THE EYE OF THE WORLD by Robert Jordan
Updated: May 3, 2020
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Welcome to my Wheel of Time series Read-Through. My goal is to finish this series by the end of 2020 (crosses fingers). Currently, I’m in the middle of reading book four, The Shadow Rising. However, I wanted to go back and write quick reviews for books 1-3 and start documenting each step of the way!
Raise your hand if Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series intimidates you. I’m waving mine, here. Not only are there more books in the series than I have fingers, but each installment is large enough to kill a colony of large, rabid spiders. Not to mention overwhelm just thinking about the immense world and the thousands upon thousands of named characters.
As this series is a landmark of the epic fantasy genre, attempting to tackle it has been a life goal of mine – especially as one of my favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson, finished out the series upon Jordan’s death.
The Eye of the World sat on my shelf for years before I finally deemed myself worthy to pick it up and devour it. Using a read-a-long book club I found on the internet (Caravan, to be specific), I journeyed into the unknown and opened the mass-market paperback at last. I was not disappointed. Not even a little.
I understand some of the criticisms, such as the plot leans too heavily on The Lord of the Rings or that it’s difficult to keep track of the characters (I tried keeping a running list and failed), but once I accepted the fact I would not remember the small characters briefly mentioned and that I didn’t mind the heavy Tolkien influence, I fell in love.
As I mentioned above, it’s clear that Jordan relied on that of Tolkien, but it grew from there into its own story entirely. I had to work to get past the first half of the book, but I’m so thankful for my gritted-teeth determination. I loved the different plotlines and how they each intersected and came together at the end. I don’t want to say more than that because SPOILERS, but if you’re on the fence about WoT because of this, don’t worry. It’ll get better. It’s worth the read.
This one is a two-edged sword for me. I loved getting to know the characters, my favorites being Rand, Egwene, and Nynaeve. I think they each have a lovely character arc throughout this first book, and I’m excited to learn more about them as the series continues. However, one criticism I have is that I see little development of the relationships between the characters themselves. What relationship they have has already been established, or as with Nynaeve and another character (I won’t name because SPOILERS), we’re only told what happens after the fact. I want to see the characters not only grow as individuals but also how their relationships with one another progress in real-time. I like to see the build-up. However, I look forward to reading the other novels, and I hope that this is something that will improve over the course of the series.
Wow. Wow. Wow. I feel like this is where Jordan shines. Not only did I love the medieval-esque vibe to the world, but I like how varied it is. The intricacies of each nation and their histories is one of the most interesting elements of this book. Just learning about each culture we came across was such a treat. I can’t wait to dive in more! I don’t have much more to say here, but I know that in the coming books, this section will only continue to get better and better as we explore the other corners of this world. I would also recommend you watch Daniel Greene’s quick explanation of the world history (spoiler-free) before diving in. It made everything much easier to grasp as I read.
If you like fantasy and enjoy intricate world-building, then this is the novel for you. Give it a chance and don’t quit early. If you see this book through, you won’t be disappointed.
Buy this book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3bZMiXV
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