Robert Jordan – The Wheel of Time Audiobook
It happens that we know for a fact that we have a great classic on our shelves, and therefore a potential favorite, and that, however, we let it “mold” for years. This is what happened to me with this first volume, which I have heard countless times, and always in good, but which I put away after buying it and then did not touch for ten years (is it the impressive number of pages or did I have to find the right time …?), until a challenge brings it out.
And there, I understood why it was a fantasy classic! First, the author’s pen is dense, rich, poetic and dynamic at the same time.
From the beginning of the story, he manages to grab us, to arouse our curiosity.
The prologue, which takes place two or three thousand years before the story itself, is very strong, visually speaking, and makes us understand that we are going to be immersed in a universe with very rich mythology.
Then, the first chapter of the present story intrigues us from the start, by briefly revealing a mysterious character, who makes a strong impression on the young man who sees him.
Here. From there, we’re screwed, because we want to know who is (or what) this character in black whose unhealthy aura terrifies all who see him.
We will therefore slowly enter the world of the Wheel of Time, starting with a very small village, and getting to know the characters that we will follow thereafter. The author has a gift for descriptions because when he presents a character, we quickly have the feeling of knowing him and we have no trouble visualizing him.
He therefore introduces us to Rand, Mat and Perrin, the three heroes of the story, but also Nynaeve the “Wisdom” of the village and Egwene his apprentice, Thom the minstrel, Moiraine and his liege man Lan (that is, say his personal knight devoted body and soul), and a host of other colorful characters, but all striking, even endearing, in their own way …
I really liked the atmosphere and the state of mind who reign in the village of Champ d’Emond, at the beginning of the story. We feel that it is a village where life is good.
Then, very quickly, the pace picks up and we get into the heart of the action, with an attack from Trollocs, demonic creatures, half-men and half-monstrous beasts, not very smart but extremely violent and dangerous which, seems he has after the three young people: Rand, Mat and Perrin. They therefore decide to flee, under the protection of Moiraine, who turned out to be an Aes Sedai, a sort of very powerful magician, and to go to Tar Valon, a city that shelters the White Tower, the center of the power of the Aes Sedai. But the Aes Sedai have a very bad reputation and are feared as well as hated by the people. And despite her gentleness, her kindness and the fact that she saved the life of Rand’s father, it is therefore with a lot of suspicion but without having the choice that they go with her. Egwene, who wants to discover the world and has not understood that this is not a walk in the park, and Thom, the minstrel, join them.
Throughout the remainder of this tome, they will be pursued by the Trollocs, and their “commanders”, the Myrddralls (or Evanescent or Half-Men), who are themselves in the service of the Dark One. Besides, this point, although necessary for the advancement of the story and bringing action and suspense to the story, was the only thing that (a little) annoyed me during my reading. Because I found at times that the repeated attacks of the Trollocs were boring.
I would have preferred that we learn a little more about the Aes Sedai, for example, or about the history of this world, which one guesses complex and abundant.
Despite everything, these attacks have their reason for being and their utility because they are the occasion for the author to show us glimpses of the spectacular potential of the powers of Moiraine.
And then I trust the author to reveal all the aspects of his universe to us in the following volumes …
Apart from this small detail, I liked everything in this novel!
The characters all have very different characters but all very well put together and each one really has their own personality. I like Rand, the hero, even if he annoys me sometimes a little to always follow Mat and his impulses which often put them in uncomfortable or even dangerous situations. Besides, Mat is the one I like least, for the moment, precisely because he is thoughtless, impulsive and too talkative. moreover, towards the end of the volume, his personality darkens strangely. from teasing, playful and sociable, he becomes taciturn, sly and angry. It is suspected that he was bewitched by an evil object, but we do not have the proof because no one around him seems to find this brutal change of character worrying.
Perrin is the most reserved and discreet of all, but towards the end of the volume, things happen that will put him a little more forward. The author gives clues as to what will be revealed in him and made me want to follow him with more interest than at the beginning.
I adore Thom, the minstrel, his eccentricity, his vivacity, his attachment to three boys, his strong character …
Among the things that fascinated me, in this novel, I would like to focus on “dreams” what Rand does. They are of rare evocative power, and truly impressive. Of course, we quickly understand that these are not real dreams and they will be of two kinds. The former look more like a sort of vision, which we don’t really know if they are premonitory or from the past (or both). Subsequently, there will be the “dreams” harboring the presence of the Dark One, and these are the strongest and the most terrifying, especially as Rand realizes that certain events occurring in these dreams have repercussions on the real. The author lets the mystery hang over all these dreams, but we understand that they are of capital importance for the rest of the story.
With this first volume, we dive into a saga of pure fantasy, and that’s exactly what I expected and what I was hoping to find. I really like the “quest” aspect, “initiatory journey”, when the characters make progress, both literally and figuratively, and their adventures make them grow, mature and change their vision of the world.
Certain passages give us an overview of the geographical, historical, human and magical richness of this universe, and we have a feeling that we are not at the end of our surprises, that there will still be countless encounters. and discoveries, good and not so good. the bestiary also seems very promising to me, in terms of its diversity, and I can’t wait to discover what awaits our heroes in the next volumes.
Conclusion: a captivating first volume, which very quickly takes us into this universe of extraordinary richness. Can’t wait for more!