Rating: 4/5 stars
To start, if you aren’t a fan of commitment to a very long and complicated series, don’t pick up this book. “The Eye of the World” comes in at over 260,000 words. At the average reading speed of 250 words per minute, it would take about 17 hours of straight reading in order to finish this book. And that is all without deciphering some of the language Robert Jordan uses. While I couldn’t find a statistic on how many terms, places, and even philosophical concepts are given a unique name in this book, the fact that there is a glossary at the back shows it must be quite a bit.
All in all, “The Eye of the World” is a great introduction to the series Jordan creates. We start with three village boys who get their worlds turned upside down by the arrival of an Aes Sedai, looking for ta’veren. They are just as confused as you at hearing those words and their lives are forever changed. Thankfully, due to these character’s isolated backgrounds, almost every experience for them is just as new as it is to the reader. Jordan also goes into some fantastic detail describing the various cities and other settings the characters find themselves in.
“The Eye of the World,” part of “The Wheel of Time” series, is just a drop in the bucket of complicated series. The ending of the book, since it is part of a 14 book series, leaves many more questions unanswered than answered, but overall it shows just how much power level is important in the series. From the book’s name, “The Eye of the World” readers can be sure that the characters are going to deal with some titanic forces right off the bat. These forces only grow in later books but Jordan’s writing ensures that everyone rightly understands the gravity of the situation.
Characters develop little in the first book, beyond being ripped from the world they have always known and being thrust into a new one. Still, the book is told from multiple perspectives and in each one we understand more fully each character’s emotions and thought processes, and later, their opinions of the characters around them. While not every character in this book is relatable, each one is fleshed out and believable; especially given their circumstances.
I give the book four out of five stars because it is a great introduction to the series, however, its extreme length and detail can be incredibly off-putting. There are also so many characters, terms, places, and ideas that it can be confusing to keep track of them all.