Visualizing reader sentiment of an epic fantasy series


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

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.

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.


Thank you. I first looked at that chart and thought “How many books are there?!? It would have to be hundreds in order to plot that nice line graph…

My thought was that it was a graph of the average of all reviews for all the books, over time.

I think I gave up at #7. I think.

It was a huge book in which almost nothing happened, if that helps to identify it.

I also did the whole thing of giving up on the series when absolutely nothing happened between the beginning and end of one of the books. I remember things finally getting interesting again at almost the very end of the book.

I just recently started through them again in audiobook form. It will be interesting to see if those later books drag on as long as they seemed to when I was reading them myself. The whole “battle of the sexes” theme hasn’t felt quite as horribly forced and silly as it did the first time I read through, so I have some hope for it.

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

Same here, i gave up at 7 too.
What we need is a machete order - one that cuts out the extra stuff: like the one for Battle Star Galactica, rather than the one for Star Wars

That’s good to hear, I’ll look forward to getting there. I’ve only just finished the first book, though, so there’s a loooong way to go. I just didn’t feel like I remembered enough to try jumping forward to where I left off.

A machete order would be nice, but you would probably need to do it by chapters to avoid getting lost in the sub-plots.

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His wife Harriet was editor throughout, but man, the reins really came off 6-9/10. Exposition of the highest caliber.

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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Thanks for posting that. I’d never heard of machete order before, and I’m definitely going to remember the Star Wars one from now on. I showed my kids the movies in Release order. I was going to skip the prequels altogether, and just tell them that they exist and they could damn well watch them on their own time. But then I figured that their enjoyment of the Expanded Universe stuff would be a bit hobbled if they knew nothing of the prequels, so we watched them anyway. I knew I wanted to preserve the surprise about Luke’s parentage, so I knew I’d show them IV, V, and VI first. I eliminated the weirdness about Ghost Hayden Christensen at the end of ROTJ by showing them the Theatrical Version DVD instead of one of the Special Editions. Sometimes, paying the price of lower resolution and 2-channel sound is actually worth it.

Anyway, I wish I’d known about machete order. We never would have missed anything by excluding Episode I, and squeezing II and III between V and VI makes undeniable sense! Now I wish I had more kids to try this with.

I’d be inclined to try the BSG one as well, except I’m just too much of a completist.

You could probably get that by pulling out just half of the occurrences of a woman grumbling about the stupidity of men or a man pondering how some other man knows so much more about dealing with women.

One extra factor that should be taken into account: people who rated the first book(s) lower tend to stop reading a series, which will skew the rating of the later volumes.

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