January 15, 2020

The Wheel of Time 30th Anniversary

30 years ago today marks the publication of the first book in the massive 14-book Wheel of Time series, The Eye of the World.

The series is very Tolkien-esque, but not being a ‘copy + paste’ The Lord of the Rings clone. The series does have its flaws (it should have only been 6-10 books, for starters) but it helped establish the fantasy genre (until A Song of Ice and Fire re-defined it) and was incredibly beneficial to the American publisher, TOR. I also like to think if it as the first great fantasy series, post The Lord of the Rings. Even though The Lord of the Rings is not a series, but you get my point.

It also has a literary successor, by way of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight. Sanderson is relevant here, as he connected the dots Jordan left before he passed - Jordan was unable to finish the series himself.....but it has *an* ending. Think of him as Christopher Tolkien to J.R.R. Tolkien, in this regard. I suggest looking into that series once you finish The Wheel of Time. No, it's not a sequel series, nor related in any way, though to me it's the next, best, logical step after The Wheel of Time.  

I first heard of, and got into the books, around the time that Crossroads of Twilight was published in paperback. At that time, I didn't have the funds I do now, there were quite a few books in the series, and at that time, hardback editions of the earlier books were no longer in print. Or if they were, they were sold out then. Not liking having mixed formats of books within a series (alternating between paperback and hardback) I went for paperback all the way through. The ones I had to wait to get (though I wasn't caught up with reading) was Knife of Dreams - A Memory of Light

I got introduced to them by way of a very close friend of my family, who also likes fantasy. I believe that The Wheel of Time was her favourite series. Or, among her favourite.

There hasn't been that many editions of the books over the years; however for the 30th anniversary, I wanted to showcase a particular edition. One that I wish had existed when I initially got the books. They are the trade paperback editions offered by TOR. They are about as large as a hardback, and easier to open than those tight, cramped, $10 editions. The larger format offers the text in a nice, readable font, as well as maps that aren't as small or squashed as the cheaper, smaller, paperbacks. The artwork itself is...let's say, more modern than the original editions. The only thing is, I'd wish they chose a different cover image for The Eye of the World in this format. The image itself is fine, though doesn't depict what the book, or series, is about.  

Here are the books, in order, and the ISBN's for the editions I recommend:

The Eye of the World:

The Great Hunt:

The Dragon Reborn:

The Shadow Rising:

The Fires of Heaven:

Lord of Chaos:

A Crown of Swords:

The Path of Daggers:

Winter's Heart:

Crossroads of Twilight:

Knife of Dreams:

The Gathering Storm:

Towers of Midnight:

A Memory of Light:


The Stormlight books also exist in the same format, by the way. Here are their ISBN's:

The Way of Kings:

Words of Radiance:


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