Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Fantasy: NY.
The Eye of the World (1990) is the first book of Jordan's twelve book epic series. (A 13th book, which he didn't finish himself before his death, is scheduled for fall 2009.) It is a fantasy with a historical setting. The young people of Emond's Field run from the attack of the Trollocs (beasts bidden by the Dark One) on their town and to their destiny with the help of Moiraine Sedai, magic wielder and healer, and Lan, her sworn protector. The Dark One threatens to stamp out the Light. One of the young people is the key to whether this can be done or not. They all journey to the place of confrontation, and the chase is on.
By the end of the book, more questions arise than are answered. We are given glimpses into the characters-enough to want much more of each. I think the strengths are the characters and the reworking of history through the ages. There are references to historical social issues, such as the Children of the Light, a militant religious group which persecutes those they find using any type of magic. Though the book was rather long, I am looking forward to reading more. In my experience, in depth worlds such as this tend to improve as the series go along. The details become more intertwined. I believe it will be a series to savor, not rush through.
In The Great Hunt (1990) there is more emphasis on events being replayed through time. There are even a couple spots that indicate many possible scenarios-in fact, time has already replayed the conflict between the Dragon Reborn and the Dark One thousands of times with different outcomes. The Dark One says this time will be the last, but does he say that every time, trying to intimidate the Dragon?
In this book Rand, Perrin, and Mat go with soldiers from Fal Dara (a borderland fortress) to recover the Horn of Valere which must be used by the Dragon Reborn to awaken the dead heroes to fight the last battle against the Shadow. A darkfriend has stolen the Horn to lure Rand to the area of confrontation. In The Eye of the World, Rand learns that he is the Dragon Reborn, but adamantly rejects the idea through most of The Great Hunt, until he can no longer deny it at the end. He wants nothing to do with it, because the Dragon is reputed to go mad and destroy those he loves. But he learns by the end of the book that his friends are woven into the story that will play out even if he tries to run away. He will then just not be there to fight to defend the people against the Shadow.
Egwene and Nynaeve travel to the White Tower to learn the ways of the Aes Sedai and meet Elayne, the princess of Andor, and Min, the seer who has become entwined in their lives. It is apparently not their destiny to stay secluded in the Tower, and they are soon caught up in unfolding events as well. At this time it is also revealed that these young women will play a part in the direction the current time turns.
Moiraine Sedai releases Rand from watchfulness as he goes on the quest of the Great Hunt (He can hardly believe it.), but a reclusive and scholarly Sedai, Verin, learns of his importance in the Wheel of Time and takes it upon herself to aid him in his traveling.
As is the first book, this one is long and drawn out, but again it feels like a detailed exploration of a new and exciting world. The reader wants to know every possible detail. Events are slowly unfolding, and it is important to watch every clue regarding characters, the world, and what happens next. As expected, things are already becoming more complicated. Can't wait to see what happens next!
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