For YEARS now I have been so intimidated to start this huge, epic series of long books. Especially with Bookstagram and the pressure to turn out many reviews of new books, it is a huge commitment to take on a series of books with 700-800+ pages each of tiny print. It is interesting to note that when the book was first re released, it was split into two smaller books with larger print, and apparently marketed towards young adults. (I ended up with a later edition MMPB with small print LOL). I don’t really think it’s a YA read, but the main characters ARE teens, and its fairly appropriate.
That said, I found a buddy read that is taking on one book per month and discussing it on discord as we go, so I said… WHY NOT! and jumped in.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Eye of the World
- Series: The Wheel of Time, #1
- Author: Robert Jordan
- Publisher & Release: Tor Books, January 1990
- Length: 814 pgs *mmpb versions with prologue and glossary included*
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 I think fantasy fans should give it a try, but there are many quest series with swords and sorcery out there
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.
I…I can’t even begin to do a more coherent summary. Five villagers, a sorceress, a warden, and a bard, end up on this insane quest to provide protection to the young man the dark, formerly defeated entity is seeking. That said, “the Wheel spins as the Wheel wills”, and they end up on an epic adventure with plenty of danger, close calls, coming of ages, magic, mysteries, lore to be discovered, and countless other things.
I think, looking back, that without writing a five page essay, it’s impossible to talk about EotW … And I am appreciating the book a lot more.
The Worldbuilding: is amazing. It goes beyond scenery and weather, beyond local customs and food, descriptions of architecture and magic, to the legends that shaped the world. So much of the lore is based on the repetition of ages and cycles and stories, and Jordan just gives us so many ancient legends that are both interesting AND relevant to the present day characters. His descriptions, although long winded at times, fully paint the scenes and characters.
That said, it is a very plot driven book, which I love.
The Characters: are MANY. It took me forever to get them all straight in my head, and it took a while to kind of determine who was going to be important or not. I think the cast is way too large but the important characters do have very unique points of view in their chapters, told in third person present tense. All I will say in summary is that the more time I spent with the characters, the more I liked them, but it took 3/4 of the book before I started to care. Some are funny, some serious, some annoying, all very brave, and carrying the blood of legendary old lines
The Magic: makes sense. It is explained in detail as the book goes on, with females bearing the load of magic. It used to be equal, until the male sorcerers went crazy and broke the world. Now the women have different affinities, but men who can channel the One Power are seen as dangerous, since their magic is still corrupted. The book offers plenty of exciting magic, offensive and defensive, cool tricks, and plenty more.
EotW vs LotR: the comparisons made by many people between The Eye of the World and Lord of the Rings are many, and totally obvious .., I mean RJ literally ripped off certain scenes. Ex: a dark rider almost spotting the protagonist hiding in a shrubbery, looking around slowly – and he barely changes certain names, ideas, possessive objects driving their holders crazy… It’s so obvious that I think it’s totally intentional in book one, although RJ also inserts his own world building and endgame into the story
Overall: it wasn’t until I sat down and tried to write a review, that I realized how insanely complex and incredible the book is. I do think it’s one of many LotR-esque epic high fantasy novels out there, and the slow burn, lore based fantasy won’t be for everyone, but I do highly recommend giving it a try.