Hello Gili Trawangan

Wow! That’s all I got to say.

No, just kidding. But seriously. What a great first impression this island gave us. Well, not the first first, because it was raining when we arrived. But what a nice rain!

Okay, let me start from the top. This morning we had to check out from Taman Harum Cottages in Ubud. It was rather cloudy and we were so ready to go and see another place. Ubud was cool, much to see, but the diving on Gili T has lured us. And also, the weather is slightly less wet on Gili than Bali, so that was something to look forward to as well.

We got a really nice driver to take us to Padangbai Harbor from where we took the speed ferry out to the islands. We stopped on the way at his favorite local restaurant so we could try local Balinese food, suckling pig. He was even so kind as to talk to the waitress to not make it so spicy. We took takeaway and ate while waiting for the ferry. It was good, but I do understand why the Balinese like to add spices. Not sure that I liked the crunchy skin pieces which he said was his favorite. But it was great to try some real local food.

The ferry (which was just like an airplane on water with seatings) was not too bad. Not too bumpy and was over pretty fast. Gili T was the last stop and it took exactly three hours. It would have been more fun to have been able to be on the ferry that left at 9am instead of 1pm. But oh well.

What was not so much fun, was that after our second to last drop off at Gili Air, it started to pour. The AC was maxed in the boat and looking out at the grey wet was not nice. But honestly. When we got off the boat, it was the best rain I’ve ever experienced. It was still 28C something and the rain was really warm. I loved it!! So walking to the hotel was not too bad at all. And definitely not when the horse-drawn carriages ran past. So what’s pretty cool about this island, is that they don’t have any vehicles except bicylces, the occasional electric moped and several horse-drawn carriages. They all wore bells and it sounds lika Santa’s reindeer sleigh is coming when they are near. So cute!

We checked in at Scullywags Resort south of the harbor, pretty much in the middle of it all. We have definitely understood that this part of the island is the party island. I think we’ve gotten 5 proposals of buying organic party enhancers (=mushrooms) in the short amount of time when we took a walk. Our room is incredible! We have a front yard, the room itself and the bathroom which is mostly completely out in the open. I thought it was cool that our last hotel had an open slit in the bathroom, but this is fully open over the shower. It’s like taking a shower in the jungle.

The very first thing we did, was walking a few minutes to the most popular diving club, Blue Marlin Dive and booked not one, not two, but three dives for tomorrow! We are so excited! We then went on a walk to the south side of the island, we walked a little bit in the water and we both fell in love right there I think. This place might be the best place I’ve ever been! The water was almost 30C according to a website. That’s insane! I look forward to spending a lot of time under the surface tomorrow.

We walked back, tried the outdoor shower and then walked to Pearl Beach Lounge to have dinner. That salmon was incredible. So was the pina colada and steamed brownie. Wow! And the mouse falling from the ceiling, passing out until the waiter shoveled him up and went downstairs and he darted away, was crazy! The evening was pretty much as warm as the day and nothing else than a thin-striped dress was needed while eating outdoor. What a place! We’re in love. And I think I can speak for Mikael as well. I already feel that 4 nights and 3 days here won’t be enough…

rpt

Ubud day 2

Three hours of sleep and a day full of events has taken its toll. We are so exhausted now. But wow, we’ve seen some things!

  • Mount Batur sunrise hike
  • Batur Natural Hot Springs
  • Tegallalang Rice Fields
  • Tegenungan Waterfall
  • Pool
  • Teba Rasi Resto

The day started at 1:30am when our alarm went off. Our driver would come pick us up at 2am at the hotel, to go to Mount Batur, hike the 1,7km tall volcano and watch the sunrise from the top. The weather gods were on our side today, no rain, a good amount of clouds and no wind. It couldn’t have been better.

