by Robert Jordan
Published 1/15/1990 by TOR Fantasy
782 Pages (Hardcover)
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 returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
My Take: I read this book years ago, along with the first few in the series. I remember losing interest due to the storytelling style of Jordan that many others have mentioned before me, namely his insistence on describing everything in such great detail to where pages can pass with nothing happening. But as time has gone on I have found myself wanting to give the series a second chance and see if I can’t get through all fourteen books. I will mention that for most of the time I was listening to the audiobook version, read by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. I am going to go on the record and mention that it is an absolutely wonderful audio rendition and I look forward to getting through many of the subsequent books in audio format as well.
I found that I had almost no recollection of the events of the book which was probably a blessing because it allowed me to experience most of it with a new set of ears (and eyes). I was able to get sucked into the story which, at least in this first book, is absolutely fantastic. While it seemed to take forever for the characters to leave the Two Rivers, and equally long for them to reach Whitebridge, there is so much packed into these chapters that it kept me interested. By the end of the book I felt as though I was invested with the main core of characters, even those that aren’t as likeable or don’t have their own point of view chapters. And while there are novels out there (the first in an epic fantasy series) that have drawn me in better (such as Wizard’s First Rule) or have forged stronger bonds with a broad cast of characters (such as A Game of Thrones) this was by no means a bad first novel. In fact, it was really good and one that I enjoyed from start to finish. And one that I was disappointed when it did end.
The cluster of main characters, primarily Rand, Mat and Perrin, evolve through some impressive character growth. The threat of the Dark One and his minions is clear and present from about the fourth chapter onward until the end, driving the plot and the characters forward. It certainly has many elements and moments that remind me of Tolkien’s trilogy, something that I personally enjoy but others may get tired of.
The overall verdict is that this is certainly a book for all fans of fantasy, especially epic fantasy. There is so much that Jordan does right in terms of world building and character development to make it worth the time invested in at least this first book. This may not be the best book for newcomers to epic fantasy but anyone who isn’t afraid of longer books that take their time developing characters and events will enjoy giving this classic a read.