The Eye of The World [Book Review]

Title: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 0812511816
Pages: 832 (31 hours on audio)
Year: 1990
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: 2.5/5

My thoughts: This book was given to me by my best friend in law school, Susan of Chocolate-Covered Books, upon our graduation. She insisted that I give fantasy a try. It lingered on my shelf for some time and then Heather from Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books chose it as her That’s How I Blog book. This inspired me to take The Eye of the World off the shelf and crack it open.

Shortly after my first attempt at reading it, I realized that this book was going to be a struggle for me, so I went and got the audio CDs from the library. My goal was to listen until I got into the story and then start reading.

Now I need a time passing montage to play. You know, the ones where the suns quickly rise and set and the seasons pass.

I began this book in January. When Heather’s show aired in February, I was no where near done. It was not until May (after many starts and stops) that I finally finished listening to this book.

The Eye of the World is the story of Rand who, along with 2 of his friends and a handful of other characters, is pulled from his sheep-herding village life and forced to travel far from home after his village is attacked. He encounters many obstacles and meets others along the way, some good and some evil, while he himself tries to keep the Dark One from pulling him in. (That’s really the best I can do to sum up an 800 page book).

I understand why fantasy fans would like it. But alas, I am not a fantasy reader and this book did not convert me. I found it overly descriptive and kept wishing the story would move a little faster. I had a hard time just accepting everything that happened because we weren’t given many reasons. While the characters annoyed me in the same way that teenage characters in books I love often annoy me – I want to shake them until they make the smarter choices – I thought the characters were well-developed and easy to understand.

This is the first in a VERY long series and I will not be reading the rest. I will probably call Susan sometime and have her give me the cliff’s notes version of the remaining books. But I’m really in no rush.

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15 thoughts on “The Eye of The World [Book Review]

  1. Twitter: irisonbooks
    I don’t usually read fantasy and I don’t think this’d be the first book I’d pick up in the genre.

    However, I had to comment, because I loved this:
    “While the characters annoyed me in the same way that teenage characters in books I love often annoy me – I want to shake them until they make the smarter choices – ”
    I feel that way so often & I never figured out how to express it. You managed to, though.

  2. I loved this book (and series) but I do see your point about it going slowly. As the series progresses they go even slower, too. I haven’t read the latest but I know the last few were huge books and covered about… a day!

  3. Wow! Finishing the first book in the Robert Jordan series is wonderful! I have been seeing this in the bookshops for quite sometime now, but have been intimidated by the size (each volume seems to be 700-800 pages with probably around 15 volumes in the series) and so have never got around to trying to read them. The storyline looks similar in some way to Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’. But I am sure Jordan creates a new world through his fantasy epic. I am not sure whether I would read this series, but I would love to watch the movie, if it comes out.

    • This fantasy has a totally different flavor. Instead of one main character who you pretty much stick with throughout, you end up jumping between multiple equally important story lines. (I will admit that by book 11, you’re struggling to keep up with the names and the plots.) It’s less about many races of beings, and more about people. More open magic, that only some people have and control. So, totally different, yet comparable because I think that it’s also been extremely influential within the genre. I like it. 🙂

      • Interesting to know that Jordan’s epic is a bit different from ‘Lord of the Rings’. The fact that it focuses more on people is really nice. Maybe I will try the first volume and see how it is.

    • Lol – Comon’ now. Give me a break. I have excellent summation skills. Good v. evil – and I’m betting good wins in the upcoming book 15.

  4. Dah. Alright, we already knew we were best friends whose reading taste overlap about, oh, a smidge.

    In defense of the series: I think it’s the best fantasy series written in the last 20 years. It is spectacularly detailed and complex, and it only becomes more so in later books. It IS a commitment to read – there are currently 13 books, with 2 more promised. (It’s so long that the author died before completing it.) If you’re not a fantasy reader, I probably wouldn’t start you here (though I did with Michelle because it’s so well done…). The first four books are the best. But throughout, the interpersonal relationships are compelling, annoying and hilarious all at the same time. Combine that with magic and adventure, you’ve got yourself a good read.

    • Yes, it does look like quite a commitment. But it does look like a unique fantasy series. Thanks for the tip about the first four books! When I can muster up enough courage, I will try reading the first four and see how they are.

  5. Twitter: thelittlereader
    i read this book earlier in the year and got as far as book 2 before i gave up. i enjoyed Jordan’s writing style and characterization, but the storyline wandered so much that i would find myself bored to tears at times.

    i might try to forge through the rest of the series at some point, but from what i hear, it only gets worse.

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  7. I can’t believe I missed this when you first posted it. Like Susan, I think it’s one of the best, most ambitious fantasy series out there today and I love it whole heartedly. That said, I totally understand why not everyone agrees with me. 🙂 Thanks for being it a try!

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