There were tons of hikers and guides, each group of around 6 people had two guides, one in the front and one in the back. It was Mikael and I, two girls from northern England and a couple from Canada. Two hours to the top and one and a half on the way down. Up was not too bad. Except that it was pitch-dark and you had to have a flashlight and if you looked away from the path, you stumbled. It was a great hike and not too bad for me. One in our company had troubles with her cardio though and we didn’t quite reach the top top to watch the sunset, but we watched it while hiking the last way. Which definitely wasn’t too bad either. But a time-lapse video from the top of that incredible sunrise would have been awesome!

We were told there would be stealing monkey’s on the top and that we had to be careful with our food and things. My brother told me that he lost his breakfast egg up there to a monkey when he did it a few years ago. BUT. We didn’t see a single monkey. I was disappointed. I know they are annoying and might have rabies and we told ourselves beforehand to stay away from them. But I would still very much like to see them. They can be both annoying and cute at the same time.

Up there, we had steamed banana sandwhiches which was surprisingly good. We watched the sun rise next to the other two mountains on Bali. Can’t remember their names.

We took an easy way down, not so steep, and not so rocky. Which was awful for my knees. My left one is kaputt now and I really hope it isn’t anything worse than just after this hike down.

Right after the hike, our driver took us to Batur Natural Hot Springs. At first we thought it was weird to go to hot springs on Bali, but we withdrew those thoughts immediately. It was like a spa facility, with many pools and very warm water outlets. The water was warm, but those were really warm and great to ease the shoulder muscles. We only stayed for an hour and a half, and I probably would have wanted to stay longer. It was incredible. At the bottom of the big crater, right next to the lake. So worth it after that hike.

We switched driver after the hot springs and also got our local guide with us for the rest of the afternoon. We had decided that we wanted to see rice fields, waterfalls, and Monkey Forest and she came along for all of them.

First, we went to Tegallalang Rice Fields, which I thought would be just beautiful rice fields, but instead we ended up at a day pool club. And that place was all about Instagram and getting the perfect picture from swings to infinity pools and photo places. It was cool, sure. But I would have been happy just seeing the fields. We had lunch there at the restaurant with the great view. We had Satay which is a spicy course here on Bali, compared to back home when Satay is more sweet and peanut-y. We saw two Luwaks, the civit animals who are picky coffee bean eaters, who later poop out fermented beans that are then ground down to coffee. We tried a cup there and then and it was not as sour as the coffee we drink back home. Not too bad!

We had lunch with the guide and she told us that we were her first travelers since 2019 since she had a stroke then and was in a coma, wheel-chair and walked with a cane up until a month ago. It was sweet of her to share. When we were leaving, the rain began to fall.

Our next stop was the  Tegenungan Waterfall. It also had a day pool club with party music and soooo many shopping stands with souvenirs and stuff. I can only imagine how tough it must have been for so many people on this island when it shut down for 2,5 years. Our guide told us about this as well.

Our last stop of the day was supposed to be Monkey Forest. But the rain had gotten so heavy that we decided to head back to the hotel instead. The guide told us that we did not want to go there and see angry monkeys, they’re bad as they are, haha! SInce we’re leaving Ubud tomorrow, we might as her to set up something else for us when we get back to Sanur on four days. Going all the way up to Monkey Forest when we are staying in the south might be too much of a hassle. But I also don’t want to be here for 2 weeks and not see a single monkey!

Back at the hotel, we were so tried that we fell asleep for an hour before we took a dip in the pool in the still drizzling rain. And then we decided that it would be worth going out for a real dinner our last night here in Ubud. So we called a taxi which took us to Teba Sari Resto, which was a restaurant in Ubud close to a Koi pond. It was a bamboo construction and the pond had huts with tables in them. We didn’t get a pond table, but we still had a nice view. We tried fried duck and friend banana for dessert. Their drinks, Mango Berry and Cosmo Colada, were really good as well.

It was a long day, but such a fun one. We are both really excited to go to Gili Trawangan tomorrow and start our diving adventure together!!

