Review — Wheel of Time (Post #40)

The Eye of the World is the first installment of The Wheel of Time, one of the titans of today’s fantasy library. It is a fourteen book series, and each book is about two to three times as large as your typical novel. It stands as a staple that all fantasy writers should read before jumping into that field, to such a degree that I personally consider basically anything that happens in the novels as a cliche, whether or not it was popularized before The Wheel of Time.

Onto the first book specifically, it starts off as one, huge cliche. Namely, it starts off exactly like The Fellowship of the Ring. (Minor spoilers.) Basically, a small group of friends see a black cloaked rider on a dark horse, seemingly watching them and their town. Soon it becomes apparent that it is looking for them specifically, and they have to run from their humble beginnings off to adventure with the help of a wizard-type person.

Basically if you changed all the names you would be able to interchange the two beginnings within their respective series (Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time) and they would probably still make relative sense with the rest of the book. I won’t go into the specifics of how they actually are different because spoilers. But anyways, its an adventure book. I think most huge fantasy series are, so its not really surprising when they go off to distant lands of kings and queens and magic and demons and stuff.

My favorite thing about The Wheel of Time is that
Robert Jordan doesn’t bother keeping it a secret that everything is more than it seems. It won’t be a plot twist when X character is actually the son of X King of distant country or anything like that. The books basically tell you right off the bat when somebody is secretly a god compared to everybody else. I like it because its different from all the other series that try to hide facts from you. The Wheel of Time gives you a huge list of facts, events, and prophecies, and leaves you to figure it out.

By the way, I haven’t read the whole series. I read the first three books a few years ago, but at this point I thought it would be a good idea to start over from the beginning (after having tackled each of those monsters once, I don’t know why I’d voluntarily do it again). Right now I’m about a third of the way into the second book. I’t s a good series. It doesn’t give you more than you can handle like Tolkien did and (I think) George R. R. Martin does. “I don’t care about how many names and titles the main characters ancestors had, nor will I even try to remember if you tell me. In fact I’ll probably just put your book down because no.”

The Wheel of Time gives you the first inklings that the main characters are influences on the world, and each of them are destined to be great forces that shape the future. But they don’t start out with anything really cool (and the things they do have they’re not experienced enough to use), so at first it is like Frodo running from the Naz’Gul. He has no hope to even try to defend himself, so he has no choice but to run.

So for any fantasy reader I’d put this series under your belt. If nothing else, you should at least join the club for everyone else that his picked up this staple.

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