The Eye of the World – The Wheel of Time #1 – Robert Jordan
Release Date: November 15th, 1990 (My edition: 2006)
Publisher: Tor Books (mine by Orbit)
Age Group: Adult
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.
Let me just say it right away: I loved it! I read this with so much pleasure and hunger for more. This is just my cup of tea. The Eye of the World is the beginning of a journey intricately described throughout no less than 14 books and I can’t wait to devour every single one of them.
I really liked the edition of the book I picked up. It was published in 2006 by Orbit (16 years after it was first published by Tor Books), it’s got a fairly simple cover but lots of tidbits inside. Every chapter has its own symbol (I’m a big fan of a bit of decoration in a book, like the really old ones where the first letter of a chapter was actually a little painting). Along the way there are 2 or 3 maps, so you can easily follow where the characters are at the moment and where they’re headed.
The Wheel of Time has all the ingredients of an epic Fantasy saga: a great cast of characters, an intricately described world, adventure, tension, mystery, some creepy moments, magic and lots of new creatures (dark ones, as well as good ones).
The action and tension in this book are wonderfully interwoven with intensive worldbuilding. We get to know a whole new, wonderfully found, complicated world full of mystery and power. The strength of this book is mostly build on the powerful worldbuilding, not as much on the characters. Although I could make a connection with Rand, who we seem to be focusing on most of the time, there wasn’t that much characterbuilding going on. This was solved by the separations of the characters somewhere around the middle of the book. While they were all in small groups, we got to know a little more about some of the others (Perrin, Nynaeve) and their train of thoughts.
The writing style is very captivating and doesn’t let you put down the book easily. This is a book to get lost in on a long, relaxing day outside under a tree in summer or inside on the couch before a crackling hearth. The descriptions are so rich and extensive without being the least bit tedious.
There seems to be happening a lot in this book (at 800 pages, that’s not a surprise) but there’s still so much that needs to be answered, it seems not that much has happened at all, which makes sense since there are 13 more books where the story is continued.
Sometimes it takes a long time before some things are explained (for example: The Eye of the World, we don’t know what it is, or where it is or anything ‘till right at the end of the book). But if you keep reading, all the waiting certainly pays off.
The Eye of the World is a very long book and I’ve rarely read such an elaborate story told with so much detail, but I’d recommend it to anyone who likes long Fantasy sagas.