Makes George R. R. Martin look like Hemingway.
Magic works by channeling a force called either saidar or saidin, depending on whether you're male or female. It's also split into 5 different elements, which are the 4 usual ones (earth/fire/air/water), plus Spirit. Mages "weave" strands of the elements together to make different effects. Of the main characters, 4 (3 girls and one boy, out of 3 girls and 3 boys) can use magic. The problem with the guy using magic is that the last Dragon managed to corrupt *the entire male half of magic*, so now any male magic users go insane. The reincarnated Dragon is, of course, a magic user.
That paragraph made me sad...keep in mind the word "magic" is never actually used in the books...
Really? Oh yeah, he always uses "saidar" or "saidin" or that word for the two of them together/magic in general or something like that. Really, what am I going to call it when I can't remember the word he made up for it? BTW, if you want to put up a less biased - or at least differently biased - review, you're welcome to.
Update (September 2007): Book 11 in fact came out on 11 October 2005, but book 12 was not published before Robert Jordan's death on 16 September 2007. However, there are plans to publish it posthumously, as apparently Jordan's wife and cousin have heard the entire thing.
The series starts promisingly, and is actually pretty good for the first few books, since things actually happen. Then it gets bogged down. Technically there are still things happening, but it seems like the boys are spending most of their time complaining about how mysterious women are, and the girls are complaining about how silly the boys are and how boys completely lack *any* common sense whatsoever, and thoughts of silk (esp. silk dresses) manage to work their way in surprisingly often. Oh yes, does it say something that almost ALL the main characters are hooked up with someone, or at least pining for someone?
I'd like to know what happens in the end, but I'd rather read a summary of events than have to suffer through the books themselves.
Its an interesting series, though Jordan clearly needs a better editor. So far there are 10 books averaging at least 600 pages apiece, and its only about book 8 where he started wrapping up plot threads faster than he generated new ones, and then only barely. There is some hope he will finish after 12 books, though I think 15 more likely. Anyway, particularly in the middle books (6 and 7 I think are the worst offenders) he could have really cut out a lot without losing much. Book 9 also seemed like something of a necessary evil... it got some important stuff accomplished, but could have been half as long without losing much.
Anyway, the series starts a little slow (it takes about 150 pages of Eye of the World before you really get into it) and then rolls along nicely for a while, but is starting to bog down.
Absolutely nothing happens in the middle books. So much nothing that I was able to skip straight from the middle of book 5 all the way to book 11 without missing much.
The multiplayer in said game is actually quite excellent, if you find a group online or happen to have several friends that have the game (which would be impressive, considering the low popularity of the game). The single player game has received two excellent descriptions that I have heard (neither by me): "Whoa, the ambiance of this game is _amazing_." "Are you sure we set the difficulty to Easy?" -- EvilSouthie
I was very much impressed by the SP experience of Wheel of Time, as it both maintained canon with the series (to a reasonable extent . . . little touches like the Accepted ritual made the game for me) and made the world look good. (see above for ambiance.) I find it amusing that the plot of the SP campaign in its entirety exists solely to provide backstory for the MP game (a variant of capture-the-flag with some excellent twists). The puzzles in SP are also moderately entertaining, though I'd wish the game didn't telegraph them so much by providing obvious, unlimited caches of the spells you need to use to solve each puzzle. But, yeah; I'm always willing to re-install the game to give its multiplayer side another spin. --WillShipley