I think I would be more likely to pick up the book again if I thought reading it would get me closer to the end. The Wheel of Time is a wonderfully detailed series with a well defined setting with unique backstory, and an interesting plot that I would read to the bitter end. But none of that matters to me because the characters are no long interesting to me. As I have previously noted, the characterization of the principle actors is just oh so annoying. All the women are arrogant, stuck-up shrews. The men are either weak whipping posts (if confronting women), or idiots who do whatever they think is best and never learn from thier mistakes. (The exception to the man rule is Perrin. He stands up frequently to Faile at least learns with during his experience.).
This running complaint, and long hiatus from the series really brings me to the realization that characters are just as important to any story. They need to be three dimensional, especially in long stories, or else it become more of a chore to read than a joy. Compare the seminal manga series One Piece, by Eiichiro Oda. One Piece is a long running manga that is heavily plot-driven. A plot-driven work usually has limited or no character development. Indeed, even after 15 years (WOW!) of publication, One Piece remains one of, if not the, most popular comic in the world. Yet almost none of the characters has changed in all that time, [spoiler] even after and in-story two year time-skip [/spoiler]. Luffy is still a hyperactive, impulsive, child-like cravy-person, and Zoro is still the stoice, bloodthirsty swordsman always looking for a good fight. Nothing really has changed characterwise between those two or the other Strawhats.
But while the world of One Piece is indeed very intriguing, certainly the best example of world building since Tolkein, what keeps me going back week after week, bi-monthly, is the awesome characters. In any given situation, the Stawhats will react predictably, as well as in new and exciting ways. When the Strawhats visit an island in the sky, they decide to go on a treasure hunt, rather than fight the tyrant villain as they did previously. When they go a Governement island in order to rescue a Nakama, they acted as fierce and determined as they ever had been, while still maintaining their personallity. So while the characters have remained the same, they are 3-dimensional beings who react appropriatly on every occasion. That is not what is happening in
The Wheel of Time.
In The Wheel of Time, every character goes through some change, but their reactions to different events never changes. Nynaeve will always act abrasive, even when the situation may call for tact. Mat will always act cowardly and greedy, always thinking of himself and no other. And Rand. He will always, always, act without thinking, never seeking any advice, and always ignoring whatever advice was given, and always whining all the way. (While Luffy is just as headstrong and impulsive, at least he knows when to listen to advice.) None of them ever show even a hint of hidden depths. Hidden talents, yes. But never any hidden motivations.
In short, The Wheel of Time chararcters are just boring to me, and I can't go back to reading about them. Just utterly boring. This is certainly a case of YMMV*, but that is just how I feel.
*I make no apologies for linking to TVTropes. If I can quit, then you can too.