motto for how to soldier and lead. And so many others. I loved the characters. I literally cried for them in moments of pain or death. Even minor characters are people you know. And I laughed out loud at jokes. Got excited in moments of lust or chase. Even felt genuine fear.
Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney, Jr.) was an amazing man too. A taste for the fine old things. Pipes. Hats. Chess. History. He was also a military school guy (like me) at Virginia Military Institute (VMI). And part of the reason I went to military college (NMMI) myself and why I excelled in JROTC in high school. Even into my Regular Army career as Combat Medic (68W) and how I approached medicine and bedside manner (thanks Yellow Ajah and the Band of the Red Hand). Not just his example, but the examples of his characters that inspired me to lead and to be uncompromising in my self discipline, especially honor.
Tragically Jordan died before he finished the books and the last three (or four) were written by his chosen successor Brandon Sanderson (who I had never heard of). And in fact Sanderson was surprised that Jordan wanted him to be his ghost writer. What a huge responsibility to finish the story that fans had been reading literally for more than a decade. I eagerly awaited each new book and when I first started reading there were only four or five, I think.
I convinced my brother to read it too and he also became addicted. We would talk about the different theories and ask questions. It was exciting!
Sanderson did an incredible job. I could not even tell that the writer's voice had changed. He used very detailed notes and talks with Jordan's wife, Harriet (for whom the first book is dedicated). Fans are waiting for the movies to be made. But that's been passed around for years to different studios and directors. It can't be done cheaply or wrong (like the Wizard's First Rule tv series for instance that sucked but the books were amazing by Terry Goodkind). Better no film than a bad one.
Anyway, I got it again to pass the time. It's fun to revisit it from a more adult mindset and with the full knowledge of the 14 novel series. Things I overlooked or seemed unimportant now jump off the page. That sly devil, I think. He knew all along! And there are still unsolved mysteries that are debatable and interesting fan theories and even beautiful fan art.
I could not more strongly recommend this book and the entire Wheel of Time series. I'm not being hysterical when I say it made me who I am. I feel like Jordan and his characters were some of my most important mentors. I perhaps never would have learned to love reading without this book.
Any other Jordan fans out there? Tell me about your story.