Book Review: The Eye of the World (1990)

A woman holding an open book; text: 'book review'

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time has intimidated me since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to read them, but I just never did. I’ve picked up The Eye of the World a couple of times since, but never properly immersed myself in Jordan’s world until now. It was the television series that finally drew me in, and I’m so glad to finally be able to label myself a fan, ha! And, after having gone into the book world now, I do think I prefer it (just a bit!) to the show. I really do enjoy the show, but I think I liked Jordan’s pacing a bit more. You get all the side stories, all the poems and songs, all the world-building. And I feel closer to the characters in the book as opposed to the show.

This book is very different from the show. I’m glad, in a sense, that I saw the show first, because it helped me visualise parts of the book that were a bit dense, but on the other hand, I find myself wishing things had been kept from the book that didn’t make it into the show. Egwene comes with them because she’s stubborn, not because she might be a Dragon (which is implied in the show); Nynaeve is frustrating and stubborn in the book in a way she really isn’t in the show; we don’t have the wolves and Elyas in the show the way we do in the book; Mat and Perrin’s origins are different; Thom doesn’t leave the Two Rivers with them in the show, which I’m now sad about because I LOVED him as their grumpy sidekick and guide in the book; and I actually find Moiraine more likeable in the book than the show. I couldn’t tell you why, I just felt like I understood her more in the book. In the show she seems so cold. And where Rand and Egwene can barely stammer around each other in the book, they’re wholly involved in the show. All that said, I like both versions, but I do think I’m more swayed by the book now.

The journey of the characters feels very different, too. There’s less focus on the Children of the Light in the books than in the show. On the one hand, I get that they tried to show what was happening with all the characters, but I also just really loathe them, ha! There’s more focus on the dreams and the journey of each of the lads in the book, too.

As I mentioned, I loved the stories the characters were told on the journey. My favourite, though, was undoubtedly the tale of Manetheren.

‘But the price was high for Manetheren. Eldrene had drawn to herself more of the One Power than any human could ever hope to wield unaided. As the enemy generals died, so did she die, and the fires that consumed her consumed the empty city of Manetheren, even the stones of it, down to the living rock of the mountains. Yet the people had been saved.

Nothing was left of their farms, their villages, or their great city. Some would say there was nothing left for them, nothing but to flee to other lands, where they could begin anew. They did not say so. They had paid such a price in blood and hope for their land as had never been paid before , and now they were bound to that soil by ties stronger than steel. Other wars would wrack them in years to come, until at last their corner of the world was forgotten and at last they had forgotten wars and the ways of war. Never again did Manetheren rise. Its soaring spires and splashing fountains became as a dream that slowly faded from the minds of its people. But they, and their children, and their children’s children, held the land that was theirs. They held it when the long centuries had washed the why of it from their memories. They held it until, today, there is you. Weep for Manetheren. Weep for what is lost forever.’

The tale of Manetheren is where I fell in love with Jordan’s storytelling, I reckon. It made me tear up, it was so powerfully told and I think it’s here that I was like, okay I’m going to love this book series.

I loved the journey once all the characters got back together again in Caemlyn. I really wish we’d seen Caemlyn in the show, as opposed to jumping straight to Tar Valon. The journey through the Ways was fascinating and eerie and spooky. The Blight was horrifying, but I loved learning more about Lan’s history and the scene between Lan and Nynaeve was EVERYTHING. I can’t wait to see their relationship develop throughout the series because I already ship them. OTP feels! And I loved the journey to the Green Man. Wonderfully done! (Also, the book kinda made me ship Rand and Mat haha. I know this will never happen, but I loved their relationship and Rand/Egwene are cute and all, but in the book he and Mat definitely read as closer, at least to me.)

I’m really stoked to see where book two goes. I’ve got a vague idea from reading spoilers over the years, but honestly I think even a five hour conversation about the series probably couldn’t spoil everything because it’s just so richly detailed. Can’t wait for The Great Hunt!

Previous audiobook thoughts:

And the Shadow fell upon the land, and the world was riven stone from stone. The oceans fled, and the mountains were swallowed up, and the nations were scattered to the eight corners of the World. The moon was as blood, and the sun was as ashes. The seas boiled, and the living envied the dead. All was shattered, and all but memory lost, and one memory above all others, of him who brought the Shadow and the Breaking of the World. And him they named Dragon.

What an opening. Wowzers.

I like the focus on Rand and Mat at the start of the book. Everything is moving at a much slower pace than in the show, but also now that I’m getting through the book, I wish the show had gone a bit slower, ha! Moiraine also seems a bit less austere in the book, also less centric? The show is definitely an ensemble, but the book is much more Rand-centric so far. I really love the relationship between Egwene and Nynaeve, too.

Paused the audiobook because I was having trouble focusing. Switched to paperback.


I have been meaning to read these books since I was like twelve. BUT IT’S SO EPIC that I was always a bit daunted. Dunno why, I devoured A Game of Thrones and The Pillars of the Earth. But I’ve now started the show and I love Rand, Lan, Egwene and Mat, so I must start the books. I’ve heard they’re different from the show though, so I’m curious about the changes!

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Eye of the World (1990)

  1. It’s really interesting to see a review from someone who saw the show first. I felt kind of ho-hum about the first book after reading it (thought, like you, I loved the Manetheren story), but really fell in love during the second book where Jordan hits his stride and you get a better feel for how large and detailed the world is. I’m afraid the show changed too much for me to be able to really enjoy it but I am really glad to see it bring renewed interest for the series.

    1. I’m almost done with book two now and I’m really loving it! I can’t wait to read book three! I think, for me at least, that I’ll just keep the show and book separate in my mind going forward because they are very different. I’m definitely loving the books a bit more, though!

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