Title: The Eye the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of Time #1
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
I would like to start out by saying: don’t let my conservative rating scare you off from this series. At least 75% of customers I talk to about fantasy rank this series in their top 3, if not their #1. I am definitely the minority here, as the book didn’t even make my top 20.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a classic that deserves its place as one of the all-time fantasy greats, it just happened to have some elements that I personally didn’t care for. As the beginning of an epic quest not unlike that of Tolkien, I found it a bit long-winded. Not boring, mind you, as there were several highly developed and exciting characters (who were frankly the biggest reasons why I’m tempted to read the second book). The magic system and overall measure of time were also highly original and interesting, even though we didn’t get to learn much about them.
No, what the book lacked is that sense of excitement I usually feel while reading a great fantasy novel. I believe this is due to poor pacing decisions rather than any issues with the plot. It was just too slow-moving with too many senseless encounters. There also wasn’t much of an arc, lacking the sort of emotional highs and lows that usually go along with good storytelling. I definitely would’ve appreciated more time spent on the climax of the book rather than endless chapters of the characters meeting one fat innkeeper after another. I guess I just missed that emotional payoff – I suppose I’ll have to evaluate the series as a whole for that kind of reaction.
Overall, I respect this author a great deal, as I believe he has done wonders for the fantasy genre by inspiring new authors every day. There are just too many out there that I enjoyed more.
Other books I liked better (in a particular order):
- “Magician Apprentice” by Raymond E. Feist
- “Wizard’s First Rule” by Terry Goodkind
- “Assassin’s Apprentice” by Robin Hobb
- “Pawn of Prophecy” by David Eddings
- “The Sword of Shannara” by Terry Brooks