The Eye of the World

by Robert Jordan

Let me preface this by saying very clearly that I mean no offense to The Wheel of Time fans. It’s just my opinion, yes? Just my humble opinion.

So. Simply put: I hate this book. Somewhat passionately. The Romgi will attest to the fact that while I was reading I would mutter to myself about how ridiculous the plot was or how much I hated dragging myself through all 800+ pages. But I carried on, if for no other reason than to be able to review it for you. (Actually, I really wanted to add those 800+ pages onto my reading list for the year. And also to review it for you.)

The main character, Rand, was so uninteresting that I honestly didn’t care what happened to him, nor do I have any interest in reading any more books in the series to find out if his story continues. I hope it doesn’t. I hope he dies a gruesome and painful death, leaving the entire Wheel of Time world to decay and be overrun by the forces of evil. Having a flawed main character is sort of necessary, but where were Rand’s strengths? He had a few spots of luck, and happened to be traveling with people significantly more talented than he. When he wasn’t protected by others’ cleverness and skill, he was stuck with Mat, who may possibly be the most idiotic character ever created. Perhaps that’s going a bit far. Mat is almost without a doubt the most idiotic character I have ever had to read about. I hate Mat about as much as I hate this book. His sole purpose as a main character is to screw things up for everyone else while being absolutely necessary to the Quest or Mission or whatever. Gosh I hate him.

Ok, there were some ok parts. Things I enjoyed on some level: Perrin (although couldn’t the author think of a name slightly less similar to Peregrin?) and his wolfness; the Tuatha’an (Gypsies); and Loial, an Ogier (basically a redesigned Ent).

The whole book was just such a patchwork collection of ideas and myths and fantasy cliches, like the author had a hat full of slips of paper with possible elements he could use and randomly pulled them out. To be fair, it appears he put quite a bit of thought into connecting everything once it was out, but seriously – Gypsies and yin-yang in the same story? A little weird, don’t you think? Oh yeah, and then there are obvious copies of Orcs and Ringwraiths, which the author intended to be similar. Not creative! Do not give him credit for that!

I feel I’ve gone on long enough. But just in case you didn’t catch my opinion, The Eye of the World has a horribly contrived plot, uninteresting or downright annoying characters, and too many pieces of stories to be worth the many hours of my life that were sucked away by reading it.

Yuck.

P.S. I think Robert Jordan is a lousy writer. Aside from not having enough of his own ideas, he just doesn’t have the literary genius to make this book worth it. The Eye of the World reads like a cheap fantasy book you’d pick up from the $1 bin at a used bookstore, except it happens to be one of the bestselling books ever. Undeservedly so, I think.

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4 thoughts on “The Eye of the World

  1. Jackquimby says:

    Here!! Here!!

  2. roni says:

    What?? You mean I’m not the only one with this opinion?!

  3. Dave Irwin says:

    As someone with very little to do and a lot of tiem on their hands, I picked this, and the rest of the series up, for my latest trip to Iraq.

    It did take me two tries to actually pick up and slog through this book, but once I actually sat down to it, it turned out alright. And here is why.

    First, as with a large number of large books, they tend to take time to get rolling, unfortunately in this case, it took about 2 books to actually really get moving.

    That being said, what you have to understand is that Rand as the main character changes entirely as the series progresses, from the simple do right farmboy, into something entirely different. (see http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/Rand_al%27Thor)

    It may be that I am simply a sucker for the traditional, hero finds out he has to be one, he gets super powers, has an existencial crisis, begins to lose his mind, and then ends up being the only one who can save the world…

    One thing that I enjoy about the series as far as I’ve read it (book 10 of 11 soon to be 12) is that Robert Jordan puts so many characters into his books, yet manages to keep each one very individual. Most times when an author tries something to this effect the characters come out as slightly different flavors of the same ice-cream, whereas in this series, to my tastes at least, each seems to be an individual and flavorful dish.

    Plus he’s dead now, so that gets him points in the literary world on it’s own, right?

  4. roni says:

    I have heard that the first few books, taken together, are really not as bad as I made Eye of the World seem.

    Unfortunately, I have so little patience that I doubt I will ever pick up another Robert Jordan book as long as I live. I’d much rather read the unabridged Les Mis in the original French with a dictionary by my side – and trust me, that would be an extremely long undertaking. But probably better worth my time.

    (Too bad I don’t really read French anymore…)

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