The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World

One of the most renown fantasy series of all time: does it live up to its reputation?

After reading the Stormlight Archive series (or at least what was released so far) I needed my next deep dive into epic fantasy- and there it was: The Wheel of Time.

Now, the very broad framework is similar to other fantasy series: a chosen one narrative, with a sprinkle of a “unite them” mantra. But it comes with a twist: what if there were factions and majorities of people who did not want such a person to come about, and what if some of them were even working against them, separate from the main antagonist (the Dark One).

It is the latter force that draws me in, i.e., the Aes Sedai, a collective of women who can channel the One Power. They are divided into multiple factions (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Brown). In fact, some of them have to work in secret to support the chosen one, who otherwise can be labeled as a “false dragon”.

Anyways, the characters were awesome here! There is so many- the villagers Rand-Al-Thor (the upcoming dragon), Matt, Perin, Egwayne, Nynaeve (I know that name is butchered, forgive me), as well as the Moraine Sedai and her warder Lan, as well as (my favorite) Tom, the gleeman. Their interactions were so colorful and visceral that it transported me to this other world, and was in a way sort of grounded in its history and culture. It is not a stretch to state that if the characters are bland in a fantasy novel, the novel is; I can clearly see that here that is not the case, and it clearly lives up to its reputation as one of the best fantasy worlds of all time. These characters went through so much development in just one novel, it is striking to see the difference in especially the villagers (Matt becomes like a whole entire different being).

One note is that I read this (or listened to) using Audible, and my gosh the narration is S-tier! Kate Reading and Kramer knocked it out of the park! I was initially unsure because both sound so young compared to other recordings pop Mistborn and Stormlight, but it eventually fit the story for my ears, which made me happy.

Overall, book one of this series deserves to be in my top 10! The hallmark of these fantasy novels, in my view, is the degree it allows the reader to fantasize about the possibilities that a character can take (or even better than that, all of the main cast). Here, it delivers that in spades.






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