I’ve wanted to read Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time for a while, but I thought it would be nearly impossible to find all the books in the 15-book series. However, thanks to a reading buddy who reminded me that I had such aspirations, I attempted to search for the books and start the series. Surprisingly, the books were relatively easy to find, with new editions published recently.
The first book, The Eye of the World, kicks off the series with a brief mysterious prologue before introducing the main characters, young men and women from a small village called Emond’s Field, which is on the edge of the realm in the Two Rivers. Very briefly, the story starts with the villagers preparing for a spring festival despite the dominant presence of winter. Coincidentally (or not, as such stories go), there are other strangers the village – an elegant yet mysterious woman, Moraine, and her bodyguard, Lan; a peddler; and a gleeman, Thom. Unfortunately, the festivities are ruined by the arrival of Trollocs and Myrddraal, which are supernatural creatures of the Dark One (in other words, bad guys). One thing leads to another, and three village boys who seem to be the sole reason for the attack leave the village to protect their family and find answers in the city of Tar Valon, which might as well be located on the other side of the world. The three boys, Rand, Mat, and Perrin, are led by Moraine and Lan, who are more than they seem (of course). But before they leave, a friend, Egwene, decides that she also wants to go on an adventure (I’m sure she regretted it later on). They are also accompanied by Thom, the gleeman, who entertains them along the way and teaches them some practical skills, which will come handy later, and later by Nynaeve, the village Wisdom or healer/adviser, all-around sage.
Anyway, to make a long (very, very long) story short, the group travels to different cities, trying to avoid the Trollocs and Myrddraal after them, sometimes successfully, sometimes not; learns a lot of secrets; fights; runs; hides; fights, runs, and hides again; becomes separated along the way; meets more scary creatures; meets some friendly people; meets some not-so-friendly people; meets queens and princes and a princess; learns new skills and attains new abilities; is reunited; and finally, lives happily ever after! No, just kidding…it will be a while before they live happily ever after, if they live at all.
The basic plot of The Eye of the World is the group’s journey to Tar Valon to learn why the Dark One (aka Shaitan, aka Sightblinder, aka He Who Must Not Be Named…) is after the three guys (or maybe just one of them) and for Egwene’s and Nyneave’s Aes Sedai (women who can wield the One Power and thus have magical powers) training. At least that is the plot until about 10 chapters before the ending, wherein the story veers off in a completely different direction.
It’s a known fact that Robert Jordan is a big fan of J. R. R. Tolkien and thus The Wheel of Time is hugely influenced by The Lord of the Rings. There are some similarities between the books, such as events and scenes and characters/creatures, but their stories are completely different. I think I would have given this book a higher rating if it weren’t for the strange ending, which seemed disconnected from the entire book. It seemed like the author suddenly decided to change the story without thinking much about the details, leaving more questions than answers. I’m hoping that it’s merely his way of setting up the plot of the next books and that the questions will be answered in the succeeding books…and not only because I already bought the remaining 14 books.
Overall, The Eye of the World is a fun read that will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning, full of adventures, mysterious characters, and secrets, wherein the characters, especially the Emond’s Field villagers, mature considerably and learn much about themselves and one another during their journey. It seems like a lot of people are reading/rereading this series these days, and no wonder, its the perfect book to read when you can’t leave home for fear of the Dark One…I mean, COVID-19 😛
Up next, book #2, The Great Hunt!
The Eye of the World – The Wheel of Time Book #1 (1990) – Robert Jordan
Tor; 788 pages; mmpb
Personal rating: 3.5/5