Fantasy

Review of ~ Robert Jordan – The Eye Of The World (Wheel of Time #1)

8.5/10

“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 travelingrunning, 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

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14 thoughts on “Review of ~ Robert Jordan – The Eye Of The World (Wheel of Time #1)

  1. I’m curious to see how you enjoy the series as you progress. I loved the intricate worldbuilding and feeling of legendary history behind the current story, but got really tired of most of the characters after a certain point.

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      1. I think that I liked the “coming of age” aspect. It wasn’t that sappy or angsty but the characters were becoming adults while still having room to grow into themselves and the roles that Jordan had planned for them.

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  2. The WoT series is my absolute favorite! I’m so glad you dug Book 1! Your assessment of it is entirely fair. The book does have an old-school fantasy feel, and it’s certainly a slow burn packed with a ton of description.

    I found the characters to be the best part of the book as well, and I can assure you that your feelings about the three main boys will be in a constant state of change. Across 14 books, and with some characters playing more substantial roles in certain installments, I’m sure you can see why that would be the case! Very cool of you to review this one, I’m looking forward to seeing you tackle Book 2!

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    1. Thank you! I have heard that the characters drop in and out of favor depending on the book, with some growing on you while others that you’ve loved becoming less attractive. Hopefully it’s not too distracting from who they really are!

      I’m going to be starting book two just as soon as I finish Gardens of the Moon and plan to plow through it. Great Hunt looks awesome.

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      1. I think Jordan manages to keep their core character traits intact, however they fluctuate! The Great Hunt is grand, a great installment for sure. I hope you enjoy 🙂

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  3. The very detailed world-building you enjoyed in this first volume (that I also liked quite a bit when I first read it some 20 years ago) was the reason that ultimately drove me off the series, when – from my point of view – those accurate, painstaking descriptions took more and more space leaving the actual *story* on the wayside. I hope that your experience with this series works much better, though 🙂

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    1. I definitely see what you mean. One thing that scares me, is that he will repeat descriptions over and over in the 14 books, instead of trusting readers to remember from the previous books in the series. This may have been just fine for people who had to wait from book to book but hopefully it’s not a drag when doing them all straight.

      I think a happy balance of descriptions and “imaginative trust” or whatever you want to call it is what separates my favorite books from those that are just pretty good.

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  4. That’s one nice thing about classic fantasy- you basically know what you’re getting. Sometimes that’s exactly what we need, after reading an unpredictable modern works. I’m listening to the Eye of the World audiobook right now, so I enjoyed hearing about your experience with The Eye of the World 🙂 Thanks!

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