Ubud day 1

The first day of our vacation is over and it was great!

It started with the sun shining and a dip in the pool. In the light of day, we saw how lush and cosy the hotel is.


The view from our window.

We had Indonesian breakfast: fried noodles/rice with vegetables, egg and chicken at the restaurant in connection with the hotel. Weird to eat hot food at breakfast, but it was delicious.

The rest of the day was all about walking around in the center of Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali. It was touristy but still much enjoyable. And since it is the wet season right now, apparently there aren’t too many tourist. That’s good. But that also means that there is rain. But not as much as we dreaded before coming. The morning was amazing and the rain didn’t come until 1pm, which was the perfect time to sit down and have lunch anyway. So we took the first we found, Miro’s Garden and had Pancake Raja, a potato pancake. It was so nice sitting there under the roof, while it was raining quite a lot and the thunder roared. The freshly pressed banana and pineapple juices added to the experience positively as well.

The last stop, before heading home to the hotel, was at the Saraswati Temple in the middle of Ubud. We didn’t enter the temple but walked around outside. It was beautiful. Ponds full of lilypads and extremely intricate statues. Apparently, you are not allowed to enter the temple while on your period. I wonder why.

Our driver recommended a nice restaurant not too far away from here. But since we are getting picked up at 2am tomorrow, and it was already 5:30pm, we decided to have dinner at the hotel again. Not super fun perhaps, but we will make up for it on Gili and in Sanur later on.

We also took an evening swim in the pool and had something flying very close to our heads above the water. It took us a while, but eventually we realized we had a bat that was chasing us, haha!

So, tomorrow is a day full of adventures, starting at 2am. I hope the adrenaline and thrill of the agenda will keep us awake :D.

Hello Bali

31 hours, door to door, but now we are finally here: Bali, Indonesia!

This is a very special trip in many ways. First of all, it’s mine and Mikael’s first trip outside of Sweden together. We started dating in January 2020 and have lived in this pandemic during our whole relationship. It is also the first trip abroad since the pandemic (I know it has been possible to travel, but it just hasn’t felt right). It is the furthest away both of us have ever been away from home (for me Oahu is 400km closer than Bali and it’s almost 5000km further than Goa, India for Mikael). It is also the first time either of us are below the equator.

It’s been a really long day. Or two. Landvetter Airport is tiny and we saved a bunch of money on taking a flight from Copenhagen instead of Gothenburg. So our day started very early Thursday driving down to Copenhagen. First time driving over Öresundsbron which was pretty cool.

We had four hours to kill at the airport after Emirates recommendations. And the problem we had with our pre-purchased seats magically solved itself somehow. So the twin seats we paid extra for three weeks ago, were no longer available when I tried checking in two nights before. We’ve been on the phone with Emirates about this issue with extra legroom three times and they couldn’t fix it. And without us even having to say anyting to the woman at the check-in counter about this, we got twin seats anyway. What a relief. Even if the first flight to Dubai was only six hours, it wouldn’t have been fun to not even have seats next to each other but 12 rows apart.

Six hours was over pretty smoothly but when we landed in Dubai around midnight, it hit us that that was the short flight today. Dubai to Bali was another nine hours. We hoped we would be tired enough to fall asleep quickly, but no. I ended up watching two movies and slept fitfully for maybe 30 min. Mikael managed to get at least 2 hours. Lucky him.

At the airport, it took us almost three hours to finish everything. Queues to everything. First covid-19 vaccination checkpoint, then Visa on Arrival, then passport control, then custom declaration, currency exchange and simcard with extra data. I feel bad for our drive who had to wait for two hours at the airport for us.

He drove us to Ubud, more inland on the island, where we will spend the next couple of days. The road there was very special. I had imagined a smaller road going through landscape and nature, but the WHOLE way had structures and buildings and stores and garden statues lined up and small and super simple restaurants. It was kinda weird. I wonder how it will look in the daylight. Also, they drive on the left and there are scooters everywhere. I’ve never experienced this kind of trafic before and it was cool! Everyone flowed together and I’m impressed that they all seemed to know exactly where everyone was.

