16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A True Fantasy Classic,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Eye Of The World: Book 1 of the Wheel of Time: 1/12 (Mass Market Paperback)
Serious fantasy authors tend to be like buses. You wait 35 years for someone to replicate the quality and appeal of Lord of the Rings and three of them turn up at once: Tad Williams with his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, George R.R. Martin with his Song of Ice and Fire sextet and Jordan with his Wheel of Time, er, dodechology (or whatever you call a series with at least 12 volumes). The Eye of the World gets the ball rolling in style, with Jordan aware that some fantasy conventions are just too ingrained to ignore but also knowing when to move into non-cliched areas. Yes, the opening in the Two Rivers is basically the Shire with humans, but this was deliberate and it works, more or less. Like Tolkien, Jordan only lets you know what is important at the time and then keeps up the drip-feeding of important background info as the book progresses, meaning you are never swamped with data. The story itself is a rather traditional tale of heroes on the run, but then regrouping at the end for a final confrontation with the bad guys, and this works well, with all of the characters getting moments in the limelight. Description is extremely strong: Martin may have surpassed Jordan in terms of character motive and ruthlessness in killing off characters, but Jordan remains unmatched for his descriptive powers of locations, buildings, towns etc. It isn't at the level of Tolkien or Ian Irving's recent View from the Mirror series, but it's strong nevertheless. The ending is a bit confusing (is that the Creator talking to Rand at the end? Or not? What the hell is going on there anyway?) the first time you read it, but later volumes do a good job of explaining these events. Eye of the World even rewards re-reading at a later date: Rand's later rise to power is foreshadowed by Min's viewing of him in Baerlon, with references to a crystal sword (a reference to Book 3) and a laurel crown (a reference to Book 7). Some people think that EOTW is too heavily cliched and formulaic and although I disagree, I can see why they might think that. The book has a familiar, welcome feel to it that draws in fantasy fans easily into a new world before delivering the surprise blows in later books that alter the way you think of heroic fantasy. No, EOTW isn't better than Lord of the Rings, but it paves the way for the several later books in the series which are.