The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Series: The Wheel of Time #1
Publisher: Tor, Premium Mass Market Paperback, 846 pages
Rand al’Thor is a sheepfarmer from the Two Rivers and that’s all he’s ever planned to be. Likewise his friends Perrin Aybara and Matrim Cauthon never expected to find themselves too far from home. Egwene has always yearned for an adventure and Nynaeve is not going to let these kids get themselves into trouble if she can help it, but an unexpected attack the night before a Spring Festival changes everything and these friends find themselves on an unlikely journey.
I went into the first book of The Wheel of Time series knowing very little about it aside from the fact that is it very loved by many and has quite the reputation. With that in mind I think going in not knowing anything and with minimal expectations was best because I was able to take everything in as the characters did and really grow into the story with them. It made this a very very enjoyable read, not perfect, but I was always happy to pick the book up – with the exception of the one event that made me boycott it for a day.
Perrin is by far my favorite character, though I do think all of the main characters definitely bring something to the story. I’m particularly intrigued by Egwene and Nynaeve. Egwene is formidable and we could tell from the first time we meet her as a little girl. Nynaeve is another strong female character, but we don’t know as much about her and I’m very curious to see how she grows throughout the series. Their roles and who they are is quite fitting for all of the events that are unraveling. I also find that the way it‘s written, always from the point of view of Two Rivers characters ensures that we as the reader are learning about the events unfolding at the same pace as the characters in the book. We don‘t know what they don‘t know and it added something to the experience for me. That‘s not to say that I don‘t still have questions, because whooooo boy do I have questions.
The Eye of the World is definitely heavy on the details, but it never felt slow going to me. Everything was always moving and it didn‘t ever get bogged down by the detail. That said, I also happen to be a reader who enjoys getting into the nitty gritty of a story, so this was just really up my alley. I did want more detail in regards to this concept of the wheel of time, how the past ages will influence current events (because it feels like they will), and how and why magic works the way it does. Of course, being book one of fourteen, I imagine this was by design. However there are a lot of things that Jordan introduces us to, but then really only teases us with minute detail. Which is both tantalizing and frustrating.
I do have a couple of gripes with this book though. First, there is one scene in particular that was very out of the blue – no context, no warning, nothing – and I‘m not sure why it was done. Is Robert Jordan dropping a hint for a future book? If so, why this way? It makes zero sense and it pulled me out of the story for a minute. Second, the ending. I‘m not mad at how the book ended, but I am mad at how abruptly the book ended. The pacing of the last thirty or so pages in particular was SO rushed. Having just invested time in the 780 pages leading up to it, I can say I would have kept reading if it was a little longer. So it was tough to get all of these WHOA! moments and then realize there is no more book.
All in all though, I really did enjoy The Eye of the World and I will happily read on in the series. I am so intrigued about how the politics and the lives of all of these Two Rivers folk, and the various parts and pieces are going to come together over the next thirteen installments. 4/5 stars.
The World of Time Series:
1. The Eye of the World
2. The Great Hunt
3. The Dragon Reborn
4. The Shadow Rising
5. The Fires of Heaven
6. Lord of Chaos
7. A Crown of Swords
8. The Path of Daggers
9. Winter’s Heart
10. Crossroads of Twilight
11. Knife of Dreams
12. The Gathering Storm
13. Towers of Midnight
14. A Memory of Light
I’m not a HUGE fan of Fantasy and I think I’ve been put off this series by the size of the books and the intimidating number of them in the series. I have heard good things about this though – especially the strong female characters which always appeal. Women who are in a novel either as the obligatory love interest or victim to be rescued just irritate the hell out of me. I do like it when the effort is made to produce deep rounded female protagonists. That’s where it’s at for me.
A gaming friend of mine is re-reading this after he started watching the new TV series (which he has now stopped watching!) and is enjoying it. Looking at the investment of time to read it/the series I don’t think this will be one for me…
I completely agree! As a fairly independent woman it drives me nuts when there are female characters that are portrayed as helpless or only there to spur on drama and the like. There is definitely no shortage of badass women in this one and if I’m not mistaken there is going to be more of that to come which… I am here for!
Fantasy, especially on this scale is definitely not for everyone. It is quite the investment of time and emotions, but I love being able to dig really deep into the same world for an extended read. I will say though, it reads a lot easier than some of the darker and denser fantasy like the Game of Thrones books.
I haven’t watched the show yet, but I do plan to simply because I love Rosamund Pike and I bet she is going to own it as Moraine. But from what I can gather I have to read the first three books to avoid all spoilers, so I’ll have to be patient-ish for that.
Fiction-wise I seem to be in the Sci-Fi & crime space ATM, with the odd historical novel thrown in for variety. Series-wise it’s been a year since I started reading ‘The Expanse’ set of books so I need to move that forward – 9 books of around 500 pages each will do me for a while I think! Plus it has some of the best female characters I’ve seen on the small screen in ages….
I am very intrigued by The Expanse! I saw a preview for the show a little while ago but didn’t realize they were books until about last week, so of course I have to read them first. I’ll have to go find your posts on them!
Link to my review of the first Expanse book – ‘Leviathan Wakes’.
Yes, I will admit I sought this out last night and might even have bought the box set of the first three books while I was doing some light book buying therapy last night. 😅
Impressive! But I always say that when the book buying desire is upon you it’s psychologically and emotionally dangerous to resist it. I think that might be a proven scientific fact… Looking forward to your reviews.
LOL, well said!