Tomorrow after breakfast, we will have a travel guide tell us how to make the most out of these days. It seems like there are a lot of things to do in Ubud.

Now, at 11pm local time, staying awake 35 hours, I’m ready to go to bed. It’s been a long day or week or whenever it was that we left Gothenburg to drive to Copenhagen, haha!


It was dark when we arrived, but it looks really nice, this place. We are staying at Taman Harum Cottages.

The hotel pool.

We have a suite on the upper level.

The windows in the bathroom are open into the wild. Let’s hope those disgusting mosquitoes stays away!

Up in the ceiling outside of our room were three lizarads situated. A fourth on the opposite side. Really cool

Review of “The Shadow Rising” by Robert Jordan

Title: The Shadow Rising
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of Time #4
Narrator: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 41 hours 13 minutes
Published: 2003, MacMillan Audio (originally published 1992)
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.

In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken?

In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn.

In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland.

In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.

Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn…..

 

MY REVIEW

Forty hours of audiobook is a long listen. It took me a long while to get through it, because I had lots going on at work at the time. But in the end it was worth it! I had to do some research after finishing the listen though to be honest and I’m disappointed that I was not able to follow along as well as I can while listening to a book. Compared to the two previous books, this one did not feel like a journey, just waiting for something to happen. In The Shadow Rising, A LOT happened! I do remember thinking that in the very beginning and was already then impressed with the new speed of the story. A lot of focus on Perrin in this book and it was great “seeing” the old places and people from the first book again. But his story felt a bit dragged out. Battle after battle after battle on different fronts. In the beginning of this one, all the main characters are divided into groups and create their own storylines, some more interesting than others. I think Nyneave and Elayne’s was the best. And I also really enjoyed following Rand a bit more this time.

The worldbuilding, like the previous books as well obviously, is still incredible. And I think this is sometimes what makes it hard to focus while listening to it. But honestly, I don’t think I have the time to read these bricks page by page anyway. Priorities, I know. Something that also makes it hard to follow along sometimes are the many new characters that are introduced all the time. And especially when there’s only one chapter with them.

There are many different storylines to keep track of. But all in all, I’m getting more and more intrigued by the story and I can’t wait to find out what will happen next. It feels like the story has just begun. I mean, this was book 4 out of 14. It will get a strong 4 from me!

Review of “The Dragon Reborn” by Robert Jordan

Title: The Dragon Reborn
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of Time #3
Narrator: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 24 hours 51 minutes
Published: 2004, MacMillan Audio (originally published 1991)
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The Dragon Reborn—the leader long prophesied who will save the world, but in the saving destroy it; the savior who will run mad and kill all those dearest to him—is on the run from his destiny.

Able to touch the One Power, but unable to control it, and with no one to teach him how—for no man has done it in three thousand years—Rand al’Thor knows only that he must face the Dark One. But how?

Winter has stopped the war—almost—yet men are dying, calling out for the Dragon. But where is he?

Perrin Aybara is in pursuit with Moiraine Sedai, her Warder Lan, and Loial the Ogier. Bedeviled by dreams, Perrin is grappling with another deadly problem—how is he to escape the loss of his own humanity?

Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve are approaching Tar Valon, where Mat will be healed—if he lives until they arrive. But who will tell the Amyrlin their news—that the Black Ajah, long thought only a hideous rumor, is all too real? They cannot know that in Tar Valon far worse awaits…

Ahead, for all of them, in the Heart of the Stone, lies the next great test of the Dragon reborn….

 

MY REVIEW

The third book in the Wheel of Time felt like an in-between-story while listening. But now, after finishing it and thinking back on everything the characters went through, it was full of action. What was funny though, was that the title felt off. The Dragon was lost and there was only a handful of chapters following him. Although, I guess it was all about him in the end anyway with everyone trying to find him.

