unknown's Reviews > The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
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bookshelves: paternity-leave
Recommended to unknown by: Brian Halberg

Paternity leave reading for 3 a.m. crying jags. (Mine and hers.)

---

There, Brian. I read it. Are you happy?

My friend Brian has been telling me to read The Wheel of Time for years. It always went like this:

Brian: You should read The Wheel of Time. It's really good.
Me: I've heard that it gets really, really bad.
B: The first seven books are really outstanding.
M: Yeah, I'm not going to read seven books without an ending.
B: The first one is good but the second one is better.
M: Mmm. I don't know.
B: The first one stands alone really well! [Retrospective commentary: NO IT DOESN'T]
M: OK, lemee borrow it.

[Several months pass]

M: Here is your book back.
B: Oh, you read it?
M: No.

I really thought I was never, ever going to start this series. Everything I read about it screamed at me to run away. Tolkien pastiche. Incredibly long. Characters with stupid names. Lots of "world-building." The main villain is called "The Dark One." WTF, trollocs?

I have nothing against multi-volume, word-bloated epic fantasy. Not really. (Well, kind of, but I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt: George R.R. Martin, that one Brandon Sanderson book I liked). But even the people who like The Wheel of Time also seem to apologize for doing so or outright resent it for what it became in the draggy middle. So why do I want to start reading it? If someone told me a show about a mysterious island was really entertaining and interesting for a while there, but then totally peed the ending down its leg, and really, that's a PRETTY BIG DEAL for a mystery show, even one that is purportedly focused on a bunch of unlikeable assholes characters first, would I immediately run home and start watching that show on Netflix streaming? No, because I'm the idiot who watched it all along, assuming I wasn't wasting my time.

I think I am getting off track.

So, I wasn't going to read this. But then I was off work for a few weeks on paternity leave, and my daughter was waking up five times a night, and I was unable to sleep even though, at that point, I didn't really have much to offer that she was interested in, and I had a copy of The Eye of the World that I absorbed for a quarter somewhere, and I've always had a thing for the goofy cover art. So I picked it up at 2 a.m. and read the prologue. And it was pretty much what I expected, what with the stupid names and bad dialogue. But it was also kind of... fun. Of course, I also knew (based on reading a bunch of reviews and blogs about this book series I never planned to read) that the next 150 pages were going to be, in the tradition of Hobbiton (Chapter One: Concerning Ensuring Joel Will Never Read Past the First Section of This Book) horrifically boring. So I almost put it back down.

Then I remembered that my brother had the book in his Audible account, and that my phone lets you listen to books at double speed, meaning I'd get through the 30-hour production in roughly 15. That sounded about right -- the auditory equivalent of skimming (except I actually got really good at listening that quickly; you just kind of have to get in the zone).

And it was exactly as I'd been led to believe: clumsy, repetitious prose (a few times I had to make sure the audio track wasn't repeating as the same dialogue and phrasing was repeated over and over). Meandering pacing and haphazard plotting (nothing happens nothing happens SOMETHING HAPPENS same thing happens five more times nothing happens rushed climax cliffhanger). Bland heroes (though in their defense, they are stupid teenagers). Blatant Tolkien rip-offery (OH MY GOD THE DAGGER IS OBVIOUSLY CURSED YOU IDIOTS). And my favorite, the pauses for self-indulgent infodumps (the "best" one comes in one of the last chapters and throws in so many weird names and covers so much time I have absolutely no idea what happened and why it mattered enough to put the climax on hold). The unsatisfying ending (the last chapters are rushed, drop in a few villains out of the blue only to defeat them a few pages later via a magical object that isn't mentioned until page 650 even though it's the freaking title).

But. Um. I kind of liked it. The world is pretty interesting. I like the way Robert Jordan sketches out the history (even some of the infodumps are fun!). I like his magic system, and the powerful women who are feared and respected for tapping into it. I don't strictly care about the hero's journey at its core, but the weight -- the epicness -- of it all... Once the big, lumbering thing gets moving, it really has momentum.

