The Eye of the World
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
"The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
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.
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."
The Eye of the World is the first novel in the epic fantasy Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.
This book is on my list of 'top 21 books I need to read in 2021', so I was equal parts happy and terrified that this was selected as the July book of the month for booktuber BookswithEmilyFox's book club. Happy, because it gave me the opportunity to finally pick it up, and terrified because it is one chunky book.
While I overall enjoyed the book, I think I sabotaged my experience a bit by choosing to listen to this on audiobook instead of physically. I don't really have much to actually say which is surprising considering how big this book is, but here are my thoughts nonetheless.
As I said in the intro, I don't think that the audiobook was the way to go for me. That's not to say that the narrator did a bad job though as I think think that he had the perfect voice to tell the story. It was just that listening to it on audio allows for me tune out the story sometimes.
I thought that the female narrator's voice didn't fit the tone of the book as well as the male's did, but she didn't have many lines so it didn't bother me too much.
In terms of the writing, I found that it was surprisingly easy to get into. There were a lot of great lines but there were also some that were more questionable. The one instance I can think of was when a character was described as 'almost too pretty for masculinity.' I get that this book is more on the older side, but seeing toxic masculinity still put me off a bit.
I went into this without actually reading the synopsis, but it was more or less a pretty straightforward story that is reminiscent of most questing books like Lord of the Rings. I thought that the start of the story was nothing special nor unexpected, but keep in mind that this is an older series that I am just reading years and years later so, at the time, there may have not been many books like this.
As per many questing books, this follows the main protagonist who gets himself tangled with dark forces and bands together with a company to go on a journey. I thought the journey itself was interesting to read about even though it was a bit repetitive at times. I do think though that the book felt like it dragged on a bit. Once it hit the 85% mark, it felt like the story reached a good place to stop even though there was still a crucial part of the journey to go.
I will be honest, I had look up a crash course about the world in order to understand certain elements. Despite the number of times they were mentioned, I was unable to fully grasp just who or what the Aes Sedai were. I also didn't understand what the eye of the world was either. Now, this could just be because I was listening to it on audiobook, I wasn't paying enough attention to the details and it is therefore my bad.
I do think that all the elements of the world though were well-crafted. We start out small in a single village and then slowly work our way out by introducing new lands and people. To be really specific, I thought that the blight was an interesting concept as it sounded like a combination of fire swamp from The Princess Bride and the bog of eternal stench from Labyrinth.
I, strangely enough, didn't feel particularly connected to most of the characters. Again, that could be because I was listening to it on audio, but I feel like a book that big should have made me feel something towards them. The character I felt the most connected to was Mat because I thought he had the most interesting character development.
Now, like many people, I did have some issues with the way the women were depicted in this. Let's start with Egwene, who is depicted as a bit of a control freak as she has the need to always be in control. She also gets rather jealous when Rand talks about other women. I was more or less okay with Moiraine but I do think that Nynaeve should have had a more prominent role considering the fact that she is called 'the Wisdom'.
I probably should have read this physically so that I could appreciate it more. Nonetheless, I still thought that this was a really solid fantasy story and start of a series. I am eager to see how the story and characters develop in the next books.
If you like epic fantasy in general or fantasy that focuses on a grand journey, then this will most likely work for you as well.