King Haddock's Reviews > The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
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Aug 27, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, books-i-own, fantasy, reviews-with-some-depth

After rereading this book for a third time, I have decided that this review needs a drastic makeover. So here we go. Time to trim the overgrown, shaggy hair on this beast, get it a new wardrobe, and maybe add a touch of mascara for subtle aesthetics. (My original review I kept at the end).

I first picked up the Wheel of Time in the seventh grade when I did not even know what I was reading. Literally. This copy had no cover, and it was only the first half of The Eye of the World (why someone would split it in two to try to appeal to the youth is now beyond me...). And it practically took me eternity to read through the prologue. It did not initially captivate, I read it just as yet another book in my enormously long summer to-read list, read it just to keep on adding the number of pages I'd read (back then, I actually counted how many pages I read in the summer - WOW I had no life!).

Then, somehow, my opinion of this nameless, coverless, B&N discarded book drastically morphed. Somehow, just a few months later, I was halfway through the series, lauding at the wonders of characterization, plot, style, setting, you name it. Jordan quickly became a favorite author of mine.

And that hasn't changed since the junior high. Many years later, I still love him.

Since I read the Wheel of Time a second time, I have scoured the shelves of many other famous fantasy novels, selecting from well-known authors such as Martin, Haydon, blah, blah, blah, you get the point. And since I read the Wheel of Time a second time, I GOT COMPLETELY TIRED AND FED UP WITH FANTASY. To the point where I read nothing but nonfiction for a few months, and everyone was staring at me oggle-eyed, wondering, "WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ZARAKODA???" Zarakoda, after all, always has been a fantasy reader and writer.

My problem with fantasy: it is all the SAME. Sorry, avid readers. Think about it. It really is. Medievel-reminiscent setting. Awesome wizard-like dudes. Poor people becoming kings and warlords. Epic battles. Magical articles such as swords and rings. And I'm going to cut off there, even though there's a whole lot more to say - after all, you're probably already thinking of your own examples by now.

And then, since Sanderson is finishing up the Wheel of Time series, I decided to reread Jordan's work beginning from book one and onward.

Upon setting my eyes on the first paragraph, I realized why I had loved Jordan so much. Why I still do.

The writing flows, weaved intricately and subtly, its own Wheel crafting a glorious Pattern. Jordan is (was) someone who actually understands the English language and can manipulate it in a literate-but-still-vernacular-style that I don't think I've seen the match of in this modern era. The setting is so vivid and intimate, the characters three-dimensional and ever-growing, ever-reacting with their environment... all of the book, rich as dark chocolate.

Reading it a third time, I also realize how organized Jordan was. Although the book extends tens of thousands of pages (which gets more than its share of complaints), Jordan foreshadows everything from the end of book one to the end of the series and everything in between. Everything seems so obvious, now that I know all the details of how the One Power works, etc. etc. etc. It's really quite extraordinary that Jordan could tackle on such an enormous project so neatly.

That being said, I know the first book is a complete set-up to the rest of the series, feels that way, and to the impatient really drags because of that. I will just say that to the patient reader who loves high quality literature that IT IS WORTH IT - for the characters and setting if nothing else.

Maybe Jordan uses a lot of typical fantasy elements - medievel setting, farmboys growing into grandeur, prophecies being fulfilled, wizardlike beings who ultimately kick butt in awesomeness, a devil-like antagonist, and so forth - but he does something to make it actually seem ORIGINAL and ONE OF A KIND. It's smoothly done and fully refreshing from the loads of crappy fantasy I have read recently.

Nonfiction may still be a priority. But Robert Jordan still stands like a pillar in my list of favorite authors.

My original review from August 2008:

Robert Jordan is my favorite author, so of course this book is one of my favorites. If unfamiliar with the Wheel of Time, it is an amazingly detailed fantasy series which delves into politics, culture, and folklore. This first book, when I reread it, seemed more basic and less plot-oriented than when I remembered it, but even rereading, it was thrilling. In this series, a man called the Dragon is prophecied to defeat the Dark One, but also to break the world. There also are people who can control the One Power. They are highly influential and are only women because the male half of the One Power is tainted and causes all those who can channel (use the one power) to eventually go insane. Of course, the series does not begin on such a broad scale - it begins with a tiny village, in which many influential characters are born. The series only gets better and more detailed as it continues. Compared to most fantasy series I had read, these books are fairly clean. What I enjoy most is Jordan's writing style and characterization.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 63) (63 new)

message 1: by Arya (last edited Sep 23, 2010 06:49AM) (new) - added it

Arya Hey - I'm reading it (finally)! You recommended it ages ago and then another person recommended it to me - and he loaned it to me as well. I figured I better go ahead and read it so I could get it back to him and I am really enjoying it!

