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Two reviews for the price of one - the first two volumes of Robert Jordan's enormous fantasy epic 'The Wheel of Time'. It's odd that these were the books randomly chosen by amychaffinch because a) I only finished The Great Hunt at 1 0'clock this morning and b) it was amychaffinch who recommended the series to me in the first place (she's a big fan). The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills...

The Eye of the World didn't really grab me at first. The first part of the book is very obviously written as a tribute to The Lord of the Rings. In fact, some events are almost copies of events in The Fellowship of the Ring. Once I got past that, I realised two things. The first is that actually, I really like The Lord of the Rings, so a tribute by a talented author is not a bad thing at all. Secondly, as you carry on into the first book, you start to get glimpses that actually this isn't quite the straightforward LotR copy that it starts out resembling. The world-building, while not up to Tolkien's standard, stands comparison with most fantasy epics. And Jordan's writing style is very readable.

When you get into the second book, rather more aspects of the world are revealed, with many more hints that there are all sorts of complex undercurrents. I'm trying very hard not to be spoilered for the rest of the series because I'm looking forward to seeing what is revealed and how all the factions fit together. That's two really quite long books read and I feel that I'm only scratching the surface.

So if you're thinking that I'm liking this series more the more I read of it, you'd be right. A lot of Tolkien fans don't seem to read many similar works at all, but if you like LotR and you're looking for something vaguely along the same lines, you may well like this. But try to avoid reaching a firm conclusion until you've read the first two books.

(amychaffinch tells me that "it keeps improving" from this point on and that "there are lots of things that you read now that will make lots of sense later". I hope so, on both counts.)

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
bunn
Apr. 4th, 2016 09:52 pm (UTC)
Still can't decide if I should read these or not. *agonises*
ford_prefect42
Apr. 5th, 2016 02:47 am (UTC)
I read this series as they were coming out (give or take a few years). That means that I started *young*, and finished middle aged. Many things look very different now.

It does get better, and worse. There is a LOT of this series. I also quite liked the intricacy of the world-building, and the many interwoven subplots. And it doesn't actually bother me that many of them get dropped, The travels of a person through the world do not contain ONLY things that are significant in the long run.

Some of the middle books DO drag though. There are 1 or 2 books where, pretty much, the situation at the beginning is little changed from the situation at the end. That's a little frustrating in a thousand page book.

However, it finishes strong, and overall, it's a great, rewarding work to read... It just needs someone to cut about 2500 pages from the total length, and it'd be near perfect!
andrewducker
Apr. 5th, 2016 09:54 pm (UTC)
This is tempting.

I'm intrigued to see if your recommendation stands when you've finished the series.

On a only-somewhat-related note - have you read the Baroque Cycle?
philmophlegm
Apr. 6th, 2016 08:03 am (UTC)
That will probably be at least a decade from now!

I haven't read The Baroque Cycle, or any Neal Stephenson, but Anathem (the idea for which attracted me slightly more) is one of about 150 books on my to-read shelves.
andrewducker
Apr. 6th, 2016 08:04 am (UTC)
I thought of the Baroque Cycle because it covers at least part of the transition from royalty to mercantilism, and bits and pieces of things that would probably interest you from an economics perspective. (As well as being a lot of fun)
philmophlegm
Apr. 6th, 2016 09:04 am (UTC)
It's in the longer term section of my to-read list. The section where I don't actually own the book yet. The section of the list where I do own the book is years long...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )