I’ve just finished reading Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World and I am blown away. I loved every minute of it and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
I did not expect to like it as much as I did. My friend recommended it to me knowing that I enjoy reading fantasy novels. Since he has good taste in things, I decided to trust his judgment to try it but I was skeptical since many people likened it to the Lord of the Rings and though great, the Lord of the Rings can be a bore at times with the exception of The Hobbit. But I wanted to try something new so off I went to buy Jordan’s book.
I love Jordan’s style. It reminds me of Robin McKinley in how he takes his time to build his world, which he does by introducing us to the people who live in it. The first chapter sets the tone for the rest of the story and also gives us a glimpse of the situation that the characters will find themselves in throughout the story.
The story begins with Rand, a teenaged farm boy, battling strong winds with his father to get to the village to deliver brandy for the Bel Tine Festival. They walk guarded, on the lookout for wolves, so they are constantly looking over their shoulder. This tone continues throughout the story since Rand and his companions are always fighting dark creatures or on the lookout for them. They travel through the entire novel looking over their shoulder.
Of course, Rand constantly looking over his shoulder at the beginning of the book foreshadows that something big is about to happen and it’s not a wolf attack. What does happen, though, is a trolloc attack. The Dark One, a.k.a Ba’alzamon a.k.a Shai’tan (his true name), realizes that the person who is the greatest threat to his power is located at Emond’s Field, a country place that’s ignorant to most of the goings-on in the world, so he dispatches his evil minions, Myrddraals and trollocs, to get them. An Aes Sedai (a man or woman that channel the One Power) named Moiraine becomes aware of this as well so she visits Emond’s Field with her warder Lan to locate the person(s). Unable to decide who it is that the Dark One wants, she convinces Rand and his friends, Perrin and Mat, to leave with her since it is them who attract the Myddraals and trollocs to the village. Rand’s love interest Egwene runs off with them seeking adventure and the gleeman Thom accompanies them as well. They are followed by the village Wisdom (a healer) Nynaeve, and stalked by a man called Padan Fain, a peddler (he reminds me of Gollum).
It’s an adventure after they leave the village. They are pursued closely by the Myrddraal and trollocs, and there are several close calls when they are nearly overcome by the dark creatures. The Aes Sedai and warder do their best to keep them all safe but shit happens. Stupid Mat gets touched by a dark force and at one point they were all split up; plus, no one knows if the gleeman is dead or alive.
I’ve left out a lot but the story is pretty extensive (782 pages in the paperback edition I have and that’s excluding the glossary) with a lot of details. But it is a good read. I especially liked when the group got split up. Even then the story flowed seamlessly. Though Jordan writes from various perspectives, it is done deftly so the reader is not thrown off by the change. The story is very similar to Tolkien (almost the exact situation just with different names) but I appreciate Jordan’s talent for storytelling and his ability to paint the picture of the story in his readers’ minds with his words. At the end of the story, it is apparent that all has not been resolved and that there are questions left to be answered but the ending is not so abrupt as to leave one frustrated and impatient for the next book. Well, impatient maybe since you will anticipate beginning the next book but not frustrated. The story ends tidily, resolving one of the major issues. It’s because of such an ending that I can calmly wait to begin the second book. I love a good ending: an ending that feels like an ending even if there’s more to come.
I enjoyed the characters as well. Lan is totally cool and Loial, an ogier, is funny at times especially when he refers to his teacher. Moiraine seems nice as well though I always think she has something up her sleeve. She is so mysterious, I can’t tell if she is totally good or if she might be bad. Perrin is interesting now that he is a wolf-brother. I wonder what will happen as he gets closer to the wolves. It would be cool to read a fight scene from his point of view when his wolf senses are high. Mat gets on my nerves. He takes safety for granted and ends up in hot water because of it. Rand is the protagonist in this book. I am curious about his background. I wonder if he will make it to the Aiel Waste to figure out who he really is. I think he will have to go there to figure that out since everyone says he looks like an Aielman. I sympathize with Egwene and cheer her on as she tries to dictate her own destiny to become an Aes Sedai and go on adventures and show that she is as tough as any man. I like her spirit. Nynaeve is very annoying. All she does is throw tantrums.
Overall, I enjoyed this neat rewrite of the Lord of the Rings (sike! But it’s so similar to LOTR). Jordan relayed it well. I like his style.
Quotes from the book:
“Sometimes, sheepherder, stories make things larger than truth.”
“…when what they do is hidden, men sometimes deal with strangers in ways they wouldn’t if there were other eyes to see.”
“…violence harms the one who does it as much as the one who receives it…the mighty axe does violence to the helpless tree, and is harmed by it [it becomes dull]. So it is with men, though the harm is in the spirit.”
“Relax, lad. Take life as it comes. Run when you have to, fight when you must, rest when you can.”
“Fear will kill you if you don’t control it.”
“The Wheel of Time weaves the Pattern of the Ages, and lives are the threads it weaves.”
- Turning the Wheel of Time Again (jianhouw.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: The Wheel of Time, Book 1: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (ravereader.wordpress.com)
- Ten Things About… A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan (tenthingsabout.wordpress.com)