"The wheel weaves as the wheel wills"

This phrase, spoken frequently in Robert Jordan's "The Eye of the World", reflects the inevitability of destiny. But it also refers to the cyclical nature of time in the world of the novel. Every few thousand years, the world is destroyed and reborn and the cycle begins again with each turn of the wheel producing exactly 14 ages and with many of the history predetermined. A new cycle is like the previous one, but the people have some opportunity to change history - particularly the heroes and villains.

TEOTW begins in a small, isolated village that is invaded by Trollocs - giant creatures that are part man and part beast and are led by the eyeless, sadistic Myrddraals. The monsters came, seeking The Dragon, who was prophesied to attain great power. Moraine Damodred - a mystical woman of the mysterious and powerful Aes Sedai cult - and her companion al'Lan Mandragoran foresaw the attack and identify three young villagers -  Rand al'Thor, Matrim Cauthon, and Perrin Aybara as possibly being the Dragon Reborn. She leads the trio out of the city on a quest, which is joined by their friend
Egwene al'Vere, and Thom Merrilin, a minstrel known as a "gleeman". The group sets out across the world visiting towns and inns and abandoned cities and lively cities. Along the way, they are pursued and confronted by the dark forces that want to destroy them or seduce them to their side.

This is an adventure story and a coming-of-age story and a story of good vs evil. The forces of good are referred to as "Light", which could easily be another name for God; and the malevolent forces are known as "The Darkness" and clearly represent Satan. The universe of this novel explores the conflicts between predestination and free will. It is never clear how much control the actors have over their own lives nor the fate of the world.

The book also explores gender roles. The One Power of the universe can be wielded by the forces of Light or Darkness, but it is divided into two parts - one for men and another for women. The Aes Sedai consists entirely of women, although that has not always been the case.

It is a good story with many interesting characters and a decent arc. The opening scenes set the stage well for the chaos our heroes will soon face; and the climax at the end is a cataclysmic battle between Dark and Light forces and it is executed masterfully. But the middle of the story sometimes drags a bit. Repeatedly, the characters travel to a new town, are found and attacked by servants of the Darkness; then escape to the next town where something similar happens. The pace is also dragged down by Jordan's penchant for providing minute details of every place the group visits.

Jordan was definitely inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's classic "The Lord of the Rings", as some of the plot elements and characters seem to be "borrowed" from that trilogy. But Jordan eventually takes the story in a new direction and makes it his own.