I have to admit, that listening to all of these books back to back makes me unable to tell them apart. The stories flows into each other gracefully and after three books and 80 hours now, I definitely see the charm in the series. It’s the world building. It feels so real and even if it is a fantasy world full of magic and so on, it feels plausible. Many fantasy books are unrealistic in the sense that the hero is unaware of their power in the beginning but then masters it in a matter of minutes and becomes the most powerful ever. That’s fun and all, but this is another type of fantasy. Definitely a more adult type of fantasy. And I like the contrasts to what I usually read.

I enjoyed following Egwene, Nyneave, and Elaine in their pursuit of the black Ajah and it was great to see Mat from another perspective than half-dead (sorry for the small spoiler).

I’m mostly listening while I ride my bike or going somewhere and it feels like this world of Robert Jordan’s is where I spend my traveling time. It’s there in the background and I don’t really focus on it too much. I enjoy spending my time riding my bike to practice in this world, but I can’t really say it’s the best I’ve ever read, probably because of not actively reading. Maybe I will physically read it one day. The Dragon Reborn gets a solid 4 because of the immense and realistic world building.

Review of “Winterkeep” by Kristin Cashore

Title: Winterkeep
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #4
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 528
Published: 2021, Dial Books for Young Readers
My Grade: 3 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Four years after Bitterblue left off, a new land has been discovered to the east: Torla; and the closest nation to Monsea is Winterkeep. Winterkeep is a land of miracles, a democratic republic run by people who like each other, where people speak to telepathic sea creatures, adopt telepathic foxes as pets, and fly across the sky in ships attached to balloons.

But when Bitterblue’s envoys to Winterkeep drown under suspicious circumstances, she and Giddon and her half sister, Hava, set off to discover the truth–putting both Bitterblue’s life and Giddon’s heart to the test when Bitterbue is kidnapped. Giddon believes she has drowned, leaving him and Hava to solve the mystery of what’s wrong in Winterkeep.

Lovisa Cavenda is the teenage daughter of a powerful Scholar and Industrialist (the opposing governing parties) with a fire inside her that is always hungry, always just nearly about to make something happen. She is the key to everything, but only if she can figure out what’s going on before anyone else, and only if she’s willing to transcend the person she’s been all her life.

 

MY REVIEW

It wasn’t that long ago that I read the first three books from Kristin Cashore. No, wait, it’s already been 7 years. In any case, I’ve since then thought that the Graceling Realm was one of my favorite series. I absolutely loved it. All the colors and vibrancy of the story. I especially loved Fire, the second novel. It was beautiful!

With that said, I had high expectations on this fourth instalment in the series. And I have to admit that it did not live up to them. Not even close. It was still a good read at the end, but it took me about half of it to really get into it and actually wanting to continue to read.

At first, I couldn’t sympathize with the characters. They didn’t feel real and alive and Lovisa’s behavior was unrealistic and erratic. It felt like she did things that didn’t quite follow a red thread. Or maybe that was the character, just acting strange and irregular. She became more real at the end though. Something changed in the middle of the book with lots of things. The same things goes with natural conversations that felt more real at the end.

The pacing was different throughout as well. Sometimes the story flowed really well, like the last half of the book. The first half on the other hand sometimes felt like a stutter, the flow just wasn’t there.

I know that it is a young adult fantasy story, but this one, I got the impression that it was aimed for a younger crowd than the previous three, even if Bitterblue had grown even more. That wouldn’t have been a problem, if it weren’t for the fact that there was a lot of sex. Not A Court of Thorns and Roses much, and no details, butstill, sex in many different scenes. It was a bit contradictory.

And the last thing, the names. All of the names were aligned with the previous story, all made up. And then comes the main character, Lovisa. Maybe it’s not a common name outside of Sweden, but for me it was super weird reading all of these fantasy names, and right in the middle of it all, was the basic Svensson-Swede Lovisa.

