The Eye of the World: A Complete Review
Have you ever wanted to read a series that is as complex and diverse as A Song of Ice and Fire but is as digestible as say, The Lord of The Rings? Then The Eye of The World is the book for you.
The Eye of The World is the first novel in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. The entire series is comprised of 14 novels with two prequels, New Spring and The Strike at Shayol Ghul. The first 11 books were written by Robert Jordan before his untimely death in 2007 due to cardiac amyloidosis. The rest of The Wheel of Time series was finished posthumously by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson wrote the final versions of The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light. Robert Jordan’s real name was actually James Oliver Rigney Jr., but he chose instead to go by his pen name, Robert Jordan while publishing his work. Jordan also published under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal, Jackson O'Reilly, and Chang Lung. Jordan is also credited with ghost writing a novel, the name of which is unknown.
The Wheel of Time series was originally intended to be a six-book series, but as mentioned above, the series ultimately concluded with 14 installations. Jordan began writing the first installation, The Eye of the World in 1984. The novel was later published in January of 1990 and still holds up to this day. The entire series channels several modern concepts that can be detected throughout even the first book of this series. In that regard, one could say that The Eye of the World is a little Chronicles of Narnia-esque. Some such themes are recognizable from Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Christianity. The battle of good vs. evil, or dark vs. light, is a common theme used throughout the novel, as well as the concept of balance in nature.
The Eye of the World is loved by many for its amazing features, such as its magnificently detailed world, magic system, and characters. Speaking of characters, there are a lot of them. In fact, a character flowchart would probably help some readers. The Eye of the World is kind of like Game of Thrones in that everyone’s everything is important. You know the main character’s great great grandfather’s best friend's son, oh well he’s the one guy who is now going to go do that thing with the main character’s best friend as they go cross country. There are a staggering 258 characters in The Eye of the World.
Now onto what actually happens in this book. Let us preface by saying that there are 56 chapters in this book, which is more than A Feast of Crows’ 43 chapters, but less than A Game of Thrones’ 73 chapters. But all in all, The Eye of the World is comparable in length to both novels. So, if you love lengthy, epic fantasies then this series is a must-read! What we’re trying to say is that this book is long, so we’re going to try to deliver a short and concise summary that probably leaves out a lot. Ok, onto the good stuff. In a nutshell, here’s a brief summary of The Eye of the World. Just a quick word of caution, the following may contain some mild spoilers.
Three friends, Rand, Mat, and Perrin live their lives in a town forgotten by most. The inhabitants of the quiet farming community lived their lives in peace until the town is attacked by a dark force, Trollocs, lead by Myrddraal, a Shadowspawn. Due to the appearance of some shady characters as well as mysterious visitors, it quickly becomes clear that the attack was in pursuit of one of the three boys. Visiting Aes Sedai, Moiraine, along with her Warder, Lan, intend to find out which boy is being targeted. Long story short, the three head out with a cast of traveling companions that they meet at home and while abroad.
Through a series of events, the traveling group ends up divided after some of their adventures. Most of our characters reunite after their travels, only to discover that they must travel farther to the eye of the world to keep their ultimate foe, the Dark One, for escaping his prison. Someone is prophesied to end the world, some characters discover interesting powers, and of course, someone dies. Suffice to say; a lot happens in the first installation of this epic quest.
The Actual Review
Our thoughts on The Eye of the World are generally positive. We’re all for world-building, epic fantasies, so we loved the attention to detail the author provided. And yet, there were times when this world-building was a bit over bloated. The Eye of the World is the first book of The Wheel of Time series, so naturally, it will need to dedicate quite a few of its pages to expositional world-crafting, but every now and then we found ourselves turning pages after only skimming them. This allowed us to pick up what we needed to know and not spend pages reading about the look and feel of an abandoned city. On the other hand, the dedication to detail made this world absolutely thrive in our minds. Each city, character, and encounter was described with such finesse that it was difficult to put this book down to perform necessities like eating, sleeping, or candle making.
There’s no denying it; this book is very Tolkien-esque. But that doesn't make the book bad. Many consider this book to be a classic in the fantasy genre, and we agree. The Eye of the World can, in fact, be long-winded, but it’s the type of long-winded storytelling that isn’t boring. After the first few chapters, you’ll greatly appreciate the level of consideration that Jordan gave to every aspect of this novel; people, places, and objects included. There’s a cliffhanger because of course there is, but it only makes you want to read the sequel as opposed to being made with an unsatisfying ending.
To be blunt, this book is a really solid start to a series that promises to be good. We’ve heard all the talk about the first six being the best and all that, but we’ll wait to reserve judgment on the series as a whole until we’ve read all the books.
And, oh my gosh, let’s talk about that magic system. If you’re tired of magic systems that apparently are infinite and lack any formal structure, then you’re in luck. Another laudable feature of this series is the interesting female characters! It’s easy for characters in fantasy novels to become one dimensional or stereotypical, but the ladies in this story can seriously hold their own. In conclusion, if you liked Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings, you’re going to love this book.
If it wasn’t clear, we’re huge book nerds. We love all things literary, from candles to bookish merch. That’s why we’ve partnered with Ta'veren Tees to create a signature scent for this deserving series. The new scent, Emond's Field, will be available to fellow book lovers mid-November. With scents of honeycakes, wheat fields, and birch forest, you’ll feel right at home among this captivating series.