Book Review of Eye of the World (Wheel of Time Book 1)

Trollocs, Ogiers, Aes Sedai…oh my!

Back in November 2021, I wrote a post about the books I was currently reading. However, I am currently not reading any of them. That’s because I was recommended a book series called, Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. And wow I am hooked.

I don’t normally read fantasy books. The only ones I remember reading was The Hobbit when I was younger and The Alchemist (is that fantasy?) and I enjoyed both of them. But over the years, I turned the pages of many non-fiction books. Maybe too many. But over the last few years, I have drifted towards science fiction novels. The most prominent being the Three Body Problem series. I finished it last December, it was an end to one of the best book series I ever read (the second book The Dark Forest being my favourite in the series).

For the last few months of 2021, I gave myself a new rule: ‘no more non-fiction for the rest of the year’. It went well.

It went well because I found a bunch of cool books. Books, like Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Neverness by David Zindell, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, and The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. All of which I put down in favour of Eye of the World, book one in the Wheel of Time anthology. There are 14 books in the series. That is intense.

I read online that the books ripped off Lord of the Rings. Since reading Eye of the World, I haven’t really seen that and think that opinion is a bit of a stretch. Yes, there is a band of people travelling a lot to get away from an evil force, pursuing them. Maybe the Dark One could be seen as a ripoff of a Sauron type character. But other than that I haven’t read any blatant ripoff of the LOTR trilogy. I think that opinion is just LOTR fans being nerds. But hey, nerds are gonna nerd. So far the Eye of the World stands on its own as a different creative work. I’m on chapter 45.

I heard about the TV show before I knew it was a book series. And I’m glad I haven’t seen the show yet because I don’t want the characters in the show to ruin what I imagine the characters from the book look like. So far so good.

What I like about the book so far…

The prologue got me hooked. That dude who was searching for his wife in the rubble, and this villain told him he killed his entire family and castle folk. Then the dude rides out into the land and blows himself up with lightning! Epic. Very creative so far. The image the author created of Edmonds Field was wonderful. He painted a picture of a nice home and place to live and grow up. And I often think about it as Rand does while they are travelling further away from his home.

I didn’t think I would like that fact that there are many characters to remember. But after getting into the first Three Body Problem book, it didn’t bother me much. And so far it hasn’t bothered me yet while reading Eye of the World.

There isn’t any complicated magic to have to understand. I was worried that fantasy books had challenging mythology to have to parse through and understand about how the magic in the universe works. But so far in the Eye of the World, it fairly easy to follow. There is the One Power, that certain men and mostly women have. They channel their powers from the One Power. There is a Wheel of Time Wiki that goes in to way more depth than I care to read about. But in the book, so far it’s been pretty straight forward. For example, the Aes Sedai character, Moiraine, has used her magic to create fire balls, make herself as big as a giant, and creates protective shields to keep evil away. You know, the standard fantasy stuff you see in films.

Also, the battles in the book are better than the travelling. From when Rand first fought off a Trolloc at his home, to the fight while on horses against the Trolloc army and Fades. Fun and fast paced. Great examples that I can look to for my sci-fi book…if I ever get back to writing it.

What I don’t like about the book so far…

There are so many annoying words that I’ve never seen before. My goodness. Here is part of the list of words I had to look up:

For example, why not say ‘wound’ instead of ‘weal’? Or why not say ‘loose hood’ instead of ‘cowl’? For me, it slowed down the other wise fast pace that I’m reading this book, interrupts my flow. Most of the words I had to look up could have used the more known and simpler alternative synonym. But, I suppose it is a good way for me to learn new words.

Also, at times throughout the Eye of the World, it felt like it was dragging on. For example, when Rand and Mat were making their way from village to village, on foot or hitching a ride with a fellow traveler, with almost no food and in bad weather. It seemed like one or two of those villages could have be skipped over. Or at least instead of describing all of them, just have a few sentences or one paragraph saying something like, “They made their way through several more villages in the same way they have before.”

Final(ish) Verdict

Although I am not finished the book (almost), I recommend it for people who aren’t into fantasy books. This one is an easy read, especially if you have a big vocabulary, which I don’t. And the universe in the book is wildly creative and fun to read (for example, the wolves that Perrin can ‘talk’ to, the positive relationship Rand has with his father Tam, the interesting towns they visit like Baerlon and Caemlyn). And if you did like the Lord of the Rings films, you should enjoy this one too.

If you read any of the books in the Wheel of Time anthology, please feel free to let us know your thoughts!

“Everybody dies. The Wheel turns. I’m not going to curl up and wait for it to happen, though.”

-Rand al’Thor
Fan art of a Myrddraal its Trolloc army

(main post cover image taken from here)

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