'There is a world of light and shadow, where good and evil wage eternal war. It is the world of the Wheel of Time, the greatest fantasy epic ever written.' These words I have taken from the back cover of the book to start me off as it reflects my personal opinion of the series. Written by Robert Jordan (real name James Oliver Rigney Jnr.), and afterwards by Brandon Sanderson after the formers tragic death, the Wheel of Time series consists of fourteen books released between 1990 and 2013.
The series is set it a mythical world where its occupants believe their universe is set on a continuous loop, the Wheel of Time, where events repeat themselves over hundreds of thousands of years. The Wheel of Time is powered by the One Power, which flows from the True Source, to spin out the Pattern of Ages, which is effectively the fate of the entire universe. The One Power consists of a male and a female half, Saidin and Saidar, and can be Channeled by some humans. Certain individuals are spun out by the Pattern time and time again to influence events. Despite this the Pattern is neither good nor evil, it simply represents what has been, what is and what may be. The world was created by the Creator, who plays no active part in the series, and is under constant threat from Shai'tan, the Dark One, who was sealed outside of the world by the Creator upon its creation.
After the Dark One's release thousands of years ago there was the first war in this turning of the Wheel between good and evil. This war, known as the War of the Shadow was concluded when Lews Therin Telamon, the Dragon, and his Hundred Companions re-sealed the Dark One's prison. However as they did so the Dark One retaliated and managed to taint Saidin, the male half of the One Power. This eventually drove the male Aes Sedai, channelers of the One Power, mad and lead to the Breaking of the World which ended the Age of Legends. Since these events humans have lived in fear of the time that Prophecies say the Dragon will be Reborn to face the Shadow at Tarmon Gai'don, the Last Battle.
The first book follows a small company who set out from a small region known as the Two Rivers, a small forgotten corner of Andor forgotten by the world since the fall of the kingdom of Manetheren. The company is led by Moiraine Damodred, an Aes Sedai, and her Warder, al'Lan Mandragoran. Also in the company is Thom Merrilin, a Gleeman, Nynaeve Al'Meara, a village Wisdom, a young woman named Egwene Al'Vere and three young men called Rand al'Thor, Perrin Aybara and Matrim (Mat) Cauthon. With the Shadow seeming to take an interest in the three young men, the company flees their home village of Emond's Field in order to save their loved ones and try to discover why. Persuaded by evil creates including Trollocs, Myrddraal and Draghkar as well as Darkfriends (humans who fight on the side of the Shadow) they flee towards Tar Valon, home city of the Aes Sedai. During the course of their adventure the company is split up and persuaded in their dreams as well as the waking world. The characters learn things about themselves, both welcome and unwelcome, as they struggle to stay out of the hands of the Shadow who will either kill them or worse, force them to serve it. As they go further and further into the dangers of the world it becomes apparent that their fate may be decided at the Eye of the World.
The book is action packed, from start to finish, with a fast pace and several different story lines from different characters points of view to keep you on your toes. The characters are extremely likable and Robert Jordan's amazing ability to paint a picture in your mind really draws you into the book so you will not want to put it down. This is my favorite series ever as it is always asking questions, hiding answers and doing everything necessary to hold your attention throughout, and in the Eye of the World the series gets off to a perfect start.
10 out of 10, brilliant!