First, let me say that I read the first book in this series, The Eye of the World, back in 2013. I read it only because my favorite author wrote the last few books of the series and I wanted to get to those books. I hoped this could be a series I would enjoy, but I didn’t enjoy the first book. I found many of the characters wooden and two-dimensional, too much of the plot obvious, and the whole thing kinda boring. After I finished it, I decided not to continue the series despite Brandon Sanderson’s involvement.
I am, however, a huge believer in second chances. It’s always possible that my feelings about a book are influenced by other things going on in my life. Perhaps it was just the audio version that made me dislike it or the fact that I was not really in a reading mood for most of 2013 and didn’t read any books I really loved that year. I decided to give the Wheel of Time another go. I went into the second book blind, remembering almost nothing from my original reading. While I did eventually remember some of the main characters, there are still many others I don’t remember at all. There are plotlines I don’t remember and never came to remember as I listened. Thankfully, that didn’t end up being an impediment, as it was fairly simple to figure things out as I went along.
While this still isn’t my favorite series, I did enjoy the second book more than the first. The characters were more developed, and there was more from characters who I felt didn’t get enough attention in the first book. There were again some this-should-be-obvious moments like in the first book, but far less of the boredom. I’m not compelled to immediately pick up the next book, but I’m also not opposed to reading it later on. That is a definite improvement over my last experience, and I hope that the improvement will continue as I get deeper into the series and as the characters/stories develop over time.
Performance: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading read this book. They did well, especially Reading, who is by far my favorite audiobook narrator.