The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Series: The Wheel of Time #1
Published by Tor Books
Published on: January 15 1990
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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.
It’s hard for me to review this book, and only this book, objectively, b/c:
1. WoT is my favorite high fantasy series. Ever.
2. I’ve read the first eight books seven or eight times, maybe more (*whispers* I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve read them). DON’T JUDGE.
The first time, I was nineteen. Ish. I read all of the available books, back-to-back, schoolwork be damned.
Then I read them again.
And I loved them even more the second time.
I thrive on detail, you see. And Robert Jordan was a master of details. I caught so many previously missed foreshadowings, clevernesses, nuances, etc. that had flown right over my head the first time.
It was spectacular.
Like when Thom, Mat, and Rand jumped aboard Bayle Domon’s ship, and Thom spun a tale for the captain, explaining how they happened to come upon his ship with Trollocs (nasty man-beast things) on their heels:
Now it just so happened that he had earlier learned the location of Aridhol from a map given him many years ago by a dying friend in Illian whose life he had once saved . . .
B/c didn’t know it at the time, but Domon is an . . . wait for it . . . Illianer. *tips hat*
The whole series is FULL of things like that.
Rand al’Thor, Mat Cauthon, and Perrin Aybara are three young men on the cusp of adulthood. They live in Emond’s Field, where they have small village concerns and small village lives.
But when the previously mentioned Trollocs:
attack their village, it forces them to accept that such creatures of the Dark One are not mere stories made up to scare children. And when the two strangers who arrived just prior to the attack turn out to be an Aes Sedai (wielder of the One Power) and her Warder (warrior/protector), the manboys learn that a small village life is not in the cards for them (HA!) and are forced to leave their homes to protect their families from the Great Lord of the Dark’s minions, who won’t stop until all three are in their master’s grasp.
Jordan does an excellent job of keeping you guessing: which manboy is the Dark One after and why? Is it really just the one, or is it all of them? If it is all of them, are they all equally important, or do the degrees vary? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!
B/c this is not a simple story.
And one thing we do know is that Rand, Perrin, and Mat are ta’veren, and as such they unwittingly pull others into their quest: a so-much-more-than-a-simple gleeman whose past regrets dictate his future actions, a young Ogier whose curiosity and wanderlust led him to leave his peaceful stedding home to see the things he’s spent his life reading about, Rand’s sweetheart who refuses to be left behind and longs to become an Aes Sedai herself, and the village Wisdom who feels compelled to both protect the young people from Aes Sedai machinations and also to break through the Warder’s walls.
Among many others.
Each and every one of them vital in their own way.
Also vital are the multitudes of seemingly random observations and commentary that in reality are the foundations of awesomeness to come.
THESE BOOKS . . . layers and layers and still more layers. It’s truly incredible.
And despite having read The Eye of the World so many times that I practically have it memorized, I have yet to grow immune to the very real and heartbreaking struggles that many of the characters face.
Whether it’s Rand’s terrible journey from his farm in the Westwood to Emond’s Field, dragging his injured father to safety, Loial’s treesong to preserve a small part of his Treebrother’s sanctuary in the Blight, or Nynaeve’s yearning for a man bound to a never-ending battle that he cannot win . . . I still feel it. *rubs fist over heart*
And if you are unaffected by Moiraine’s tale of the long fallen Manetheren:
“But some did not flee. First in a trickle, then a river, then a flood, men went, not to safety, but to join the army fighting for their land. Shepherds with bows, and farmers with pitchforks, and woodsmen with axes. Women went, too, shouldering what weapons they could find and marching side by side with their men. No one made that journey who did not know they would never return. But it was their land. It had been their fathers’, and it would be their children’s, and they went to pay the price for it. Not a step of ground was given up until it was soaked with blood.”
then you have only a black, shriveled thing in your chest cavity.
SO. As daunting as this series may be (and I will never deny that it is daunting) . . . if you are a lover of fantasy, and you haven’t read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, you are doing yourself a major disservice. The Eye of the World has the best prologue I’ve ever read IN MY LIFE, so I challenge you to read it. It’s just a prologue. And if you don’t feel the need to see what happens next, then hey . . . all you’re out is the 15 minutes it took you to read it. ALSO, no one is holding a gun to your head. There’s no law that says once you start, you can’t stop until THE END. Take your time. Enjoy it. Or don’t. Whatever. But my recommendation is that you do.
These are the books that spawned my love of reading fantastical things as a adult.
ALSO, I’ll be keeping a spoiler-tagged record of the various bits of prophecy, Min’s viewings, etc. that accumulate along the way at the bottom of my Goodreads review. Fyi.
