The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Wheel of Time is one of the most widely read fantasy series around. I've just started it, not because I was waiting for it to be finished (the final volumes, written from extensive notes after Jordan's death, were written by Brandon Sanderson. The final book was published this year), but more because I wasn't sure I wanted to start another long continuing series.
The book certainly stems from the Tolkien school of fantasy. It is a sweeping epic, with a large cast of characters and plenty of action. I found it a bit wordy, something I have also found on re-reads of Tolkien's works. There were repeating sections with the same basic pattern that took up multiple chapters. Escape pursuers in one village, walk to the next, get attacked again, escape, etc. I could have done with a bit less there.
The characters were a mix of good and bad for me. There are strong female characters, although I did find Nyneave rather irritating after a while. The Warder, Lan, is a typical fighter/protector, although he was one of the characters I liked. As for the three main characters, I found Mat and Perrin a bit less developed than I'd like. Rand, while certainly one of the main focus points of the story, was just a bit too whiny for me. I am not sure I'd be any different given the same circumstances, but I was not inclined to like him because of that.
The setting is typical for a large scale fantasy of this type. Descriptions of the places and peoples in the world are detailed and vivid.
I didn't dislike the story, but it didn't break new ground for me. I will read the next volume, since the first of a long series is often more a setting up than the meat of the story. Those who like Tolkien-esque fantasy on a grand scale should give this a try, if you haven't already.
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