I just got to the part where Perrin, Mat and Rand just had the dream and then Rand goes outside and talks to Min, a girl who can see the "Pattern" - future. She seems really cool (if slightly strange) and I hope we see most of her. I LOVED the introduction/prologue with Lews Kinslayer (can't remember all his other names!) it was soooo dramatic and emotionally packed. It was so sad and Mr. Jordan managed to make me sad even though I knew nothing of the characters! Anyway long story short (well not really short persay, but shorter )I like this book so far and I wanted to let you know that I am reading it - thanks for the suggestion!


Glad to know you enjoy it so far. And I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say you'll see a lot more of Min. XD

Who's your favorite character so far? They're all really fun... but I've always stuck with Matrim Cauthon. Jordan introduces loads upon loads of characters, but some of them are just so memorable and awesome anyway. :)

message 3: by Arya (new) - added it

Arya I actually really like Lan . . . weird I know, but he is so protective of Moiraine and I find that so sweet! I also like Rand and Perrin, and Mat (of course! :D ) I find is so funny that we have a Moiraine, Lews, Egwene - and then you have . . . Mat. It is hilarious!! I know his full name is something cool, but it is so funny to see a normal name among all the exotic ones!

King Haddock Yaaaay for Lan. XD And all the other characters. There are some characters that drive me crazy, but I still love all of them anyway. Be prepared for some crazy characterization with all the characters (if you read far enough into the series). I agree with you about Mat's name. I can't think of any character, even a minor character, with a modern name. And I DO like Mat's full name.

WOT has a full wiki that helps with name pronunciation and stuff... but you better not use it or look at it too much at all because it gives out spoilers in the first sentence of the articles and so forth!

Kogiopsis Arya- didja know, that name thing is a trope? Aerith and Bob, it's called.
Just sharin'.

Ohwait. No, actually, I do want to butt in on this conversation, even though I'm only about two books ahead of you right now. (Too long to justify checking them out.) Aaaanywho. I like Lan and Mat, but surely I can't be the only one who thinks Moiraine kicks serious butt? And she's so *abstract hand waving* mysterious and pooooooowerfuuuuuul. It makes me happy to read about her.

message 6: by Arya (new) - added it

Arya I like Moraine too and it makes me so mad when Rand and the others are so "standoffish" towards her. She cannot help it that is is awesome! :D

Probably my favorite name in the whole book is Nynaeve - love it, so pretty!

message 7: by Kogiopsis (last edited Sep 24, 2010 02:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kogiopsis I liked Nynaeve's name until I found it in the pronunciation guide- it's something like Ninuhvuh, and that doesn't appeal. I prefer Ninave, as far as pronunciations go.

At some point- I have fabric that is the EXACT color of her dress on the front of EotW- I will make a Moiraine dress and cloak, find the appropriate... little statue thingy (I've forgotten the word for it! Oh noes!) and go trick-or-treating as her for Halloween. Maybe in college? :D That'd be fun.

When you get further into the series you'll find out why they're not fond of Aes Sedai. Let's just say the Reds are... distasteful. (Though exploring their funky little minds makes for interesting roleplay characters.)

King Haddock I remember I pronounced Nynaeve's name wrong until I heard it online - 'tis pronounced NIGH-neev - which is much more appealing than how I had pronounced it. So I like it.

Uh, you've had that fabric since what? freshman year? Or the start of sophomore? Aka I don't believe you'll ever get through with it. ;)
Problem with Moiraine: so stereotypical, as even the review you sent me about that one person complaining said. She's cool, she's powerful, but she's so stereotypical of the genre.

Reds, heh. And. Um. Absolutely every color as well with their own issues. Excuse me, Greens?

Kogiopsis Are you sure about the pronunciation? I distinctly recall seeing Ninuhvuh somewhere... *gets book* Huh, you're right. Nigh-neeve, huh? I liked Nigh-nave myself, still... but better than Ninuhvuh by FAR.

Okay, you know what? It was sophomore year because I didn't READ the stupid book until the summer between freshman and sophomore year, and it couldn't have been freshman year because I hadn't met you and your annoying hints yet. Anyhow. I will SO do it. Maybe I just won't send you pictures when I do. *thbbt*
Hah, and I remembered. Statue thingy is angreal. Yay.

