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.
Don’t get me wrong. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan is a great book, and a great start to a great series. But… uh… I’m glad to be done.
Maybe I just couldn’t get into it. Part of what drags you through some of these pulp fantasy epic reads, I realize, is the suspense. It’s like LOST… I tried rewatching that show, and it’s okay, but after a few episodes you just don’t care. You know so and so is going to die. You know such and such is going to happen. And… on the second time through, it’s just details: the story has nothing but explanation of a vast universe, and once you know the hook, who cares?
The Eye of the World got to be a bit like that. I started remembering what was going to happen and then… well… no more suspense. I knew who lived and who didn’t. I knew what cruel twists of fate lay around each corner. The book, I suppose (and as it turns out) rests just a bit too much on the “what will happen next?” hook that the story bubbles to the top as a kind of flat, seen-it-before fantasy trope when you already know “what will happen next”…
Worth the Re-read?
I’d say no.
So I slogged through this book. I enjoyed it, as much as all that, but I didn’t find myself pulled back to it. And at nine hundred pages, that meant a long, long, month and a half of being in a rut with this book.
(Though, I should note, I picked up a different not-quite-a-novel in the middle and read that simultaneously. I’ll write about that in a different post.)
I’d recommend it if you HAVEN’T read it. It’s a good story, and not quite so dark as Game of Thrones. In fact, re-reading it kinda made me want to get back into the series and pick up where I left off ten years ago –book 4 or 5 I think– I should have just skipped this one for a second go and got the details off Wikipedia instead.