Visualizing reader sentiment of an epic fantasy series

James Siddle took a close look at what ratings at Amazon and GoodReads reveal about the long-running fantasy epic, Wheel of Time. Negativity is the handmaiden of attention. [The Variable Tree]

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  1. Interesting theory, but those middle books really are the ones I would rate the lowest.

  2. 6-10.. Didn't Jordan have an editor?

    This series rocked through the first 5 books, but then it just exploded. There was somewhere around 40 different point-of-view characters by the end. Nothing happened off-stage.

  3. Why in God's name would you make a continuous density plot of what should clearly be a discrete bar graph? This is illegible. Figure design fail.

  4. The last one written by Jordan improved. Sanderson was quite good. Probably a better writer overall than Jordan

  5. Stylistically, there are two overarching issues. 1) Massive use of foreshadowing. Honestly, a lot of material was covered via foreshadowing. If you just cut that back, I suspect you would reduce the overall length by about 10%.

    Secondly, entire storylines could be cut. Seriously, they spent a bit of time talking about items that affected various maneuvering, but brought nothing to the story, at all. They were just filler. They were the Wheel of Time versions of the political maneuvering in WWII on keeping Iran neutral. Yes, an argument could be made that that was important, but there is a reason why its not included in a lot of history books. The editor should have applied a very central test: Does this storyline move the story forward. Parallel is not forward.

    I think eliminating "Tugged her hair" and "Nynaeve sniffed" and various personality quirks could have saved several thousand words also.

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