The Critique Circle Public Library

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, Book 1)
by Robert Jordan
Amazon rating
Critique Circle rating 
PublisherTor Fantasy
Release Date1990-11-15 (added to CC 20 May 2004)
Amazon Sales Rank8,349
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Member Reviews
(22 Feb 2016)
It's been years since I read this series, but whenever fantasy is brought up Jordan's The Wheel of Time is the first thing that comes to mind. Yes as some reviews have mentioned he does tend to get a bit long-winded, but when it comes to giving you a visualization of written word; no one beats Jordan.
(30 Apr 2013)
Upon finishing Gorge RR Martins "A Song of Ice and Fire" a friend recommended that I read one of the all-time classics of the fantasy genera, The Wheel of Time. Upon reading up on the series, and looking up the reviews for the first book, I was very much intrigued. By all accounts it seemed to take what were obviously omissions in the world Tolkien created and create a world that focused on these topics (such as industry, farming, technology, etc) to a much greater degree. However, upon reading the first book I can't help but think that Robert Jordan just copied and pasted the first half of the Fellowship of the Ring and transplanted that into the first quarter of The Eye of the World. Though written in a unique style and very well paced, this book and Fellowship read eerily similar for about the first quarter. Let me elaborate.

Rand (Frodo) is a simple farm boy living in an isolated town of Edmond's Field (Hobbiton) in an isolated region known as the Two Rivers (The Shire) far away from the troubles of the world. While the forces of the Dark Lord do battle with the kingdoms of earth far away, in Edmonds field it is a time to celebrate the coming of spring with a huge party, very reminiscent of the birthday thrown for Bilbo Baggins. But the party is cut short as the town comes under attack by legions of Trollocs (Orcs on steroids) led by... God, really? Ringwraiths? He had to steal the Ringwraiths too? Okay, they're called Fades here, but seriously except for them being ten times weaker and 100 times less menacing, these Fades might as well be Ringwraiths. They even suffer from a fear of water, good God did Jordan not think we would put two and two together? Even the ferry scene from Fellowship is in this book.

Needless to say, as a huge Lord of the Rings fan, I wasn't too fond of seeing Tolkiens work in Jordans story. The first quarter of this book is a re-hash of plots and themes from Fellowship. Itís not until the party gets separated in Moria (I'm sorry, Shadar Logoth) that this story really comes into its own. From that point the Lord of the Rings clone disappears, and a uniquely fun story starts to take its place. Itís during this time, when the members of the "Fellowship" are forced to survive without the help of the immensely powerful wizard Moiraine and her... Aragon look alike companion Lan, that the real tension starts to build. While in the company of Moiraine and Lan I never felt like the other characters were in any danger, as these two could easily take on hundreds of Trollocs and dozens of Fades without seeming to break a sweat. So when Rand and his best friend Mat encounter Darkfriends (servants of the Dark Lord) on their own there was real tension there.

Before you start thinking I didn't like the book, let me says this. The Eye of the World is an extremely well written, well-paced tale with mostly good characters, a few really impressive moments, and a massive world that I'm dying to learn more about in the nextÖ dear god, TWELVE books? And I was complaining that Martins series goes on forever, seems I'm in for the long hall in this one. The male characters are all written very well and likable. They written more in the Tolkien style without being straight up copies (mostly) as opposed to the way Martin writes. Rand is your typical young "chosen one" who has responsibility thrust upon him he doesn't want or understand, and yet must rise to meet the challenges of, what else, saving the world. Itís not terribly original, but it is done very well which makes up for that. Mat and Perrin, his best friends, are also important but in what way will only be make clear in the following books. Mat is a smart ass, always playing tricks on people, never taking anything really seriously, and for this everyone seems to underestimate him. In a pinch though, Mat can be just as strong as any of the others. I think he was my favorite character overall as his humor and light hardheartedness gave me a welcome break from the dark and dreary of the rest of the story. Perrin, likewise is very likable, and plays as a counterweight to Mat's playfulness. Always stern and serious, Perrin serves as the voice of reason for the Edmond Fielders throughout the series. Overall, yes, I really liked the male characters.

