TITLE: The Eye of the World
SERIES: The Wheel of Time, book 1
AUTHOR: Robert Jordan
PAGES/LOCATIONS: 1079 pages
GOODREADS’ AVG. RATING: 4.15 out of 5 stars; 172,854 ratings
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, and 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.
DATES READ: January 8-20, 2015
This read-through has been a long time coming, but it has finally begun and I have to admit that I couldn’t be happier with this book – an excellent introduction into the world of The Wheel of Time. The story follows the lives of three young men from the village of Two Rivers in Emond’s Field, an area which is regarded as farm country, who become entangled in the fate of their entire world. They come to be known as ta’veren – people around whom the Wheel of Time specifically weaves the Pattern with all surrounding life-threads. While I understand the focus on Rand, Mat, and Perrin as the ta’veren, I didn’t feel as if the other characters suffered or were forgotten or came across as less important. I felt as if the majority of the secondary characters were just as developed as the three primary ones, even without knowing their entire back stories. Jordan was able to create a feeling of substance to these secondary characters mainly through their interactions with the primary characters (i.e. Moiraine and Lan), then we learn more of their history (in this case Lan’s) from meetings with other characters along the way. We learn more of Egwene and Nynaeve through their history with the ta’veren, growing up in Emond’s Field or serving as the village Wisdom. Each character has substance, each has a part to play – “The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and we are only the thread of the Pattern.”
My favorite character is Nynaeve, her care for Rand, Mat, Perrin, and Egwene was genuine and she was willing to speak her mind against Moiraine Sedai to protect them – something that many would fear given the distrust and fear which surrounds Aes Sedai. Nynaeve is an incredibly strong woman, yet underneath her outer toughness is a certain softness which shines through in her interactions with Lan. There were hints of her attraction towards him in the early chapters, but towards the end it is more than just an attraction and has evolved into something more. I cried for them at the end of chapter 48…I feel as if their destinies are much like how Min described the love between Rand and Egwene, that while they may love each other they are not meant for each other. Granted, this is entirely speculation at this point yet I still hurt for them. Lan truly does think fondly of Nynaeve as she does him.
I know the love stories aren’t the entire point of this book, getting 14 books out of them would likely become quite boring, but this just lends evidence to the success of Jordan’s writing. Jordan was able to weave in so many different facets to his story that lend to the foundation and substance of his characters without straying from the focal point of the overall novel and that is a beautiful thing.
TL;DR REVIEW: 4.75 out of 5 stars. This is by far one of the best introductory novels for a series that I have read. Jordan ends the story in a way which leaves you satisfied, yet curious for what comes next. The ending isn’t just some outright cliff-hanger, it is more subtle than that and I can appreciate this subtlety. The majority of books which have been written in recent years have created this idea that stories should end on these major cliff-hangers in order to garner reader interest for the next book. The subtlety of Jordan at the end of this book appears to be somewhat of a lost art. Overall, I am incredibly pleased with this novel and my introduction to The Wheel of Time world and I look forward to continuing my adventure with The Great Hunt.