Book Review: The Eye of The World by Robert Jordan

I understand that I am cutting it fine, so this week’s blog post will most likely be shorter than usual. I know I should have posted on Wednesday instead, as I have been doing for the last couple of weeks but I got distracted. By what you may ask? Mexican Chicken Bake, Naruto and Paintball, though I must confess that none of these things happened at once.  However, behold!

Cheesy goodness worthy of the Gods, the GODS I say! However, the Colon does not agree. I had to eat like twenty apples just to make up for it. It is important to remember that the mind is merely a plaything of the body and that a clean colon is a happy colon.
Anyway… I should probably stop stalling and get on with it.
BOOK REVIEW: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

As time has passed, I came to an inevitable conclusion. My family are a big bunch of literature nerds and woe-be-tide anyone who isn’t. I have also noticed that Fantasy appears to be the predominate reading-genre of choice. Now, do not get me wrong, Reading is good and I encourage all beings capable of it to do it as often as possible.
Nevertheless, it does result in a small amount of book snobbery. For example, when I told members of my family that I had never read David Eddings and that I thought the Wheel of Time was another name for the Tardis, my family looked at me as if I had declared that I liked to barbeque puppies alive and eat them.
Then I found out that my friends has also read the series, so I decided to take the plunge and see what all the fuss about. That was three years ago and I’ve only just finished it. Just so you know how serious that is, I can read a five hundred, double sided page, standard size paperback in a couple of hours, depending on my mood and how many times I’m interrupted.
What I liked about the novel:
  • Perrin’s side adventure with the Wolves. Fascinating and intriguing, but did not take up too much of novel and was plot relevant. The reader also knows that when Perrin gets his own novel, they have a hint of what his personal journey is going to be like.
  • Lorial and the Warder are my favorite characters thus far. In addition, the Green Man. needs more Green Man, and no, I do not care how illogical that may be.
  • While evoking the “You are what you hate” writing trope for the Wisdom was terribly cliché, I enjoyed the dynamic between Nynaeve, the Warder and the Moiraine, a good source of genuine conflict and tension within the group. Unlike the Egwene  and Rand situation, which has train-wreck written all over it.  
What I did not like about the novel:
  • The book is called “The Eye of the World”; the reader only finds out what that even is in the last five chapters of the book. It comes completely out of nowhere. The driver of the book is that the group needs to get to Tar Valon and lots of distracting side-adventures occur. Then, all of a sudden, the Aes Sedai declares that the End is nigh and that they are the only ones who can prevent it and thus must take a massive detour. It was if Robert Jordon realised his story had wandered completely away from him and the only solution was to yank it violently back on course. It should have been called “Leaving Two-Rivers” because THAT IS ALL THEY TALK ABOUT. You can only have so many “We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto” moments before the reader starts shouting back, “What was your first clue? Thank god you brought it our attention, we would never have known otherwise.” Well at least I did. I kept hoping the Warder to say to Rand, “Foolish Shepard, don’t you know that in a Fantasy novel, you never get to go home?”
  • What almost stopped me from reading this book altogether is the incredibly slow pace of the novel. It is obvious from the first book that Robert Jordan has an epic saga planned, and while that is fine and dandy, and I’m sure that “accidentally stumbling into the royal garden” scene will be significant later on, but the entire novel gets bogged down in all the “world building”. If I had been his editor, for every scene in the book I would have asked “How does this relate to the Eye of the World? If it doesn’t have anything to do with the Eye of the World, why is it in there?”  Now I know all the hard-core fans of this series are probably howling at me in a mouth-frothing rage, but just want you people to contemplate something. What If the “parading the false dragon in the streets” and the “accidentally falling into the royal garden” scene had taken place after Rand and his merry band were passing through on their way back from Blight and the Eye of the World? It would have had a much bigger impact on the characters, especially Rand. It would have been a good opportunity for Robert Jordon to show the reader (instead of telling) about how there are different branches of the Aes Sedai and that there are serious political frictions between them.  Makes the whole “The Aes Sedai are just going to use you, cut off your balls and leave you to die” argument seem that much more valid. It is not paranoia if they really are all out to get you.
  • It’s pretty obvious who the Chosen One was going to be. Let us leave it at that.
This series is huge, over twelve books; even the author dying has not stopped it. If you are going to read this series, be prepared to make a serious commitment, because you are in it for the long haul. Perhaps because of the hype surrounding the series, I was a little disappointed, so I am not sure if I am going to go onto reading the second book in the series, The Great Hunt. I probably will, once I start a series, I generally like to finish it.  

One comment

  1. I quite enjoyed the series up til 9 when I think was when the author died and I didn't continue it past that. You have quite hit the nail on the head when you mentioned it was slow going and somehow managed to veer off course. Your review of this reminds me that I need to go back and finish the series. I guess that will start with beginning it again.

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