Well... yes. But stereotypical or not, I like 'er. I think she manages to... to be a stereotype/archetype without being hackneyed. At least in my opinion. I love her relationship with Lan, and appreciate that it's purely platonic when it would have been really easy to go the other way. And since she's a Blue, I can believe she has reasons for every strange thing she does, so I don't hold that against her... and she kicks butt, so what else really matters?

Greens do have issues, yes... but they're funny. Reds kinda scare me sometimes; occasionally to the point that the damane did. They're so fanatical.
Besides, I think you and I should agree that Browns are not as screwed up as the others.

message 10: by King Haddock (last edited Sep 25, 2010 06:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

King Haddock Anila, I'm the one who introduced you to WOT. Do not doubt me. ;)

Dude, I just meant summer after freshman year. And I believe that you'd be so excited to get it done that you'd show me more than pictures.

Fair arguments. She's a decent character as far as those characters in fantasy go. But still not a favorite. I like the original. ;)

Heh. Yeah. Reds to that point? Damane just creeeeped me out even worse.
BROWNS! Dude, they are screwed in the sense they're complete oblivious nerds most of the time. It's just screwey in that we like people screwed that way.

Kogiopsis I reserve the right to doubt you- you have een wrong before...

Ahpfft. I'd show you more than pictures if I weren't going to be in Alaska/somewhere else out of state. Would be difficult for you to come visit and see, natch.

The original? Explain, plz.

Well yes- they and the damane both have the kind of hard-headed close-mindedness that I can't stand in real people. Plus, by the time we got to see more of the Reds I was getting rather fond of Rand, and they're kind of his natural enemies...

Nerdtribe unite!
I still refuse to think they're screwed up. You will never convince me. *arms crossed; huff*

King Haddock In some matters, but WOT?

Ah. Well... * thinks of ways you could wear it in front of me anyway *

"The original" as in "the unique" as in "a character you usually don't see in fantasy literature." Hence why I think Mat is so cool. The characterization of Rand is also something I can appreciate, though he's not a favorite.

Rather fond of Rand? Heh, dude, e-bay areful-cay on the oilers-spay. ;)

Well, you yourself say you, I, and the whole hangout world isn't exactly normal. Normal means weird which means deviated from expectations which means societally "screwed up."

message 13: by Kogiopsis (last edited Sep 26, 2010 05:19AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kogiopsis I can't fact check you on everything you say regarding WOT, so I dunno.

Share those sometimes?

Ah. I read it as you thnking of some 'original' or archtypal first character like Moiraine.

All I meant was that he grows on you as he matures and develops more of a personality.

And we veer sharply towards philosophy again.

message 14: by Arya (new) - added it

Arya I pronounced her name "Nin-ae-v" (if you can understand the way I wrote the pronunciation!) I liked Moraine so far. . . she has just the right balance of "good" and "edginess" for her to be interesting and mysterious! :D

I am still liking the book - interesting development with Perrin being able to talk to wolves. . . nice talent if he can ever except how awesome it is and actually use it!

Kogiopsis To the point where I read nothing but nonfiction for a few months, and everyone was staring at me oggle-eyed, wondering, "WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ZARAKODA???" Zarakoda, after all, always has been a fantasy reader and writer.

This. This this this this this. This has been wierd.

My problem with fantasy: it is all the SAME.

I'm going to make you a list of fantasy that ISN'T now.

Anyhow, I approve of the re-written review. Thank you for reminding me (by which I mean I'm frustrated by being reminded) that I need to finish/get caught up in this series. And that I never finished that Moiraine costume. And that it's been so long that I should probably go back and re-read the three that I have read before I move on. *facepalm*

I disagree with you about Jordan's talent, but then again that may be because I've only read three of a now 14-book series.

And since I just checked Sanderson's progress bars and he's barely a quarter of the way through the first draft of Memory of Light, I may even have time to read the rest of the series before he finishes it. If I'm lucky.

King Haddock You know, Anila, strange things happen to everyone. ;)

Okay, start on that list... Lackey will be on there, no? (sorry haven't gotten there yet... I'm more behind that you are). And you don't have to agree with me about Jordan's talent, but believe me, it's really been a stark difference compared to the other things I have read of late... refreshing, so I couldn't help but get flowery on my compliments.

