The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Since the mid/late 90s I've always been drawn to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series because of Darrell K. Sweet's distinctive cover art that has set the series apart from other fantasy titles. It wasn't until recently that I decided to look inside those covers, but after reading The Eye of the World I wish I had sooner.
The slow-to-moderate pace at the beginning of the book by Jordan shows the layback lifestyle of the Two Rivers region of his world where the majority of his characters come from. Once the action hits the road, the action picks up to a furious pace that only relaxes when the group comes to rest at towns that grow progressively larger. When the group is forced to split up, Jordan takes the opportunity to give an enlarged view of the world he's created as well as give better character development as the narration expanded from just one character's point-of-view to three.
Throughout the story, from the prologue to the climax, the significance and use of magical "One Power" is expanded upon by Jordan as well as it's implications. Those implications result in how characters interaction with one another, especially when it comes to gender roles compared to other fantasy stories. And the end of the book these implications of the use of the One Power provide set up for future books.
One last point is how Jordan misdirects who the ultimate villian(s) are at the climax of the book, including during the book's end game. Several aspects of the evil side of Jordan's world were exposed, though not explored in-depth, but well enough to give the reader a sense of what the protagonists are up against.
On it's own The Eye of the World is a great story. But as the first book in what will turn out to be a 14 book series, it's introduces just enough to want you to come back to see what else will happen. Like I said in the first paragraph, I should have read this book sooner.
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