In any case, the story wrapped up nicely and got really exciting at the end and my general thought when finishing it was that it was a good read, even if I did struggle a bit in the beginning. But that was probably because of the disappointment from my high expectations. Maybe, the first three are similar, just that I forgot since it was so long ago I read them. I remember them being amazing without being able to tell exactly why, it’s just the general feeling. Like with His Golden Compass. I don’t think I want to reread any of the series just in case I will change my mind about them. Winterkeep will get a 3, no time was wasted while reading it. I’m not sure I will pick up the next one (unnamed at the time of writing this review) right away at release. Depends on my TBR-pile at that moment.

Review of “The Great Hunt” by Robert Jordan

Title: The Great Hunt
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of Time #2
Narrator: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 26 hours 34 minutes
Published: 2003, MacMillan Audio (originally published 1990)
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

For centuries, gleemen have told the tales of The Great Hunt of the Horn. So many tales about each of th Hunters, and so many Hunters to tell of…Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen.

 

MY REVIEW

I’ve now seen the whole first season of the TV series which contains most of book 1 and some from book 2 and 3. I think I do understand why they mixed the TV series up a bit. Like with The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan really took his time to tell the vivid story that is Wheel of Time. 26 hours went by pretty fast this time when I had really gotten used to the narrators. But when I think about the story now, after finishing it, what happened really? Yes, the great hunt. But that’s it. It was a long journey. Exciting and things kept happening, but I can’t really say exactly what.

New people were introduced, and once again, I won’t give you the satisfaction of trying to spell the names that I now can pronounce, and it took me a while to understand what they were and what role they played in the story.

The ending was wow! And I can’t wait to pick up the next one, but I still kind of feel like this is still just the beginning. Which is amazing, big things have already happened, but what else is there still? I like the character development. They feel real and not everyone behaves strong and heroic like fantasy heroes usually does.

The Great Hunt receives a 4, it’s either because it actually steps up a notch, or it’s because I’m more familiar with the world, not sure. A great listen in whichever case.

Review of “Järnulven” by Siri Pettersen

Title: Järnulven (~The Iron Wolf)
Author: Siri Pettersen
Translator (Swedish): Ylva Kempe
Series: Vardari #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 500
Published: 2020 (translated 2021), B. Wahlströms
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

A young girl is forced to forget that she has seen the devil. A young man betrays his lover to gain eternal life. A mystical clockwork starts ticking again after 600 years of silence. A secret that’s been guarded for generations is about to be revealed.

Juva hates bloodreaders. They are praised because they can see the future, but in reality, they are swindlers who take advantage of people’s fears. Juva’s heritage is of a bloodreader’s family, but she has sworn to never become one of them. But when her family is threatened, she is forced to join the hunt for the bloodreaders’ legacy; a dark secret that once changed the world and will do it again. To survive, she must confront her childhood memory that she has been struggling her whole life to forget – that time when she saw the devil.

The Iron Wolf is a captivating story about blood, desire and obsession. It is the first book of the Vardari trilogy, which takes place in the same universe as the praised series The Raven Rings.

MY REVIEW

After absolutely loving The Raven Rings trilogy, Siri’s debut trilogy, there was no doubt that I would read this as soon as opportunity arose. I try not to read several books at the same time, and with lots of work and other things going on, my reading has been lacking this past year. But I finally finished it and I, as I expected, CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT. I think I read somewhere that it will be released in spring 2022 in Norway. So maybe fall 2022 in Swedish?

I’m sure authors don’t like it when a reader compare her new book with her old ones. But I’ve also realized that that is what makes readers pick up the next book without even knowing what it is about, because they know what to expect. And this was just like that. A new setting, absolutely, a little bit more modern, but kind of hard to tell exactly when in time as well. It’s set in another dimension of the same universe as Odin’s Child and that is perfectly clear at the end of the book. Without spoiling anything, I feel like there is a strong connection between a character in this book and a race of people in Odin’s Child. I even think they might be the same? It might be clearer in the next installment.

