SpeculativeFiction


The Eye of the World


The Eye of the World is the first novel in Robert Jordan's epic series The Wheel of Time. The series, which began in 1985 and presently spans more than 10 books, has been wildly popular ever since.

The author has described the first part of The Eye of the World as a homage to Tolkien's epic trilogy. Whether the series is worthy of that comparison remains to be seen, but there are certainly many elements that the initial part of both series have in common. Readers who find the similarity uncomfortable should remember that it was deliberately done, and that the pattern is broken about halfway through the book.

The story begins in the small farming village of Emond's Field, part of a loose community called the Two Rivers. It is a simple community, filled with simple folk content to raise sheep and grow crops. A hard winter is coming to an end, the wolves are hungry, and there are rumors of strangers in town -- a lady and her guard, and a threatening, silent man in a black cloak who prefers to lurk.

From that point on, things get complicated.

This author, especially in this series, writes smoothly flowing prose that occasionally reaches (sometimes successfully) for a poetic turn of phrase.  Jordan does a remarkable job in providing a story complex enough in plot, setting, and characters to satisfy adult tastes without indulging in either graphic violence or explicit sexuality.  The surface tale is a standard fantasy trope: the end of the world is nigh, and the protagonists must save it.  Below that level is a message about gender roles and feminism that provides for additional depth to the attentive reader.  Deeper still, over the course of the
series, are any number of other serious issues on which there is something to be said.

As far as the whole series is concerned: although the opening is very strong, the series remains unfinished and the later books have bogged down somewhat.  If you're not prepared to spend years waiting on the series to finish, it's wiser to wait on starting the series until the last book is finally published. 

This entry was published Thu Apr 28 02:39:42 CDT 2005 by Matthew and last updated 2018-06-27 01:34:56.0.

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