When I used to work at a bookstore, my coworkers (and future husband) and I used to joke that Robert Jordan hated trees. Those poor shelves, groaning under the weight of such immensely long books. It'd have to be a damned good story to justify that much prose.
Somehow, I missed this series when I was a teenager. That might have been exactly the time to encounter them, when I didn't have as much to compare this to, and it would all seem shiny and new. Because from the vantage point of my mid-thirties, there's nothing that seems very fresh here, and while it wasn't a difficult read, nothing about the story grabbed me by the shoulders, shook me and compelled me to read more.
Which is another way of saying I don't think I'll bother reading on from here.
But, you know, in a particular vein of fantasy, this is perfectly fine. The story is mostly interesting, the characters a little flat, the backstory a bit opaque (would it have really killed you to give us one solid example of why the Aes Sedai are feared and hated by everyone, Robert Jordan?).
What really got to me was the lack of consequences. I think I'm just too much accustomed to the Joss Whedon school of drama now - for stuff to matter, shit has to have consequences. And those are messy and painful and they can hurt, but darnit, they mean something! Everyone almost getting killed a thousand times but not does not raise tension, it lowers it. The one character who does, it seems, die heroically, that was a good moment. Except that we're given every indication that he wasn't actually killed, including the character who would know best that he isn't dead. Way to treat your audience like they're wrapped in gauze!
A friend was telling me that Jordan's female characters were very badly written, but I'm not entirely seeing that. I mean, all the characters are a bit flat, I'm not seeing the exaggeration there particularly with the women. Some of them are a little testy, but no major problems so far. This may be something that becomes more and more apparent over the course of the rest of the books to come.
So, my verdict on Eye of the World? It's okay?
But unless someone tells me it gets a hell of a lot better (and no one has stepped up so far), I think I'm content to just let this story end with the first book.
Crossposted to Smorgasbook