What did I get myself into, not only once, but twice? I first started reading Eye of the World, book one in the epic fantasy Wheel of Time, around four or five years ago during my last year of University. I didn’t know it at the time but the author, Robert Jordan, had just passed away and the eleven published books in the series (not including the prequel, A New Spring) already published did not even include an ending. Or maybe it was only ten books out at the time, I can’t quite remember. Four or five years later we know another fantasy author, Brandon Sanderson, was asked to finish the remaining book which became so massive it was split into three parts. And so now with less than a year remaining before the scheduled release of book fourteen, A Memory of Light, the series will finally come to an end. And so I have decided to re-read A Wheel of Time in anticipation.
I guess I should consider myself lucky that I only started reading the series four or five years ago so many of the elements are still rather fresh in my mind. Others started reading when Eye of the World was first released way back in 1990. But no matter, new readers and old readers now unite to finish the series together.
Eye of the World starts out like many fantasies before its time and after – a simple farm boy discovers he is not who he thought he was and the task of saving the world rests upon his shoulders. But that’s just a beginning.
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
In any series book one is often times the best because 1) the author has to work hard to not only introduce us but to make us excited about this new world including the characters that he/she has built and 2) make publishers want to buy the next book. This is usually why book one in the series can also act as a stand-alone. That is, even if people do not want to continue on with the rest of the series they can at least be satisfied that their reward for finishing the book is a satisfactory ending. Eye of the World can act as a stand-alone novel, but why would you do that to yourself? The series only gets better!! It is obvious, though, that the last couple chapters of Eye of the World were added after it became apparent that the series would be popular and the multiple sequels afterword became necessary.
Ok so I guess I should talk about the book itself rather than the entire series. Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon, and Perrin Aybara (all awesome names by the way) are your typical 19 year old sheepherders from the small village of Emond’s Field. Their lives and the lives of many of their friends gets completely altered when their peaceful village gets attacked by Trollocs.
The prison of The Dark One who is bound by the creator at the moment of creation, is breaking (more on this in later books). All three of the boys play vital roles in trying to keep The Dark One from escaping.
The series is so long because the cast of characters is so huge. Had the story only followed the “main” character, it would be far shorter but, in my opinion, far less awesome. Not exactly boring, the story is too great to ever be considered boring. There are just so many interesting plot lines throughout the series!
I hesitate to recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t started reading it just because of its length. But at the very least you should read book one which, as mentioned above, has a satisfactory ending. If you enjoy the world Robert Jordan created, then follow along in the journey that many others have started and will be finishing in a few months here.
This review is getting too long already, but I will leave you with a quote that I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first time around and even more so the 2nd time because I know how this love story unfolds (well, minus the last book)
I will hate the man you choose because he is not me, and love him if he makes you smile.
I guess you would have to read the book to understand but this one line summarizes the man saying it so well.