Monday, August 15, 2011

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

Storyline: It begins with a dark being, glimpsed out of the corner of Rand al'Thor's eyes. When he and his father arrive in the village of Edmond's Field, everyone ignores his uneasiness, save his two best friends--Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara. Even Rand forgets it when he encounters two strangers, a giant of a warrior named Lan and a woman named Moraine.
That night, the village is attacked by Trollocs and Fades, servants of the Dark One. Moraine immediately takes Mat, Perrin, Rand, and a village girl named Egwene away. She knows something about the boys, something she won't tell them. But she does tell them one thing--the Dark One is searching for them.

My Thoughts:
Well, that synopsis only gives you a vague understanding of the plot. The Eye of the World is a 400-plus-pages behemoth of a fantasy, the first in a series of 14 books all as large or larger. It's rich with characters, magic, and description of an amazing fantasy world.
I was a little nervous when I cracked open the book, but beyond a few mild cuss words and a questionable Eastern worldview, it's very good. It has a Tolkien-esque complexity, as well as a detail and a mastery of language that I would love to achieve some day. The descriptions, though long, seem to stick to the details for understanding the world.
The characters are all well-drawn. Some of them I didn't particularly care for--mainly Egwene, because she just doesn't allow Rand any slack. The three main characters I liked and I can't wait to see what happens to them.
I think the biggest problem I had with the book was the mythology and magic of the world. Given that it's a secular fantasy, I expected that. I didn't like that the good guys and bad guys are basically using the same magic, and the world is full of feminists because the "male half" of the magic is tainted with evil, while the "female half" isn't. It was a bit odd.
Despite that, though, I enjoyed the book. It gets 3 and a half stars.


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