Chris Youngblood's Reviews > The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
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's review
Jun 11, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: fantasy, fluff-reading, reviewed, kindling

Short Version: China Mieville has been quoted as allegedly having said that Tolkien is the "wen on the arse of fantasy writing". I believe he is both arrogant and wrong. To support this claim, I would like to point out two things that put lie to Mr. Mieville's assertion:

1) without Tolkien, China Mieville would not have a genre to write in, and

2) he named the wrong author; THIS series is the 'wen' on the 'arse' of fantasy.

This is another one of those series that I thought might have been worth trying to read through from start to finish. At least quite a few of my friends and associates thought it was, and let me know they thought so - rather stridently, in some cases.

Sometimes my friends are dead wrong.

There are so many things wrong with this book, from a storytelling standpoint - hell from any literary standpoint, that I don't know where to begin. I found the idioms used (the venerable symbol of the Yin-Yang reduced to a caricature of the duality of good and evil, for example) were hackneyed and smacked of a lack of imagination, the characters were simplistic and overwrought (how many times can a woman sniff disapprovingly and smooth her skirts? twice is too many, to be honest, and almost all of the women in the book apparently have a compulsion to do it ad nauseum, the pacing was jerky and inconsistent, and the sheer bulk of the writing itself was Tedium incarnate. The endless descriptions of irrelevant and pointless things bored me to tears.

And from what I've understood, it only gets worse - the prose becomes more bloated and wasteful, and the story itself, easily told in a much shorter volume, is bogged down by endlessly frivolous and unnecessary description. By way of example, I understand that there is an entire multi-page chapter in one of the later books where a character spends the entire time wangsting about a particular issue, and in the end achieves nothing more than putting on his pants.

I'll take some progress with my story, thank you very much. In the end, I found little to justify re-reading the first book itself, much less trying to read the entire series. There is a limitless amount of fantasy available out there, some of it good, some of it not. But even most of the not-so-good stuff is free of the "Hey! I'm writing a novel!" kind of attitude that seemed to waft off of this book's every chapter.

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