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Fun story: I read The Eye of the World because I wanted to impress my crush at the time. I honestly thought that I would not enjoy this book but I was prepared to slog through it cause I was badly mooning over this guy.
Four years later, I’m still in love with the book and the boy married me.
So, fun story aside, I hope you’ll take the time to read my review. There is a spoiler section which you can skip to read the last two paragraphs! I hope this review convinces you to read the series!
THE EYE OF THE WORLD BY ROBERT JORDAN
BOOK ONE OF THE WHEEL 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.
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It’s incredulous to think about how one little book from years ago could change so much of my life. Ever since I picked up The Eye of the World, I have been greatly motivated and influenced as a writer. When I finished this book back in 2016, I did not write a review. For one, I had no idea how to put into words the love I have for this book. Today though, I am going to give it a try because I would love more people to read this book.
First of all, The Eye of the World has one of the most memorable opening lines.
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
– Chapter 1: An Empty Road
Just this part: “…a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”
How gorgeous is that line? I love the imagery of time being one flow of wind. Honestly, reading that makes me want to fling this book at the wall (in a good way!).
Now, if you think that is beautiful, wait till you read the entire book. Robert Jordan’s description of the world and people is one of the best I’ve ever read. I know a lot of readers might be intimidated by the word count of the book or even the fact that there are fourteen books in the Wheel of Time series but it’s all worth it. Every scene has these vivid descriptions of the world. Robert Jordan writers in a very detailed way that you cannot not imagine the world he is bringing to you. This isn’t to say that he writes flowery prose because it really isn’t. The best way to describe Rober Jordan’s prose is with the word, “evocative.”
Leaves covered the trees in ever greater profusion, but stained and spotted with yellow and black, with livid red streaks like blood poisoning. Every leaf and creeper seemed bloated, ready to burst at a touch. Flowers hung on trees and weeds in a parody of spring, sickly pale and pulpy, waxen things that appeared to be rotting while Rand watched. When he breathed through his nose, the sweet stench of decay, heavy and thick, sickened him; when he tried breathing through his mouth, he almost gagged. The air tasted like a mouthful of spoiled meat. The horses’ hooves made a soft squishing as rotten-ripe things broke open under them.
– Chapter 48: The Blight
The way he writes is very simple, very direct, and yet it tugs at so many emotions. This brings me to the way he writes character interactions. Now, the characters in The Eye of the World stand so well on their own and yet even together they are very distinct.
Book One begins with a literal bang; the setting is Emond’s Field, a quaint village that is pretty much far out in the outskirts of Andor. The people are preparing for their feast day and so the village is bubbling with excitement. But on the night of this celebration, Trollocs (creatures of the Dark One) attack the village and from there the plot of The Eye of the World moves at a brisk pace.
We have our three characters from Emond’s Field who are whisked away by an Aes Sedai, one who can channel the One Power, and her Warder. She believes that one of the three boys from Emond’s Field is being hunted by the Dark One, and so she means to keep them out of the Dark One’s hands. Egwene follows along find with the boys as Moiraine meaning to have her adventure as well. It is during this that Egwene discovers that she had the ability to channel the One Power and so Moiraine decides to teach Egwene how to control it. However, the group is attacked by Trollocs, creatures of the Dark One, and are separated.
The entire story of The Eye of the World alternates between a climatic high then a low, another high, another low, and so on it goes. During quieter times, in the plot, the characters are truly fleshed out. So, while this might not be for many people, I found a lot of satisfaction because of how deeply Robert Jordan delved into who his characters are. Rather than just being throwing these five characters at us with the label of childhood friends, the author slows the pacing to allow these characters to be themselves and to reveal their personality as they are placed in uncomfortable situations. It is during this time, in their separation and unlikely pairing, that we come to truly understand these characters.
Perrin and Egwene are separated from Moiraine as they crossed the river to escape the Trollocs. These two characters are level-headed, though Egwene has a more fiery temper. Prior to this, they had not interacted very much. During their quest to Caemlyn, where they supposedly are to meet the rest of the group, these two characters squabble like siblings. One their way, Perrin discovers something about himself that scares him. On the way, they meet people who play a role in the way Perrin sees himself. Now, this a boy who is very peaceful and gentle, and the truth he discovers about himself seems so far from the man he wants to be.
Then, we have Mat and Rand travelling together and these boys broke my heart. Long story short, Mat is an idiot who picked up a cursed dagger and is now slowly going crazy. They travelled through towns earning their bed and meal by performing at taverns. But soon, Mat starts to get very sick, is losing his mind, and is becoming very paranoid and hateful. Yet through it all Rand remains by his friend’s side, caring for him, and taking the responsibility of earning their money when Mat could not. This particular scene in the book just killed me:
Suddenly he realized Mat was twisting and moaning in his sleep. He shook him, and Mat came awake with a whimper.
“My eyes! Oh, Light, my eyes! He took my eyes!”
Rand held him close, cradling him against his chest as if he were a baby. “You’re all right, Mat. You’re all right. He can’t hurt us. We won’t let him.” He could feel Mat shaking, sobbing into his coat. “He can’t hurt us.” He whispered, and wished he believed it.
Excuse me while I cry into my book. That scene was brutal to my emotions. It’s during this scene it hits me that these are kids. Teenagers who had never been out of their village and are now forced to battle not only against the creatures hunting them but also against hunger, the weather, and the fear that plagues each of them.
Our third party is Moiraine and Lan who had been followed by Nynaeve. Compared to the others, Nynaeve and Moiraine’s head-butting was amusing. I found it interesting to read these two characters who, in a way, had similar motivations but were on different paths and had different ideals. It was interesting to read their dynamics and I’m a bit excited to know how Moiraine and Nynaeve’s relationship might evolve.
I loved the introduction of Loial who is an Ogier, non-human creatures that love the pursuit of knowledge and peace. They are often confused for Trollocs. Loial’s addition to gave a bit of joy to the atmosphere. It was fun to read of this gentle giant, who when questioned would begin by narrating history before getting to the actual point. I love Loial; I think he’s very charming and his soft nature is what the group needed.
The climactic scene in The Eye of the World was confusing when I read it the first time, but on re-reading, I was able to pick up certain foreshadowings that I had not before. Even with a small victory, The Eye of the World did not give me a sense of ending but rather there is a certain dread in the air for what is to come. The end of this book does not show the characters well and happy but rather as if parts of them have been chipped away.
Overall, The Eye of the World really stuck with me. In spite of the many fantasy tropes pervasive in The Eye of the World, as someone who has already read book two through four, I can tell you right now that Robert Jordan plays and shapes these tropes into something new.
Thank you for reading my review!
🌺 Have you read The Wheel of Time series?
🌺 Who is your favourite character?
🌺 What are your thoughts on The Eye of the World?
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