You're welcome for the reminder. NOW MAKE THAT COSTUME! Yeah... I'm hoping to get through the whole series right as Sanderson gets done. Probably won't, but great ideal, no?

Kogiopsis I know, I know, but it was very weird. Glad you're at least a little back in the swing of things.

Actually, Lackey won't be on there; much as I enjoy her work, it's more run-of-the-mill fantasy comfort food than it is wildly original. Give me some time. It will be a good list.

Well sheesh, what have you been reading lately that was so inferior? I thought it was all nonfiction and stuff.

I KNOW I KNOW. And to make it worse I think I still owe my parents money for the fabric I already bought. *shamefaced*

You think you'll be too late, or too early? Because personally, my bet is that I'm going to be too late. Sanderson writes at Mach 2, after all.

King Haddock Slightly, but permanently influenced methinks.

Okay - sounds good - and thanks for thinking quality! * happy squeal *

A lot of random stuff. I don't know if I've been up-to-date enough to put in on Goodreads. * helpless shrug * YA stuff, remember that much. I try not to think on it too much. ;)

SERIOUSLY, ANILA? STILL OWE MONEY FROM THAT??? That was like - two years ago!

Probably too late. I'll be starting classes in a month now, won't I? Huge time slow down for reading.

Kogiopsis LOL. I hope the eventual result doesn't disappoint.

Yeah, I was surprised to see you getting back on this site at all, so that doesn't surprise me. And YA these days is not too good, unfortunately, so I can believe that.

I MIGHT. I don't remember, though. And I don't think my parents do either.

Wait, what's your first day of classes?

King Haddock Cillian - why hate LOTR?

You should definitely read it. :) And believe me, the world wilted the day Jordan died. I hope Sanderson's been doing well... he's a well-known author, Jordan left a lot of notes... so I've been optimistic.

King Haddock Any particular reason why? Most people with whom I have spoken who cannot read LOTR find it because of the length of Tolkien's work, but that doesn't seem your case.

King Haddock Anila - finally responding (sorry, I have limited attention span)...

Hey, I hop onto the site a lot, sometimes I just don't add stuff to the site, if you understand the difference. And YA must be at an all-time low for patheticness - but thinking of it again, I don't know that I've ever been excited about its books except for a tiny percentage.

Anila, almost exactly a month for me.

Kogiopsis I do understand the difference; you lurk, basically.
It is. Oh, it is. It's rarely been a guaranteed well of quality, but these days it's worse than ever.

Are you getting nervous yet? Because I'm getting nervous. I don't feel prepared in the least.

King Haddock Lurk - apt term.
And such is the sorrow of my bookloving existence.

Nervous? Why should I be nervous?

Kogiopsis It's the quasi-official term, actually, inasmuch as any terminology of the internet is official.
But you're reading nonfiction these days, so...
Besides, if you were more active on GR you might find it easier to steer towards the good stuff and away from the sludge.

Because it's... I dunno, college. Kind of a big deal. But I guess you're in a different situation than I am, too, so that would account for it.

King Haddock Fair enough.
Well, the way I operate is this: find unread book on shelf, read book, review book (often).

Sure, a big deal. But it's only the first year. Things get more epic once honors thesis and graduate applications come around.

Kogiopsis Let me introduce you to this thing called a 'library' sometime, mkay? It will broaden your horizons.

Yeah, but settling in and getting used to it is a critical period of transition. And I dunno about you and your majors, but getting a career with a biology degree pretty much requires snagging some internships/volunteering a lot, so figuring out what I'm doing next summer becomes an immediate problem. And there's the fact that I pretty much have been ordered by the Parental Units to get a job.

Plus, I'm driving or flying about a third of the way across the country to get to my school. There is, as I'm sure you can understand, some stress there.

message 28: by Cory (new)

Cory I will pop in here and say that while college is a bit different from HS, it's not as daunting as it seems. It takes a bit of adjusting, especially if you're not in freshmen classes, but a lot of it is just like HS. Actually, it's a lot, lot better. No stupid clique bullshit, and depending on the class, people actually want to learn instead of disrupting the environment.

Granted, I've only been in for the summer, but I like it a lot better than k-12. For one, the teachers are way more open.

Anila, where'd you decide to go? I forgot, as I'm usually prone to doing.

King Haddock Anila, I had great access to the library... during the school year. But there's also a guilt at not reading the books on your own shelves, no?

