Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Review: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1)The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This first-in-the-series gateway into Robert Jordan's massive imaginary world was interesting with some good characters (that at times may seem a little one-dimentional--especially the female characters). All in all it was very articulate and vividly described. The action sequences seemed a little punctuated and not quite as good as his static descriptions. All in all, I enjoy entering into fiction and exercising my imagination, and this was an plesant way to accomplish that.

A word about Jordan's mythology:

This is a coming-of-age mixed with messianic/demigod-like myth tale. The one problem I have with it being a Christian is that it borrows from Hindu and eastern concepts (e.g., the 'Wheel' of time) as well as greek mythology where gods are no more than extremly powerful men who simply treat non-gods as chess peices for their own leisurly pleasure. This compared to Tolkien's creation myth of the father, Eru Iluvatar, and the singing of the first song that is, although perhaps not explicitly Christian, distinctly drawn from fundamental truths that comprise Christian theology of the creation and fall.

On the other hand, Jordan's Rand al'Thor seems to derive from a mixture savior/demigod theme that perhaps is about as satisfying a mythology for me in comparison as a faded picture of the golden valley is to a stroll through it's trails. If you are going to introduce a supernatural force, then this yin/yang kind of equilibrium just will never do for me. I need a more absolute footing from which my imagination might wonder and hope. I can tell Robert Jordan placed a great deal of thought into the concepts of the Wheel of Time in crafting his savior-tale, but will there be some absolute resolution and a permenant golden valley or gray haven's? What of the conflict of good vs. evil. In Tolkien or even Rowling's Potter we never doubt the supremacy of good over evil. Jordan's themes are circular and cyclical. Like the Hindu swastika or the proverbial snake eating it's tail it turns in on itself and answers the question with an inanimate object that signifies everything and nothing. Will this change--time will tell; or as they say: "The wheel turns as the wheel wills."

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