Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Great Hunt Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: The Wheel of Time Book Two
Pages: 705

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(Spoilers for The Eye of the World are below).

Robert Jordan’s epic continues to grow in magnitude and size in this sequel to Eye of the World.  The Great Hunt is a book that looks to expand upon the cultures and customs that were previously introduced.  Jordan expands his story by having his characters continue to travel frequently and by giving more narration time to other characters besides Rand al’Thor.

The result leads to a more emotional story than Eye of the World as there is now more added depth to other characters.  Since a lot of the groundwork was laid in the previous book, The Great Hunt doesn’t have to wait too long before it picks up the pace.  The quicker pace is sustained through most of the book, making it a lot more exciting.

After securing the Horn of Valere and the Dragon’s banner Rand and company head back to Fal Dara.  Rand having discovered he can channel now realizes that the Aes Sedai may try to gentle him, which is often allegorical as being a fate worse than death.

Nynaeve and Egwene still plan on going to Tar Valon in order to learn how to become Aes Sedai.  Mat and Perrin plan on taking the Horn of Valere to Illian, where the prophecies say it should go.  Rand has to figure out whether or not he is, as Moiraine believes him to be, The Dragon Reborn.  The Dark One meanwhile plans on stealing back the Horn of Valere so that he may call upon the undead spirits that are bound to the Horn to serve him.

Meanwhile a force of foreigners not from the same lands as Rand and has friends.  They arrive in force on the western side of their world and begins plotting to take over Rand’s world.

If there is a major change to the storytelling style in this book it would have to be Jordan’s inclusion of a lot more narrators than Rand al’Thor.  Significant portions of the book are told from the perspectives of Nynaeve, Moiraine, Egwene, and Perrin.  A few minor characters from the previous book also take the narrating helm including Bornhold and Fain.

The inclusion of more narrators was a great idea by Jordan, as it allows the readers to more closely empathize with characters like Nynaeve, Egwene, and Moiraine. All three of the previously mentioned characters are a lot more likeable in this sequel, and they are able to introduce more interesting plot threads to the story.

Nynaeve continues to be a standout as all of her interactions with the other characters in the books remain tense and intriguing which is due to her being so stubborn and angry. The conflicts and attitude she presents add some spice to the story, that can sometimes bring about predictable character stereotypes.

The Great Hunt sews the seeds for a lot more doubt, as it appears traitors and Darkfriends are everywhere in this book.  They have infiltrated and corrupted people at the highest levels of power and the wealthiest members of society.  The prophecy of the Dragon Reborn also grows more complicated with the added character of Lanfear, a women who has an affair with Lews Therin, and aids in bringing about his destruction.

The Seanchan, or the people who are the foreign invaders, add an interesting dynamic to the story. Their use of slaves, called Damanes, establish what appears to be a cruel, and very powerful threatening culture.

Readers should be compelled by Jordan’s world and the various peoples, cultures, and the magic that is possible in it.  That is what draws people in to the Wheel of Time.  Although the outcome to a good vs evil story can be predictable Jordan manages to tell it with a great sense of the epic and magical. Although the ending to The Great Hunt may be predictable, it’s still a very powerful and satisfying ending.

Score: 9.3

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