The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1) is a 1990 fantasy adventure novel written by Robert Jordan and published by tor Books. Set as the book of The Wheel of Time series the story picks up 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.
- Good characters
- Good story
- Terrific world building
- Good dialogue
- Good writing
- Unlikable characters
- Unoriginal plot
- Overly descriptive writing
Plot: The story is hardly original and is practically one big chase. Trollocs and Myrddraal hunt the protagonists in an attempt to capture Rand, Perrin, and Mat. At one point the group are separated; Rand, Mat, and Thom travel to Whitebridge while Mat battles the influence of Shadar Logoth; Egwene and Perrin meet Elyas Machera and are captured by the Children of the Light. Initially the story doesn’t really seem all that interesting and even with the Myrddraal attack if really isn’t original. However, the antagonists’ pursuit of the group does provide some really intense and exciting twists. The climax is pretty epic although somewhat lackluster although the buildup of Rand being the Dragon Reborn is pretty obvious. Despite the simple premise the story continuously dives deeper and deeper and more complex as it progresses. (3 out of 5)
Characters: The characters are pretty interesting, each rich with personality. The main protagonists consists of Rand al’Thor, Perrin Albara, and Matrim “Mat” Cauthon. These three come along way since their departure from the Two Rivers. Each does learn things about themselves, face their fears, and also becomes stronger. Perrin learns that he has this connection with wolves, Mat is nearly overtaken by a curse in Shadar Logoth, and Rand learns that he is more or less the chosen one. Unfortunately, I have to admit that these three are the most likable characters and nearly everyone else in the group, aside from Thom the Gleeman, are straight up assholes. They are either too serious or know-it-alls.
The women characters are douchebags who are way too harsh, whether they’re right or wrong, do or say something stupid, they take every opportunity they can to emasculate the men. Moiraine is an Aes Sedai tasked with protection of the three. She is a big of a douchebag at first and seems like one of characters that think they have the answer to everything. Her cool, calm demeanor is balanced by her Warder’s Al’Lan Mandragoran even more stoic personality. Sometimes Lan is frustrating because of his loyalty to Moiraine and how he acquiesces to everything she says and does. Ba’alzamon was a pretty cool bad guy although a little cliche. And lastly, three characters that appear in the final climax but don’t necessarily seem like they “fit” into the story are the Green Man and the two antagonists, the Forsaken Aginor and Balthamel, who just kind of show up at the end. (3 out of 5)
Writing: One of the most pronounced features that makes this novel so rich is the high level of detail. Jordan’s attention to detail is as good as it is bad. It does feel long winded at times and a lot of the characters introduced don’t feel relevant (at least not immediately important). The dialogue is pretty well written, even more so that the characters have their own unique style which reflects their personalities. It’s one of the better aspects of the story. One of my favorite lines is “Blood and bloody ashes” and “Burn you”.
Definitely a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the world building. There are some moments where the content detracts from the main story but because of the structure those are far and few between. Sometimes it can become hard to keep track of what’s important because so much is going on. But thumbs up to Jordan for a great focus of the characters and an interesting world. Love the fact that the world isn’t split into black and white and that most characters’ motivations are in the shades of grey. (4 out of 5)
The Verdict: In the end, The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1) is a great read though it has its share of problems. Most of its problems are centered around the overly descriptive writing, a lot of unlikable characters, and some choppy. However, the story is pretty interesting, and the world rich with content, as well as good characters, detailed writing style, and good dialogue. The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1) gets 3 out of 5.