Monday, 12 April 2010

The Eye of The World (Wheel of Time - Book One )

Title: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: The Wheel of Time


Score: 7/10
How long I would stay up reading: ~ 3 am
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite


The best place to start with reviews is normally the beginning. In this case however, that might not be true. The book is slow to pick up, and a couple of times I found myself drifting off in the initial chapter, or more accurately, the prologue. Then I was confused by the fact that the maps came after the prologue. Of course, I have a version that is now 14 years old, so these might have been re-arranged in the latest editions. If not, you are now prepared to deal with this potential break-down inducing irregularity.

After this we move to the main character's perspective, the first chapters of which involve him walking from farm to village and back again, introducing the other main characters quite well, if mundanely. After this it picks up, and there is never a dull moment. The main characters transition smoothly from children and guides to more equal companions (although not quite) in an almost traditional rite-of-passage style, the plot of which is highly original. The characters are exceedingly well written and developed, even when leaving an air of mystery around Lan and Moraine, the guides of the group. The descriptions of settings and lore of the world is not quite to the same standard of the characters, but is orated beautifully, and surpasses many other fantasy authors in simple quality.

There a few sub-plots in this first book, and fewer loose ends. This at first seems desireable, but not having read the second book yet it seems unlikely that the series will be initially as closely linked as it could be. However, I could be wrong, as there could be sub-plots that I failed to pick up on, that wil ldevelop later on, or perhaps the sheer style quality of the writing will thread through the series to connect them.

To critique the author, who unfortunately lost his life to cancer in 2007, he often uses similar phrases or decriptions regularly, particularly in the thoughts of the main character. This could be seen as life-like, but it can be irksome at times. In addition there are a few elements that seemed to coincide very closely to other epic fantasies such as The Lord of the Rings (in particular) and The Belgariad. These are not often though, and become less frequent as the story unfolds. The only other criticism I can make is the names used in the book. Names such as Artur Paendrag are quite clearly taken from legend (King Arthur Pendragon in this particular case), but awkwardly corrupted, while many others are not memorable. Moraine, for example, I had to look up to write this review, despite having read the whole thing in the last 48 hours.

So yes, there are some flaws in this, the first book of the series, but they are far overshadowed by the flowing narrative, the rich detail and characters that almost become friends. The biggest fault is the slow beginning, but bearing in mind that the slow moving chapters take up sixty pages out of eight hundred (out of a 12 book series), this is a rather quick start to the overall story. I loved this book, and although I would dearly love to ignore the book I'd promised to review and move straight on to the second, I am a man of honour, and book 2 (The Great Hunt) will have to wait.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Group of 5 males and 3 females
Main Antagonist(s): Male entity
Main Relationships: Heterosexual Undertones
Genre: Fantasy
Succeeded by: The Great Hunt
Brief Synopsis:

When Rand's Village is attacked by trollocs, supposedly after him and two other boys (Mat and Perrin) he is forced to leave alongside Moraine, the Aes Sedai who told him this, and her Warder Lan. They are joined by a Gleeman, Thom, who wants to get away from the village, and a village girl, Egwene, who wants to see the world. Later the village's Wisdom, Nynaeve, catches up to them as they enter their first city. As Moraine tries to take them to the city of the Aes Sedai, Tar Valon, they are seperated, each discovering information that, when reunited, makes them realise that the whole world is in great danger. In their effort to save it they must endure The Ways of the Ogier, The perilous Bleak, and eventually the mystical Eye of the World.

ISBN: 1-85723-076-0
Website: Publisher's Author Page
Amazon Link: UK Site, US Site
Pages: ~ 800
First Published: 1990
Publisher: Orbit Books


So, there it. The first review. Hope it was helpful, and hope you come back to see more reviews soon. Keep Reading.

Adam Bourke

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