“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.”
The Eye of the World fits squarely into the category of old-school epic fantasy. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, the world is huge, and there is a cast of thousands. In this book series that is literally the truth (there are 2,200 characters). Don’t let that fact scare you off, however. Just as The Lord of the Rings started small and simple with The Hobbit, so does The Eye of the World start off with simple beginnings in the small farm town of Emond’s Field in the Two Rivers district. Three young men, Rand, Mat, and Perrin, whose birthdays all fall within a few weeks of one another, are sought out by two strangers, one a beautiful lady named Moraine who is able to use magic, in this world called “the one power.” The other, Moraine’s bodyguard, is a large brute of a man of whom it has been said that he courts death like a lover.
When the beasts called Trollocs invade the town, the group, along with a few other unlikely companions, start a journey that will take them across the continent on their way to find the mysterious Eye of the World, an ancient artifact that could prove the difference in the battle between good and evil. On their way they find out that one of the boys might be the feared Dragon Reborn, an ancient ruler named Lews Therin “Kinslayer” who, after saving the world from the Dark One, went mad and killed all of his family and friends. The birth of the Dragon Reborn marks the beginnings of great sorrow and destruction and, ultimately, the last battle itself.
A few notes:
Pacing: The pacing is steady with good ups and downs in the action. Keep in mind with this sort of book the world itself is part of the plot driver, so if you are unaccustomed to this it may seem on the slow side in some parts. There are, however, many scenes of excitement, danger and intrigue. All things considered, the writing is good and there is not a lot to get bored with.
Characters: Robert Jordan has created some wonderful characters with strong wills and desires, both men and women who are important and will elicit emotional reactions one way or another. Make sure to give Nynaeve a fair shake as her intentions are pure.
Ending: The ending is exciting and is a perfect setup for the next book, The Great Hunt.
Recommendation: I strongly recommend this book and this series. It is also available in two parts, which may be a little less intimidating for younger readers, called From the Two Rivers and Into the Blight.
Rated: Mild see ratings page for more details. Sex: sex/nudity are basically nonexistent in this book. The main characters are brought up in a puritanical background and are very modest. Some crushes are mentioned, dancing, etc. Violence: There is a good amount of action and violence, but it is not graphic or gory. Language: Almost no swearing of any kind. Characters use “By the Light”, “Blood and Ashes”, and other types of language as swearing, but even this is fairly uncommon. Themes: Trust, seeing the world as a much bigger place than it is, good vs. evil.
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