This series has got to be my favorite of all time. I know it's lengthy and complex, but it is so worth it! I've read and re-read all 14 books over and over anxiously awaiting that final book that will be coming out in January of 2013. My excitement has mounted and boiled over to the point that I've decided to do a post on every book! Don't worry, I wont do them all at once! But if you love to read, and you've never read these I intend to convince you to pick them up.
Book 1, The Eye of the World revolves around 3 village youths, Rand (middle), Mat (left) and Perrin (right). The world Robert Jordan created has a very 'Lord of the Rings' feel to it, but it's a unique world of it's own. While the 'age' that Rand, Mat, and Perrin live in speaks of 'the age of legends' that had wondrous things that sound suspiciously like light bulbs and automobiles.
In the Age of Legends there was a war between people who walk in the light and the Aes Sedai (men and women who could weild something called the one power, which is kind of akin to magic) and the followers of the Dark One and their dark Aes Sedai who are called the Forsaken. During the Aes Sedai's attempt to defeat the Dark One they managed to force him into a prison, but only at a very terrible cost. The Dark One managed to taint the male half of the one power and turn all of the male Aes Sedai mad. These men quickly went crazy and broke the world wielding the one power.
The most famous male Aes Sedai of that time was called Lews Therin, and people called him The Dragon. When the madness hit him he killed every person who had a drop of his blood in their veins including his wife and children, and when he'd realized what he'd done he killed himself. As the world tried to survive and piece itself together a prophecy was revealed that The Dragon would be reborn in the world's greatest time of need and would be the cause of much destruction and chaos as well as being the people's last hope of surviving another breaking. The people of Rand, Mat, and Perrin's age live in fear of that time coming to pass.
Rand, Mat, and Perrin live in a place called the Two Rivers, it's a village that has been mostly forgotten about by the world. One day 2 strangers appear in this small town, Moiraine and Lan. They create a stir, but that is nothing compared to the next set of strangers who show up that night.
They are known as Trollocs (the strange half animal half people monsters in the background) and Fades (creatures that ooze hatred and fear and are deadly quick and vicious). The show up in the Two Rivers in the middle of the night and set fire to the town while they attack it.
Moiraine and Lan manage to save most of the town, but they reveal to Rand, Mat, and Perrin that the attack was aimed at the 3 of them. They are convinced that they must leave the town or risk putting everyone they love in more danger.
Rand al'Thor is a shepherd boy who lives on a farm outside of town with his father Tam. He's sweet and thoughtful along with being stubborn and more than a little confused by women, particularly the mayor's daughter Egwene. He's eager to help out where he can, and smart and able enough to be a great asset.
Mat Cauthon has a reputation for playing pranks (for good reason) and causing trouble, however he's also got a mischievous smile and manner that you can't help but love. Even though he's constantly getting his best friends Rand and Perrin in hot water, they still find themselves eager to join in his plans. Behind his afinity for thrills and jokes he's the kind of guy who will go out of his way to help the downtrodden and risk his life to save people in need (even though he'll probably complain the whole time he's doing it).
Perrin Aybara is the blacksmith's apprentice, and has forged large muscles along with steel during his long hours in the forge. He takes his time to think things through before he acts, and is always careful to be gentle so he doesn't hurt someone accidentally. Some people might think he's shy and a little slow, but if you try and push him you'll find out that he's no easy meat.
Every time I start this series over I feel like the boys I meet in book 1 are completely different people from the men who are in book 13. They are so innocent and naive in the beginning, starting out on a journey that will not only change their lives, but the entire world as well. So after the town is attacked these 3 boys leave the Two Rivers in search of safety and answers, although fate does not let them leave alone.......
Thom Merrilin is a Gleeman who had the bad fortune to be hired to perform for a festival in the Two Rivers that happened to be coincide with the attack. If you're asking yourself what a Gleeman, it's someone who is a great storyteller, juggler, musician, acrobat, etc. Thom is a man of many talents, and someone who's got a very interesting past. He spots Moiraine and the boys trying to leave in the night and takes the opportunity to leave town with them, unaware that this is far from being the safer choice.
Egwene al'Vere, you might remember, is the mayor's daughter who drives Rand crazy. She's been training to be a Wisdom (someone who looks after the sick, and helps the mayor look after the town). She also notices her friends trying to sneak out of town and demands to be included in the journey.
So this group vanishes into the night pursued by dangerous creatures of the dark, trying desperately to outrun them and reach safety. However, the Two Rivers was not going to give them up without a fight.
Nynaeve al'Meara is the current Wisdom who was training Egwene, and she manages to catch up to Moiraine and the rest. Nynaeve has a large temper that boils over frequently, and nothing makes her more angry than Moiraine. Although Nynaeve planned on bringing the boys and Egwene home to the Two Rivers, she gets swept away by fate as well.