Title: The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Publication date: 1990
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.
The Wheel of Time is an epic fantasy series by Robert Jordan which basically sets the base for all future fantasy stories to come. Along with Tolkien, those two men are like ‘the founding fathers’ of fantasy genre and with a good reason.
The Eye of the World is the first book of fourteen (I know, I know, that’s a lot) and every one of those books can be used as a weapon and I don’t just mean that the language and writing style are solid. They are around 800+ pages long each (unless you’ve got the new edition where this book is separated in two). But that’s okay, we’re talking about major epic fantasy saga here. They are supposed to be long.
However, let’s get something straight here before I proceed. Long does not mean boring no matter what your friend (whose favorite book is ‘Twilight’) said. No, in this particular case long means complex, layers over layers, multidimensional characters, numerous plot lines and yes, a lot of things to remember. Can’t avoid that part, eh? 😀
So let me guide you into a world of magic, terrifying creatures, constant danger and darkfriends on your tail where you favorite characters don’t all die by chapter four… (yeah, you can breathe. That’s not a George Martin book). But honestly, those books are not for everybody. They don’t have the fast-paced, action-packed humorous plot of Skulduggery Pleasant, they don’t have the gore and the disturbingly-detailed sex scenes of Game of Thrones or the magic of Harry Potter world. But what Wheel of Time does has is substance, realism and consistency.
We talk about how realistic a book feels, how you can imagine the characters being actual real people and what is happening to them happening somewhere in the world. That’s what I am talking about – Wheel of Time is so complex, so detailed and so enthralling that you don’t just imagine the world, you are in the world you read about. It’s an amazing experience.
Now, let’s get to The Eye of the World before I bore you with my praises 😀
The book starts with Lews Therin Telamon, the Dragon, leader of the forces of Light in the war against Shai’tan, the Dark One. Lews is triumphant against the Dark One but as a result the saidin – the male half of the True Source – has been tainted and Lews Therin has gone insane and murdered his family.
From the early chapters of this book we meet our main characters – Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara. They are believed to be ta’veren (central focal point for a Web of Destiny in the Pattern which makes them important, destined for greater things). Their quiet lives are disturbed by an attack on their village – not just any attack but one led by trollocs and a Myrddraal (both horrendous creatures of darkness). Hoping to spare their loved ones and village from further attacks, they flee the village, accompanied by Moiraine Damodred, an Aes Sedai, and her Warder, al’Lan Mandragoran. As they attempt to leave, they are discovered by the innkeeper’s daughter, Egwene al’Vere, and a wandering gleeman, Thom Merrilin, who join them. Later the final piece of the puzzle, Nynaeve al’Meara, joins the fun and they live happily ever after. Ha-ha, no. Not even close.
The group goes through countless adventures together on their way to Tar Valon, the capital city of Aes Sedai. Aes Sedai are basically witches (they don’t like being called that, mind you) that can use the True Source without going mad and killing everybody(unlike men haha). They have different divisions but for that we’ll talk later.
Anyway, on their way they go through a place called Shadar Logoth, a dead city where even the creatures of darkness are afraid to enter. They get separated and we start following on multiple point of views as each of them starts uncovering things about their pasts, their selves and their futures. It is rather marvelous, I must say. Robert Martin taught me to love and equally hate multiple point of views. Love, because I love diversity and I want to see things from different perspectives. And hate, because I am not very good at it.
As they keep going their destination changes to the northest side, to Shienar and a place called ‘The Eye of the World’ *drumrolls*. They have to enter the Blight, which, as you may have guessed by the name, is not a very nice place. There are all kinds of deadly things that try to kill your ass over there, among which are numerous trollocs and other fancy new monsters Jordan‘s mind creatures.
The group enters the Blight in search of the Eye of the World, guarded by a Someshta. The Eye is revealed as a pool of pure saidin, and when the companions exit they are confronted by the Forsaken Aginor and Balthamel. Just to add in, the Forsaken (if the ominous name is not enough to draw your conclusions) are the baddest of guys. They are the Thirteen most devoted followers of the Dark one and essentially powerful and have a thing for killing people. Balthamel dies at the hand of the Someshta, and Aginor is consumed by the One Power as he battles one of our heroes.
I won’t ruin it for you by telling you why but I will mention something else which I maybe should have done earlier. Moiraine was not by chance in the Two Rivers and she did not help them escape by chance either. She is in search for the Dragon Reborn, the man destined to destroy the world and fight the Dark One. All that jazz, you know. We can’t call it a fantasy if there is no prophecy in it 😀
Anyway, I can’t really fit my adoration in one review and this one already became rather lengthy so I’ll leave it at that. I most certainly give this 5/5 rating and recommend this book and series to anyone who claims to be a fantasy lover and even more to those who enjoy writing fantasy stories. It’s good to be unique and not to copy anybody else’s style but to develop your own you’ll have to pick pieces and bits from the best.
What about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World?