Book: The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time Book 1) Review

“Epic epic epic fantasy”

Author: Robert Jordan

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Age: Adult

Released: 10th December 1992 (UK version)

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There is a world of Light and Shadow, where good and evil wage eternal war. It is the world of Wheel of Time, the greatest epic fantasy ever written.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that fade to legend. Legend fades to myth and even myth is long forgotten when that Age that gave birth to it returns again.

But one truth yet remains, and what mortal men forget, the Aes Sedai do not…

What was what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

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Warning! This review may contain spoilers for the first book in the Wheel of Time series!

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Rand al’Thor lives in a village with his father, a normal farmer. The day before Bel Tine, a local festival, his village and farm is attacked. He finds out that evil creatures, called Trollocs are following him. Rand is told that the Dark One is after him an to save his own life and to stop the destruction of his village, he must run away. Although Rand originally sneaks out of his village with just himself, his friends also trail behind. Perrin, Mat and the mysterious Aes Sedai Moiraine and her Warder Lan is soon joined by Egwene and the village’s Wisdom Nynaeve. They are on their way to an adventure.

The first thing that I noticed about this world is that it is HUGE. The map that you see above didn’t give the sheer scale of how large the world was. It’s only when the characters travel across distances that take them weeks, but only reach the next nearest dot in the map that you realise just how large this fictional continent is.

Their journey is painstakingly detailed, but beautifully written. I never felt that any of the places that they visited were duplicates or useless. At every step there was something interesting to see, even though this is just a book, I really felt like I was following a journey.

As with most epic fantasies, there is a large cast, and many names for each location. However, the pace of the book is gentle and doesn’t throw names at you expecting you to remember. At no point did I feel that I’d forgotten characters, the character’s have enough depth to be distinctive and the book reminds you who they are anyway.

I really felt like unlike George R R Martin’s A Game of Thrones, who threw out a bunch of names and assigned characteristics afterwards, Robert Jordan has the opposite technique, he will give the character a personality and then assign them a name. It’s much easier to remember them that way.

The book has a diverse and complete mythology, which includes a major religion, fractions within it, and the main baddie: the Dark One. The mythology is pulled from many real-world mythologies and religions, particularly Christianity, and Taoism.. although I don’t claim to know many religions.

The monster mythology is similar to Lord of the Rings, which I’m only familiar with from the movies. I know Trollocs and Orcs are comparable, as well as the Fades and.. the king-black-caped riders… Like I said, I’m not too familiar with Tolkien mythology, but it didn’t bother me that they were similar.

The Aes Sedai, the main sorcerer’s at this point in the series, are comparable to the old-age fantasy series that just had wizards in cloaks. It comes across as a really British concept to me, for some reason. I thought it was very typical to have a clan of female coven-type sorceresses, but again, it didn’t bother me.

The whole book revolves around the conception of the Dragon and the end of the world. To be honest, even after getting through this behemoth of a book, I don’t understand what the Dragon does. It’s explained several times, but I had trouble picturing how exactly does the Wheel break, and how is it restarted.. If I still don’t understand within the next book: The Great Hunt, I might have to supplement it with Wikipedia, because it’s an important detail.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was very meaty and detailed, the world was fascinating, the characters were likeable, and the destinations were worthwhile. It had an ending of sorts, but it was vague and clearly led into the sequel. The best thing was, this book was around in 1992, that’s 20 years ago! The writing hasn’t aged and it’s still good to read. I’m already in love with this series and fingers crossed that the many sequels won’t disappoint!

Rated – 4.5/5 Amazingly detailed, good pace and likeable characters. Not much happens in the first book except traveling.

Read the review for the next book in the series!

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2 Comments

  1. The Wheel of Time cannot be restarted, it is always turning. It exists outside of reality and weaves the fabric of ages (the age lace) with people’s lives as the threads.

    As long as the wheel turns the wheel weaves the pattern and people will be reborn as the age that gave birth to them comes again. There are 7 ages, for the 7 spokes of the wheel and events in each age parallel themselves in the previous rotation of the wheel.

    The Eye of the World takes place near the end of the 3rd Age, but it is not the first 3rd age, there have been countless rotations of the wheel and countless 3rd ages all the way back to the day of creation. In every rotation the Dark one starts to break free in the 3rd age and is defeated, and by the 7th age is freed again.

    Lews Therin was from the previous 7th age, the ending of that rotation of the wheel. Each age is about 1000 years.

    The Dark One also exists outside the pattern (like the creator and the wheel) and he knows that as long as the wheel continues rotating he will be bound again and again. But this has been happening for so long that he is very patient, he has eternity and all it takes is him to win once. As such if the Dark One can be freed completely he has the power to destroy the Wheel. The repetition of ages would vanish and the dead would no longer be reborn and he would rule over all life in darkness.

    Reply

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