The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth return again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, when the World and Time themselves hang in the balance, a wind rises in the mountains of mist . . .
And so begins the epic Wheel of Time series. The series is amongst the most successful published in the fantasy genre and the majority of the books in this series have been placed in the top ten of the New York Times best-sellers list.
Before we get to the first book, lets just get a bit of background to the main plot. Roberts style of writing is quite different to most fantasy authors with a backdrop of a vivid and painstakingly detailed world around which the story is set.
In Roberts vision time and history are all part of a metaphysical "Wheel" with history and events repeating when the wheel turns full circle. The True Source (magic) can be channelled by both men an women but each draw from a different half of this source, men draw on "saidin" while women draw on "saidar". This is complicated by the fact that thousands of years ago there was a battle between the forces of good and the "Dark One", which resulted in the Dark one being imprisoned, and the breaking of the world. before being imprisoned the dark one was able to "taint" saidin so that any male channelling will go mad. It has been prophesied that he will break free again and the only man who can stop his reign of terror is the Dragon Reborn, a man who can channel...
Ok so on to the first book, The Eye of the World. Rand Pippin and Mat are all best friends having grown up together in a remote corner of the world a village called the two rivers, however their lives are turned upside down after an attack by Trollocs, creatures that up to that point had been thought to be part of make believe stories to scare children. To make matters worse, it appears the three friends are the target of the attack.
The Wheel of time does have a bit of a slow start but it really is worth persevering with as after the first quarter of the book, the pace does pick up.
There are many that have criticised this book (and the series) as taking the plot line and details from the lord of the rings, and while there are similarities to the stories, this is purely superficial, a fact that becomes clearer the more of the story you read.
In my opinion, The Eye of the World does a very good job of setting up the main plot, sub plots and introducing us to the world and the main characters, some of which excellently realised (Padin Fain is deliciously crazy and twisted). Robert manages to avoid the style that some writers take of making people good or evil, black or white and his characters have a more realistic attitude and outlook.
On a final note, the book really builds at the end and really makes you want to pick up the second book straight away (The Great Hunt) which to me means a success.
Written on Sunday 1st November 2009 by Antony.
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