Archive for October, 2014

The Eye Of The World

Posted: October 8, 2014 in Book Reviews

WoT01_TheEyeOfTheWorld

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

782 Pages

“The Wheel of time turns and ages comes to pass. What was, What will be, and what is may yet fall under the shadow.”

The first of 14 reviews on the Wheel of Time series. Considered one of the best fantasy series ever written and often compared with J R R Tolkien in its scope in the epic fantasy world. But before I get too much into this book lets start with a Character introduction and brief synopsis.

But first some key terms and definitions you will need to know

Aes Sedai – Order of women who have the ability to touch the one true source saidar. The female side of the one power

Tar Valon – The city where the head authority the Amyrlin seat, of the Aes Sedai resides and rules the Aes Sedai

Ajah’s – The different orders within the Aes Sedai society

Saidan – The male half of the one power tainted by the shadow making it untouchable to men without the insanity that comes along with it.

Our story starts out in the small town of Edmunds Filed in the Two Rivers. Our main characters are introduced. Rand Al Thor our main character works a farm with his father Tam Al Thor. His 2 best friends Matt and Perrin. Mat being the trouble maker of the group. He reminds me quite a bit of Perrigin took from Lord of the Rings. He loves his pranks and is always seeking adventure.

Egwene the daughter of Edmund’s Field Mayor and Nynaeve the wisdom of Edmonds Field. Both young women who seem to have a superiority complex over their male counterparts. The Wisdom who is head the Women’s circle in the village and acts as a secondary ruling body who sees it as their task to ensure the village council does their job properly and manage women’s affairs in town.

All seems to be going well in Edmunds Field despite the late spring. The townsfolk are getting ready for the annual spring festival of Bel Tine. The whole town is excited for the upcoming festival.  Strangers arrive in town. They are dressed strangely. One is a Gleeman named Thom Merrilin. Essentially a one man travelling show. The other two an Aes Sedai named Moraine and her Warder Lan.

While Rand is on his way back home to his farm and going to and from Edmunds Field a dark rider appears who gives Rand a feeling of evil. He thinks he is crazy till he learns his friends Matt and Perrin have seen him as well. It’s not long before the 3 boys learn that this dark rider is not the only stranger in town. This rider has brought what was previously thought were creatures of legend, Trollocs to town.

In the chaos of the Trolloc attack Rand’s father (who gives him a heron mark blade before he leaves) is hurt and must be saved by Moraine Sedai. In his fever murmurings Rand hears the truth that he was not born in the Two Rivers and starts to question who he really is. However he does not have the time he wants to ask his father about what he said while sick with fever and finds himself along with Thom, Moraine, Lan, Matt (with his bow), Egwene, Perrin (with his ax)  fleeing town from the new threats that have come to the Two Rivers. Nynaeve the towns wisdom eventually joins them.

As the groups flees and embarks on a mission to save the world Perrin, Matt and Rand start to have strange dreams of Baalzammon who haunts them walking in their dreams trying to force them to bend to his will.

As the group heads to Tar Valon, pursued by dark friends, fades and trollocks alike and admidts much adventure, obstacles and threats they end up getting separated. Matt, Rand and Thom separated after fleeing Aridhol and find themselves on their own. Nynave, Lan and Moraine head off after Matt, Rand and Thom. In the Mean time Perrin and Egwene find themselves on their own.

Perrin and Egwene fall in Elyas, a wolf man when Perrin starts to learn things about himself. Eventually falling in with the tinkers, a group of travelling people.

Eventually reunited they must now seek out the eye of the world where they learn some truths that makes the threat even larger and greater than they original thought.

Amidst all the chaos of their adventure a False dragon wages war across the land bringing with him destruction and chaos where he goes

I find this story is heavily influenced by religious theology. Especially christian theology. The parallels could not be clearer when looking at the legend that have been weaved into this book.

To start we have a grand creator and the forces of evil. The forsaken (followers of shaitan) and Shaitan (similar name to satan) have been sealed away for thousands of years. Much like Satan and his followers were cast out in christian theology and satan being bound in physical form but still having a large influence on people in the physical world. The theology states that at some point Shaitan will be loosed to wreak havoc, much like in the book of revelation in the bible which says satan will be loosed after the seals on his prison are loosed for a time.

The dragon aka Christ came to change the world and remake it. This is what happened in Wheel of time legend. The legend states that the Dragon will be reborn or come again, just as Christ is prophesied to come again, but that their would be many false dragons or false Christs that will lead the people and wreak havoc on the world. The final battle is prophesied that will end the threat of the shadow once and for all much like the final battle will end and the Dragon or Christ will prevail for good.

Being a devout Christian I do love how christian theology is so well woven into this book. It makes for wonderful story telling and an overall impressive first book in the series. Taking such deep theology and weaving into original characters and plot is not easy. Especially when writing in excess of 700 pages per book over 14 books.

This book sets the stage for this series and it is no surprise that it is the start of a truly epic fantasy. The character development is fantastic. I love how the characters face up to the challenges and yet we see them completely breaking down and not being strong enough to face what lies ahead. The weaknesses in them really help to connect with the story.

Jordan is a masterful story-teller but he is not perfect. There are times within the book I wish he had spent more time on, and other times I wish he had spent less time on.

The ending for example. I felt that the story changed objectives two late in the book. The change of course and the perils they faced were emphasized but there did not seem to be any follow through. Very little time spent in the ways or dealing with the threats that were supposed to be worse than anything else. The same could be said of the blight as well. With the emphasis and the lack of execution on this part made it look like a stroll on the beach compared to what they dealt with before yet the set up lead me to expect threats on a much grander scale.

The final battle at the eye of the world however was defiantly worth the first 700 page read. Luckily the failed execution in parts of the book did not detract two much from the overall quality of the story

I give this book a 7/10 book worms.