So here's where the real test comes. Do I read the second book?

No, I do not.

Do I listen to the second book at chipmunk speed?

I really kind of want to. But doing that will only make me want to read book three, and, like poor Rand al'Thor accidentally touching the tainted power of saidin (dammit, Brian, see what you did?), that way lies madness and death.

Maybe if Josh has an extra Audible credit.
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Reading Progress

November 22, 2009 – Shelved
April 20, 2012 – Started Reading
April 24, 2012 – Shelved as: paternity-leave
April 24, 2012 –
page 140
17.2%
April 25, 2012 –
page 260
31.94%
April 27, 2012 –
page 350
43.0%
May 1, 2012 –
page 532
65.36%
May 2, 2012 –
page 570
70.02% "paternity leave may be over, but this book STILL ISN'T."
May 6, 2012 –
page 645
79.24% "paternity leave may be over, but this book STILL ISN'T."
May 8, 2012 –
page 730
89.68%
May 8, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 57 (57 new)


message 1: by Jason (new)

Jason That would be one thing I do not miss about being a new parent.


unknown it's not too bad so far. except for last night when she took a four-plus hour nap from 8:30 or so on and we started worrying because she wasn't waking up or wanting to eat. then at 2 a.m. she decided naptime was over.

overall, though, i think we got lucky with a good eater and a fairly consistent sleeper... so far! she has to be good now so we don't take her back.


message 3: by Vicki (new) - added it

Vicki G Somebody gave me the book you're reading for Christmas. I just haven't gotten around to reading it, b/c I've never read anything by Robert Jordan. So I don't know if it's good but, if it's Science Fiction or Fantasy, I'll probably like it.
What do people think of Robert Jordan?


message 4: by unknown (last edited May 09, 2012 02:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

unknown i have never read him before but this series is very, very popular -- #1 new york times bestselling popular. it has a reputation for trailing off in the middle books and then improving at the end, but the general consensus among fans is that the first few are strong.

i am enjoying book 1 so far, though it isn't exactly original.


Ryan I'd say it reads better if you started it as a teen. If you're enthusiastic about fantasy then it's pretty solid. Some of the later entries (9 and 10) might help you to put your little one back to sleep.


message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant do you think infinite jest or Remembrance of Things Past would work at chipmunk speed? Remembrance of Things Fast! It might solve a problem.


message 7: by unknown (last edited May 09, 2012 03:38PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

unknown The audio of infinite jest just came out. I was excited until I found out they cut the footnotes.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, thank you. This is exactly the review I need to keep me from reading this book. I'm occasionally tempted.


message 9: by Robert (new)

Robert congratulations, you did what I could not, I got about a third of the way into it before giving up


unknown Robert wrote: "congratulations, you did what I could not, I got about a third of the way into it before giving up"

double-speed audiobooks. the way to be.


Xavier Guillaume Heh, I just read this book last year, and I really liked it. At first the names confused me, so I would have to scan back and figure out who was who. Especially that beginning part with the castle crumbling and the bad guys with like multiple names. Confusing...But besides that I loved it. My favorite were the women with magic. How they can control it, but when men touch the source they become corrupted. Very interesting to me. It reminds me of Dune with the Bene Gesserit. It's interesting. It's like I really love Moiraine, but I can't help but think she's planning something very shifty. Everything is too wrapped in shadow with her. She only shows her good side, and wonder what she's hiding.


Eh?Eh! All right, listen to me and ignore all those other WoT fanatics - the first 3 books are this same kind of fun. The 4th book is noticeably thicker and I thought that was the one that started to go down(downdowndown)hill. Listen to the first 3 on audio at 2am or whenever the little one wakes. Ditch the rest. Read a fan FAQ summary if you have to.


unknown Eh?Eh! wrote: "Listen to the first 3 on audio at 2am or whenever the little one wakes. Ditch the rest."

eh has spoken! thy will be done. eventually.