But wait, the male characters? Aren't there any female characters here? Well yes, very prominent ones in fact, the problem is that almost every single one of them is a real bitch. I don't know if Jordan doesn't like women, or doesn't get women, or styled all the women in this book after one he knew in real life, but they all have that snotty "I'm better and smarter then you" attitude towards their male counterparts. They are self-righteous, arrogant, snobby little wenches and I couldn't stand a one of them. On occasion we'll get a glimpse of weakness from them or a break from the arrogance they are always excreting, but itís not nearly enough to make up for just how unlikeable they are. And don't tell me I didn't like them because they didn't fall into set gender roles, or because they are strong women in a genera dominated by men. Don't give me that nonsense. No, itís because they are badly written characters, and that's it.

Overall Jordan has a very good story going here with strong male characters, an engrossing world, and a style that drew me in very quickly and made me feel right at home. I very much enjoyed reading most parts of this book despite my criticisms, and though I don't think this is anywhere near the level of consistent quality I receive from Tolkien or Martin, it is still a fine read and I look forward to reading more.
(30 Aug 2009)
(2 May 2009)
(9 Jul 2007)
(9 Jul 2007)
The biggest plus for me in these books is that it takes me more than a day to finish one. It is a fantastic series but I think that I am ready for some closure with my Wheel of Time relationship
(11 Jun 2007)
Well, Jordan stereotypes his female characters (oh dear, will you stop pulling your braids and sniffing angrily? You look as if you're having a tantrum!), but other than that, I don't have much of a complaint. Yes, in the tenth book covers just one day and it is 900-odd pages long, but the read is worth it. I wouldn't recommend buying it. It's just a one-time read, unless you want to endure the braid-snatching, attitude-wearing women all over again. The first three are the best books so far. After that, the plot twists and complexities become too much to handle.
(29 Jan 2007)
Best series I have ever read. The first book spends too much time setting up but after that the series takes off. Jordan creates such a complex world that you can't help but live it with the characters. Books 9 and 10 slow down...a lot. Don't stop however, as book 11 is totally worth the wait. Robert Jordan is not like Tolkien in his writing. Jordan is far more exciting!...And the series is near its conclusion, book twelve should come out in 2008 and that will be the unfortunate ending to one of the best fantasy series' out there. (its supposed to be 2000 pages long! can't wait!)
(6 Jan 2006)
i enjoyed the first book but when will the series end??????? don't start this series until the last book has come out (if it ever does!) and then make sureyou have PLENTY of spare time!
(9 Dec 2005)
Meh. I've only read the first book, and I didn't exactly have a sudden urge to go read the rest. It was not all it's cracked up to be.

~Yasu
(3 Mar 2005)
I myself liked and read up to the seventh book, I believe and loved them. There isn't much fantasy out there that I like, but I do very much like Robert Jordan's style and the Wheel of Time, although I wish that he would finish and get it over with. The third and fourth were my favorites, but after that, the plot is the same and they never end. But, I do remcommend them.
(26 Oct 2004)
I agree, the best in the series. Jordan is a master of characterization, making all the characters growth and change important to the reader. Overall, still a good series, except the story has become too large for the author to handle.
(28 Sep 2004)
I know how popular Robert Jordan's series has become, but for me, I killed myself trying to read to the finish of the first book. For me, it was the most horrible book I've read. Jordan is very long-winded, like Tolkien I can imagine. So, if you're a fan of Tolkien, you might enjoy the never-ending 'The Wheel of Time' series.
(23 Aug 2004)
The best in the series. The prose is a bit overworked, leading to a slow read, but it worth it. The writing verges on literary, although the characters and setting are more juvenile. This book gets two thumbs up. Don't recommend buying any books beyond the third in the series, however.
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