By: Robert Jordna
Release Date: January 15th, 1990
Publisher: Tor Books
Series: The Wheel of Time Series
It lives! It, being my computer. And me, I suppose. Guess what everyone? I’ve broken out of my reading slump! Just in time for Tome Topple and to begin The Wheel of Time Series! You know what else is exciting? Absolutely nothing because I don’t have time to read or do things beyond work, eat, gym and sleep. (If you question this statement know I’m writing this review, on my phone, which has 25% battery while on a cramped commuter train.) Nevertheless, me whining about adulthood aside, shall we delve into one of the most loved fantasy series of all time? Let’s!
Okay, so, let’s get one thing out of the way right now. I was born in 1989. This was published less than a year after my birth in 1990. However, what is more important than dating how much of a Throwback this is is noting this: every person I ever asked for a recommendation on a fantasy series, that has read this one, told me it was a must read. They, were correct.
Immediately, one of my favorite things I found out was that apparently Robert Jordan intentionally wanted the beginning chapters of this novel to remind us readers of The Shire from The Lord of the Rings. For me, as a reader, I like when authors admit to their influences and praise their predecessors rather than try and deny the similarities. Admit you’re a fan, like the rest of us, and move on. Which, Robert Jordan did so for that I am glad.
Yes, it begins very much like The Lord of the Rings. Yes, there are a ton of details but, as a fantasy reader, that is necessary. We are stepping into an imagined world and you cannot imagine it properly without the details. I accept the details, even when they seem a bit much, are worth reading. And vital. The details may be daunting, heck, the series itself is daunting but I feel it will be worth it in the end.
I adore how Robert Jordan gives each character a challenge, something to overcome. Not everyone is simply there to back up our main character, Rand. Everyone has their own path to walk and while, yes, he does have a support group to travel with and go through this insane journey with, they are all independent beings with their own histories, lives, struggles and victories. Call me simple but give me layered characters and you can tell me how they haggled over bread and I’ll be happy.
Now, as for our main characters, Rand, Matrim (Mat) and Perrin, their chemistry and loyalty to each other amazing. They trust one another and their hearts are in the right place as they set out from their home, hoping to lead Trollocs and Myddraal away from their loved ones. The addition of Moiraine, Lan, Thom and Egwene only adds to the group, again, adding layers to the adventure.
We see the characters individual struggles begin to disrupt the group and perhaps most notably we see Mat struggle with his connection to and influence of a ruby encrusted dagger he took from Shadar Logoth. His “sickness” prevents him from contributing much and, despite being healed somewhat by Moiraine there are linger effects that I think will continue to disrupt the journey.
As with most of my reviews I do my best to avoid spoilers so let me say this; if you enjoyed the travels of Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin in The Lord of the Rings you will enjoy this group’s journey as well.
And, what out of all 814 pages is my favorite quote? I settled for one of my favorites since there were so many.
“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.”