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The Eye of the World

A book by Robert Jordan

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do not bother with this series.

  • May 3, 2009
  • by
Rating:
-3
The purpose of this review is to discourage people from starting _The Wheel of Time_. I will argue that it is not worth it, and I think the reasons are compelling. If you want more specific details about this novel's story, please look to other reviews. I will have little to say about _Eye of the World_ specifically.

It was over ten years ago when I started reading _The Wheel of Time_ series, understanding it to be killer top-notch high-fantasy to which I had an unhealthy addiction at the time. I _kinda_ enjoyed it, but I was unwilling to call it an upper-echelon fantasy series. Really self-indulgent prose, excruciatingly slow pacing, embarrassingly unlikeable characters (especially the women), and the unoriginal story (taking from norse mythology and all your usual fantasy tropes) just don't do it for me. How many "small-town young man -- with great hidden power -- prophesied to save the world from Big Evil Dark Lord" stories does a person need anyway?

But whatever. Originality is always less important than plain old good storytelling. But while the first four (maybe five...actually no, it's just four) books are ok, the rest are just terrible (as of this writing, book 12 is the next one to be released). So if your goal is to be entertained, then I cannot see why one should invest the time to starting the series. Just think in terms of numbers -- to date, we're up to about 10,000 pages of WoT, but maybe 3,000 is remotely entertaining, so less than 50% of the series is actually enjoyable. I'm sure you can find something that is mostly good, unlike WoT which is mostly bad. It might seem frivolous talking about a book in this way, but I am trying to quantify it in some way and leaving out specifics about what individuals readers might like. When it comes to my own preferences, I am pretty flexible and forgiving for authors with their fluff and padding, but Jordan is the worst as he wrote SO much about stuff that is COMPLETELY irrelevant. And I am not talking about "irrelevant" in the sense that it is irrelevant when you first read X, but X will be important later in the series. I mean X is just FILLER (I hate the word "filler" because who is to say what is _really_ filler and what is not, but with Jordan it's obvious enough for anyone to figure it out).

A fantasy series should get BETTER as it goes, developing characters and plots and building intensity towards the inevitable conclusion. You should like it so much you almost don't want it to end. With WoT, you BEG for something to happen so that it gets closer to the ending, because most of the author's focus is spent on completely trivial details. I direct you to the amazon reviews for the later books, I have never seen such reader contempt for a novel as I have for garbage like "Winter's Heart" or "Crossroads of Twilight". The worst characteristics of the early books -- which, don't get me wrong, definitely have their charm -- are amplified a hundredfold in later volumes.

I remember a conversation with a friend, where I made a reasonable prediction that Robert Jordan writes so slow, so little happens in his books, the plot goes nowhere after thousands and thousands of pages, that he will be dead before he finishes this series. So after book 10, I said I wouldn't read it anymore until it was finished, because if he dies before it's over, what's the point? A lot of other people on various online communities (such as this one) made similar comments, albeit in more as a jest.

But that is what happened!! Robert Jordan died 2007, RIP.

Now at risk of sounding insensitive, I must confess I laughed out loud when I heard this news. Jordan had arrogantly declared at one point that he would write the WoT until they nailed shut his coffin (google the quote, no joke)-- well that's what happened, so all WoT's defenders over the years who said "it will all be wrapped up awesomely, don't worry, Jordan's fantasy is just especially intricate" just got a big slap in the face. I don't hold it against him for wanting to do what he wanted with a series he obviously loved working on, but as a reader why should someone care about Jordan fastidious attention to meaningless, tedious details that don't matter to someone who cares about the characters and their epic story?

Now Jordan will not be finishing the series, and another writer is going to use his notes and drafts to complete it. On the one hand, this is probably a good thing -- how could anyone make the series worse than Robert Jordan made it with his own later books? But on the other hand, why should anyone who already hasn't started the series bother with it? A series that its own author couldn't care enough to finish properly? Instead, he wasted chapter upon chapter, eventually amounting to thousands of pages, with insignificant characters and plot-lines and ignoring the main characters and plot-lines that the readers actually cared about. (This is not an isolated opinion -- again, check out Amazon reader reviews for later books -- they have the lowest average ratings I've seen for fantasy books with that many [hundreds] reviews.)

so before you commit yourself to this series, do the following: (1) consider if you have something better to read instead (i'm sure you do); (2) look to the future and consider abyss this series goes into and ask yourself if a few hundred pages of entertainment (over the whole series) is worth thousands of pages of complete tedium and poor storytelling in a series that will never have a proper ending because the original author procrastinated and died.

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More The Eye of the World reviews
review by . February 03, 2005
Goodness, everyone has an opinion on this book and this series. I think I will give a short review on each book as I get to it and pass my own judgement on each individual book, rather than the whole series. Like another reviewer, I have certainly read my share of this genre over the past 45 years and I must admit this book, "The Dragon Reborn," is one of the better ones I have read. It certainly is not my favorite, but I nevertheless enjoyed every page. The author introduces many characters and …
review by . July 30, 2003
The first time I read this book I would've given it three stars, but I just finished it for the second time and I now rate it at a well deserving FOUR stars. This book is pretty good. I will explain the added star in a moment, but first I will just rate the book for the book alone.ENVIORNMENT/HISTORY(B): One of the greatest things about Robert Jordan's world is definately the world. It is so rich and in-depth. The map of the entire continent is so detailed and rich. In other fantasy epics, such …
review by . May 24, 2000
Being raised on Tolkien, I have always been quite suspicious of virtually all other fantasy. Jordan does not come up to the level of Tolkien, but his work is engaging, exciting, and well worth reading.My first experience with this book (and subsequently the series) was the little 9 chapter "freebie" that many bookstores were giving away. I was hooked by the plot, checked the book out of the library, and was on my way. At present, I've read "The Eye of the World" three times, and never regretted …
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Clayton Reeder ()
Ranked #438
Rogue capitalist in search of all that is interesting, weird, or beautiful.      Collected here are my hundreds of reviews from Amazon.com, covering mostly music that is offensive … more
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Wiki

The peaceful villagers of Emond's Field pay little heed to rumors of war in the western lands until a savage attack by troll-like minions of the Dark One forces three young men to confront a destiny which has its origins in the time known as The Breaking of the World. This richly detailed fantasy presents a fully realized, complex adventure which will appeal to fans of classic quests. Recommended.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to theHardcoveredition.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0812511816
ISBN-13: 978-0812511819
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
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