The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #1)
Title: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Published Date: January 15th 1990
Length: 804 pages
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Adult Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
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.
When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.
Ok, so I finally read the first book in this humungous series and I loved it enough that I am going to continue on with it. I think the first book is really giving us the glimpse into what Robert Jordan just started to show us of his world. It is not perhaps the most original and you can really see where he picked up Tolkien’s materials and decided to play with the themes and characters, he saw fit. It’s not a bad thing, truly. I am going to try and not compare Tolkien’s works (specifically Lord of the Rings) and that of Jordan’s because that’s not what this post is supposed to be anyway.
The book starts in Two Rivers, a long-forgotten village that nobody of any consequence really cares about, the people of Two Rivers live as the day comes. However, the year this book starts with, there have been some odd things happening. Wolves have been spreading terror and certain people have seen a man in black clothing on a horse. Rand and his father are finally going back to the village after having had one of the worst winters in many years, while they are reaching the village, Rand sees a stranger on a horse that seems to be staring at him with intent and hate. Then, we are introduced to most of the villagers and their quirks. It’s quite enjoyable, if a bit detailed. The character introduced in this part of the book are complex and with lives of their own and you can see that they are each quite individual and that’s what made me continue with the book.
We start the story when a lot of new and strange things are starting to happen in their corner of the world and it’s not a good change, either. As Rand meets up with his friends, he realises that the same stranger might have been seen by his friends too, there was a war of sorts happening outside of the Two Rivers and that, there was a new Dragon and this time, he seemed to be the real deal. On top of that, there were newcomers in the village, a gleeman called Thom and a lady called Morraine who seemed to have come with Lan. They are all the villagers are talking about.
The story truly picks up pace as Rand and Tam come back to the house and are attacked by Trollocs of all things. Creatures that have not been seen in a long, long time. Tam is injured and Rand has to bring his father safely back to the village in order to heal him. From there, things are put in motion and they do not stop till the end of the time. Even the end feels like it would continue on in the next book, in the best way possible, of course.
“You cannot escape so easily, Dragon. It is not done between us. It will not be done until the end of time.”
I feel like Jordan’s world feels real enough and gray enough that I fell in love with it. The geography and the cities/villages made a difference in how people were in their daily life and while Rand and others are journeying through the land, we can see those things. I really loved that aspect of the book. The world is, clearly, expansive and rich with its history and culture and from the remote villages to the bustling cities, everything had a character that defined the place, the people and the lives. I loved that but I can also admit that all those details probably slowed down the pace of the general plot of the book. I am not complaining, yet. World building is clearly one of the aces up Robert Jordan’s sleeves because how else could he write so many books in the same world without it feeling a bit stale at some point.
As far as magic is concerned, it’s subtle at times and not a lot of it is explained. It is very much present and there’s no denying that, even the village folks are aware of Aes Sedai and their magic but it’s also the Wisdom of the village, the common man’s magic that is very practical in its use. I liked that it was magic but it was also just accepted like a normal thing instead of the awe and fear that Aes Sedai created where they went. The magic system is clearly layered because there’s also animal magic that we could see during Perrin’s journey. Basically, the first book is just like an introduction to the world and its magic and it feels like that. It feels massive but we only get glimpses of it.
As for the characters, they are certainly different enough from each other to give them a distinct air and apart from Morraine and Lan, the people of Two Rivers were explored quite a lot, I think. I like that all the boys and the girls got their own parts and each had a feel of being their own, if you know what I mean? I am sure we will see more of Morraine and Lan in later novels. I am also seeing some clear pairing up happening but I am hoping that they are not correct guesses? Let’s see how that pans out.
Overall, I think it’s a great book! It was engaging, had some pacing issues but overall, it just works for someone like me. Also, it’s Wheel of Time. People sort of know what they are getting into when they start the journey. There’re clear warnings about some books in the series, of course, this is only the first book and everything feels awesome for me, it might not feel the same way to others. For me though, it felt like a start of a new adventure.