Let me start out by stating the obvious, that this is a book designed solely for the hard-core Wheel of Time (WoT) fanatic. I disagree. If names like Sammael, Rahvin, and Artur Hawkwing, and places like Arad Doman, Rhuidean, and The Stone of Tear mean nothing to you, if you don’t know the the difference between Saidar and Saidin, you have a lot of good reasons to pick up this book. But you won’t. I wouldn’t.
Granted, World of Wheel of Time is unlikely to be purchased by anyone other than a WoT fan, especially since most of what’s in this book can be found in the WoT Wiki. It does have its uses for those starting out on this humongous series. All the books in the series have a glossary at the back, and this book is essentially an expansion on the normal index/glossary, much richer in detail and history. We learn how the Forsaken became the Forsaken, the chronology and events of the Aiel Wars, the rise of the white Tower and the Aes Sedai, and pretty much everything else that happened before Moirane came to the Two Rivers.
Like David Eddings’s Rivan Codex, World of WoT is a polished and organized edition of the copious world building notes that go into creating a rich and detailed fantasy world. It’s a given that before you even begin to write the book proper, the world, its geography, history, economics, social structure etc have to be in place. According to the website, Jordan wrote something like a million pages of notes. That seems a bit exaggerated, but I looked up the volume content for the series, and it contains over 4 million words, and some of the audio books go on for 32 hours! The sheer detail of the world-building made it inevitable that such a book would be produced. If you plan on starting the Wheel of Time series, have this book close to you as you plow your way through it. It’ll help.
From Bangalore but based primarily in New Delhi, India, Samir has variously been and continues to be a professional musician, a pub quiz host, a political campaign aide, and a student of the guitar, as well as history and international relations. He is currently Research Director for the Global Security Centre in India. He is also a freelance editor and research consultant, having worked for the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, the Public Health Foundation of India, and a McKinsey-IBM KPO, as well as Random House and Oxford University Press. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org