Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Eye of the World

Footsteps backed out of the room, leaving Octras alone with his thoughts once again. Cleansing his mind had never been prayer to him--he worshipped no deity, though he envied the confidence of those who did. No creator, no divine being, had ever done anything for him, though perhaps it was because he had never asked one for help.

I finished the Eye of the World last week, and I really enjoyed it. Despite my reluctance to start the story, the intricate plot and the little details sucked me in. In the first hundred or so pages we're introduced to a whole village of people, and though many aren't in the rest of the book (but perhaps the series, I wouldn't know) Robert Jordan launches into explanations of even the trivial characters. We meet Rand, who sees a Fade on the road as he's going into town. After that it settles down and shows us his friends and talks about a festival that is supposed to happen the next day. The story doesn't leave Emond's Field until... let's say 200 pages. That was the really tough part for me to get through. The book sat in my room untouched for a long time because of the slow beginning. I persevered only because my younger sister and my sister-in-law raved about the book, and Liz expected me to read it because she bought it for me.

I always laugh when I read books where the main character is conveniently clueless about the world so the author has an excuse to explain it. This was the case here, but he actually wrote it quite well. Robert Jordan had lengthy passages about specific details (the story is over 700 pages long) but the characters had depth I haven't read in a fantasy in a long time. So it was a little war for me--the verbose but eloquent writing, the intricate but sometimes boring storyline, and the deep but convenient characters.

In the end, I decided I like the book, especially at the end. The climax was clear and strong, and it left me satisfied enough as a single book should. I know that in a series it can be hard to leave room for more without sacrificing some of the climactic value--but I think it's important that the book should be able to stand on its own, not leaning too much on the others in the series. Robert Jordan did that very well. I'll probably be picking up the second book in a month or so.


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