SUGGESTIONS FOR WEEKEND READING
Review: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
I have come to the conclusion that I don’t get into many other books the way I get into a really good fantasy novel. Magic, swords and cloaks; mythical creatures, strange lands, and a battle against pure evil… there is just something about it. For many, J. R. R. Tolkien’s magnum opus, The Lord of the Rings series, fulfills the demands of an ultimate fantasy tale like no other. Fortunately though, there are other great books out there that take readers on similar journeys. I am surprised that I am just now uncovering the wonderful Wheel of Time series.
James Oliver Rigney, Jr, known to fans under his pen name of Robert Jordan, began writing The Wheel of Time series with the publication of The Eye of the World in 1990. A South Carolinian native to Charleston, Rigney continued to write 10 more novels in the series before succumbing to a heart condition in 2007. The series was still not completed, however, but fortunately for his readers he mapped out the details for the partially completed last novel before his death. His wife then hired writer and Wheel of Time enthusiast Brandon Sanderson to finish the series.
The Eye of the World follows the story of young Rand al’Thor from Two Rivers who, after an attack on their village during a festival by Trollocs (evil fighting creatures that are partly human, partly animal), flees with his two friends to prevent further attacks when it becomes clear that the Trollocs are specifically after them for some reason. Moiraine accompanies them, an Aes Sedai (a woman with the ability to tap the One Power), as does Lan, her Warder (a warrior who often accompanies and protects an Aes Sedai). They are constantly pursued by Trollocs and the Fades who lead them (evil characters quite similar to the Ringwraiths, or dark riders, in The Lord of the Rings). It is apparent that the Dark One’s power is rising, and they must not only evade him but must do what they can to thwart his plans.
While there are clear influences from The Lord of the Rings and some striking similarities, Rigney’s work does not come off as cheap imitation; rather, it immerges as its own original work of art and is the perfect fantasy-fix for anyone wanting another gripping tale of that genre. The main characters are younger, in their adolescent years, and I think they would have been more relatable were I still in their age group. That being said, I still absolutely relished the book and am excited to read the rest of the series.