What makes it so brilliant? My gut tells me it’s a solid five. But also, the pacing is good, things are always happening. The story starts a little bit quicker this time. I love it when it is not crystal clear who the antagonist is. I feel like we’ve been led to believe it is one through the whole story, but at the end. I’m still not sure if that’s really the case. It’s hard to put the book down. I unfortunately had to almost every night after only a few pages because I fell asleep with it in my hand after too long days at work. But wow, you always want to find out what’s next. And that leaves me to the ending. Yes, it was an ending to this story. But it left so many questions! An ending done right. A new series done right!

I can’t wait for the second book, which hasn’t even gotten a name yet. And I highly recommend people to read this very original fantasy book with roots in the North. I would also recommend reading The Raven Rings before. Even if they are completely stand alone, it’s great to understand certain words and expressions that aren’t explained here, but are in her other series. A solid 5 out of 5 possible.

Review of “The Eye of the World” by Robert Jordan

Title: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Series: Wheel of Time #1
Narrator: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 29 hours 57 minutes
Published: 2006, MacMillan Audio (originally published 1990)
My Grade: 3,5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

 

MY REVIEW

The night before the Wheel of Time TV series premiered, I finished the first book in the 15 book long series by Robert Jordan. I honestly don’t know why I never picked it up. It’s been on my to-read-list (the unofficial one in my head, not on Goodreads) for ages but I guess I was afraid of picking it up because of the enormity of it. 15 books, each several hundred pages long. A kick in the butt from the TV industry is a good way to get me to start reading at least, haha!

Since I started listening to audiobooks a year and a half ago, I’ve mostly listened to science books and children’s books. The last one I listened to was Paolini’s sci-fi novel, which had such an amazing narrator who made it rather easy to follow the story. After Jennifer Hales interpretation of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, I was spoiled and was not prepared for Michael Kramer reading an epic fantasy story, heavy with world building. At first I honestly didn’t think I would get through it. How much of the first few chapters did I really hear and understand? Fortunately, I got used to it, and the rest of the 30 hours total was not too bad. I almost feel bad for saying it about an award winning narrator, but his voice just didn’t seem inviting to me. I’ve come to realize that when listening to audiobooks, this bond with the narrator is very important. It can change the whole book. Or at least, I think it does. I don’t really feel like I have the time to compare reading and listening to books as long as these are, but one day that would be fascinating to do.

In any case, according to my grade system, I feel like this first installment reaches a steady 3,5. If that is because of the story or narrator or anything else, I’m honestly not sure. I do appreciate the immense world building, the magic system seems believable, even if I don’t quite understand it yet. There are several characters but not too many, but I have to admit that sometimes it was hard to know who was who. And also, all the names. They are great, but wow, they are so hard to relate to because they are so far away from our reality. And just hearing them (I won’t give you the satisfaction of spelling them, because I honestly wouldn’t even know where to begin guessing), and not seeing them in front of me was hard. It took me probably 25 hours of the 30 hours total, to know how to pronounce Nynaeve (yes, I did just Google it), even if I had heard it countless of times. The names are complicated and maybe that’s a small thing that drags the whole grade down a bit.

Another thing might be the pace? I can’t really say what I mean, but it feels a bit dragged out. Until the very end which is rushed. A solid 3.5 feels like the correct grade! If what I’ve heard is correct, then the series will be better and better. And I’m really excited to listen to the next!

 

A side note, I’ve of course already seen the first three episodes of the Amazon Prime show that came out on November 19th and I it is amazing so far! Several things are different from the book, of course. But since I didn’t really make out any details while listening, it didn’t bother me at all while watching. Maybe Michael Kramer gave me the story as a whole, and Rafe Judkins (producer) visualized it for me. I’m glad I did it in that order!