Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Eye of the World - Robert Jordan


Honestly, I've never really been bothered about reading The Wheel of Time. It’s a fantasy classic, yes, which I think you have admit regardless of whether or not you’re a fan the series, but it was just too long for me. I mean fourteen books? Was there really any need?

didn't think so (and still don’t, in fact), but one of my friends has read The Eye of the World recently and really enjoyed it (click here for his review). Naturally, this meant that I decided to give it a go and I’m glad I did. I found The Eye of the World to be a real page-turner and struggled to put it down right from the prologue. It’s imaginative, full of twists and turns and Robert Jordan has a very vivid way of writing that made it possible for me to really visualise the scenes he was narrating throughout the book. 

I will admit that the story is a little cliché though and begins with yet another farm boy who escapes a common life of grafting over crops and sheep because he is the ‘chosen one'. Naturally, his life is turned upside down when his farm is attacked and he finds himself fleeing for his life with an unlikely band of companions.

I think that the story is well written as a whole though and its quality makes up for any of the similarities it has with other fantasy books. I also think that the story has an air of The Lord of Rings about it, which really added to my enjoyment of it. In fact, I think Jordan has done some things even better than Tolkien. A major example of this is in the fact that Moiraine, a magically powerful Aes Sedai, actually uses her powers to fight with and aid the party on a regular basis! I always think this is where LotR falls a little flat, to be honest, because despite all of his powers, Gandalf barely uses magic in the entire trilogy (with his epic fight with the balrog being a notable exception).

This isn't to say The Eye of the World is perfect, however, and I thought that Jordan has an irritating tendency of repeating what’s going a lot in his prose. He also seems to be a little obsessed with mist and I think he goes too far in describing the recurrent nightmares that plague three of his main characters. 

Overall though, The Eye of World is a fantastic read and is a superb example of pure, escapist fantasy at its best. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes epic fantasy and think that you shouldn't let the sheer size of The Wheel of Time daunt you. I’m expecting to be proved right in later books where the series begins to drag a bit, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it! For now, I’m a huge fan of the book and am looking forward to delving into The Great Hunt.

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