The Wheel of Time was first released in 1990 with the The Eye of the World
and the finale, A Memory of Light
, was released in 2013. For me personally the Wheel of Time can be broken up into defined sections, books 1 thru 3 were world building and establishes the characters place in it. In fact it wasn't until The Dragon Reborn
that establishes Mat as an actual main character, until then he seemed nothing more than a pain in the ass hanger on. It was The Eye of the World
that introduced us to almost every character that would shape Randland, Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Moraine, Lan, Thom, Tam, Padan Fain, Min, Elayne, Gawyn, Galad, Elaida, Logain, Hopper & Elyas, mostly for their effect on Perrin, and even Ingtar who has a very large effect on Rand. The only ones that are really left out are Aviendha, Cadsuane, Faile, and Siuan. In The Great Hunt
we begin to see Perrin as the wolfbrother, Rand becoming a leader, and the friendship of Egwene, Elayne, Min, and Nynaeve is established, as well as their Aes Sedai training. Then The Dragon Reborn
Rand finally establishes himself as the Dragon Reborn, and it introduces Aviendha, and Faile.
The second section is books 4 thru 7. Now that the characters places are established these books are their reaction to it, and their growth within their defined roles. Perrin becomes a leader, and Mat gets his medalion and ashandarei in The Shadow Rising
. In The Fires of Heaven
what becomes the Band of the Red Hand makes it's first appearance, Mat becomes a leader, and Rand begins his first conquests as the Dragon Reborn. Cadsuane is introduced in A Crown of Swords
. By the way, Lord of Chaos
in my opinion is the very height of the series.
The third section, books 8 thru 11, is the books where politics take over, some of the main characters begin to break down from the strain, and where the world begins to fall apart. This is also the section where many fans believe Robert Jordan began to lose his way beginning with The Path of Daggers
and ending with Crossroads of Twilight
, and then RJ returning to form with Knife of Dreams
. The biggest complaint is that the series didn't progress fast enough during those books and that some plotlines went on too long that people wanted resolution to. Now, in my personal opinion, with the series finished this section holds up better now that The Path of Daggers
, Winter's Heart
, and Crossroads of Twilight
can be read as one book and the events that happen that does advance the plot lead well into Knife of Dreams
Then the final section, 12 thru 14, written by Brandon Sanderson from the notes from Robert Jordan is the Last Battle with the Dark One. Sanderson did an excellant job finishing what RJ started, though some of it started off a little shakey. His characterization of Mat wasn't very good to begin with, but outside of that my only complaint is really the same complaint I have with every one of his books of his that I've read. He doesn't end a series climax well and A Memory of Light
suffers for it. A lot of things that should have had impact just doesn't. The final chapter, that was written by RJ, was also a bit of a let down.