If you read an enjoyed Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series, then you'll absolutely love Robert Jordan's "The Wheel Of Time".
Firstly, the name isn't a big turn-on, I know. It can sound quite corny, but really, it's a very good anology on a "religious" theory concerning the workings of the universe. That's all that I'l say about that. Also, don't let the incredible thickness of every book dissuade you. After beginning to read them, you'll be wishing that they were even longer.
Now then, The Wheel of Time centeres around a boy named Rand, who, along with a number his friends, are whisked away from their small hometown by a wise, mystical woman following an attack on the town by Trollocs. (Trollocs are Jordan's equivalent of Orcs, so to speak.) Throughout the series, the plot takes twists and turns, following the characters' stories of war, love, treason, magic, and much, much more. The series, which spans at 11 novels so far, is too long to give any more information here, or else it would spoil the whole plot.
Anyways, Jordan did a fantastic job at putting brand new faces to old fantasy cliches. By this century, any story about kings, wizards, and magic words & wands would be ragarded as corny and outdated. Robert Jordan had great originality at approaching these subjects though, and every single aspect in The Wheel of Time will sound new. For instance, rather than having wizards who wave their staffs, there are Aes Sedai, who are certain people who have a natural connection to a source of power which controls the four elements. Use of this power is described as like weaving a pattern, rather than simply creating something out of thin air.
The main antagonist is more than just an evil wizard or overlord residing just off the edge of the map now, too. The Wheel of Time's anti-hero is essentially Jordan's representation of Satan. Simply referred to as "The Dark One" for fear of his real name, he is an entity that was trapped in a prison and deep sleep for thousands of years, and now is just beginning to be able to touch the world again, now that the wards around him are weakening. With the men who trapped him gone, and the abilities of Aes Sedai feeble compared to the time before a world-wide cataclysm, this is the base of almost every obstacle throughout the series.
As for the structure of the world Jordan wrote about, it is nothing but mind-blowing. I'll have to explain this in sections.
First, there are the nations of the (unnamed) world that the series is based on. Really, it's only one continent, with the rest of the world uncontacted with each other. Anyways, Jordan did an outstanding job of creating a diverse population of different nationalities, and by reading, you'll find that they're all based on Earth's own. For instance, the main characters are generally English, while the people from the islands close to the main continent perfectly reflect those from Africa. Every country shows it's own fashions, cultures, types of government, and occasionally, language. Just the fact that such a structure was created so well, much less maintained through the entire series so far shows just how well written it is.
Next, the workings of governments and other organizations. An amazing job was done in building up hierarchies and complex clockwork of so many people. It's all like a page from a history book, as Jordan left nothing out when describing the workings of a castle during political war, or the mind-numbingly difficult ways of the tribul nation known as the Aiel. Power is never securly held in a single hand, as many stories will often portray. Rather, there's the presense of advisors, heirs, and scheming officials that give everything an intense feel.
What's more, the battle scenes are astounding. Perhaps it was Robert Jordan's experience as a war veteran that gave the series the ghostly impression of a first-hand experience. Clearly, a battle never ends happily for either side, a fact accurate both in reality and this fiction. Even though there exist aspects that could never happen in real battles - magic and monsters, among other things - reading this will still give you the feeling that the author was actually there to see it all happen.
No story is without love-interest, though, and Jordan is a master at even that. With a remarkable skill at giving points of view from both genders - and from a huge array of characters - Jordan could have just as successfully written a love column on the internet. (Although that would never be as popular as these novels.)
His writing quality itself is extraordinary as well. The finely detailed descriptions of the scenery and the deep dives into peoples' minds prove how well written this is. Just by reading this, I found that my own quality of writing shot up like a rocket.
So, throughout tales of deceit, invasions, love-triangles, plots, and never-ending more, The Wheel of Time proved to be an absolute masterpiece, which is still in the making. I'll quote the New York times in saying that "Jordan has come to reveal that Tolkien began to reveal." Just by reading that, it should say something.
It's unfortunate to the entire world that Robert Jordan passed away, as we all lost a true master of the time. Although I hope I do not sound shallow in saying so, I just hope that the ghostwriter has what it takes to finish this amazing story.