As I rarely discard a book, it should thus come as no surprise that I have overflowing shelves of novels I’ve once read, enjoyed, savoured and then swore up-and-down-back-and-forth that I was going to re-read someday. Alas, it is someday. I’m spending whole of 2016 revisiting my book collection, digging back into books I read once, but that I haven’t read (or listened to) in at least four years. So, we’re about to find out what was worth reading… twice.
While Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series may not be nearly as well known as something more Tolkien-esque, the comparison is probably fair. I’ve just started reading the first book in this fourteen (?) book epic series again, a novel called The Eye of the World and the switch into high fantasy (after the two recent hard science fiction selection I’ve been indulging in) is definitely welcome.
What I remember of this novel is curious and a bit rambling. I was in Vancouver and some friends had come for a visit, and while we were out wandering and doing things in the city we met up with another of their friends. We wound up at his house and sitting on his apartment floor was this stack of Robert Jordan novels. I was thumbing through them, and he asks me if I’ve ever read them. “Never heard of them.” I say, to which he says, “They’re kind of a cult series. You’ll be reading one on a bus and look up and there will be someone else reading one and you’ll just nod and know, y’know.” So I went out the next day and bought it. Didn’t read it right away, but instead left it on my shelf for a few months until, later that summer, I dragged the paperback of book one to Mexico for our honeymoon. And that was the first time I read a Robert Jordan novel… on a beach in Mexico. The first novel I read after I got married. Weird, huh?
I presume something similar –cultish, fantasy series– could be said about “Game of Thrones” these days –or five years ago, before the HBO thing– but in 2003, Jordan was all the rage among closet fantasy nerds. Just no TV series.
The plot is typical fantasy stuff: hero’s journey, magic, dark powers stirring in high mountains, and only knights, swords and the unlikely hero from the sticks can save the world. It’s rich and thick with detail, and this particular version is over 800 pages long. I guess I’d better stop wasting time blogging and do some reading…