The Wheel Turns
Finally, I've finished Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. Just a warning, I might drop in a spoiler or two for those who haven't finished the series.
Finishing off the series was a slog, at least for the last, I don't know, six books or so. I think the last one I really enjoyed was Lord of Chaos. Having said that, I'm glad I finally finished the series by plowing through A Memory of Light. I think it's a fitting end for the series, all in all. A few major characters make the ultimate sacrifice to win the Last Battle, and Rand faces down the Dark One. Honestly, Brian Sanderson does a great job wrapping up the innumerable subplots. In fact, I probably would've enjoyed the last three books or so in the series and definitely A Memory of Light more if he had dropped, I don't know, 80% or so of the subplots, and just finish the series. You know, give the readers closure to the main story arc.
A Memory of Light isn't a bad book but is not a great one either. The pace doesn't pick up beyond glacial until the last quarter of the novel. While reading that portion, I was reminded why I really enjoyed early books in the series, and how invested I was in many of the main characters, especially Rand, Perrin, Mat, Moraine, Egwene, and a handful of others. I think that's what turned me off from some of the later books. Not only was the pacing slower than a snail, the proliferation of characters, many important in one way or another, took away from pages spent with the original crew from the Two Rivers. It was these characters I fell in love with while reading Eye of the World, and kept me coming back to read book after book.
So, I think that's the lesson The Wheel of Time has for aspiring writers. Create characters your readers want to read about. They'll keep reading and forgive many novelistic failings if they enjoy the characters. I did, anyway. And, yes, I will watch the Amazon adaptation.