I know what you mean about the job-whatnot, Anila... heh, I was supposed to get a job THIS year. Oh well. But the big-stuff organization thingie I'm in seems like it'll shove me into internships and all sorts of whatnot - so I'll probably be able to get a little help there, if nowhere else. Pressure for my future job is just in securing that there is one OUT there - that I can somehow get there.

Traveling, yes, understood. That's partially why I wimped out. XD

Cory, thanks for you comments! I've heard those before, but they're always great to here.

Kogiopsis Cory, that is reassuring, but I'm going to be nervous until orientation and the first week, at least, are behind me. And I picked Willamette University.

Z, yes, but the library (and I meant the PUBLIC one, for surely you have a card there, yes?) has a better selection.

Well, you can always fall back into academia, not that there are very many jobs there...

Wimped out? Saywhat?

King Haddock Anila, I was talking about the public library. For goodness sakes, I had to drive past it every day to get to/from school.

Precisely. And Anila, you know I got accepted into more than where I ended up, no? And I'm just making fun of myself - hardly "wimped out" - it was the most logical decision.

King Haddock Cillian wrote: "You see, he creates this wonderful fantasy world, with all the elements and world building that promise a great, spectacular fantasy. And he makes it boring."

Personally, I found his writing style very charming. Even The Hobbit, which was suppose to be a children's book anyway (always interesting to compare it to Narnia). Do you usually read more modern literature? But I understand everyone has their own preference in how an author writes, so no problem.

Kogiopsis Z, you qualified it with 'during the school year', so what was I supposed to think?

I figured you must have gotten accepted more places, but you didn't say much about it - after a certain point it was just 'I'm going to X'.

message 34: by Cory (new)

Cory Anila, orientation is okay. Actually, mine was quite boring and the food sucked. Luckily, my roommate was cool and the orientation leader was super perky and the rooms were pretty nice. I think it would've been better if I had known people.

When I was 8-9 The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia were like my bible. I didn't get into LoTR so much, but I've read The Hobbit a million times. I do like The Fellowship, but The Two Towers and The Return of the King were rather dull.

King Haddock Well, I got accepted to one other school that technically was better-ranked for Linguistics, but it wasn't enough of a difference to really pull me into it, you know?

Cory, for me, what was most dull was when the Hobbits were in the Barrow Downs in the Fellowship... everything else seemed to progress at a fast-enough pace. I guess it just depends for all of us!

Kogiopsis Z: Did you even visit it, though? Visits make a huge difference.

Cory, I'm pretty sure the food is not gonna suck at my orientation, and I kind of hope it's boring. The thing is my school is small enough that the orientation takes place directly before classes, so for me it means the beginning of the school year, not just getting to know the campus.

King Haddock There was no reason to consider it, Anila. PM me about it if you need to know more information.

Kogiopsis Nah, 's fine.

King Haddock Okeedokee.

King Haddock Understand completely what you mean about writing style - you read with variety, it appears - still I find it interesting, being as his writing style I would not particularly parse as anything unusual for his era.

King Haddock Hahaha, Cillian, that is EPIC. I can understand, though! I think we've all been there about author preference and writing style. Some of my favorite books, looking back on them, aren't all that well written - but do I like them more than some classics? Yes. I will continue to pout because you don't like Tolkien's writing ;) but I CAN respect from where you are coming.

message 42: by Cory (new)

Cory Nice Cillian. Real nice.

King Haddock Well, according to my friends, no one can resist my pouty face (which has its own name and story base), but that's a long story... literally...

If you haven't read it in a while, I certainly wouldn't mind! Especially if you wrote a thorough review to follow. :)

King Haddock We all lack logic. We're human.

Kogiopsis I thought you were Vulcan?

message 46: by Cory (new)

Cory Nah, I completely see where you're coming from Cillian.

There are some "classic" authors *cough* Cormac McCarthy *cough* who I despise.

Though, hmm... would it be "who" there or "whom" or "that". Anyway...

King Haddock Anila, half-Vulcan. You should know this by now. ;)

Cory - Always are going to be "classic" authors whom we believe were better forgotten. XP Let us just pray that everyone forgets about the Twilight revolution and trash those in a few years (sorry, Cillian).

Kogiopsis Right, right. And half... elf, yeah?

To the 'better forgotten' list, I submit Stephen Crane.

King Haddock You're good.

Thankfully, haven't read, so easy to forget.

Kogiopsis I almost forgot! Vampire!

Be glad. Be so, so glad. The Red Badge of Courage is just... torturous.

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