The Eye of the World novel, by Robert Jordan, creates a rich and colourfully imagined universe. Readers will be quickly charmed by and emersed in the well written local cultures and lore. Also, it is effortless to relate with the characters who are realistic and engaging.
Jordan's plot focuses on three unlikely heroes: Rand, a simple sheepherder, Perrin, a thoughtful blacksmith and Mat, a likeable rogue. All three have their lives turned upside down when their sleepy home town of the Two Rivers is suprised by a horde of bloodthirsty Trollics (evil man-beasts). The three boys are told by a mysterious traveller Moirane that they are ‘taver'en’ (those who are able to manipulate unwittingly the fabric that governs the universe). These three must leave their home as they are sought by The Dark One (the novel's protagonist) and travel to the Eye of the World, which is a source of immense magical power. Their task is to stop The Dark One who is threating to use it to remake the world in his own image. Will the three small town farmboys be able to take on the immense power of The Dark One? What will they discover about their destiny in the process?
The fantasy elements of the novel are top notch, with the main magical system being ‘The One Power’. The One Power exists in a select few individuals who are able to tap into this personal source and manipulate the five elements(earth, fire, wind, water and spirit), to do everything from light a fire to heal a person who is mortally wounded. The twist to this inner power is that only women can touch it safely (Saidar) and men who touch the source (Saidin) will eventually go mad and die, killing those they love. This Ying Yang tension is key to the themes of the novel. This approach to magic is refreshing and leads to many moral conflicts within the novel itself.
The cultures and lands in the Wheel of Time series are not only rich and imaginative, but have had all aspects considered, even down to marriage rights and political intrigue! Though this is a fantasy novel at heart, all of the races are original. You won't see your predictable Orcs and Elves in this text! This makes the world of this fantasy novel very realistic, yet also inventive. The main characters are not perfect and have real flaws that readers can relate to (for example, Mat having a penchant for gambling and girls!!!) The storyline is satisfying, which at its heart is a traditional Greek plot of good versus evil.
Overall, Jordan's orignal style of prose, delightful descriptions and indepth, realistic cultures add a depth to the story which makes this novel refreshing and will keep you turning pages to the conclusion.