Just like everyone else, I was sucked into the throes of obsession when I read The Eye of the World
. Like any avid fantasy reader, I learned all the names, all the places, all the language, all the acronyms. I jumped into the next four books, excited that there was so much more, more, more!
When I got to the middle of the series, however, I realized that more is more than enough. There is a certain value to having a certain mystery permenantly surrounding interesting characters, and if we're stuck with their every thought, every movement, every boring day spent in subtle political manipulation, they become boring. The most exciting part of characters in novels is the part we don't know yet.
I consider myself an average to fast reader, yet I spent an entire summer trying to read The Fires of Heaven. A page a week, a chapter a month. God, I was so bored. I noticed how much the Aes Sedai were like the Fremen. I wondered why I was reading this long, drawn out soap opera instead of Dune.
I really admire fantasy novelists who keep an entire unique world contained within one book. Try Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay.
Don't get me wrong, I thought the Wheel of Time was great when it, but starting at The Fires of Heaven, it reminded me of the later seasons of Friends....("And Ross said WHAT to Rachel? Oh my god, I thought he was still going out with Sara!")