“The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills”
The Eye of the World, the first epic fantasy book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, provided me with exactly the kind of experience I expected from it.
1. An old school fantasy feel.
2. Lots of intense descriptions of every small detail that normally my brain just tries to ignore and piece together itself.
3. Tons and tons of traveling. (No campfire is left to the imagination)
4. Enough epicness to prove that it is truly one of the greats.
Reading the Eye of the World, I have realized that I have grown out of many of the less modern fantasy themes and styles of writing. With books nowadays that are fast paced and give more power to the imagination to fill in the blanks, I was not used to having every detail perfectly described for me. Did I like it? Yes and No. Sometimes it was a bit of a challenge to absorb all of that information and read at a reasonable pace. I loved that if I wanted, however, I could know for sure what something in the world looked like or felt like.
I also realized that I will never grow out of the spirit of these books. Sure the writing style may not be my absolute favorite these days, but I will never hate the work for that. I will never dislike a classic book like this for explaining the songs being sung, or the meals being eaten. Simply because it’s something that is fantasy at its very core. It reminds me somewhat of a tabletop RPG, where the scene is painted for you in such a way. I enjoy it! It’s almost like taking a nice stroll through the world at a leisurely pace, rather than being pushed straight into the action, though both are great and both have their own place.
Is this method of writing slowly changing? Absolutely. More and more I find books paced faster, with almost movie-like scenes. As someone with limited time on my hands, faster books are easier and more accessible. I feel like it’s almost a compliment when an author lets your imagination and mind follow the story and fill in the details. But there is a special place in my heart, and I’m sure most fantasy fans can agree with me, for a classic good verse evil tale where you know what you’re getting yourself into. The Eye of the World was definitely that.
The story was not entirely what I expected, although it did have the classic and typical fantasy tropes. You can definitely see similarities to Tolkien works, especially with the evil forces in this world. Trollocs(Orcs), Myrddrral(Nazgul), The Dark One(Sauron). The magic system is definitely unique, having both male and female sources to draw from, one tainted and forbidden while the other has its place in government and is a normal part of the world. There were about 300-400 pages of traveling, running, going from inn to inn, that I felt could have been shortened dramatically, but looking back, I actually didn’t mind the light reading portions.
The characters were probably my favorite part of this book. I find myself caring for several of them, and intrigued by the others. I think Lan is awesome and can’t wait to find out more about his past. I wasn’t sure about Rand at the beginning and still am not too overly fond of characters who are so afraid of their power and fight it at every turn, but I don’t think he was excessively whiney like some that I’ve read. My least favorite was probably Mat, though I can foresee him becoming important. Moirraine had an aura about her that was both mysterious and comforting to the party. It honestly almost felt like a classic RPG, “gather people along your way” companionship.
The book wasn’t jaw dropping, but I have to take it for what it is: The first book in a fourteen book series. As a single book rating, It deserves 8.5/10, primarily for the ending and the world that was built, as well as the strong characters. The feeling that the end it gives me is definitely excitement into reading the rest of the series. I predict I will enjoy them more than this one.
“You can’t give up. You can’t ever give up. If you give up you might as well be dead.”
Review by ~ Holden R Johnson