Riding on the winds of time

Riding on the winds of time

Though it has a standard good-versus-evil premise, this first book in the internationally bestselling fantasy series has the right amount of action, suspense and emotion to keep you glued.

The Eye Of The World

As an ardent lover of fantasy fiction, discovering a new series that I enjoy reading brings forth a particular kind of joy like none other. I think it is a feeling most readers can relate to and one I constantly seek as I move from one book to the next. It is a feeling that slowly creeps up on you as you turn the pages; it hits you full in the face when you realise you have found your next favourite book (until it hits you again of course). Needless to say, I have read a lot of fantasy over the years. Some that I have loved, read, and reread until the bindings gave way, others that I could not finish out of sheer boredom. Yet, every once in a while, I am able to lay my hands on a book that makes me go wow. One of these is The Eye of The World by Robert Jordan, the first book from the Wheel of Time series.

“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.”

At the dawn of time, the Creator forged the universe, the Wheel of Time that rotates by the One Power and spins the Pattern of the Ages with men and women on the spool, and imprisoned the Dark One to keep him away from the Wheel. In the Age of Legends, an Aes Sedai (a person who can channel the One Power) group accidentally breaches the Dark One’s prison allowing him into the world where his influence seeps to rally the easily corruptible to his cause in an effort to completely break open his bonds. In response, the Wheel spins out the Dragon, a channeler of the One Power, to be a champion of the Light. However, at the end of a nearly victorious battle, the Dragon is defeated and human life is shadowed by the prophecy that the Dark One will break out of his prison unless the Dragon is reborn.

Edge of danger

Set at the close of the Third Age, The Eye of The World follows three young men, one of whom is likely the Dragon reborn, and two women from a village called Two Rivers, who have seemingly become the whorl around which the Wheel is spinning its pattern.

After narrowly escaping death, they travel with an odd collection of companions to a place where they can be protected from the Dark One’s forces until the time comes when they must stand against him.

As plots go, the book follows the standard good-versus-evil story with heroes going through trials and tribulations, skirting about the edges of danger, until the moment they face their enemy. Nothing about the book is particularly different or innovative. At a whopping 800+ pages, you would even expect it to get boring. Yet, despite the slow pace and cliché characters, the book is a stunning piece of literature that should be read by all enthusiasts of the fantasy genre.

The perfect fantasy novel for me is one that builds up its universe without endless lines of description that makes visualising the world a tedious exercise. The fantasy books I have enjoyed the most are ones that flow effortlessly even if they end up being long-drawn-out accounts.

Robert Jordan has masterfully created a richly imagined world that unfolds in such an organic way that you don’t even realise you have gone through pages of world-building because you learn about it through the protagonists’ eyes and mouths as they venture beyond the boundaries of the only village they have ever known. Jordan adds the perfect amount of action, suspense, description, and emotion to every chapter, balancing out the daunting task of creating a new world with easing the reader into it all.

As I read The Eye of the World I felt a sort of déjà vu, for the book evoked in me the exact I-am-falling-in-love-with-this-world feeling I’ve felt once before while reading Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle. It completely captured my imagination and I see hours of my future being spent in finishing this series.

I am not even in the slightest alarmed by the challenge the set of 14 books poses. I look forward to it rather and envy those who get to experience its introduction for the first time.

With The Wheel of The Time series streaming now on an OTT platform, it’s the perfect time for readers to explore the magic of the written world before watching it.


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