Eh?Eh! Amen. Praise me!


message 15: by Benji (new)

Benji Amazonia your dialogue: lol


Gudmundur I was just thinking if I should write a review, but then I read yours and it says everything I would have wanted to say, only better. Average "silly fantasy", terribly derivative, not-so-good prose, clunky dialogue, meandering plot, lack of any kind of wow-factor that sets the best fantasy books apart. Still, kind of fun, and since it's summer I've already started reading The Great Hunt.


message 17: by Ashraf (new)

Ashraf probably the most annoying review I had the displeasure of reading, why did you have to go through your life story before getting to your verdict on the book.


Jennifer I'm in the middle of reading the book (agree with your synopsis). I laughed out loud reading your review. Thanks. I don't even mind the spoilers, because, really, this book is that predictable anyway.


message 19: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Fountain I see these are old, but I am an avid fan and the last book will be done in January. It does slow down in the middle, but as a whole the series ties together very well and I was attached to the characters enough to plod along. If you're a fan of the genre than it doesn't get better than this. Brandon Sanderson took over and the last several books have been amazing, as well as his own works.


Meghan I have attempted this book before. I am attempting this book again. Via audible. On double speed. I'm SO GLAD TO KNOW I'm not alone!


message 21: by unknown (last edited Feb 20, 2013 02:52PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

unknown Meg wrote: "I have attempted this book before. I am attempting this book again. Via audible. On double speed. I'm SO GLAD TO KNOW I'm not alone!"

double speed was about right (word of caution: "3x" on the audible app is actually exactly double speed. what the app calls 2x is more like 1.5x). i read a bunch of spoilers when the last book came out and i don't think i will be reading listening any further.


Meghan I can't figure out if I somehow geekily like it... it is a world that would last FOREVER while I'm reading (listening) if I could get into the series, but I keep getting jolted out of the story by the sheer... "cliche-ness" of it all. I don't know. I'm about 50%, I'll probably at least finish this one, but the next book will have to be fairly cheap (or free) for me to keep going, I think.


message 23: by unknown (last edited Feb 20, 2013 03:06PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

unknown Ashraf wrote: "probably the most annoying review I had the displeasure of reading, why did you have to go through your life story before getting to your verdict on the book."

oh, i missed this comment before, but i want to warn you that if you don't like a lot of padding in your reading, then a series that regularly features 50-page prologues and is 4 million words long probably isn't for you.


Meghan Joel wrote: "Ashraf wrote: "probably the most annoying review I had the displeasure of reading, why did you have to go through your life story before getting to your verdict on the book."

oh, i missed this com..."

ha! indeed...


message 25: by Ali (new) - added it

Ali This is pretty much one of the greatest reviews I've ever read for any book, ever. And, your struggle over whether or not to read this is exactly what I'm going through right now. And now I see that you wrote this a year ago. Oops.


unknown But that would mean I have an almost one-year-old!


message 27: by Graziella (new)

Graziella I'm with Ali - thanks for the thoughtful wave-off. There are so many worlds to explore, so many characters to follow, and so little time...this review/comment thread was both insightful and entertaining.


Pheonix i think that some people (ahem.....Joel) simply have bad taste in books since this is seriously one of the best epics ever written. on Book 10 and lovin every minute of it :)


message 29: by Jason (new)

Jason Pheonix wrote: "i think that some people (ahem.....Joel) simply have bad taste in books since this is seriously one of the best epics ever written. on Book 10 and lovin every minute of it :)"

But Joel liked the book. I mean, he actually says that in the review.


unknown Oh, some people definitely have bad taste in books. My friend brian, for example.


Wolfgarrr LMAO you made me laugh. Yea. the love hate thing with this series is quite ...erm. Big.


