Review: The first book in The Wheel of Time series, The Eye of the World introduces us to all of the main players in this book in the first few chapters. We meet Rand, Perin, and Mat, Egwene and Nynaeve, Moraine and Lan, Padan Fain, and Thom the Gleeman in Emond’s Field of the Two Rivers. Shortly after we’ve met everyone, Rand and his father, Tam, are attacked by trollocs at their farm outside of town. Tam gets injured so Rand takes up his father’s sword and manages to get them both to town, which had also been attacked in the night. The attack had been repulsed by Moraine, who has now been revealed as an Aes Sedai, the “magic” wielding folks of this world. The boys, Rand, Perrin, and Mat, as well as Rand’s not-quite-girlfriend Egwene, leave the town with Moraine Sedai, her Warder, Lan, and Thom because Moraine convinces them that the trollocs were there for them.
A grand adventure begins with the group pursued by the minions of The Dark One as they flee with the intention of heading to the Aes Sedai stronghold of Tar Valon. Naturally, the group gets split into smaller groups that each have unique encounters before finally being reunited in in the Borderlands rather than Tar Valon. From the borderland stronghold of Shienar, the group rides into the Blight to find The Eye of the World, where Rand first channels the One Power, proving to Moraine what she had suspected…he is The Dragon Reborn.
Along their journeys, Rand, Perrin, Mat, and Egwene, and even Nynaeve to a degree, do a bit of growing up, learn how much bigger the world is outside of their beloved Two Rivers, and begin to discover things about themselves that they had never dreamed of before. Talking with wolves, channeling, meeting a queen and her daughter and son, fighting and fleeing from Darkfriends, losing friends, and trying to save the world become part of their lives.
All of this in this one book. Deftly woven in an engaging tale that has a satisfying end while also serving as the beginning to an epic story that will challenge and change all of the characters. The characters are multi-dimensional, complex (or on there way to it), and believable…some more likable that others. The settings are rich and each realm/country/society is uniquely defined by its styles and attitudes. The level of detail is actually one of the aspects pointed out as a problem with this series. Too much, too frequently, which can slow down the story. Luckily, this book isn’t bogged down by the descriptions. It clips along nicely to the climax.
Bottom Line: If you’re a fantasy buff and haven’t read this, you have got some reading to do. This series is richly developed with great characters. Give The Eye of the World a read and see if you aren’t hooked on The Wheel of Time, my favorite series. This is my fourth reading of this book.