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This is a fantastic review Jessica! :] That prologue is definitely one of the best I’ve ever read. I really loved this book as well. I am always drawn to the old fashion epic fantasy. I have no idea why I never continued the series. Your review has given me inspiration! Book 2 here I come! :]
I have never tried this series but I have heard wonderful things about it Jessica and I can tell how much you love it by your review! Great job and you make me want to pick this one up and give it a go. 🙂
kindlemom1 recently posted…WoW Pick of the Week!
Don’t die of shock but I have actually read the first 5 of these and really enjoyed them. I needed a character cheat sheet while reading but it was worth it LOL
Felicia The Geeky Blogger recently posted…Audiobook Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer
I’ve always wanted to read the Wheel of Time but never got around to it–stuck mostly to Terry Brooks and the Shannara series for the most part–but this is a great review and I hope to get to Eye of the World one of these days. Also, that’s some great artwork for the Trollocs!
Oh, Jessica! I have read them, but it’s been a while. I should DEFINITELY read them again – thank you for reminding me 🙂 And, suddenly, my immediate future seems so bright!!!
Ramona recently posted…Author’s Voice Vs. Character’s Voice
I loved the Wheel of Time series, once I hadn’t found my love for other genres I only read high/epic fantasy and once I picked up the first book of this series I read the first 10 books back to back. The last three books hadn’t been released or treanslated in dutch yet, so I had to wait and then once I picked up book 11 I had forgotten so much I couldn’t continue the series. Maybe I’ll once pick up it again as I remember how much I loved this series with all the layers and itnricate plots. The only thing is, that this series is so long and it’s hard having to start from the very beginning again. Great review!
Lola recently posted…Review: Strange Magic Part One by Michelle Mankin
Yet another reason why I love you!
I love this series too! I’d like to be an Aiel, although I don’t think I have the skills to survive the dessert, and NO to sister wives… so maybe not. Ha!
Just wasn’t too crazy about the ending though. Darn Jordan for dying too soon!
Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Loved It: After Dark by M. Pierce
I have never read this series and I think that even though this author is in my mind as one I must read, it’s always been a ‘someday’ kind of thing. Like you said, it’s daunting. But your review has me really wanting to read it. I really love series with layers where you can go back and reread and pick up new things. I’m not a rereader, I never have been, but I’ve always wanted to be. Usually I can really only reread a series if it’s been long enough to have forgotten most of it. Like anything by Jacqueline Carey I could reread and probably find layers as well. Her fantasy books anyway.
I’m going to go grab this first book!
Candace recently posted…Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I haven’t really tapped into High Fantasy much beyond Tolkien and White, but Mr. Jordan is on the list.
Nice review, Jessica!
Sophia Rose recently posted…Meow! Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon
I absolutely ADORED the first few books in this series when I read them many moons ago, but I have to admit I got a little bogged down in the middle of the series (you are SO right about Jordan and his details – and I both love them and hate them at the same time!). But those characters never did let me go, and I HAD to know what would happen to them, so I finally listened to the whole series on audiobook. I’m listening to the final book now!!! Now I want to go and see all of your notes – I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to keep track of ALL those hints along the way, but I love it when other people point them out to me. 🙂
Nicole recently posted…I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson – Review
Gah! This review was JUST what I needed! See, I still haven’t actually read this series, but I’m a HUGE fantasy lover, and a HUGE fan of world-building and lots of details. I actually finally got my hands on a copy of this one over the holidays, so I’m planning on reading it asap 😀 I LOVE you LOVE for the series, how you read them again and again and how it STILL gives you all the feels! As much as it can seem daunting to get into a series this big, it’s also thrilling cause you just know how much time you’ll have to spend in the world, getting to know and love it’s characters! Fantastic review^^
Micheline recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday *112*
I’ve been told numerous times to read the books and I haven’t yet! I don’t know what is wrong with me! Every time I see someone review these books it goes through my head that I need to read them. Hm… I wonder if I should do them on audio?
*checked* Oh my library has the first on audio! 😀
Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…Blog Tour with Giveaway: The Frenchman by Lesley Young
I love these and have read like the first a MILLION times
As you very well said, that is one daunting series because of both the amount of books already published, to the size of said books… but you giving it 5 stars… it’s so damned tempting!!
Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #86!!
This series was the first I ever listen on audiobook. I felt in love with New Spring (prequel) and didn’t look back until I reach its very last book… Actually, I had to wait for that one (A Memory of Light) because it was not out yet when I was done listened to these audiobooks.
I know you are not keen on audiobooks, but these are exceptional, Kate Reading and Michael Kramer do an outstanding job with the narration. Thanks to them (and to Loupe) is that I discovered my love for audiobooks.
BookaholicCat recently posted…CATS-ilicious Thursdays
How lovely to find out one of your most loved stories Jess! I’ve heard of Robert Jordan before, but never knew what his books were about. They sound like they’re multilayered and complex, a book that you can really lose yourself in! Great review lovely!
Jeann recently posted…The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand Review: Moving on after suicide