Heidi I read your review and felt it mirrored my own experience. All my friends are raving about the series, and I thought it was meh. Guess I'm used to the Dresden files - paced A LOT better.


message 33: by John (new)

John  Crookednose haha! great review!


message 34: by Josh (last edited May 13, 2014 01:06PM) (new) - added it

Josh Great review. Funny summary up front of the "cons" for not reading. I've just started on the very first chapters of Book 1…of the 14 Book series...written over 13 years…by two authors…

Here are my initial thoughts in a tongue-in-cheek "Radio Trailer" for the Wheel of Time: http://reignofbooks.files.wordpress.c...

REIGN of Books presents the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan (and that new guy), starting May 17.


unknown correction: written over 23 years.


message 36: by Josh (new) - added it

Josh Wow simple math got me on that one. thanks a lot!


Bogdan Capitanoiu "Paternity leave reading" so funny...and ironic..when puting in context of: A kid makes u cranky..and a an encouremgement not to read for pleasure something makes you...simply as cranky as before...;or even more?

for me it was actually easy going fun (no need to get all pumped up) else I would have a hard time living life(and all it's tinny disapointments; not the bing 1s those don't affect me :) )..I mean reading other more complicated books of works (@least this was how it felt to me, and soon some friends(already their opinion corupted by having the same interests-backgrounds-parents) will confirm that; by slowly but surely moving up in the cycle ..past the 5th book -the make it or brake it for me..at least cause of the change in style from a pure tolkian one a teen on a jurney, to a Alexander the great...& who helped him get the influence he had..I guess it was not 1 mother but a good bunch of individuals all not with their own agendas, but just different ideas on what is what they want all conicindetanlly leading to the same 'horifing conclusion: The Dark 1 is... :) '-)


message 38: by Daniel Gage (new)

Daniel  Gage LOL I'm totally not reading this. Your review wins at life. (A stay at home Dad, also prone to 3A.M. crying jags.)


message 39: by Sonica (new) - added it

Sonica thanks for the review! I just started this book and am wondering whether I should continue. it sounds like I should save this for when I'm really out of stuff to read


Virgunia Corley Ok here it is I've read eye of the world TWICE. I love it adore it I'm crazy about it. And I want a movie


Virgunia Corley I just finished the books still warm I have all 14 plus the prequel new spring


message 42: by Carol (new)

Carol Guthrie I know this review is 4 years old now, but just wanted to say thanks for the laugh. (I myself started on the Outlander series when I was nursing a cranky baby who milk-snacked and nap-snacked every. two. hours. nonstop, so I feel ya. She's 21 now, and yet I'm just now getting around to WoT, which my youngest brought home from the high school library. (He's a fan of the Paolini books; I'm not but I like to read what he's reading.) So. Am about to embark on the journey, and hope I don't get bored. I do have good tolerance for lotsa lotsa characters and interwoven storyline, and I admit that Tad Williams' bloated Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series is among my favorite fantasy books EVAR, so maybe I'll do okay. Still. "Meandering pacing and haphazard plotting (nothing happens nothing happens SOMETHING HAPPENS same thing happens five more times nothing happens rushed climax cliffhanger)" made my DAY.


Grace All you say is true. Every time the author wrote "Burn me", I flipped 20 pages. I managed to read up to Book 4 that way.


message 44: by Adam (new)

Adam Bullock Best review ever!


message 45: by Jenbebookish (new) - added it

Jenbebookish Okay so wait. Is this really a read 7 books thing and be left with absolutely no satisfaction/conclusion/ending???


Angie Campbell It's a decent book. A bit slow to start but does some good character building.


message 47: by Liam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liam Ok


message 48: by Liam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liam Cool story bro


Chris Absolutely spot on. I listened to it, too. Wish I'd used chipmunk speed (thanks for the tip!). had exactly the same moments of panic where I thought I'd accidentally backtracked and was relistening to something. Sweet Jebus this thing could have been halved by an editor and not lost anything of importance. I'm not continuing the journey to the 2nd book. Ugh!


message 50: by Ross (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ross Johnson Reading that review felt like your description of reading this book


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